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If you’ve been within a six-yard radius of a comics blog over the past day or so, you’ve probably read Rich Johnston’s rumor that DC is planning to release a sequel and/or prequels to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s stone-classic superhero landmark, Watchmen. The thinking is that whatever his issues with Moore, and vice versa, former President Paul Levitz kept the kibosh on any further use of the Watchmen world and characters, and that with him gone, Senior Vice President-Executive Editor Dan DiDio is opening the door to such projects.
We can’t speak to the veracity of the rumor — nor will DC, who told Robot 6 the company has no comment. But as an ex-Wizard employee, I can clear up some things regarding one of Johnston’s bits of evidence. He writes:
But there were moves. A Wizard splash showing DC’s Countdown multiverse had Rorschach as one of the combatants and it was rumoured one of the universes in the DC 52 Multiverse was intended to be the Watchmen world.
The piece Johnston’s talking about was done toward the tail end of my time with the company in 2007, during a period when I was working primarily on the website rather than the magazine, but I do know how it went down.
The art and article in question, by Art Adams and Matt Powell respectively, were generated to cover DC’s then-forthcoming Countdown: Arena miniseries, in which characters from around DC’s recently reborn Multiverse, which consisted in large part of Elseworlds-derived worlds, were forced into gladitorial combat against one another. The piece didn’t reflect any inside information of any kind, about the desire to introduce Watchmen‘s world into continuity, creating new projects involving it or anything else (like doing the same for The Dark Knight Returns, say — that’s Frank Miller’s dystopian Batman laying the smackdown on Rorschach, of course). Rather, it was seen internally as a glorified “Last Man Standing,” the long-running Wizard feature in which an original art piece would be commissioned to depict some fantasy battle between characters from different universes, companies or even mediums, and the writer would speculate as to who would come out on top. Such pieces were done without the approval or coordination of the companies involved. Indeed, this was the case with the vast majority of Wizard‘s original art illustrations. (My favorite was one I came up with myself: The Joker and Harley Quinn in the Wolverine and Kitty Pryde roles for a “Days of Future Past” pastiche by Tom Derenick.)
In other words, this was simply Wizard‘s pie-in-the-sky vision of what a battle between a bunch of alternate-reality characters from across the DC line throughout the years might look like. Unfortunately, a line of text labeling it as such got removed from the piece prior to publication for space reasons. When Wizard staffers realized that readers were taking the published piece to indicate that the Watchmen-verse was one of DC’s 52 universes and/or that DC would be publishing new Watchmen-based comics — for which there were no such plans, at least as far as anyone involved with the piece knew — they quickly ran a clarification on the website, which unfortunately is now lost to the the site’s reboots.
Whether or not you ever see Watchmen 2 or Watchmen Year One or any such project, they won’t have anything to do with this two-year-old-and-counting Wizard piece. Still, sweet art, no?