It's official: DC is producing Watchmen prequels, the publisher confirmed Wednesday morning via official publicity blog The Source.
The news comes after months of rumors, leaked art and speculation. Starting this summer, the lineup of seven miniseries, dubbed Before Watchmen, includes:
RORSCHACH (4 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: Lee Bermejo
The first Watchmen-related comic book material released since the original series, a new Before Watchmen issue will be released weekly, with each containing a two-page Curse of the Crimson Corsair back-up written by Len Wein and illustrated by John Higgins. Both creators worked on the original Watchmen, Wein as editor and Higgins as colorist. The initiative will be wrapped with a Before Watchmen: Epilogue one-shot by various creators.
The possibility of new Watchmen comics has been a controversial topic within the comic book industry for years, due to original series writer Alan Moore's refusal to participate in any such project. DC indirectly addresses the issue in their press release, calling the Before Watchmen miniseries, "As highly anticipated as they are controversial."
Original Watchmen illustrator Dave Gibbons is quoted in the press release, saying, "The original series of Watchmen is the complete story that Alan Moore and I wanted to tell. 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."
In DC's press release, co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee stated jointly that the "time has come" for more Watchmen material, and emphasized the "collaborative" nature of comic books.
"Comic books are perhaps the largest and longest running form of collaborative fiction," said DiDio and Lee. "Collaborative storytelling is what keeps these fictional universes current and relevant."
Watchmen debuted as a 12-issue miniseries in 1986, and stands as one of the most celebrated and influential stories in the history of the medium, along with DC's declaration that the collected edition is "the bestselling graphic novel of all time." In 2009, a film adaptation directed by Zack Snyder was released to mixed reviews and moderate box office success.
No firm start date for Before Watchmen has been announced at this point other than "summer." Keep reading Newsarama for more on this as it develops.