Sam Walker is tweeting for Bleeding Cool from the Watchmen panel. (UPDATED: Now with a panel report from her partner Cody and from John Bailey)
Dan Didio says you don’t leave the best players on the bench when you want to win the game – on “why watchmen?”
Dan looks forward to negative feedback for watchmen, so he can prove them wrong
Nite owl team is JMS and Andy kubert (inked by joe kubert) Why would anyone every be skeptical?
Dan Didio thinks that Darwyn Cooke was the best person for minutemen because of is work on new frontier
Joe kubert is a soft spoken man
Joe Kubert just sad JMS looked old :D
I can not stress how happy I am that Jae Lee is doing ozymandias
Len Wein says Jae Lee’s art is elevated above comic art and should be considered fine art
Adam Hughes said wanted to be drawing nite owl instead..
JMS says Moore is a genious, but Moore has also used people creations for his own writing and this isn’t different
Amanda conner says silk spectre is a romance comic with beatings
Rorschach is the “face” of watchmen comics according to azzarello
Amanda Conner says the first page of Rorschach is freakishly awesome
They showed a quick succession of art from watchmen and I was typing so I missed it
Adam Hughes says sometimes you have to get liquored up to draw draw manhattan’s aversion to pants
“sex, violence, and penises to galore” -Adam Hughes
Nixon joins Rorschach cast
Amanda Conner says being a super hero was her first career choice, art was a fall back
Amanda Conner says she brought a lot of her own family relationship history to the story of that between the two Silk Spectres.
jMS says manhattan deals with science and free will
Dan didio says watchmen is focusing on good story and not on incorperating new digital technology
Amanda Conner says she has no intention to draw the Tijuana bible from original watchmen
@bleedingcool but it may be featured in someway
Introductions – Dan Didio, Mark Chiarello, Will Dennis, Brian Azzarello, Lee Beremejo, Amanda Conner, Adam Hughes, JMS, and Len Wein.
New Frontiersman – promotion up now through the production of the book. Updated VERY frequently. Printed version will be ONLY at C2E2 at the DC Booth.
What were you and Jim Lee thinking?
Dan: “How many like Watchmen?” Applause, but not loud. “How many want more?” some applause.
“Our belief is that (once you see this group of creators) that we’ll match or exceed the original.”
Creative teams? These were the first choices. [Update – weeell… we know Kevin Smith was asked… – Rich]
“How did you feel about the reaction?” Dan: “I was expecting a more negative reaction. I was braced for it and a little disappointed that it wasn’t that bad.” (Where is Dan getting his news about reactions?)
“Any fans that were skeptical?” Fans raise hands. One is picked and brought to the front. Bob Wayne is brought over to look at the “Green Book” which has tons of art from the project. Wayne notes that after two pages, he has received an “awesome.”
Night owl – JMS: “The most mainstream of all the books.” It’s an origin story about how the character became the hero. Discussing the process, the writers sat around with their copies of Watchmen in front of them and it was “like a Bible class.”
Minutemen – Darwyn was perfect for the Minutemen because of his work on New Frontier.
Joe Kubert has entered the room. Huge applause that goes on and on (as it should).
Sceptical guy completes his look at the green book. He gets a few sentences. “My scepticism is put to rest. The artwork is beautiful.”
Back to Joe Kubert. He’s asked what working with his son is like and what working on Watchmen is like. “I wasn’t acquainted with the characters as much as my son Andy. Working with Andy was both a blessing aaaaaaaaand a curse.” Funny joke. Everybody laugh. He goes on talking about the process.
Ozymandius – Len Wein: “He is the spine of the entire story. Getting to explore the whys and wherefores of how he became who he is.” On the subject of Jae Lee’s art, “It’s not comic art – it’s fine art. It’s beautiful, delicate, and perfect for the book.”
Comedian – Azz: “If Ozymandius is the spine. Eddie is the balls.” That’s all he says. I love Azzarello so much. No bullshit at all. Azz: “Most of the story takes place in the 60s. J.G. Jones is bringing a sort of ‘Mad Men’ look to it. And the story’s not bad either.”
Dr. Manhattan – Hughes: “I was working in a comic book store when it was coming out and so I love it.” Host: “So, this is a dream come true?” Hughes: “No, because I wanted to draw Nightowl.” He felt like he had been Punk’d when he was given Dr. Manhattan.
