WATCHMEN (BEGINS) AND OTHER COMIC NEWS-OF-THE-WEEK

Duh.  The headline is that 25 years after-the-fact, DC finally decided to snatch the money off the table.  Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen is the bestselling graphic novel of all time, and there’s good reason for it: It’s a piece of art with mystery, politics, philosophy, and (of course) action and violence, told using characters with depth and weight.

So why do prequels and fuck that all up?  Simple.  $$$

Yeah, there’s a lot of talent attached to the seven 4-issue minis that will each focus on a particular Watchman, but I can’t imagine why this story needs to be told.  Dave Gibbons graciously calls the project a “tribute” to the originals.  As you can imagine, Moore hasn’t been as kind—he calls it “shameless…confirmation that [DC Comics is] still apparently dependent on ideas that I had 25 years ago.”  Fans of comic history will recall that it is this precise book that led to Moore’s exit from the “big two” once and for all when DC stopped paying him royalties.  15 years later, still angry, he rebuffed DC’s offer to give him back the rights to his (entirely original) characters if he would take up the prequel/sequel project.  He refused because he’d done what he wanted to do with the Watchmen characters and didn’t want anyone else playing in his sandbox either.

I’m not saying I agree with Moore: When, as a creator, you agree to sign with a publisher and create stuff for them, it ain’t yours no more.  Can you imagine if Stan Lee threw a hissy fit every time someone worked with Spidey?  Or what if Alan Moore himself hadn’t rejiggered Charlton Comics characters to create the Watchmen in the first place?  Or what if they stopped using American Gothic knockoffs in commercial projects?  (Okay, he’s got me there.)

Moore’s kind of a nutbag.  Genius, but nutbag.

So now, DC has finally decided that they don’t need no stinkin’ Alan Moore.  I pray they’re wrong, but I’m practically certain that they are wrong and they do need him.

Here’s the lineup on the various books.

  • Rorschach.  Everybody’s favorite Watchman.  By Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, who previously worked together on the fairly good “Luthor” miniseries.
  • Minutemen by Darwyn Cooke (writer and artist).
  • Comedian by Azzarello and J.G. Jones.
  • Nite Owl by J. Michael Straczynski, Andy Kubert and Joe Kubert.
  • Ozymandias by Len Wein and Jae Lee (Underwire),
  • Silk Spectre by Cooke and Amanda Conner.
  • Dr. Manhattan by J. Michael Straczynski and Adam Hughes.
  • As a back-up feature (God, I hate backups, but at these are only 2-pages per issue) Crimson Corsair will be serialized, written by Len Wein and drawn by John Higgins, who was the colorist on the original Watchmen.  Oh, the irony.  Alan Moore completely transformed Len Wein’s Swamp Thing character and made everyone forget about Len, and now Wein is taking on Watchmen!

 

The only ones I’m really interested in reading are Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan (because I want to see how JMS handles that).  Oh, and Silk Spectre.  Because I’ll read Amanda Conner drawing just about anyone’s boobs.

Now hit the break for more news you can’t use, about X-Men First Class 2, Spider-Man and the Avengers flicks, Robocop, and more….


SPIDER-MAN (THE MOVIE) AND THE AVENGERS.  There are rumors of an appearance by Spidey in The Avengers.  Seems extremely unlikely, as Movie Spidey is under Sony, while Marvel Studios owns The Avengers.  Anyway, Joss Whedon has also said it ain’t gonna happen—but that’s exactly what he would say, isn’t it (so respond the rumor mongers).  In other Avengers news, they’ll be selling special $5 Avengers 3-D glasses.  Guys, it’s bad enough you charge a bazillion dollars a ticket for the thing, now you’re adding special charges for the glasses?  All I can say is, they better also release it “non-3D.”  Because I HATE 3-D!!!

