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A first look at DC’s Before Watchmen covers [Updated]

As DC Comics’ Before Watchmen announcement rolls out from multiple news and entertainment outlets, so too do our first looks at covers for all seven prequels to the groundbreaking 1986 miniseries.

Okay, almost seven, as USA Today has only offered a detail of one of Lee Bermejo’s covers for Rorschach (at right), his four-issue miniseries with Luthor and Joker collaborator Brian Azzarello. To make up for it, though, there’s a cover by original Watchmen colorist John Higgins for a Crimson Corsair story by he and original Watchmen editor Len Wein.

We also have a Dr. Manhattan cover by Adam Hughes (courtesy of CBR), Minutemen by Darwyn Cooke (Hero Complex), Nite Owl by Andy Kubert and Joe Kubert (Heat Vision), Ozymandias by Jae Lee (Underwire), and Silk Spectre by Amanda Conner (Entertainment Weekly). UPDATE: Now, thanks to The New York Times, we also have one of J.G. Jones’ Comedian covers.

Check out the covers below. We’ll update if more, and in some cases larger, images become available.

UPDATE: DC Comics has released hi-res versions of each of the covers, which we’ve added below.



Tom Fitzpatrick

February 1, 2012 at 5:18 am

Crimson Corsair? Didn’t realize that those pirates in the mini-comic in Watchmen had a name.

Tom Fitzpatrick

February 1, 2012 at 5:20 am

Shouldn’t there be a Minutemen mini-series, too, at least?

Since the main title is: Before Watchmen.

Tom Fitzpatrick

February 1, 2012 at 5:21 am

Missing the Darwyn Cooke cover.
Man, I’m tired today. ;-)

Considering I stillhaven’t read the Watchman trade I already own (or seen the movie yet! haha…) this probably isn’t aimed at me.

But those are some Amazing creative teams! Adam Hughes and J.G. Jones on interiors!?! Jae Lee?!? (anyone who loves his work should check out I, Vampire – the artist has a similar style!), Azzarello and Bermejo again!!! and Amanda Conner!!! :) That is some A List talent right there!

So I might end up getting a few in trades. I just pray that for everyone buying the single issues Hughes and Jones don’t keep everyone waiting a few extra months after everything else has finished!! …. come on, you were all thinking it too! haha…

I look forward to downloading these comics. If DC doesn’t respect creators, then why the hell should I?

“I look forward to downloading these comics. If DC doesn’t respect creators, then why the hell should I?”

Alan Moore did get paid for his work on Watchmen so don’t get where the “respect” thing keeps comes from?


There are other kinds of respect than monetary respect. Alan Moore’s completely against this project.

“Alan Moore did get paid for his work on Watchmen so don’t get where the “respect” thing keeps comes from?”

The original contract Moore signed with DC was not fulfilled by DC and they did everything they could to nullify it. The reason they were asking for Moore to “sign off” on sequels/prequels is because they KNOW he has a case against them and wanted to avoid any legal squabbles. Legal squabbles that no one person could ever afford to get involved in with a behemoth like Warner Bros. Moore would be just about contentious enough to do it and they knew that.

Moore (amongst many other creators in the 80s) fought a hell of a lot for creators rights. A lot of the people working on these prequels enjoy much better working terms today because of Moore’s actions then. If nothing else, I would think that would make most creators give pause to agreeing to something like this.

Why not get all these creators to do something new instead? It’s just going to be compared to the original and found lacking.

I want to rant about what a travesty this whole thing is, but the truth is that I am actually getting excited here and I look forward to buying every single one of these!

“There are other kinds of respect than monetary respect. Alan Moore’s completely against this project.”

Exactly. Money is NOT the issue here. If it was, Moore would have accepted all that movie money and whatever I’m sure DC wanted to pay him for his signature.

A lot of people seem to think the Watchmen contract was like a regular modern-day contract for the Big Two. It wasn’t.

As an aside, what’s the bet that Marvel will miraculously solve all those Marvelman legal issues in time to reprint Moore’s stories right around the same time?