To JMS: “How do you respond to criticism from fans and Alan Moore?”
JMS: “On an emotional level, I get it. What is interesting is that in a conversation with the pissed off people, you have to chase the logic tree. ‘DC doesn’t have the rights to do this.’ Actually, they do. ‘Alan Moore doesn’t like it.’ Well, Alan Moore is a genius, but he has been abusing characters in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen like having Mr. Hyde anally rape Invisible Man to death which Robert Louis Stevenson wouldn’t have approved of.” He went on to say, “Did Alan Moore get screwed on his contract? Of course. Lots of people get screwed, but we still have Spider-Man and lots of other heroes.”
Silk Spectre – Amanda Conner: “It’s completely different than the other stuff others are doing. It’s a little bit like a romance comic, but with beatings.” The tone is meant to be “not too dark and angst-ridden.” She is sticking with the nine panel grid. “There is no way that I will ever be as genius as Alan and Dave” but she plans on “throwing in a lot of Easter Eggs.”
Rorschach – Do you find that Rorschach being the most recognizable of the Watchmen being a hindrance for writing him? “Rorschach is the face of Watchmen.”
Sceptical guy is going to describe the first page of Rorschach – city scape with clouds and the clouds are Rorschach’s face. Dan Didio: “It’s a lot better than you described it.”
Lee: “We’re doing a grindhouse movie. There’s going to be porn theater stuff.”
Azz: “Talk about Easter Eggs.”
Lee: “It takes place in ’77 which is the year I was born and the year of punk rock and it’s weird to be drawing things that I have nothing I can relate to, but I do relate to. Brian can you talk some because I’m tired of talking.”
Azz: “I don’t know why Dan wants us here.”
Dan: “I think I was going to porn shops in ’77.”
Lee: “I think I was conceived in a porn shop.”
Crimson Corsair – Len says it is an interesting challenge to tell a story where it is common place for comics to be about pirates, but it will try to mirror and tie in to the other stories.
Showing covers. Jim Lee’s variant cover to Silk Spectre #1. Sent today.
Showing the black and white pages from each series and it will be online later.
***** POSSIBLE SWIPE FILE***** Silk Spectre appears to be Faith Hilling as Cartman did on South Park.
Q & A Session
Q: How will you overcome what will already happen to characters in the prequels? How will you drive that emotion?
A: JMS says that it isn’t about the conclusion, it’s about the journey itself.
Q: I can’t afford each series, do I need to?
A: Dan: “You can read any that you like and get a full story, but they all compliment each other.”
Q: Azzarello was interviewed by WGN and said that he liked the Comedian more than Rorschach. Why?
A: Azz: “I didn’t say that. Did I? I’m not enjoying the Comedian more than Rorschach – I like the Comedian as a person more than Rorschach.” “Writing Rorschach is a blast because it’s so ugly. You people like that character? Well, you’re going to get it just the way you like it.”
Q: Since this is DC and not Vertigo, will there be profanity? Will it be as graphic?
A: Azz: “Shit yes.”
Amanda: “Adam, how are you handling it?”
Hughes: “I jump around a lot on pages. If I’m having a good face day, I’ll draw faces. If I’m having a bad face day, I’ll draw . . . trees. There was one day when I had to draw IT and I had to do it the Hemingway way and get really drunk. Don’t take this the wrong way, but you just have to embrace it.” He goes on to say that it the graphic nature is part of the story. “Sex. violence. Penises galore.”
Q: How many books?
A: 35 books.
Q: Fan loves Richard Nixon and is there a possibility for an After Before Watchmen?
A: Azz confirms that Nixon is in the book.
Q: For Amanda – Silk Spectre and her mother represent everything about what it means to be a female. What has been your experience with this?
A: Amanda: “Being a comic artist is my second career choice and being a superhero is my first career choice.” She goes into the practical things about a woman becoming a hero. She is drawing upon her own experiences with her own mom and memories of growing up.
Q: What are the themes within the books?
A: JMS – In Dr. Manhattan will be influenced by science and also about free will and destiny since the character can’t escape his own destiny.
Q: When asked about knowing the conclusion already . . .
A: Azz: “It’s like in Star Wars when . . . wait, maybe that’s a wrong comparison.”
Q: One fan is concerned about finding out back story that will alienate readers to the original source material . . . like Star Wars.
A: Len is reassuring and says that Ozymandius’s journey isn’t what we’d expect.
