DC Entertainment has made it official! After years of rumors and speculation, the best-selling graphic novel of all time, “Watchmen,” is getting not one prequel but seven coming this summer. DC Comics is publishing the prequels under the banner “Before Watchmen.” Now speculation can move on to whether or not we’ll see movies made out of the upcoming books.
“Before Watchmen” will contain back-stories on each of the pivotal characters from the award-winning original book written and drawn by legends in the world of comic books. The titles include “Rorschach,” “Minutemen,” “Comedian,” “Dr. Manhattan,” “Nite Owl,” “Ozymandias,” and “Silk Spectre.” A new issue will be released each week. Each issue will feature a two-page backup story titled “Curse of the Crimson Corsair.” A single issue “Before Watchmen: Epilogue” and a “Crimson Corsair” story is also scheduled for release.
The idea of new comic books based on the “Watchmen” graphic novel is the source of controversy and debate among fans of the original. It’s widely known co-creator/writer Alan Moore opposes anything not penned by him when it comes to his world of superheroes. Co-creator/artist Dave Gibbons released a statement about “Before Watchmen”:
“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.”
Two members of the original “Watchmen” team are returning to the fictional realm to contribute to “Before.” Co-creator/colorist John Higgins is contributing art while Len Wein, who edited the original graphic novel, is writing the “Ozymandias” series and the “Curse of the Crimson Corsair” story.
DC Entertainment co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee had this to say about the long-awaited announcement of the “Watchmen” prequels:
“It’s our responsibility as publishers to find new ways to keep all of our characters relevant. After twenty five years, the Watchmen are classic characters whose time has come for new stories to be told. We sought out the best writers and artists in the industry to build on the complex mythology of the original.”
The question “Watchmen” and movie fans are asking is, “Can we expect to see movies made from any of these?” It could go two ways. One way would have DC run full speed ahead and start developing movies now to get them released quickly. The other approach would be to wait until the whole batch of “Before Watchmen” comics is released and move forward slowly. It could go either way.
The “Watchmen” movie made money at the box office and received mixed to positive reviews from critics and audiences. Theatrical film versions of the comics would definitely make money if produced on modest budgets. Zack Snyder’s movie cost $130 million and brought in over $185 million at the box office. The prequels would need to cost much less than that.
Another way DC could go is develop and release straight-to-DVD animated movies based on the separate comic titles. This would be a less expensive venture than putting out big-screen adaptations. This option would seem a little more likely to me. There would be a lot of money to be made from seven or eight different straight-to-DVD movies based on the iconic characters.
It seems inevitable that we’ll eventually see some sort of movies released based on “Before Watchmen.” There’s too much to be gained from it by fans and DC. Whether longtime enthusiasts are groaning and throwing a fit right now or not, they’ll be the first ones in line to pick up the new comic books and any movies that come out based on the prequel series.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
‘Batman: Through the Looking Glass’ Review
‘Annotated Sandman’ Editor Leslie Klinger Talks Other Projects
‘The Ray’ Writers Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti Discuss the New Version
Eric Shirey is the founder and former editor of Rondo Award nominated movie news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo!, DC Comics, StarWars.com, and other entertainment websites. Eric has interviewed and worked with actors like Harrison Ford, Brooke Shields, Gerard Butler, Brendan Fraser, Selena Gomez, and many more.
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