WALT SIMONSON RETURNS!  Haven’t seen a lot of Walt’s superhero work in recent years, but last week he did the art on DC’s Legion of Super Heroes #5, and now DC’s announced an original graphic novel written and drawn by Simonson, titled “The Judas Coin,” to be released in September.  The book will be six unconnected stories featuring Batman, 2-Face, and other DC characters.  No word on how/if it fits into DC continuity.

COMIC BOOK MEN.  Kevin Smith’s AMC “reality show” about the nerds who populate his New Jersey comic book shop is coming on February 12.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN (THE CARTOON).  Promos feature Frog Thor , Nick Fury, and Nova.  Coming in April to Disney XD.gigantic asses

BUTCHER BAKER.  The amazingly great series by Joe Casey and Mike Huddleston has been MIA since October, but Image Comics asks us to hold our horses in this promo.

ROBOCOP.  The sequel is being written by Nick Schenk, who knows how to write about old hunks of steel being cleaned up and maintained.  He wrote Gran Torino.

I’LL TRADE YOU A JASON AARON FOR A CULLEEN BUNN.  Aaron has been writing the Wolverine solo book for years now, and he’s finally done.  With Wolverine #305, he hands it over to Cullen “The Sixth Gun” Bunn—a well-reviewed indie book that I enjoy, but it’s hard to see how he’ll be a good writer for Marvel’s most famous mutant.

JEFF LEMIRE ON JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK.  I’m about 50/50 with what Lemire has done for mainstream DC characters: His Animal Man reboot is genius.  Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE?  Not so much.  Now, he’s taking over  the Vertigo-ish “Justice League Dark” title.  I read #1 and liked it, but I’m being a trade-waiter on this one.  He promises to include Constantine (of course), as well as Zatanna, Deadman, and some new folks.  He also promises to cross-over with a bunch of DC titles I could care less about—his own Frankenstein book, Resurrection Man, the
Demon’s book, etc.  I have to say, this agenda is actually talking me out of buying the first trade volume…

AND MORE MOVEMENT IN THE NEW 52.  “Dark” isn’t one of the New 52’s great sellers, but it’s doing better than Stormwatch, which is being taken over by Peter Milligan, who is leaving Justice League Dark.  Milligan is best known for his work with the Constantine character who joined JLD after having been at Vertigo, which is also where Stormwatch was before the new 52.  You keeping up?  And to round it all off, Lemire is leaving Frankenstein, to be replaced by Matt Kindt who’s previously been an indie kinda guy.  Seems like a lot of deck-chair shuffling on some sinking ships….

GET READY FOR A KICK-ASS X-MEN FIRST CLASS SEQUEL.  Matthew Vaughn has agreed to return for the next one, as have screenwriter Jane Goldman and Xavier and Magneto (McAvoy and Fassbender).  I wonder if the fact that the movie made close to $400 million worldwide had anything to do with it?  I pray for another Wolverine cameo.  Oh, and a Stan Lee one, please.  It was shameful for them to have ignored him on the first one.

HASN’T RYAN REYNOLDS LEARNED YET?  After being promised a Deadpool spin-off and seeing Green Lantern tank, you’d think he’d stop setting himself up for follow-up flicks.  But he’s promising there will be a  sequel to R.I.P.D.  The film, which is still shooting and won’t even be released until summer 2013, stars Reynolds and Jeff Bridges, and is based on the Hellboy spin-off comic book from Dark Horse.

BEN TEN: THE MOVIE.  That’s right.  And a real movie, too, in theaters—not like the TV movie they made last year.  It’s a decent show with an interesting “Dial H for Hero” concept.  I’m up for it.

TV’S GREEN ARROW.  He’s been cast.  Stephen Amell, from HBO’s “Hung” show, where he starred against Thomas “Punisher” Jane.  Anyone think this show has the remotest shot at being good?  Hint: It’s on the WB.

THE WALKING DEAD. Will bring on The Governor next season. I can’t imagine how they’ll handle that—it’s one of the most brutal stories in comic book history. The season returns on Sunday…

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