Q: will you be bringing in the back ups that flesh out the world? Will there be a Hooded Justice back story?
A: Dan: “Yes.”
Q: Is there any chance that there could be some digital form where it plays with the narrative? Skeptical fan said the clouds were Rorschach’s face and he wanted to see them move..
A: Dan: “We’re focused on good stories.”
Q: Fan thanks them for unveiling this in Chicago instead of San Diego. What was the defining moment when all of this came together?
A: Azz: “When I saw the lettering on the first issue of Rorschach.”
Dan: “When I get that first issue in my hand.” “we love Chicago. Seriously, man, great food. Great town.”
Q: LAST QUESTION! Silk Spectre Tijuana Bible appearing at all?
A: Amanda: “Do you mean are we going to print the Tijuana Bible? No. will it appear? Maybe.”
That’s it! Cool exclusives, good conversation. Nothing really ignored or skipped over.
And John Bailey’s take on the show;
After waiting outside for twenty minutes, we’re finally let into the panel. It’s packed full, with every seat taken and people standing along the walls. Whle it’s pretty loud at first, the moment it hits 2:00 everyone quiets down. Which we are then asked to stop doing as the moderator is hoping for loud enthusiasm
On the panel are Dan Didio, Mark Chiarello, Will Denis, Brian Azzarello, Lee Bermejo, Amanda Connor, Adam Hughes, JMS, and Len Wein.
The first slide up is an image of the New Frontiersman, an online resource on DC’s site for Before Watchman, along with a printed version only available at C2E2. Dan Didio explains his thoughts about creating Before Watchman. He asks the audience if any wants more stories set in the Watchman univers. Massive cheers. He’s been hearing from fans about wanting more story’s with the characters for awhile, and believes that they have those stories, that will work well with the first story. He goes on to say that the creators on the panel were “at the top of the wishlist” for the Before Watchman project. What did Dan think would be the reaction from fans when Before Watchman went public? He expected a lot more negative reactions. He actually got a few but once people learned who was involved, those fears faded and were replaced with excitement. The audience was asked if anyone had and slight concerns about Watchman. One man that raised his hand was called up stage with Bob Wayne so that Bob could convince him on Before Watchman.
The next slide is of Nite Owl #1 with JMS telling us that the story is about Nite Owl’s origin, what lead him to get the money to build an empire to become a masked crimefigher. The story goes from his early childhood to becoming Nite Owl to his partnership with Rorschach.
Minutemen #1 comes up on screen, and Dan Didio explains why Darwin Cooke is the perfect person for the book. Dan says that he was a fan of New Frontier and that he thought Darwin could create a great story with the relatively unexamined characters of Minutemen just like he did with the older characters in New Frontier.
Joe Kubert joined the panel to huge applause.
JMS said that working with Joe Kubert and Andy Kubert is a fantastic experience. The skeptical man from earlier is called up to the stage who says his skepticism is put to rest and that the artwork is beautiful. He was then asked if he was put up to saying this with laughter from the audience.
Joe Kubert said that he wasn’t very well acquainted with the characters, but his son is. And that working with his son is both great and a little difficult. When Joe is inking he needs to have a little bit of freedom to do what is right for the characters, doing what the penciller intends rather than what is necessarily on the page. With Carmine Infantino, this was accepted, but with Andy any variation was discussed. But it’s a great experience.
The pencil variant for Nite Owl #1 comes up followed by Ozymandias #1. Len Wein said he was thrilled when asked to do Ozymandias. Wein was excited because Ozymandias is the spine of the original story and his history is really fun to work with. Len says that Jae Lee’s work is beautiful and perfectly fits the book.
The cover to the Comedian #1 pops up. Brian Azzarello: “If Ozymandias is the spine of the story Eddie is the balls.” J. G. Jones is doing really beautiful work. Most of the story takes place in the 60’s and there’s a Mad Men vibe to it.
Next up is Dr. Manhattan #1 by Adam Hughes. Hughes makes a joke about really wanting to draw Nite Owl who was his favorite character. He says that when DC approached him, he figured he’d be doing Silk Spectre do to his track record. Hughes: “It’s good to sometimes mix things up and put people on characters that they don’t have a prediliction for.” It’s a really interesting experience.
How is JMS respoding to criticism on the internet and from Alan Moore? As a comic book fan, he understands it. What is interesting is having the conversations with people that are really mad about it, their logic doesn’t hold up. DC does have the legal right to the characters and while the original creator might not approve, that’s never really been a consideration when writing stories.
