There was great fanfare and fangasms over Doomsday Clock, Geoff Johns and Gary Frank‘s fanfic sequel to Watchmen that’s supposed to bring the characters over to the DC Universe for all kinds of crossover shenanigans. There was also some recent buzz over Damon Lindelof‘s announcement that he was about to embark on preproduction on HBO’s upcoming TV series of Watchmen.
So could the announcement of Doomsday Clock be part of a cross-corporate campaign to market HBO’s upcoming Watchmen TV series?
This is all pure speculation, so you may dismiss it as you see fit.
The question is for when a new comic series, movie or TV show is announced is always “Why now?” Timing is everything for the success of a pop culture project, and DC Comics and HBO being owned by Warner Bros. Studios should not be dismissed. That Doomsday Clock and a Watchmen show being announced in the same span of months might not be a mere coincidence.
Think about it: the original Watchmen graphic novel has been around for over 25 years now. People already know about it. What is the best way to get some buzz for a new TV show, especially after there was a big movie version in 2009 that only got middling reviews and box office, and has become, at best, a cult movie.
For Warner Bros., having a property in their library that has sold millions of books over the last few decades means there’s a pre-sold audience and potential to exploit it in other medium, if only it could just get it right. In the age of Prestige TV, a HBO show would seem to be a good fit for this book since it was dark, political and adult, cited in Time as one of the Best Novels ever.
The timing of Doomsday Clock is interesting: it’s going to run for 12 months well into next year, by which time the Watchmen TV show will probably be production if nothing goes wrong and causes a delay. After the final issue of Doomsday Clock is published, there will be a short few months before the collected graphic novel is published, which could coincide with an official announcement for the premiere of the TV series on HBO. The buzz for the book leads into the buzz for the TV show, so audiences might spend money on both: buy the book, buy the original Watchmen if they haven’t already, and subscribe to HBO to see the show.
This is the type of brand synergy that studios would love to see with multimedia properties. It’s what makes comics attractive to studios now, a way to make as much money across as many medium as possible.
Of course, if you’re already a fan, you should be very happy to be getting all of this content, and the studio will be very happy to take your money. Knowing this is just an interesting tidbit in thinking about how companies try to maximize the visibility of the content they bring out. It’s very likely that DC will deny all this, or not bother commenting at all. But it’s fun to think about.
[Rich adds: Of course, Johns could be relying on production and news about the Watchmen TV show to draw interest to Doomsday Clock.]