The story of the Watchmen was based on the characters from Charlton comics. Originally Alan Moore wanted to write a story called "Who killed Peacemaker" but DC Comics wanted to use the characters in a different way. This led Alan Moore to write the story anyway using characters he based on the Charlton heroes. Doctor Manhattan was based on Captain Atom, Silk Spectre was Nightshade, Rorshach was the Question, Nite Owl was the Blue Beetle, Comedian was Peacemaker and, Ozymandias was based on Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt .
One thing that bothers me about this is the popularity for the Watchmen characters over the original Charlton characters. There can be no argument about the impact Watchmen had on how comics would be written. That said there is almost a reverence towards the Watchmen characters and a "who gives a damn" attitude toward the characters they are based on.
Now be honest to yourself and this blog if you post here. Have you ever even read some of the Charlton stories these characters were in? So many times we comic users dismiss the stories and characters we don't know much about.
The Blue Beetle for example goes beyond Charlton and was one of the first superheroes to be written about in comics. He is only a few months newer than Batman and Superman. He was very popular for a long time as well. He was featured as one of the Big Three for Fox Comics. He had a comic strip in the news paper and he had his own radio show before television. If the Blue Beetle had been created by DC Comics back in the 1930's he would be one of their iconic characters. Instead the company he was created for went out of business and he was sold. Over and over he was sold until he was bought up by DC Comics. At this point he had been dramatically changed twice and he was tossed into a world filled with a thousand characters in DC Comics. He was no longer the big fish in the small pond.
Another annoyance of mine is the number of comic lovers that don't even know that the Watchmen were based on Charlton heroes. Most don't even know what Charlton was. Blue Beetle is just one of many Charlton characters who seems to get little love or respect. That would be fine if there wasn't so much love for the characters they were based on. To be honest I can only think of four reasons for this.
- The first is ignorance. Someone just don't know they were based on other heroes.
- The second is love of the dark. Some people just love darker comics and have no interest in other stories no matter how well they are written.
- The third is laziness. It is easier to read the Watchmen then find some good stories based on the original Charlton characters they were based on
- The fourth is apathy. What can be said about apathy?
Let me just say they the Charlton characters are better than the Watchmen characters they were based on. Yet I will probably never see a movie based on any of them. Let me know where you are on this issue.