The Watchmen Prequel’s Press Release is Hilarious

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By now, I assume everyone and their mom has heard that DC Comics – undoubtedly emboldened by their recent success with the New Fifty-Two, because they’ve threatened us with them repeatedly over the last few years – is finally putting out those Watchmen prequels. Attached to them is some pretty serious talent. To get rumours out of the way and answer all those who are interested, I’ll answer the main questions first:

Are the prequels necessary? No. Not at all.

Do I think that they can be good? Yes. I’m willing to entertain that possibility.

But that’s not what I’m going to write about today. Because today, I’ll write about the magic of press releases. See, I’m a journalist. I get dozens of press releases every day. And as part of my training as a journalist, I was taught how to read behind all the bullshit that they serve us. And yes, that’s actually what we call it: Bullshit. Press releases are full of it. Tons of it. Everywhere. So today, for fun, I will pick apart the press release. I hope you’re entertained.

This summer, DC Entertainment will publish all-new stories expanding on the acclaimed WATCHMEN universe. As highly anticipated as they are controversial, the seven inter-connected prequel mini-series will build on the foundation of the original WATCHMEN, the bestselling graphic novel of all time. BEFORE WATCHMEN will be the collective banner for all seven titles, from DC Comics.

“We know that you’ll hate it, but please bear with us.”

There’s also a typo there. It should be “best selling”, not “bestselling”.

“It’s our responsibility as publishers to find new ways to keep all of our characters relevant,” said DC Entertainment Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee. “After twenty five years, the Watchmen are classic characters whose time has come for new stories to be told. We sought out the best writers and artists in the industry to build on the complex mythology of the original.”

Apparently, co-publishers are able to speak in unison. It’s like they’re mentally linked.

But their statement is the usual garbage about how you make something that we have not needed in the past twenty-five years into something that we should be craving.

Stepping up to the challenge is a group of the comic book industry’s most iconoclastic writers and artists – including Brian Azzarello (100 BULLETS), Lee Bermejo (JOKER), Amanda Conner (POWER GIRL), Darwyn Cooke (JUSTICE LEAGUE: NEW FRONTIER), John Higgins (WATCHMEN), Adam Hughes (CATWOMAN), J.G. Jones (FINAL CRISIS), Andy Kubert (FLASHPOINT), Joe Kubert (SGT. ROCK), Jae Lee (BATMAN: JEKYLL AND HYDE), J. Michael Straczynski (SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE) and Len Wein (SWAMP THING).

Long words! That makes our press release sound more important. However, there’s a bit of a problem with it. “Iconoclastic” doesn’t quite mean what the writers thought it mean. I’m pretty sure they were trying to go for something like “iconic” and “fantastic”. So “iconoclastic” popped up and everyone thought it was a good idea. The word “iconoclastic” comes from the noun “iconoclasm” which has nothing to do with amazing and fantastic stuff, but more with the destruction of religious icons and holy imagery. This usually happens after a drastic change in politics in a country, such as there having been an overthrow of the government or some war where the home-party didn’t win.

Anyways, I don’t think you want there to be any reference to “purposefully destroying imagery of religious significance” especially since Watchmen – and the press release has established that in the first paragraph – is something of a religious icon in the comic book industry.

But that is some serious talent involved.

Each week, a new issue will be released, and will feature a two-page back-up story called CURSE OF THE CRIMSON CORSAIR, written by original series editor Len Wein and with art by original series colorist John Higgins. There will also be a single issue, BEFORE WATCHMEN: EPILOGUE, featuring the work of various writers and artists, and a CRIMSON CORSAIR story by Wein and Higgins.

Here is the obligatory paragraph where they try to tell us that it’s just more of the stuff we’ve previously had twenty-five years ago. Problem is, it’s neither artist nor writer. It’s some of the “other people” who are involved.

“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,” said Dave Gibbons, WATCHMEN co-creator and original series artist.

“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.”

Oh, and this part is the best one. Dave Gibbons is basically going “I really don’t see how this is necessary, but they’re forcing me to tell you something about how good this will be.”

And then come the in-unison-speaking co-publishers again. They desperately try to give this “Eh, sod you”-statement by Gibbons some sort of positive edge by spouting something completely unrelated to anything that sounds amazingly important but is essentially useless.

So there you have it. One more stupid press release by stupid PR-flacks who really should know better. Especially since most PR-flacks have had the same education as most journalists. In fact, most PR-flacks used to be journalists. They just eventually gave up or something, wanted steady hours and wages that can actually support a life of modest luxury.