Robot 6

DC reveals Before Watchmen variants by Steranko, Rude, Pope, more

Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1, by Jim Steranko

DC Comics this morning unveiled variant covers for Before Watchmen by Jim Steranko, Steve Rude, Paul Pope, Tim Bradstreet, Jim Lee, Cliff Chiang and David Finch.

The sprawling, and hotly debated, prequel to the seminal 1986 miniseries by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Before Watchmen debuted last month with the first issues of Minutemen, Comedian, Silk Spectre and Nite Owl, all of which landed on Diamond Comic Distributors’ Top 10 for June. According to sales estimates, all four titles broke the 100,000-copy mark. Before Watchmen: Minutemen #2 arrived in stores Wednesday.

Check out all seven variant covers below.

Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1, by Jim Steranko

Before Watchmen: Minutemen #2, by Steve Rude

Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #1, by Paul Pope

Before Watchmen: Comedian #3, by Tim Bradstreet

Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1, by Jim Lee

Before Watchmen: Minutemen #3, by Cliff Chiang

Before Watchmen: Nite Owl #2, by David Finch




July 12, 2012 at 10:28 am

First thing I’ve seen drawn by Jim Lee since All Star Batman that did not looked rushed

Wish Bradstreet, Pope and others would leave this project alone

oooooooooooooh that makes me really really sad.

Goddamn, those Steranko, Rude, Pope and Bradstreet covers are beautiful. The best variants on these series so far.

That steve rude is Hawt!!


Paul Pope can be forgiven, as he donated his profits to the Hero Initiative:

Wow. Steranko really knocked his out of the park.


July 12, 2012 at 11:53 am

@Joey G

Good to know. Thanks for finding that

But I’m not sure partaking in something that undermines creators’ rights, and then giving the money to folks who need it, really helps resolves or even confront the creators’ rights issues at all

As my aunt likes to say, it’s a bit like robbing Peter to pay Paul

One thing I’ve learned from this whole BEFORE WATCHMEN experience is that I’d actually like a WATCHMEN art book with new images like these. The idea of the comics makes me uncomfortable, and I won’t buy them, but I like seeing the tribute art.

I agree, Chris. Those really popped for me (and I’m not generally a fan of Pope’s art). The Steranko and Rude ones especially stood out.

I can forgive Steve Rude as well because he’s practically broke.

Steranko is involved in this?? With all his past history touting ‘creators’ rights’? Wow – how the mighty have fallen.

That Pope cover is the best thing that will come out of this cash-grab.


July 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm

In some respects it makes you wonder if this is indicative of just how powerful comic companies are

In other words, these guys, even though they are big names, may not want to turn down work flatly when DC comes and asks them to do a cover. Perhaps just to avoid ill will or perhaps not wanting to come across as cross.

Otherwise, why TF would guys like Steranko and Pope contribute to a project that they know Alan Moore (the creator) is vehemently opposed to

I must now despise all of these people. I have committed myself to a lifetime ban of all ‘artists’ associated with this project.

Love the Pope cover

Ok, I’ll say it. I’ve bought these books and they are awesome! I’ll probably buy hardcover editions, they are that good. Alan Moore is a loud mouthed whiny little baby who didn’t read his contract.

Pope and steranko are my favourites, I will not buy any of this ever ,they should’ve shown more support and respect towards moore and gibbon’s original work. I’m really sad this is happening I thought those 2 would stand by their principles. And seriously who is buying this crap in the first place?


July 12, 2012 at 1:27 pm


I have to agree. I hated swearing off all Azzarello work, but now I’ll have to do the same for Bradstreet and Steranko

That Jim Lee is so sad. While everyone else plays with design, layout, characters he does a profile of Batman without the pointy ears. He must be hanging out with Leifield again.


July 12, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Man, these are gorgeous, loving the books , and will be hunting for all of these variants. This series of books has been awesome reads. Hoping they do another round of these next year. Make Mine DC!!


July 12, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Also waiting to see how/when these will be collected, hopefully by the Holiday, as i have about 5 people that they will make great gifts for.


July 12, 2012 at 2:37 pm

We believe you @fanofgood


July 12, 2012 at 2:39 pm

To the answer the question , who is buying this? Fans of good comics, that’s who. Did people stop buying Superman , Avengers , Walking Dead and on and on. Nearly every Big 2 series (and a now a couple of Image series ) have/had various issues with creators

“who is buying this? Fans of good comics, that’s who.”

As opposed to fans of mediocre and awful comics? Wow, that’s helpful.

“Did people stop buying Superman , Avengers , Walking Dead”

Yes, yes, and no (WALKING DEAD sales are through the roof). But, by the same measure, “people” will stop buying BEFORE WATCHMEN too beginning with the #2 issues. It’s standard attrition during the course of a series.

Wow, some people are so completely serious. Alan Moore did paid work for DC, DC own the rights to that work and those characters, it therefore means that they are well within their rights to do whatever they please with this property. If Alan Moore has a problem so be it, he has a problem with it, he may be the creator, but he is not the owner. He was paid to do some work, did it, got paid, the fact it then went on to become the most celebrated comic of all time is neither here nor there, because in the end, DC still owns it.

DC is a business, businesses are there to make money, a creative business such as DC has a particularly difficult job of balancing creative integrity with success, and sometimes they feel the need they have to capitalise on a property such as this.

I can understand people not wanting the project to get made because of how it affects their view of the original work, and I get people siding with Moore… But to put a ban on buying anything by any of the creators just seems a little bit crazy, not only does it affect you as a comic reader (you could be missing out on some stellar storytelling) but it also affects others as well, think of all the other people that go in to working on books by say Azzarello that aren’t Watchmen or even DC. Just seems a bit over the top tbh.

Dc is a Business and I’m just a guy who can choose what to buy. All of us are. Some guys will buy every variant cover and some guys will never buy comics for this creators. That’s the price of balancing creative integrity with success.

Besides, I like the challenge Alan Moore put for every creator today, “Make something as good (or better) of what I did 25 years ago.”


July 12, 2012 at 8:16 pm


Thanks for making misinformed comments, and displaying a lack of knowledge about the details of Moore/Watchmen – knowledge that has been pointed out, explained, detailed, and summarized about a thousand times since news of Before Watchmen broke back in Feb

Love em !

Sad, sad, sad.

DC seems not able to produce new and exciting ideas. Even after this so called “bold” relaunch, DC has brought nothing new to the table. If making business means to capitalize on old and overused ideas, so be it. But to call these good comics is like throwing shit in every artists and companies face who tries, does and succeeds in doing new and great comics.

And this was the very complaint Alan Moore made, which ended in his refusal to do more. Any argument in defending DC may be reasonable, but misses exactly the whole point why this is so annoying.

Love redos, remakes, reboots, prequels and sequels all you want, but it ain’t good and creative…and this accounts for “Before Watchmen” as well.

I am just happy to see some new high quality Steranko art.


July 13, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Nope. The Steranko cover is sort of interesting from a design perspective – but it is not an effective comic book cover at all


It’s a shame that the only work DC can find for a creator the caliber of Steve Rude is a variant cover for a comic that takes a dump all over the legacy of one of the the finest comics they’ve ever published.

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