Many of you heard the news right here on Comic Booked that DC Comics would be running a series of books based on the Watchmen characters called Before Watchmen. This weekend at C2E2, DC hosted a panel featuring many of the creators and editors that will be working on this upcoming project. Among the creators in attendance where Joe Kubert, Brian Azzarello, Lee Bermejo, Amanda Conner, Adam Hughes, Len Wein and J. Michael Straczynski. Also in attendance where DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio,Senior Editor Will Dennis, Vice President Art Direction and Design Mark Chiarello.
The panel discussion began when DC Co-Publisher Dan Dido explained that the main reason DC was proceeding with the Before Watchmen premise was they thought the characters had more stories to tell. He also mentioned that fans want to see more stories from these characters. He went on to say that he’s “happy to say that every single person sitting on this stage right now was at the top of the wish list”.
Many comic fans have been skeptical about the idea of a Before Watchman comic. Dido brushed the idea of skepticism away saying “everyone I talked to was excited about it”. He elaborated saying the skeptics he did encounter were no longer skeptical after hearing the list of talented creators involved in making this project a reality. Another concern that was addressed through the course of the panel was the complaints voiced by Alan Moore himself. J. Michael Straczynski responded to this concern by saying while Alan Moore was no doubt a genius he didn’t have a lot of room to complain citing Moore’s use of characters such as the Invisible man and Peter Pan in ways that their creators did not intend and wouldn’t have approved of in his own work.
Next up was the talk about the individual books each creator would be working on starting with Straczynski. Straczynski explained that Nite Owl will follow his childhood and his early days as the Nite Owl including his partnership with Rorschach. He went on to say that working with the Kuberts was “Phenomenal”. Joe Kubert was quoted as saying he knew very little about the characters he was working on and that working with his son was both difficult and a blessing.
Next up was Len Wein who is writing the back story of Ozymandias. He went on to say how interesting it was to explore the path Ozymandias took to come to the conclusion that he should take the actions he took in Watchmen to save the world. When speaking of Jae Lee’s on the book he referred to it as “fine art”.
Amanda Conner explained that the Silk Spectre book was going to be “a romance with beatings”, which, given the Spectres role in the original Watchmen, seems like it will be close to the original tone of the character. While talking about his work on The Comedian’s book Brian Azzarello simply stated that if “Ozymandias was the spine of the story then Eddie was the balls.”
The panel then opened up for questions. Some of the more interesting questions addressed drawing Doctor Manhattan’s nether region, whether or not Nixon would be appearing (YES!) and what writing about the smartest man in the world was like.
While Before Watchmen won’t be available until June, when you’ll be able to pick it up in your local comic shop or right here in our online store!