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In doing some trolling on Amazon today, I came across the listings for DC’s Before Watchmen books.
Last February I guessed that there would be 3 oversized hardcovers, but it looks like there will be four:
Before Watchmen Vol. 1 HC by Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner (July 9 2013, $40)
Collects BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN 1-6 and BEFORE WATCHMEN: SILK SPECTRE 1-4, 264 pages
Before Watchmen Vol. 2 HC by Brian Azzarello, J.G. Jones and Lee Bermejo (July 16 2013, $40)
Collects BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN 1-6 and BEFORE WATCHMEN: RORSCHACH 1-4, 256 pages
Before Watchmen Vol. 3 HC by J. Michael Straczynski, Adam Hughes and Joe Kubert (July 23 2013, $40)
Collects BEFORE WATCHMEN: NITE OWL #1-4 and BEFORE WATCHMEN: DR. MANHATTAN #1-4, 256 pages
Before Watchmen Vol. 4 HC by Len Wein, Jae Lee and John Higgins (July 30 2013, $40)
Collects BEFORE WATCHMEN: OZYMANDIAS #1-6, “Curse of the Crimson Corsair.” 256 pages
But before all that DC will be offering a new edition of the original – Watchmen: The Deluxe Edition HC on June 4 2013.
This book will include sketches, extra bonus material and a new introduction by series artist Dave Gibbons.
Of course DC is still adding on to the series with the upcoming:
- Before Watchmen: Moloch (2 issues)
- Before Watchmen: Dollar Bill (One-shot)
and DC has yet to collect:
- Before Watchmen: Epilogue (One-Shot)
I read a ton of RSS feeds through my Google Reader every single day, Most are comic book related but are others and new media and tech related (as is my profession). With that said, it’s amazing how fast things can change on the internet. Two posts popped up one after another today. The first was from a guy who said he’s done with Facebook because of the overblown IPO that’s coming. The second was from a seasoned blogger who was givinng advice on how to promote your Facebook page and gain new followers and Likes. After reading both posts, which were very convincing, I immediately thought of last weeks craziness over Before Watchmen and how I read posts on Twitter, Facebook and Blogs from people stating that if these comics were indeed published they would be done with DC comics – FOREVER.
A week has now passed and the hurricane has seemed to have calmed down. Are these people still going through with their threat to quit? That’s anyone’s guess and I really don’t care if they actually do it. But it is funny to me how some people jump the gun before they see the actual product. And really, they don’t have to buy them anyway. I truly don’t think that the original masterpiece by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons will be diminished in any way. On the business end of things you can debate whether or not it’s a money grab by DC or if DC should be giving a little more cash to the creators. Personally, I vote Yes on both points, but I’m just a small fanboy in a larger sea.
To me this is all just a natural progression of literature in the new media century. I think DC has done everything they can with the original material including reissuing it in numerous trades and hardcovers, a movie and even motion comic, so new additional material is all that’s left. No they don’t have to do it, but they are. Other properties like Batman, Bourne and Bond have gotten the rewrite and movie transfer over the years and no one seems to complain. All of those are evergreen properties and are handled, for the most part, with care. I’m sure Watchmen will be too, otherwise it’s all for nothing and some higher ups may be out of a job. Yes, a lot is riding on the critical success of Before Watchmen. We are going to see more and more of this as old ideas are rehashed and remolded for a new generation. My goodness, just look at what is being done with Sherlock Holmes!
I hope for the best for Moore and Gibbons and I hope they get their due, but now that we have the prequels coming, I have to imagine we’ll see a true sequel. It may take another 25 years, but it will happen.
2013 is a long ways away, but it’s never too early to guess how DC Comics will collect Before Watchmen into trades, hardcovers and Absolutes.
Let’s first look at the series breakdowns:
- 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
- BEFORE WATCHMEN: EPILOGUE – Featuring the work of various writers and artists
- CURSE OF THE CRIMSON CORSAIR (2 page back up in all 35 issues) – Writer: Len Wein. Artist: John Higgins.
