How do you want DC to collect Before Watchmen?

Friday, February 03, 2012

DC only announced the individual issues two days ago, but let's not be silly. Of course I'm going there.

This summer, DC Comics will release seven Before Watchmen miniseries of 4 to 6 issues each, plus an epilogue and a single Crimson Corsair issue, equaling thirty-six issues by my count.

As the rumors swirled about this prior to the announcement, I was neither terribly disappointed (DC is a company that has to make money and if they think people'll buy them, it's incumbent upon them to make them) nor terribly enthused (I went this long without more Watchmen and I hadn't been yearning for more).

Now that DC has announced the creative teams however, I'm more enthusiastic -- there's worse ways to while away an afternoon than with a Brian Azzarello/Lee Bermejo book, or an Azzarello/J. G. Jones book, or a Darwyn Cooke book, or Cooke and Amanda Conner, or J. Michael Straczynski and Adam Hughes, or Straczynski and Andy and Joe Kubert. But in collected format, to be sure.

DC will release an Absolute edition of Beyond Watchmen. I'll say it again: DC will release an Absolute edition of Beyond Watchmen. Believe you me, DC will release an Absolute Beyond Watchmen, and it'll look dandy sitting on the shelf next to your original Absolute Watchmen.

I'd venture that DC would release Absolute Beyond Watchmen by Christmas of this year, except DC has been slow of late in release Absolute editions of their books (see Absolute Identity Crisis and Absolute Sinestro Corps War years after the originals).

Rather, given that Before Watchmen is thirty-six issues, I bet you'll see a two-volume deluxe-size hardcover set in time for Christmas, as DC's opening salvo. After that, regular size paperback versions of the same, maybe in summer 2013. Figure the Absolute Beyond Watchmen will be out maybe Christmas 2013.

And some time in 2014, look out for the single-volume hardcover Beyond Watchmen Omnibus ...

DC's not going to let any of their trade formats pass Beyond Watchmen by. Don't you doubt it.

Watchmen resources on Collected Editions:
* Watchmen: The Absolute Edition review

* Beginner's Guide to Watchmen and What to Read Next

How do you want to read Beyond Watchmen? (You don't, I know, I know, smartie. But if you did ...)
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  1. Since I have no interest reading any story written by JMS, preferably, I want all the stories to be collected by creator (ie. the two Darwyn Cooke's stories in one volume).

    But I agree with you, it's more likely than not, it's going to be collected two oversized volume, then following DC track record - one year later - it will be released in paperback.

  2. No love for JMS? Aw. That's OK, I've got enough for both of us.

    Collecting by writer is an interesting idea -- Rorschach and the Comedian by Azzarello, Minutemen and Silk Spectre by Cooke, Manhattan and Nite Owl by JMS, and then the Corsair backups and Ozymandias by Wein, in four collections. I, too, highly doubt it, but that's an interesting way to go that I hadn't considered.

  3. My guess is they'll start with 4 hardcovers, each by a different writer:

    - Minutemen/Silk Spectre
    - Dr. Manhattan/Nite Owl
    - Rorschach/Comedian
    - Ozymandias/Curse of the Crimson Corsair/Epilogue

    As for the inevitable Absolute, I guess there will be two volumes, and each of them will be equivalent to two hardcovers. Then, one year later, it's omnibus time.

  4. Two Absolutes, you think? I guess thirty-six issues is a bit packed just for one Absolute, though I can't imagine spending $200 for two different Absolute editions. Maybe two Absolute-sized books in one slipcase?

  5. I bet it ends up looking something like the initial releases of Grant Morrison's "Seven Soldiers" - four trades, then two hardcovers, then one omnibus.

  6. Even as I'm sure DC's going to squeeze every single dollar out of this, I just don't know about four paperbacks. Whereas the original graphic novel is a single volume, do they think they can translate that success to four additional paperbacks? I've been more or less behind this Before Watchmen thing, but four paperbacks is the first time I begin to see how this might crash and burn for DC.

  7. The thickest Absolutes I'm aware of are the Sandman volumes, and each of them collects about 20 issues, plus 100 pages of extras. A complete Absolute Before Watchmen (boy, that sounds weird) would be almost twice as thick, but I guess it could be done.

