BEFORE WATCHMEN Announced Today With Azzarello/Bermejo's Rorschach, JMS/Adam Hughes' Dr Manhattan And Len Wein/Jae Lee's Ozymandias (UPDATE)

It's official folks. This morning I discovered that the Brian Azzarello/Lee Bermejo DC comic we heard about at Angouleme was going to be Rorschach.

I sent a few emails out for confirmation. Then this landed on me.

A  full confirmation of the Watchmen prequel project from DC Comics we have previously referred to as Watchmen 2, Before Watchmen, with writing details, courtesy of the Wausau Daily Herald which I think may have slightly broken an embargo.

And it's not the four prequel comics we'd previously reported, but seven. They include;

(UPDATE: USA Today confirms the artists)

Rorschach by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo

Comedian by Brian Azzarello and JG Jones)

Minutemen by Darwyn Cooke

Silk Spectre by Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner

Doctor Manhattan by J Michael Straczynski and Adam Hughes

Nite Owl by Joe Michael Strazynski (and presumably Andy and Joe Kubert)

Ozymandias by Len Wein and Jae Lee.

The last is the biggest surprise, Wein was the editor of the original Watchmen series, and the co-creator of the likes of Wolverine, Swamp Thing, Storm, Nightcrawler and Colossus.

Before Watchmen will be scheduled in a similar fashion to Seven Soldiers, so there will be a new issue out every week of its run.,

Each issue will also contain a two page back up strip, Curse of the Crimson Corsair, by Len Wein, drawn by Watchmen colourist John Higgins.

While Watchmen's writer Alan Moore mooted a Minuteman prequel back in the day, he has long opposed any such project over the last twenty years. And previous president and publisher Paul Levitz resisted any move for a sequel, seing himself as a protector of the original graphic novel. However, Bleeding Cool recently reported that the word from on high at Warners had come to exploit any and all properties within the DC remit that could make money, and this specifically included Watchmen. A move was made to Alan Moore, for his blessing on any such prequel or sequel in return for the rights being returned to him, something he rejected.

The project is being published with the blessing of Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons. The article reports him 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,"

You can see previous Bleeding Cool coverage of the emergence of Watchmen 2 here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. We also ran Comedian, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre artwork by the respective creators over the holiday season, until we received legal notices from Warner Bros.

The article reports Brian Azzarello thus;

Azzarello says he "dropped the phone" when DC co-publisher Dan DiDio called him last summer and asked if he'd write the fan-favorite character Rorschach, the vigilante clad in a mask with shifting ink blots who investigates the death of his old friend, The Comedian, in the original Watchmen story.

"He's the face. The guy who covers his face is the face of the franchise," Azzarello says. For the four-issue Rorschach series, he's teaming again with the artist from his Joker graphic novel, Lee Bermejo.

"You're going to get the Rorschach that you know and want. It's a very visceral story we're going to be telling," says Azzarello.

However, that approval isn't as important as making sure all the Before Watchmen books work on their own, Azzarello says. What's key is "that we all get in there and we tell the best possible stories we can and we reconnect these characters. It's 25 years later. Let's make them vital again."

Expect this to hit major news sites in a big way through the day.

UPDATE: Comic Book Resources has art and news of an eighth book, Before Watchmen:Epilogue featuring Crimson Corsair and a series of stories from other creators.

And from DC Source

And from Hollywood Reporter

 From the LA Times

And from Wired

And from Entertainment Weekly

From USA Today

From New York Times



About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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