“THE QUESTION” became “RORSCHACH”.

Are the Watchmen Prequels As Blasphemous As Everyone Is Making Out?

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Today, after months of rumours, DC comics officially announced that they will be publishing a series of Watchmen prequel comics. The project will be written and drawn by some of the industries top stars, including Brian Azzarello, Darwyn Cooke, J. Michael Straczynski and original Watchmen series editor Len Wein with art from Cooke, Lee Bermejo, Amanda Conner, Adam Hughes, J.G. Jones, Andy and Joe Kubert, Jae Lee and original Watchmen series colorist John Higgins.

Whilst co-creator and original artist of Watchmen, Dave Gibbons, has given the series his blessing, saying;  “The original series of WATCHMEN is the complete story that Alan Moore and I wanted to tell. However, I appreciate DC’s reasons for this initiative and the wish of the artists and writers involved to pay tribute to our work. May these new additions have the success they desire,” Alan Moore, the scribe behind the original series, has publicly condemned it by issuing the following statement: “I tend to take this latest development as a kind of eager confirmation that they are still apparently dependent on ideas that I had 25 years ago” and added that the series is a reminder of “draconian contracts”.

However let us not forget that while it was a great story not all of the ideas present (such as the outlawing of superheroes and vigilantes) were as revolutionary as we are led to believe, and let us not forget that the story was originally envisioned with Charlton Comics characters in mind, it was only after DC decided against such a drastic change of the characters that they were re-envisioned as their now legendary counterparts. By the same logic Moore uses when saying “DC are dependant on ideas that I had 25 years ago” is he being hypocritical himself by being dependant on characters created almost 25 years before he decided to re-brand them? And come to think of it I don’t remember reading about Alan Moore getting Robert Louis Stevenson’s approval to do the continuing adventures of Mr. Hyde in The league of Gentlemen (or any other previously created characters that he used for that matter).

Here are the original characters The Watchmen were based on (images courtesy of MTV):

“CAPTAIN ATOM” became “DR. MANHATTAN”. Capt. Allen Adam was accidentally atomized during an experimental rocket launch. However there was an unexpected side effect, and he survived, re-assembling his body, atom by atom, he found that he had gained amazing atomic powers.

"THUNDERBOLT" became "OZYMANDIAS". After being orphaned Peter Cannon was trained by Buddhist Monks in the Himalayas who trained him to be at his physical and mental peak. Upon being taught all their ancient secrets, he found he had fantastic strength, agility and speed.

“PEACEMAKER” became “COMEDIAN”. With no powers to speak of, Peacemaker was a former diplomat who had enough of the injustices and warlords that no one was doing anything about and turned himself into a one man army to take them on.

“NIGHTSHADE” became “SILK SPECTRE”. The character that changed most for Watchmen, Silk Spectre didn't retain any of Nightshades supernatural abilities and had more in common with DC's Black Canary character, being a second generation crime fighter, whilst the look appears to take inspiration from 1940s hero Phantom Lady.

“BLUE BEETLE” became “NITE-OWL”. The second Blue Beetle, Ted Kord a student of the original Dan Garrett, had no powers but relied on an array of gadgets, including his ship "The Bug", his athletic ability and his intelligence to fight crime.

“THE QUESTION” became “RORSCHACH”. Vic Reeves, reporter by day and masked vigilante by night. Decked out in a faceless mask and a trench coat and fedora the similarities are pretty obvious. The Question often teamed with fellow vigilante Blue Beetle to fight crime, and the dynamic duo later joined with Nightshade and Captain Atom as "The Sentinels of Justice."

Hmmmmmmn all sounds pretty familiar right!!!

BEFORE WATCHMEN includes:

–      RORSCHACH (4 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: Lee Bermejo
–      MINUTEMEN (6 issues) – Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke
–      COMEDIAN (6 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: J.G. Jones
–      DR. MANHATTAN (4 issues) – Writer: J. Michael Straczynski. Artist:  Adam Hughes
–      NITE OWL (4 issues) – Writer: J. Michael Straczynski. Artists: Andy and Joe Kubert
–      OZYMANDIAS (6 issues) – Writer: Len Wein. Artist: Jae Lee
–      SILK SPECTRE (4 issues) – Writer: Darwyn Cooke. Artist: Amanda Conner

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. Check out the covers revealed so far below:

Thanks to CBR for the images.

So what say you? Will you be checking this out? Is Alan Moore an overprotective hypocrite? Was the Watchmen film any good (wait what has that got to do with anything?)

S#!T Talking Central

  • Wisdo

    “ideas that I had 25 years ago”

    Does not refer to the characters, but rather the literary tropes, phatic elements and themes which made Watchmen such a unique work. The character designs are interesting certainly, but it is their psychologies which are uniquely Moores work and in which the worth of the book is found. For instance, Rorschachs convincing and desperate atheism (“the cold black emptiness goes on forever and we are alone”) and the second level on which Rorschach can be read – as a criticism of superheroes – the insanely limited black and white view of the world, the inability to compromise – a theme which is inversely reflected by the Comedian.