  8. I'm going to go on a limb and suggest they're going to collect the 36 issues over 3 12 issues trades (similarly to how Seven Soldiers of Victory was collected)

  9. I would likely buy/read it all if it was released in three or four hardcovers.
    Realistically, though: each series is going to be released initially in its own hardcover. Yeah, four issues is thin for a hardcover, but it wouldn't be the first time and two of them will be fattened up with either the Crimson Corsair story or the epilogue or just the usual extras.
    And then there will be paperbacks for all of the individual series and then, down the road, bigger collections.
    I mean, how does DC _not_ do that? Ka-ching.

  10. Wow -- your guesses here are even *more* mercenary than mine were! Seven different hardcovers to start with?! That would really be squeezing every penny out of this.

  11. Just to trend the blog back to the less mercenary side, I think they'll have no more than 4 collections. Until we hear more about whether or not these stories have some sort of through-line (like Seven Soldiers), I think it's hard to figure out how they'll be collected. The existence of an epilogue issue, as well as the Corsair backups, leads me to think there might be a larger story being told throughout the miniseries.

    If there's a strong through-line, I think we'll get 3 collections that approximately work out to the first 12 issues shipped, the middle 12 issues, then the rest. If the minis have less in common, or maybe only things in common because of having the same writer, we'll have 4 collections that highlight the talent almost as much as the Watchmen brand.

  12. For me, I think is all about the lenght.

    If they release 7 hardovers with 120 pages each, I can easely see myself passing on that.

    Also, I think the format will be decided depending on the success or failure of the issues.

  13. Considering the talent for Before Watchmen, I think it's entirely possible to have collected editions by writer; although, I would not put it past the publisher to release each mini-series with its own hardcover. I would also agree that if there is a shared story thread throughout the mini-series, they may be collected differently. I think a single volume Absolute edition is unlikely. I think it will be a two volume Absolute. This would not be unprecedented considering the multiple Absolute volumes of Sandman, Promethea, and Planetary.
    No matter how it's collected, I am excited to read it (most likely in Absolute format).

  14. I can't believe they'd release seven volumes - where would Crimson Corsair and the epilogue go? Maybe three hardcovers/trades of twelve issues each (6-6, 4-4-4, 6-4-CC&E).

    Of course, after a while, we'll come up with every permutation, meaning one of us is right. :P

  15. Yeah, I'm pretty sure you got that right. Spot on.

    Guess I'll wait for the Omnibus. Not really fan of this whole idea to be honest, but what the heck! At least I'll read it at some point later on, no hurries...

  16. So first of all 7 even numbered mini's plus a one shot equals 35.
    Next I think 12(6,6)-12(4,4,4)-11(6,4,1) will be the divisions for three hardcovers.

    Then, considering this event will be coming weekly, it will take about 9 months to release all of it putting it at the earliest available Spring '13.

    So absolute Before Watchmen will hit around Fall 2014.

  17. I think the best way for them to be collected is if DC threw them all into a trash can and then hurled that into the sun.

  18. This just crossed my mind today. At Fan Expo 2010, Brian Azzarello told me him and Eduardo Risso were reteaming for something. That later turned out to be Spaceman.

    Well last year I asked him if he had anything up his sleeve. Said he was working with Lee Bernejo on something big. Looks like that's Before Watchmen. I suppose at the very least the creators have had ample lead time on this. I know that won't convince those who had written it off, but it's something.

    Personally I thought it would be a standalone OGN like Joker.

  19. I don't get all the negative feedback about this project. Alan Moore was asked to participate, and he declined. So they went out and got some top-notch talet to do the work. And, if you're not interested in it, don't buy it. It's not like it changes the original story in any way. You can remain blisfully ignorant of this and have it not ruin anything. Meanwhile, it might actually be GOOD. Sure, maybe not game-changing like the original, but still good.

  20. It's the Superboy-Prime theory of comic fans, Mark - we don't own these characters but some of us act like we do. The fact is that DC owns this property and has a right to make money on it. Alan Moore was asked to participate, but he gets off on being the last angry man of comics. But I think we all need to sit back and let the work speak for itself. How often have these creators done bad work?

  21. With the talent involved i wouldn't rule out deluxe edition collections..i personally hope they do it either individually or by creator.