Along with the official announcement of Before Watchmen, its long-rumored prequels to the seminal 1986 miniseries by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, DC Comics trotted out several of the creators involved to talk about the legacy of the original work, their approach to the new project, what they expect from initial reactions — and, of course, Moore’s objections to the undertaking.
Here’s a selection of some of the more interesting quotes:
J. Michael Straczynski, who’s working with Adam Hughes on Dr. Manhattan, and Andy and Joe Kubert on Nite Owl: “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.”
Brian Azzarello, who’s collaborating with Lee Bermejo on Rorschach, and J.G. Jones on Comedian: “I think the gut reaction is going to be, ‘Why?’ But then when the actual books come out, the answer will be, ‘Oh, that’s why.’ ”
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.
Following years of rumors, DC Comics announced this morning it’s revisiting the characters introduced by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons in the seminal 1986 miniseries Watchmen with seven inter-connected prequels collectively titled … Before Watchmen. What’s more, the project now has the blessing of Gibbons, who as recently as last summer seemed resistant to the idea.
“The original series of Watchmen is the complete story that Alan Moore and I wanted to tell,” the artist said in a statement. “However, I appreciate DC’s reasons for this initiative and the wish of the artists and writers involved to pay tribute to our work. May these new additions have the success they desire.”
Moore, however, isn’t as generous, describing the prequels as “completely shameless.” “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,” he told The New York Times.
The writer, who stopped working for DC in 1989 following disputes about Watchmen royalties and a proposed age-rating system, revealed in July 2010 that the publisher had at last offered to return the rights to his most famous creation, if he “would agree to some dopey prequels and sequels.”
“So I just told them that if they said that 10 years ago, when I asked them for that, then yeah it might have worked,” he said at the time. “But these days I don’t want Watchmen back. Certainly, I don’t want it back under those kinds of terms.”
While it seemed DC Comics couldn’t wait to get rid of Superman’s trademark trunks, in Malaysia those underpants are still red-hot.
According to New Straits Times, a suburb of Johor Bahru has been overtaken by fliers advertising “Superman’s Underpants,” billed as a cure for male sexual problems — and the residents have had enough.
“For me this could cause a bad influence among the community,” one retiree tells the newspaper. “Superman fans, especially the men, could be duped into spending thousands of ringgit to buy the product with the assumption that they could gain special powers by wearing them.” He goes on to point out that the product claims to enhance sexual abilities, and has nothing to do with Superman — who we’re pretty sure has that area covered.
Ron Perazza, who resigned in May as DC Entertainment’s vice president of online, has been named vice president-general manager of publisher and creative services for comiXology, the digital comics retailer and platform provider.
According to the announcement, he will work with co-founder John D. Roberts to develop “comiXology’s next generation publisher and creator tools.”
“There are only a handful of people in the comic book industry that have the depth and breadth of knowledge and experience that Ron does, in taking comic books from the print to the digital world” Roberts said in a statement. “Ron will be instrumental in the creation of a stellar set of next generation tools for our current and future publishing partners. We are confident that Ron will help comiXology take comics to the next level.”
Perazza, who before his promotion in December 2010 was DC’s vice president of creative services, is best known for his role in overseeing the company’s online initiatives, including the defunct Zuda imprint. He reportedly left the company after changing his mind about moving from New York to Burbank, California, with DC’s administration, multimedia and digital-content operations. ComiXology is based in New York City.
DC Entertainment and LEGO this morning announced that several of the publisher’s all-ages titles, including The Batman Adventures, Tiny Titans and Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, on the LEGO Hero Factory app created by DC and sponsored by LEGO.
As the name of the app suggests, the emphasis is on digital comics based on the LEGO Hero Factory toy line — they’re free! — other kid-friendly DC books like Teen Titans Go!, Young Justice and Superman Adventures are also available for 99 cents per download.
“LEGO Hero Factory is all about building heroes so it’s the perfect match for an app that also features DC Comics Super Heroes,” Hank Kanalz, DC’s senior vice president of digital, said in a statement. “We’ve had a great, longstanding relationship with LEGO Systems and we’re really excited to bring these comics to kids through the LEGO Hero Factory app.”
Bleeding Cool noticed that just last week the company submitted two versions of a new logo to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The design, which you can see at right, depicts a D flipping back to reveal a C below; one version includes the words “DC Comics” below, the other “DC Entertainment.”
Although the “flipping” aspect of the logo may not be obvious in its static form, it’s likely designed with animation in mind, for inclusion at the beginning of movies, television shows and video games. How that design might translate to comics remains to be seen.
Comic Book Resources has contacted DC for comment but received no response.
The publisher’s current logo debuted in May 2005 as part of an effort to emphasize the DC brand across all media. Designed by Josh Beatman of Brainchild Studios, the “swoosh” replaced the Milton Glaser-created “bullet” the company had used in one form or another since 1977.
A month after crime novelist Denise Mina revealed she’s adapting Stieg Larsson’s bestselling Millennium trilogy for Vertigo, DC Entertainment confirmed this morning she’ll be joined on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Leonardo Manco, Andrea Mutti and Lee Bermejo. The graphic novel is set for release in November.
Announced in October, each book in the acclaimed mystery series — The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest — will be presented as two graphic novel volumes that will be available in print and digital formats.
The Millennium trilogy, which has sold more than 60 million copies worldwide since the release of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in 2005 in Sweden, centers on Lisbeth Salander, and eccentric computer hacker, and Mikael Blomkvist, and investigative journalist and magazine editor. They’re brought together in the first novel to solve a 40-year-old missing person’s case. Larsson, a Swedish journalist and author, passed away in 2004 at age 50, leaving the completed manuscripts for the first three novels in what was intended as a 10-book series.