If Moore really wants to fuck with DC, all he has to do is write a few Spider-Man issues and have ‘em released at the same time! (The enemy is my enemy is my friend and all that)

I could see that from Marvel but never took Moore for the petty type (arrogant & hypocritical at times yes, but not petty).

No, you’re right. It’s DC that are the petty ones.

Is Higgings the only British creator working on these? I presume all the others ran a mile! Grant Morrison is conspicuous by his absence.

The New York Times has the Comedian cover — seriously unnerving…

Look, the talent here is amazing, i trust this guys with any comic book.
Moore did a lot of good things for the industry and authors. But let’s not get carried away, it’s still a DC property, and I think it’s better if at least they cared anough to get more than decent talent.
And preacher, really you are discussing the lack of british talent just because the original author was british? Watchmen is based on The united sates of america.
DC is trying to make a living, we fans talk big about supporting the comicbooks, but we are the first to complain, and let’s not get to the point of discussing how print is dying. DC rebooted, Marvel raises it’s prices very much often.
This is a stunt move, it could go wrong, but given the talent given I’m calm.
Azarello writing the comedian and Rosharch? It could nto be genious, but it could be a good story. And that is why I read comics, to read a good story, they are not raping the dead corpse of my mother, they need to make money so the gather very VERY talented people to make profit of an older succesfull franchise.
Good stories come and go, it’s up to us to enjoy them, or we could be like 5 year olds and complain about eveything.

Strange that of all the series here, the Crimson Corsair is the one I think I’d be most likely to buy. I have a hunch that the others will suffer from “prequel-itis,” and will retread old ground.

Swampex is right you hit that right on point. I’ll be buying most of this books and so is every one that is saying there not respecting Alan Moore so please get over it and suppor your comic book shop go buy some comic books!!!!!

Okay, so my gut reaction upon hearing this was “BOO!” but after seeing this, I may have to re-think that position…. aside from Darwyn Cooke doing the Minutemen (which would be a mandatory buy for me), most of these others look fairly promising. Sorry, Alan.

I realized that my wording was awkward in that post…. I meant that I LOVE Darwyn Cooke and if I only bought one, it would definitely be Minutemen….

“Strange that of all the series here, the Crimson Corsair is the one I think I’d be most likely to buy. I have a hunch that the others will suffer from “prequel-itis,” and will retread old ground.”

Well, then you’ll have to buy every single issue, as the Crimson Corsair will be a two-page backup feature in each issue.

I didn’t realize it was JOE Kubert doing the inks on Nite Owl. I kind of wish it was him drawing and Andy inking. Not a big fan of Joe’s ink work.

Wonder how long before someone realizes that Adam Hughes’ Dr. Manhattan cover is playing to the Rule 34 crowd?

Get over it fan boys, Watchmen is back. These creative teams look amazing. I wish they could have tapped Morison for a book though.

The great thing about Watchmen is that anyone, even someone who isn’t a regular comic buyer- even people who have never bought a comic and never will again, can walk into pretty much ANY bookshop and get the complete thing- no sequels or prequels or 20 years of back story. They can buy it and get a complete and self contained literary experience. These characters are not like Superman or Spiderman or whatever, they are not torches to be passed from writer to writer and artist to artist. Watchmen has its beginning and its end- its end should be an END.

I’ve read some of the comments Alan Moore’s made about this, and his argument against these comics being made isn’t a petulant “I don’t want them to be made” but rather “they don’t NEED to be made” …and we all know this is true. We don’t need these.

“It’s our responsibility as publishers to find new ways to keep all of our characters relevant,” said DC Entertainment Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee. “After twenty five years, the Watchmen are classic characters whose time has come for new stories to be told. We sought out the best writers and artists in the industry to build on the complex mythology of the original.”

A lot of very very talented people are working on this, people who are more than capable of coming up with their own characters and telling their own stories- these are the comics that need to be made. You don’t find new ways to keep characters relevant, they remain relevant outside of time- just like Shakespeare’s characters or Charles Dickens’ characters; rather than trying to keep Night Owl et al. “new” – COME UP WITH SOMETHING F-ING NEW! Something that is unique to this generation of comic creators and readers! This is what I want to spend my money on, not some ugly and blatant cash in.

