Welcome to the Comicpalooza Blog's newest column, and welcome to our newest blogger, Andrew Williams. What is Gingered Intensity about exactly? Well comics mostly.....but it could also touch on films, industry news, or any other sort of madness that could come from the fiery head of Andrew. Stay tuned for what is sure to be a fun ride and give Andrew a great big welcome to the Comicpalooza Blog. - Mark
One of the only constants in comics is change, and that’s never been
more apparent than now. If you’ll allow me a moment to introduce myself,
my name is Andrew Williams and I’ve been reading comics for over 10
years, and have actively following the business for at least half that.
Through all of that I’ve seen creators come and go, endless events,
endless reboots. When I started reading comics, Geoff Johns was that guy
that had just taken over writing The Flash after Mark Waid left. Kurt
Busiek was nearing the end of his epic Avengers run, and a mostly
unknown guy named Mark Millar launched a book called Ultimate X-Men with
the Kubert Brothers. Needless to say, these guys have all reached a
point where they are considered mainstays of the comics industry, all in
all about 10 years time.
I have creators I love, creators I
like, creators I don’t like, and creators I really don’t like, but
comics are a medium that I love dearly and they’ve been with me over
half my life. So I’m here to offer my particular spin on some of the
goings on in the comic industry whether it is commentary on
controversial announcements, new events, Comicpalooza news or something
completely different. With that out of the way, I say welcome and hope
you stick around.
In this particular edition, I’m going to look
at one of the biggest announcements to shock the industry in recent
memory, the announcement of DC Comics ‘Before Watchmen’ event. While the
idea of a Watchmen sequel or prequel is not exactly an unheard of idea,
this announcement itself being rumored for some time, it’s one of those
things that’s just been seen over the years as something you just
didn’t do. Watchmen stands on a pedestal as one of the greatest
accomplishments in the industry, and it’s seen by many as being
So that asks the question, why? If you look at it
objectively, it’s not hard too hard to see that Watchmen and its
characters do hold a whole untapped history. Watchmen itself holds
specific information and history for each character, but there’s quite a
bit of potential to fill in some of the gaps, and it seems that is the
goal of the prequels.
Another big point is that Watchmen is a
story with a start and an end, does that information need to be filled
in? And more so, should it be filled in? At this point, the argument
tends to point back to the issues Alan Moore has had with DC regarding
the rights to Watchmen. Alan Moore has made it quite clear that he
doesn’t approve of the contract he signed with DC over Watchmen
originally; he doesn’t approve of the prequels themselves, and doesn’t
hold DC or Marvel in very high regard. My understanding of the original
contract holds that the rights to Watchmen would revert to Alan Moore
and Dave Gibbons once Watchmen had fallen out of print for a year, and
then…it never did. Its popularity kept it in print. Though again, my
understanding is that this agreement was fairly common for the time, and
that Watchmen’s popularity was unforeseen at the time.
Leading the charge, in a way, is the
Rorschach book, which is being written by crime noir expert Brian
Azzarello, and drawn by his frequent collaborator, Lee Bermejo. To this
particular reader, this seems like a perfect combination. Having read
their work together on the Luthor miniseries and the Joker graphic
novel, I can’t think of a better team to tackle Rorschach, if it must
Another big highlight for fans is Darwyn Cooke writing
and drawing a Minute Men book. This to me is one of the biggest, if not
the biggest, book in the whole launch. The Minute Men have their moments
in the book, but of all the characters, they’re the ones that probably
have the most room for storytelling, and after Justice League: New
Frontier, I can’t think of a better man for the job than Mr. Cooke.
returns again, this time writing a Comedian mini-series, featuring J.G.
Jones on art. Given the nature of the Comedian, Azzarello again seems
like a perfect man for the job. J.G. Jones is also no slouch when it
comes to art having handled art chores on the Marvel Boy series with
Grant Morrison, Wanted with Mark Millar, and parts of Final Crisis,
again by Morrison, as well as his extensive cover work on Doc Savage.
It’s actually his Doc Savage covers that make me think he matches this
best, as he brought a nice pulpy sense to those covers that I think will
translate well to a Comedian tale.
Darwyn Cooke returns again
to write a Silk Spectre series, drawn by fan favorite Amanda Conner.
This is one of the combinations I didn’t see coming, but it makes sense
to me upon thinking about it. Darwyn writes strong female characters,
and Amanda Conner, known for Powergirl and Supergirl work, draws females
in a way that makes them look strong, sexy, but not belittled. I think
this series has the most potential to surprise people.
in next is J. Michael Stracynski, known for his Spiderman and Thor work,
as well as his…interesting runs on Superman and Wonder Woman that saw
him leave both books before their conclusion. Either way, his work on
Thor and Rising Stars was superb, so his work on these series intrigues
me. First up, he has a Nite Owl series, drawn by the father-son team of
Andy and Joe Kubert, (Joe will be at Comicpalooza for anyone
interested.) Andy and Joe have collaborated briefly in the past, working
with Len Wein to handle the Golden Age issues of DC Universe: Legacies
and I think the style they bring will fit this series very well. Andy
brings his dynamic storytelling, and his father’s inks give the book a
nice retro feel.
up sees the original editor of Watchmen, and creator of such characters
as Wolverine and Swamp Thing, Len Wein, step in to write two series
himself. First up, in another big surprise, sees Wein write an
Ozymandias series, with longtime Marvel artist Jae Lee providing the
art. Lee has mostly been seen at Marvel, doing artwork on the numerous
Dark Tower series, as well as some Inhumans and Fantastic Four work, so
to see him over at DC is something I look forward to.
running in every book will be a 2 page Crimson Corsair backup story,
written again by Wein, and drawn by original series colorist John
Needless to say, DC has assembled some of the best
people in the industry to work on these books. So while the money to be
made is definitely a factor, DC has at least made the effort to get the
best people possible working on these books.
Also, should the
prequels be successful, will it stop there? Should the prequels prove to
be a runaway success…could it go further from there? Would we be seeing
Watchmen 2? While Watchmen will always be Watchmen, if the market sees
endless Watchmen related products flood the market…will the impact of
the original Watchmen be affected? In this reader’s opinion, Watchmen
will always be Watchmen, and the quality of that book will never
diminish. However, if the market sees endless Watchmen related materials
come out, the uniqueness of Watchmen may be forgotten.
end of the day, Before Watchmen isn’t an event that everyone will get
behind. Some like the idea on its own merits, some were sold by the
creative teams, and others believe Moore should own it, while others
think Watchmen said all it needed to and prequels aren’t needed. Will it
sell well? Almost assuredly. Is it necessary? Maybe not, but with the
teams they’ve assembled…I can’t help but be a bit curious for what they
might put together.