Let’s assume that all 35 issues are 32 pages; that equals 1,120 pages total. The recent oversized New 52 Hardcover
was 1,126 pages/$150.00, so it’s easy to say that the Before Watchmen HC/Omnibus/Absolute would be in a very similar, if not the exact price point ballpark. You may recall that the Absolute Watchmen
is 464 pages/$99.99. You can certainly expect a ton of extras in a book like this, so maybe we are looking at 1, 200 pages.
DC is all about the Deluxe Hardcover collected edition these days. The upcoming Batman: The Black Glove will be 384 pages/$39.99. Under this plan we would have a 3 volume set to collect the entire series. What comics would be in which hardcover (or trade) remains to be seen. I doubt we will see the “DVD extras” that will be in the Absolute, but you will get your fair share. I think this format will be the first one we will see in 2013.
Without a doubt the most affordable route would be to buy Before Watchmen in softcover trades. DC could collect each series individually. Let’s assume that all comics will be 30 pages/$2.99. That means:
- Five 4-issue trades; 120 pages each
- Three 6-issue trades; 180 pages each
- One Crimson Corsair/Epilogue; 100 pages (70 pages/30 pages)
Sounds great, but I doubt this will be the case. That’s just too many trades (9 total) and DC Comics is not going to charge $11.99 for a 4-issue book when you could get so much more money if you combine them. More likely is the possibility that DC will collect it like this:
- Three 10-issue trades (One 4-issue and One 6-issue); 300 pages; $29.99 each
- One 9-issue plus Crimson Corsair storyline (Two 4-issue, Crimson Corsair/Epilogue); 340 pages; $29.99
Why $29.99? Again recent DC history gives us this price point. Resurrection Man TPB is 336 pages/$29.99 so it seems like a good place to start. However, DC has also released new editions of Batman: Knightfall which is roughly 652 pages/$29.99. But that’s too much Watchmen for too small a price for brand new material.
Either way I am excited for Before Watchmen. Not all of the comics, but most.
And it has nothing to do with JMS.
I welcome your comments.
OK let’s get this out of the way – yeah, it’s a money grab, Yadda, yadda, yadda. But it’s not like Alan Moore created the original characters The Watchmen were based on. Remember these were Charlton Heroes of the 1960′s – a few of which Steve Ditko created. How is that any different from Alan Scott or Jay Garrick being re-imaged into the Silver Age Green Lantern and Flash? Could it be said that Moore did the money grab first?
I love Watchmen and their, unexplored, rich history. This could be a fun sandbox that today’s gifted artists and writers can play in. Comic book characters, and all fictional characters for that matter, should be shared and explored once and again for every generation and not lie dormant so uppity purists like The Simpson’s Comic Book Guy can lament about the Golden Age of 1985. The Watchmen belong to us fans now. If you don’t like it, fine. Don’t read it. But don’t tell me it’s going to suck. Not just yet, anyway.
Who knows what a new Watchmen comic will bring? Brubaker on Rorschach? Johns on Dr. Manhattan?
Just be glad Stan Lee isn’t still on X-Men.
Podcast: Play in new window
Collected Comics Library Podcast #257
20,415Kb; 21m 40s
This week on the Steve Ditko career retrospective, I take a look at his return to Charlton (although some would argue he never left), his limited time at Warren and his entire time at DC Comics. This includes the great characters he created: Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, The Question, The Hawk and The Dove and The Creeper. And the history lesson wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Mr. A or The Watchmen.
Much of Ditko’s work from this period has been collected in the Action Hero Archives Volumes 1-2, Creepy Archives Volumes 1-4 and Eerie Archives Volumes 1-2 from Dark Horse, and the upcoming Creeper HC from DC.
All this including IDW’s Fallen Angel Omnibus, Absolute All-Star Superman and the New Releases of the Week from DC and Marvel.
Links of Note:
Interview with Bob Rozakis on Cancelled Comics Cavalcade
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