WATCHMEN is the book all comic fans should have read. Long seen as a true classic, even many non-comic book readers have checked it out way before a movie adaptation was attempted. Since it's debut in 1986, the series has received praise and acclaim as one of the best stories written. The collected book has seen numerous printed editions and has been used in several college and university courses. WATCHMEN has been elevated to a near-untouchable level. It stands on its own and that's all that we need.
Yet since before the twelve-issue series went on sale, there has been talk of prequels involving other characters and exploring the time before the story took place. The idea of revisiting the Watchmen Universe soon became an idea that many felt should never be allowed to happen. There has been a bit of recent rumblings and rumors that DC Comics has plans in the work, under a secret title, to revisit the world of the Watchmen.
Before any official confirmations or denials could be issued, people are arguing over whether this should happen. Should the beloved WATCHMEN characters be used once again or is the story too much of a classic now and should remain as it is?== TEASER ==
As the story goes, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons originally had the idea to do a twelve-issue series on the Minutemen if WATCHMEN was a success. DC apparently also talked about the possibility of other writers doing prequels with Rorschach and the Comedian. Obviously these projects never happened and soon an ugly mess developed between Moore and DC. Rumors would pop up every now and then but it appeared that nothing would ever come of them.
In early 2010, there was a report that the possibility of the Watchmen Universe being revisited was now more possible than ever. With DC's creation of the Countdown multiverse, one world almost was set aside for the Watchmen Universe. That also meant the door could be open for insane crossovers with DC characters and Watchmen ones.
Things heated up once again as Bleeding Cool's Rich Johnston mentioned he was given information about the project being in the works. He posted that a fake working title was being used (Panic Room) for a set of prequels and as well as an image of the Comedian drawn by J.G. Jones and Nite Owl by Andy Kubert. There was also mention of the possibility of Amanda Conner doing a Silk Spectre project. Johnston was then apparently asked to remove the artwork by DC's legal department.
Whether there's any truth to those bits or not isn't really the point right now. The fact that the art had to be removed would lead you to believe that there could be some truth in the rumor or it could just be for other legal reasons and in trying to control the rumors flying around. The real question is, should there be any prequels or sequels?
Hardcore Watchmen fans will scream, "NO!" but there are plenty that would be willing to give more Watchmen content a chance. If DC still owns the rights, they are fully entitled to do whatever they want to with the characters and universe.
Let's think about it, with WATCHMEN held in such high regard, would anyone attempt to do a subpar tie-in? DC has access to many of the industry's top talent. If there were any plans on prequels or sequels, you would think (or hope or assume) they would put as much care and thought into it as possible.
Revisiting the Watchmen Universe is something that you could only really try once. If a poor attempt was made, readers wouldn't be too forgiving or willing to give a third visit a chance. It simply means too much to too many people.
For those that are strongly opposed regardless of who DC could get to work on any related projects, the biggest statement they could make is to simply not purchase and support it. They can just look the other way. They can act as if it doesn't exist and never happened.
Does it make sense to see more Watchmen project? Sure. The characters and world of Watchmen is ripe with potential. Besides the Minutemen set in the 1940s, there could easily be prequels on other characters. What was the Comedian's full story and exploits? When did Hollis Mason pass the Nite Owl torch over to Dan Dreiberg? There are also the exploits of Doctor Manhattan, Ozymandias or the original Silk Spectre.
What about a sequel? The idea is bound to make many cringe in fear and disgust. Prequels could possibly be acceptable but is there any room to visit the characters after the original series ended?
Because we're talking about comic books, we all know anything is possible. What happened to Nite Owl and Silk Spectre? (Although perhaps Sally changes her name since she felt Silk Spectre was too 'girly'). Rorschach's journals were left behind, could we see someone follow in his footsteps? Did Dr. Manhattan ever return to Earth? He did say, "Nothing ever ends." In comic books, that is often the case. WATCHMEN took place in 1985. What is that world like now, in the 21st Century?
We could draw some comparisons to other things that have resulted in sequels that many didn't care for. One example would be the Star Wars movies. Many feel that the prequels should never have been made and George Lucas should not be allowed to make any tweaks or updates to the films. Because they are his and he holds the rights, he can do whatever he pleases. Again, people can choose not to watch or support them if they feel offended by them.
Frank Miller's THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS is another comic seen as a classic (although not on quite the same level as WATCHMEN). It was released when I first started reading comics and, like many, I was blown away by what it was and represented. When THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN came out, I was hesitant to read it. I started and will admit, I still haven't finished reading it. It didn't feel right to me so I decided to set it aside and perhaps some day I will complete it.
It's all about choices. We may love something so much that we feel we have the right to voice our opinions. And we do have that right. We can say all we want. What it comes down to is whoever owns the rights can what they want. We can only hope they will do it properly with the care and respect we would want and demand. If not, we move on and act as if it doesn't exist. Getting in a tirade over something won't accomplish anything.
For now, we can just wait and see. There hasn't been any official word. If DC does plan on more Watchmen, I will be there to check it out and make my decision based on the actual material. Making a decision before or even worrying about it before anything happens isn't worth the time. There are plenty of other existing comics we can be reading and talking about instead.