“We’re thrilled to be adapting this incredible story into a series of graphic novels,” Vertigo Executive Editor Karen Berger said in a statement. “Denise, Lee, Leonardo and Andrea have such great passion for the material and stylistically they’re a perfect match to bring it to comics life. Their beautifully dark and visceral work will certainly blow us all away.”
“I had no idea it [Amethyst] was being animated. You know, when you create something, it isn’t unreasonable to imagine it belongs to you. That whoever is in charge in the corporate structure, they’ll want to consult you as to where your character is headed. Not DC Comics. Maybe not any corporation. Maybe we could have been better business people, better negotiators. Amethyst has been through a wringer, twisted by lesser lights than the guys who created her — Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn and — if you’ll permit me — me.”
Following the runaway success of Batman: Arkham Asylum and its sequel Arkham City, don’t look for Warner Bros. Interactive to return to movie tie-ins anytime soon.
Instead, the new Warner Bros. Games Montreal has been given a mandate: to just make good video games. Specifically, good games based on DC Comics properties. “It’s really about make the game what it needs to be and forget the movies,” Reid Schneider, the studio’s head of production, told Canadian Business.
“If you look over the past decade of superhero games, there were two. The first one was when Neversoft made Spider-Man — I think it was back on the PS1. People were like, ‘Wow, this is really good,’ and then a couple of things came out that were okay,” he said. “Then Rocksteady came out with Arkham Asylum and that again changed the expectations. If you look at the similarities between the two, they weren’t based on movies per se. They were just taking that really rich fiction from the comic books and exploring the characters. It’s not about hitting the movie date or some arbitrary date — it was giving the game the time it needs to be successful and really just concentrating on the quality of it.”
Emmy nominee Steve Buscemi has played a corrupt politician on Boardwalk Empire, a small-time crook in Fargo, a naive bowler in The Big Lebowski, and an offbeat private investigator on 30 Rock. Now add to that Gotham City police commissioner.
Hosting Saturday Night Live over the weekend, Buscemi starred as James Gordon opposite Andy Samberg’s Batman in a digital short about a lurky Caped Crusader with serious boundary issues. Check out the video, complete with a cameo by Aquaman, below.
Last Friday’s broadcast of the DC Nation trailer on Cartoon Network got a lot of fans buzzing about the future of this renewed partnership between the network and its sister company DC Comics. And one of the animators behind the work reveals that one of the scenes glimpsed in the 1:35 commercial is leading up to an animated short featuring DC’s Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld. First off, here’s the excerpt from the trailer:
“To clear up the confusion over this part of the DC Nation commercial, she is getting a short,” said animator Brianne Drouhard. ” I am working with a group of fantastic people to put this together.”
Drouhard, who is also working on the upcoming Teen Titans shorts, was given the task of doing the Amethyst part of the DC Nation trailer on short notice, and was assisted by Claire Lenth on color help and video composite work from Will Feng.
“It’s been rewarding and a lot of fun to work with such a great team,” Drouhard continued. “Later in 2012 you’ll get to see our efforts!”
In the wide world of comics there’s always a need for talented people — and not just for creating the comics. The books you read every day are supported by an immense infrastructure of editors, publishers, designers, distributors and retailers that make American comics what it is today. And despite the frail economy, the comics industry is looking for employees.
We’ve compiled a list of all the openings in the comics industry for non-creative office positions and put it all into one place. It’s a good resource if you’re looking to work in comics, and also for armchair speculators seeing what companies are looking to do by seeing what positions they’re hiring for. We accumulated these by looking on publisher websites and job boards — if you know of a job not listed here, let us know!
In the nearly two weeks since Barnes & Noble drew a line in the sand, pulling 100 of DC Comics’ top-selling graphic novels from its shelves to protest the publisher’s exclusive agreement with Amazon’s new Kindle Fire, there’s been little visible change in the tablet wars. That is, unless you count the decision by Books-A-Million to follow the chain’s lead.
Both sides appear to have dug in, with Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million insisting that books be available in all formats to all customers — specifically, their customers and their e-reader — and DC and parent company Warner Bros. insisting they’re misunderstood, and more than a little disappointed.
There are hints, however, that behind the scenes things may be a bit less … concrete.
Although there’s been some indication that DC’s exclusive arrangement with Amazon will last just four months, meaning graphic novels like Watchmen, Fables, Y: The Last Man and The Sandman could be available digitally for other platforms by mid-March, the publisher has yet to say so, much to the frustration of some fans (and, I would imagine, certain retailers).
In its overview of the dispute, The New York Times notes the DC website trumpets the books are available “exclusively to Amazon’s newly announced Kindle Fire,” period. No qualifiers. But comments for DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee lend credence to reports that the Amazon exclusivity is for a limited time.
Although he cited a nondisclosure agreement with the online retail giant, Lee still told the newspaper that, “Just because we’re starting with Amazon, this is not the be-all and end-all of our digital strategy and distribution.”
And to DC readers frustrated by the deal? “We say to our fans, have a little patience.”
In a Los Angeles Times profile pegged to today’s launch of Batman: Arkham City, Warner Bros. Interactive President Martin Tremblay drops an enticing crumb: In addition to a new Lord of the Rings video game and a sequel to LEGO Batman, next year the studio will release an adaptation of a DC Comics superhero he wouldn’t name.
That Warner Bros. is looking to develop more DC properties for its rapidly expanding games division is no secret — a new studio in Montreal is being set up specifically for that task. But what could this mysterious title be?
Kotaku notes that while a Superman game may be the obvious guess, given the release of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel in June 2013, it hardly requires a veil of secrecy. After all, movie tie-ins are par for the course.