We've heard murmurs of the so-called Watchmen 2 project, and even an image or two mysteriously traipsed into the internet wilds a few weeks back.

Now, in the wee hours of the morning, DC Comics has surreptitiously unleashed the full list of Before Watchmen prequel comic books slated for Summer 2012. The talent on tap here is not unsizable, but what says Watchmen writer Alan Moore? "As far as I know [...] there weren't that many prequels or sequels to Moby-Dick."


Here's the full roster of Before Watchmen comics. There should be some extremely interesting Comic-Con panels this year:

● 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

Each week, a new issue will be released, and will feature a two-page back-up story called CURSE OF THE CRIMSON CORSAIR, written by original series editor Len Wein and with art by original series colorist John Higgins. There will also be a single issue, BEFORE WATCHMEN: EPILOGUE, featuring the work of various writers and artists, and a CRIMSON CORSAIR story by Wein and Higgins.

Some of the creators have offered insights into the genesis of this project. From Len Wein, who notes that the original Watchmen artist was okay with all this:

To the best of my knowledge, while both Alan [Moore] and Dave [Gibbons] are aware of what we're doing, I don't believe anyone at DC has spoken to Alan at all, which seems to be the way he prefers it [...] And Dave, I believe, was invited to participate but declined.

And Darwyn Cooke was originally against the project:

I said no out of hand because I couldn't think of a story that would measure up to the original - and let's face it, this material is going to be measured that way - and the other thing is, I frankly didn't want the attention [...] This is going to generate a lot of a particular type of attention that's really not my bag. But what happened is, months after I said no, the story elements all just came into my head one day; it was so exciting to me that, at that exact moment, I started seriously thinking about doing the book.

And J. Michael Straczynski takes what could be interpreted as a roundabout dig at the competition's summer event:

Ever since Dan DiDio was handed the reins (along with Jim Lee) over at DC, he's been making bold, innovative moves that might have scared the hell out of anyone else. At a time in the industry when big events tend to be "Okay, we had Team A fight Team B last year, so this year we're gonna have Team B fight team C!" Dan has chosen to revitalize lines, reinvent worlds and come at Watchmen head-on. It was, I think, about two years ago that he first mentioned that he was considering the idea, and he's to be commended for fighting to make this happen.

And finally, what did Alan Moore have to say about all this?

I tend to take this latest development as a kind of eager confirmation that they are still apparently dependent on ideas that I had 25 years ago.

The phrase "completely shameless" and a reference to DC Comics' "infinite battery of lawyers" were also bandied around by The Bearded One. The main question on my mind is, "Just how prominent will Dr. Manhattan's cerulean junk be?" I don't know about you, but the amount of azure superhuman phallus on display will make or break this project for me.


[Illustrations via The Source, CBR, THR, Wired, NY Times, L.A. Times, EW, USA Today]