JMS does state that Alan Moore recieved a crummy contract, but so has everyone in the business, including Jack Kirby and we’re still seeing the Fantastic Four.
Silk Spectre #1’s cover is onscreen, and Amanda Connor talks about the story. “It’s a little bit like a romance comic, but with beatings. We’re trying to keep that tone, not make it to dark or anything.” She’s using the nine panel grid for the book. There will be a lot of Easter Eggs in the story.
Rorschach #1! Brian Azzarello: “He’s the face of Watchman, but I don’t find it intimidating to write him.” The first page of Rorschach is teased, with the skeptical guy from earlier describing it to the rest of the audience (He got to see it earlier with Bob Wayne, lucky bastard). He says that the page is a city-scape with clouds that form Rorschach’s face. Lee Bermejo: “We’re going to be doing a grindhouse movie.” There will be porn theaters and it takes place in 1977. Lee then asks Brian for help as he’s tired of talking and Brian replies he doesn’t know why Dan asked them to be on the panel. Amanda says that the first page is freakishly good.
Crimson Corsair #1 is the next slide, and Len Wein describes it as another pirate comic occuring in the Watchman world similar to Tales of the Black Freighter. There will be two page installments in each comic, and Len Wein said it was a great idea, except he didn’t realize that meant that he’d have to come up with thirty-five cliffhangers. Len said he’s having a great time writing the series.
The second issues for Minutemen, Comedian, and Silk Spectre are put up on screen, along with Jim Lee’s never seen before pencil variant to Silk Spectre #1. it follows the police line-up imagery from the Nite Owl #1 variant. Interior black and white pages for Watchman are then put up for the first time ever. Dan Didio said that each book plays to the strengths of the artists.
Q: How will DC overcome the fact that we know what happens to these characters? And how will you keep the emotional content of the first Watchman, such as in the scene where the newspaper vendor shields the boy from the atomic blast?
A: Similar to Rocky, you can know what happens at the end of the fight, but there’s more impact when you know the whole emotional journey he’s taken?
Q: Would beats from other books be present in each book?
A: Dan Didio: Yes, but each book is an independent story. There will be additional beats, but they’ll act as flavors, not the main course.
Q: Why does Brian Azzarello favor writing the Comedian over Rorschach?
A: Brian Azzarello: I’m not enjoying writing one over the other, I enjoy the Comedian as a person more than Rorschach
Q: Will there be profanity/ nudity in Before Comics like in the original? Specifically with Dr. Manhattan?
A: Adam Hughes: Yes, the other day was the first time that I drew “it”. And yes there will be cursing. “Sex, violence, and penis’s galore.”
Q: How many titles are in Before Watchman?
A: Thirty five books and one book a week.
Q: Is Richard Nixon in the book?
Q: Amanda Connor, what have you learned from drawing the whole gamut of the superhero experience, personified in the two Silk Spectres?
A: Amanda Connor: I’m trying to incorporate personal memories into the book as well as wanting to be a super-hero.
Q: What are the themes in the book?
A: JMS: In Dr. Manhattan, free will in a quantum universe will be explored. “At one time he is the most powerful man in the universe. But at the same time, he’s the most powerless as he can see the past, present, and future.” The book will explore exactly what that means.
Q: How do you toe the line between answering too many questions and not enough?
A: Len Wein: That’s what we’re being paid for!
Q: How are you going to keep Ozymandias from being to sympathetic, and keep from giving too much away about him?
A: JMS: In the end I don’t think I’m making him too sympathetic. One thing that we’re trying to show is that being the smartest man in the world is not easy. The story will explore how Ozymandias comes to know about his limitations.
Q: Will we see any of Hooded Justice’s backstory?
A: Yes, in Minutemen.
Q: Is there going to be any interaction between the comic and emerging technology.
A: No, not write now, our primary interest is to tell a good story.
Q: What was the defining moment of the project?
A: Brian Azzarello: The defining moment for me was last week when Rorschach was getting lettered. It was like “Whoah, it’s real.” Dan Didio: For me it was holding the first comic in my hands.
Q: Will the tijuana bible about Silk Spectre from the original story make an appearance?
A: Amanda Connor: You might see it.
Some toys are shown off, and the first comic for Before Watchman will ship in June. And with that the panel wraps. Onward!