I respect Alan Moore and applaud him for sticking with what he believes in but I think he he lives in a dream or forgot what medium this is and should really look around. Sure it would be great if comic books evolved and showed everyone on the planet their greatness (because that potential to present a story is still untapped and there’s still a lot of innovation possible) but most of the time those are simply good stories.
Some creators deliver a superb story but that doesn’t change that shitty movies, shitty games and shitty books are still made. Whether this will be the case only time will tell but when I see the creators names I’m at peace and very much look forward to reading some of these. I mean the original Watchmen was 25 years ago and at that time it was really revolutionary but I would like to see something updated/modern that ‘ pushes the envelope’ and makes you uneasy.
THIS is a better event than any Fear itself, Crisis or AvsX. Seriously, AvsX should be an 6 issue mini series with a few one-shots at best (considering Children’s Crusade was a good prelude for that). On the other hand I say OK to Before Watchmen, if they won’t try to do it again and again then a few mini series is a great way to remember a classic story. Comedian and Ozy are a bit longer than they should have been (6 issues instead of 4 like the rest of characters) and I hope that everyone involved realizes that even if it will be a bestseller there should absolutely be NO more Watchmen stuff in the future for a longer period of time (that said it’s interesting what will happen with that G.Morrison’s Multiversity project after this has stollen the spotlight).

If Alan Moore do not like people working with characters and stories from other creators he should start by giving example: he should not use CHARLTON characters to inspire the original WATCHMEN; he shouldn’t use invisible man, Dr. Jekyll, Mina Murray, or allan Quatermain; He shouldn’t use Dorothy (for porn!!!!) or alice or peter pan. why did he write Swamp Thing (insulting Len Wein and Wrightson’s legacy)???

Do not get me wrong, I love many (not all) of the stories alan Moore wrote with other people’s creation. I respect the guy. But I am tired of people who tell us: “Do what I say.. do not Do what I do”

Judge Fred MANSON

February 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I do not you guys, but I have nothing to care about Alan Moore’ sentients. He is not a poor person, he has a freedom speech and despite he has created The Watchmen characters for DC and that DC has bough his ABC imprint, it was years ago.

Now we are having the prequels of a huge classic comic book and I will happily spend my money on all the titles. One way or another, Alan Moore will have his part of the money.

Should I remember you that he has refused the returned rights of The Watchmen to his hands? If He really didn’t want to see a prequel or a sequel, what will be the best position to be against? With the rights on your side or to play the victim of a so “corrupted” system? He has chosen the wrong approach. It is his choice.

Mine is to buy these comic books.

I love the Alan Moore works, all of them. But it is time to grown up and not to hide the “bad” acts and to never heard them again.

Be adults.

It’s only the greatest comic ever written–why sully the memory?


Support Bill Mantlo!

I find it funny that we are debating if these comics should be made. Alan Moore took old characters and made something cool. That’s what these guys are doing. Give it a chance. Alan Moore has made a huge chunk of his money off of taking other people’s work and property and tweaking it enough to be interesting or controversial enough to sell. He isn’t the comics messiah.
His daughter wants these guys to work on their own projects, the majority of them have their own creator owned work. This is the same thing as working on Batman or Spiderman. Get over it and go write another Sherlock Holmes or Dracula comic.
I am personally excited about this and I love seeing so many of you upset about his rights being trampled. I will go buy some crosses for you and you can stick yourselves to them and show how offended you are by this. I also doubt you all won’t be buying any of these comics.

I know a lot of other readers hold Moore up to be a comics god, but not me. Yes, much of his work is of the highest quality comics can aim for, but jeez he’s a miserable old bugger. As other respondents have already said here, sorry mate but if you choose to produce work as part of a large corporation and don’t retain the ownership and rights to the characters, well, what did you expect?

