Tagged: Rorschach

The Beginning Is Nigh

There is only one significant comic book being released this week, and the title is Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1. What, why and how is this a fact? Here we go:

WHO IS RORSCHACH?

Walter Kovacs, a.k.a. Rorschach is the stand out crime fighter from the ensemble cast that is Alan Moore’s Watchmen. As the unloved runt son of a whore, Kovacs had to fight daily for survival and respect. Growing into an unfeeling, violent vigilante crime fighter, Rorschach is the tipping point for the narrative of Watchmen, as well as the moral compass, underdog anti-hero, and the benchmark against which all dark, violent comic book characters will forever be measured against.

WHAT IS BEFORE WATCHMEN?

DC comics is owned by Warner Brothers, which is currently losing out (badly) to Marvel in turning their highly profitable comic books into box office and merchandising gold. With few recognizable properties left to exploit, DC has greenlit prequel comics to Watchmen, as the film adaptation of the same was both a critical and box-office darling when it hit screens in 2009.

DC has hired top talents to work on these titles, hoping for new, original graphic novels they can flip into a lucrative film franchise. So far the books have been controversial, angering some and pleasing others.

New readers have come in the door, but so far Before Watchmen has not been the mainstream success story DC has hoped for.

WHY RORSCHACH?

Before Watchmen Rorschach is the BIG ONE! More than any other character, Rorschach has the most cultural resonance and break-out appeal. IF Rorschach sells the units DC expects, a film prequel will surely follow.

DC has reunited the creative team of Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermajo to work on this title. Fans will remember these two from their well received original graphic novel Joker, which sells well as it reads as a screenplay for a Joker spin-off movie staring Heath Ledger.

Azzarello is WONDERFUL, and is the only writer who has a hope of making this book work. Bermajo straddles the fence wonderfully between real life and comic book bravado, and makes a financially sound partner with Azzarello. Continue reading

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Percent of a Watchman

Statistics is fun, let’s try some. 100% of you are reading this sentence….see how that works? 75% of those reading this sentence comprise 3/4ths of my readership. 12% are dying for a drop of 100 proof, which is to say 50% alcohol by volume, meaning that 12% want 50% percent while 88% could care two cents about the whole dang thing.

Now unless you’ve been living in the French Legionnaires for the past week you are aware via the internet (a series of tubes) that the Watchmen Prequel comic books have been green lit. We’ll soon have the adventures of Baby Rorschach, Nite Owl, and Silk Spectre from a variety of creators, none of whom are Dave Gibsons or Alan Moore.

There are only three aspects I want to focus on:

1) THE NUMBERS

This purely financial maneuver by DC, the comics company with the new, boring logo, may lead to some good books. With eight new titles, statistics make it hard for them all to be crap.

I’m very surprised that they had the wherewithal to re-team Brian Azzarello with Lee Bermejo from their fun graphic novel Joker onto a Rorschach book. Azzarello writes engaging crime comics full of losers, tough guys, and snappy banter…and he is the ONLY writer capable of making Rorschach, or his other title The Comedian, worth reading.

I’m THRILLED Adam Hughes will return to sequential art in Dr. Manhattan. I’m less than thrilled that J. M. Straczynski will be penning many of these new titles. Darwyn Cooke was the right guy for a Minutemen book…but let’s look at what they’ve done.

Get the team behind the grittiest crime comics to work on your gritty crime comic. Get the best post-modern, yet nostalgic, team book writer to write your nostalgic post-modern team book. Hire a big name to handle the rest and dole out art to whomever you can. I’m not saying go outside of your comfort zone, DC, I’m just asking you to show your cards a little less.

This is “Moneyball” for comics, a game DC has been playing for some time. They’ll have some hits, they’ll have some creative misses. They’ll make money…but will they burn bridges? Continue reading

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