Before Watchmen Prequel From DC Entertainment, w/ J. Michael Straczynski

by on February 1, 2012

in Entertainment

DC Entertainment landed a press release in my inbox at around 5:30 A.M. today (Feb 1, 2012) announcing a series of prequel comic titles based on the Watchmen franchise, called “Before Watchmen.”  Check out the thoughts and details we have on it, here from the Cinema Static column on Brusimm.

Watchmen movie and comic book series

The 2009 Watchmen film, to me, is a wonderfully detailed and gritty movie that takes a look behind the scenes of what it’s like to be a vigilante superhero.  It took a look at their lives behind the scenes and introduced us to the idea that not all heroes are perfect.  They have their…   issues.

Working in an alternate timeline did not hurt the movie at all, but rather, helped the movie going world become a part of what was built up within the franchise of the Watchmen to gain a better foothold on fans’ imaginations.

(And yes, I’m not mentioning the comic book series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons that came out in 1986/87 that was the source of the movie, Watchmen, because I never read it.  My only exposure to the franchise is via the Warner Bros. Pictures movie that was directed by Zack Snyder, and starred Jackie Earle Haley & Jeffrey Dean Morgan, amongst many.

The comic book series won a Hugo award in 1988, Time Magazine put it in its 2005 All-Time 100 Greatest Novels list & in 2008 Entertainment Weekly declared it one of the best 50 novels printed in the last 25 years.)


The “Before Watchmen” series will be a set of collected titles based on each of the flawed characters we became familiar with in the movie… or comic series, depending how you were introduced to the franchise.

“This summer, DC Entertainment will publish all-new stories expanding on the acclaimed WATCHMEN universe. As highly anticipated as they are controversial, the seven inter-connected prequel mini-series will build on the foundation of the original WATCHMEN, the bestselling graphic novel of all time. BEFORE WATCHMEN will be the collective banner for all seven titles, from DC Comics.”

Patrick Wilson in Watchmen as Nite Owl

J. Michael Straczynski is leading the pack, having written the 4-issue Dr. Manhattan title and the 4-issie Nite Owl  series.

Brian Azzarello is writing the 4-issue Rorschach series and the 6-issue Comedian title.

Darwyn Cooke is writing the Minutemen 6-issue title and 4-issue Silk Spectre series while Len Wein is tackling the 6-issue Ozymandias title.

“Each week, a new issue will be released, and will feature a two-page back-up story called CURSE OF THE CRIMSON CORSAIR, written by original series editor Len Wein and with art by original series colorist John Higgins. There will also be a single issue, BEFORE WATCHMEN: EPILOGUE, featuring the work of various writers and artists, and a CRIMSON CORSAIR story by Wein and Higgins.”

I think this will be a great opportunity for fans to immerse themselves farther into the franchise and either give it new life or disappoint.  (I’m being a realist here, just in case we expect way too much from what might be coming up.)

But looking at the collection of writers, and being that each character has their own set of issues, it gives everyone the opportunity to re-immerse themselves and follow only the character they want to.  (But seriously, who would NOT get each title?)  It doesn’t seem this is going to suck at all.

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Jeffrey Dean Morgan in Watchmen as the Comedian

And I have to wonder, with these new prequel comic titles, does this open the door to another movie for the franchise?  Will they hit the mark like the first series did?  Or just satiate the fans?

The world of the Watchmen has been established and there are many options available for a prequel… or heck, even a sequel, but I think prequel is the better direction to go.  It’s know territory that deserves to be fleshed out.

And now that the movie is out and general movie-goers are aware of the franchise, would a prequel or sequel have just as good, or better chance to succeed at the box office?

Ah, as I always say, “Time will be the telling factor.”

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