The movie version of Alan Moore's classic dysfunctional superhero comic book Watchmen continues to move forward, although one key element might be coming to your DVD player before the film comes out.


In the 12-issue series, occasional panels are devoted to a young boy sitting next to a newstand, reading a comic book about pirates called "Tales of the Black Freighter." Over the course of the series, it becomes clear that the book is meant to serve as a metaphor for the events occurring in the main Watchmen storyline, but it's also beautifully written as a standalone story that holds its own, even after repeated readings.

Director Zack Snyder told audiences at this year's Comic-Con International that he'd be including that story in the feature film. However, Warners has threatened to make it the first thing on the chopping block in the vein of keeping the film short. Although after they'd seen what he'd already filmed, he was given the go-ahead to film it as a special feature for the DVD.


Now it looks like Snyder will be doing it as an animated film, and the studio will be sending it out to store shelves just as Watchmen starts hitting the big screen. How will Snyder be able to keep his focus on making a good movie while working on this direct-to-DVD project? We're already concerned that Watchmen is getting short shrift because of Snyder's high on visuals, low on writing style (see his 300 as evidence of this).

Plus you'll have to buy a movie ticket and a DVD to get the whole story. Darn double-dipping. Still, we're gonna do it.

The Watchmen Universe Expands [CHUD]