As for whether I’ll pick up Before Watchmen… hell, with those creative teams, how could I not? Well done to DC for putting some of their very best on these books. I just have to work out HOW I’m going to buy these books, not if.

I’m just glad they didn’t put Rob Liefeld on the books.

But yeah, these look really good as do the creative teams so I’ll get them (in trade form most likely) despite whatever moral objections people have.

Rob Liefeld !! and Jeph Loeb with his ultimatum treatment of Dr.Manhattan (we would get to see a red, green and black manhattan). Hell yeah, now that’s a dream team :-)

Of course Alan Moore doesn’t want this to happen, he already has a script of Watchmen Porn.

Don’t like the terms offered in a contract? Don’t sign it and don’t GET PAID.
And don’t spend decades whining about it.

Morrison probably wanted a boatload of money to do it (As is his right) and DC probably believes that ‘Before’ has enough built-in cache that the expense wasn’t necessary to hire him (As is their right).

Besides Morrison could write a totally new series next week and sell a zillion units. Why risk some kind of backlash or flop on a property that isn’t his?

I just hope Adam Hughes actually finishes his issue without any pinch hitters…

fight fight fight. it seems like all people do is argue these days.

even on comics boards.

people carry so many f’n flags these days.

does everyhtig have to be about a bloody crusade?

Not a Watchmen fan by any stretch of the imagination but will probably snag the trade for the Crimson Corsair storyline. The Corsair stuff was the one element in Watchmen I liked so I’ll give this a read.

It’s DC’s property and hence can do whatever the hell they want with it.
Moore can go back to writing kiddy porn with characters other people created. That seems to be his specialty nowadays.

Sad. Shows just how stagnant American comics have become. These new comics won’t be as good as they will have been thoroughly dissected by corporate meddling. Expect to see some die cut covers and Dave $ Gibbons doing variant covers.

It’s so sad. All these great creative teams wasted on such a travesty.

It would have been nice to see a original mini or graphic novel by JMS/ Hughes or Azzrello/Beremejo.

The worst part is the thinking behind all this. It just doesn’t make sense at all. Not in the slightest.
It’s obviously just money grabbing on DC’s part, but seriously, they would make more money by creating something new and original along the line of Watchmen. Because they’d be able to sell new movie rights of new material.

But yeah, who cares anyway. Make some more of these unnecessary books and reboot it 10 years or so” to find new ways to keep all of your characters relevant,” because as of today Watchmen has been robbed of its status and value in literature. It’s just pulp after all.

“…but seriously, they would make more money by creating something new and original along the line of Watchmen”.

Yes. Because it’s just so incredibly easy to churn out an all-time classic like Watchmen whenever one sets their mind to it. That’s why, for example, all of DC’s New 52 titles have been a complete success and will all be continuing on ad infinitum, never to be cancelled.

Or, you know, not.

I so want to hate this, but those covers are gorgeous!

I don’t give a spit about Alan Moore, he is a great talent that I honestly believe loves promoting himself by being a horse’s ass. That said, however, I would agree with him somewhat if these books were a sequel to Watchmen. The book’s ending does not need to go further, much like Casablanca or Gone With The Wind did not need a sequel. However, the backstory provided in Watchmen, contrary to Alan’s claims, I believe was purposely written to both provide the necessary background to lay the foundation of the ongoing narrative and provide a meaningful way to revisit these characters without rehashing or ‘sullying’ the original work. I remember at the time wishing I could read some of the adventures of the Minutemen and see how the characters interacted in their prime, not just in the twilight of their story.

February 1, 2012 at 10:53 am

Get over it fan boys, Watchmen is back. These creative teams look amazing. I wish they could have tapped Morison for a book though.”

Morison has stated many times that he basically hates the Watchmen. That may be why they didn’t grab him. Or maybe he respects creators rights and finds it distasteful that a 25 year old contract not being honored simply because the creator can’t afford to fight WB’s army of lawyers? Could be one or the other or Morrison thinks it’s a dumb idea that he’d like to distance himself from?

Did I kill this thread?

Hoping DCBS has a package deal for each month, then I might check these out….

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