Before Watchmen arrives; trade-waiters are bored

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


I'm kidding, of course. But days like today -- a big day for readers of single issues (and you digital folks) with the release of the first Before Watchmen issue, Darwyn Cooke's Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1 -- can get a little lonely for those of us who wait-for-the-trade, with all the hullabaloo passing us by and whatnot.

(This being a tongue-in-cheek post with plenty of internal linkage. You've been warned.)

While your friends run to and fro waiving their copies of Minutemen above their heads, going on about "Mothman this" and "Hooded Justice that," fret not as you sit before your neatly organized bookshelf, staring at the empty space saved with hope that maybe, one day, an Absolute Before Watchmen might fill it. Periodical fans ought not have all the fun -- here's things you, yes you, can do right now to take your mind off the hard fight of being a trade-waiter.

1) Re-read Watchmen. Sure, everyone else is out there reading Before Watchmen while we (and Alan Moore) are home clenching our fists. Use this opportunity to take a stand! It's not that you're waiting for the trade -- you're protesting on behalf of creators' rights and against corporate greed (at least until the Absolute edition comes out). Stage a sit-in in your own home by re-reading Watchmen in its entirety -- and when you finished, check out the Collected Editions review of Watchmen and our related materials.

2) Read DC's other collected releases for this week. Who needs Before Watchmen? We've got Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 1: Faces of Death, the first DC New 52 collection of the Batman series, um, not making as many headlines as its companion title and "Night of the Owls." Oh, but wait, there's Red Lanterns Vol. 1: Blood and Rage, the collection that, um, features a lovely cover of a woman, uh, bathing herself in blood. But wait, there's also the reprint of the previously-published hardcover of the pre-DC New 52 Green Lantern: Revolt of the Alpha Lanterns, which, ah, I didn't rate very highly. ... Superman in Action Comics Archives Vol. 6, anyone?

3) Finally read the classic Night Force series. You're really excited for the DC New 52 Night Force series. I mean, who needs Before Watchmen when you've got vampires? No vampires in Before Watchmen, that's for sure! So how great is it that you can read all fourteen issues of the original 1980s Marv Wolfman/Gene Colan Night Force series in paperback this week? I was pretty bummed when they cancelled the hardcover, but at least we have the paperback -- what's that? They cancelled the paperback too? It's not coming out at all? Oh, the trials of a trade-waiter! (Read more in our Cancelled Trade Cavalcade series.)

4) Vote how you want Before Watchmen collected. Our earlier post on Before Watchmen showed a resounding number of you want multiple Before Watchmen hardcovers, while I have already cleared space on my bookshelf I'm waiting for an Absolute edition. If you didn't chime in before (or even if you did), head over there and vote how you want Before Watchmen collected.

5) Leave a comment on Collected Editions. Got another way to pass the time on Before Watchmen Day? Just want to talk trades? Drop us a line below. You can also explore the Collected Editions Review Index, a list of all our reviews -- find a book you've read and make your opinion known! And don't forget, we also sometimes update parts of the site on the sly ...

New reviews coming tomorrow. Happy Before Watchmen Day!
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  1. I plan on buying the Before Watchmen issues as digital singles (30 days after release, to save a buck each), BUT won't read any until I have all the issues, so that I still experience them like a collected edition. Maybe they'll release the hardcovers shortly thereafter. But CE, if you're holding out for the Absolute Edition, does that mean no review on for a long time?

    I don't have much interest in buying Night Force, but I was just looking at the preview on and man, I still love Tom Mandrake's artwork. I hope he gets put onto one of the New 52 titles after that mini-series is done. Not really sure which one would suit his style best...probably one of the "Dark" or "Edge" series. Maybe Resurrection Man?

  2. Yes, probably no review for a very long time. Something like Animal Man I'm inclined to read right away, no waiting, because Swamp Thing is coming right behind it and the second volume and so on. Before Watchmen, I want as an Absolute, and there's nothing pressing to get me to read it now versus six months or a year from now. So many times I *can't* wait for the Absolute, so here's an instance where I'm glad that I can.

    Ditto on Tom Mandrake. High on my list of "wish DC would collect" are John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake's Spectre and Martian Manhunter -- what a team. I'd be happy to have Mandrake on a DC New 52 title -- new Phantom Stranger series, maybe?

  3. I'll be passing on Before Watchmen. Despite the issues I have with it existing at all, I'm just not interested in anything relating to those characters outside of (original) Watchmen. Not to mention the stack of unread trades beckoning me to read them - including the Night Force 100 page DC Presents!

  4. You know what, that's actually a good idea! A new re-re-re(...)-read of Watchmen was due to happen sooner or later. I'm gonna read back this one this weekend probably.

    Similar to Watchmen in the idea, but not out in TPB, is also "L.A.W." a Charlton Comics-inspired DC mini-event featuring the Question, Blue Beetle, etc!

  5. I 2nd the request to collect Ostrander & Mandrake's Spectre & Martian Manhunter. I would also like to see Ostrander & Mandrake's Firestorm collected as part of the entire 100 issue run.

    Phantom Stranger would be great, I say get Ostrander on the book w/ Mandrake. I guess it goes w/out saying that these 2 creators are one of my favorite teams.

    Last thing, Ostrander's entire Suicide Squad needs collecting!

  6. Based on that DC Free Comic Book Day special, Phantom Stranger seems to be set for a potentially major upcoming role, so maybe he will get his own series. Mandrake on that would be great.

    I "third" the Spectre request. I know I've got some of the original run, but I think it was still ongoing when I got out of comics in high school. Great stuff, from what I remember. I missed out on the Martian Manhunter series (although I read the #1,000,000 issue), but would certainly be interested in reading that, if only because of that creative team.

    I didn't realize that Ostrander and Mandrake did a run on Firestorm. Might be worth checking out.

  7. I already re read watchmen shortly after the Before Watchmen announcment was made.

    So to satisfy my comics addiction this weekend, I am going to re read the Paul Dini detective comics run. A classic in my opinion.
    What is Don Kramer doing right now by the way?
    loved his art!

    I am sorry to be "that guy", but I just don't like Tom Mandrake's art.

    But I would be delighted to get either a Martian Manhunter or a Phantom's stranger series. Can't get enough of those guys.

  8. Whatever your feelings on J. Michael Straczynski, Don Kramer just killed it on Wonder Woman: Odyssey (enter review plug). A lot of what Kramer draws there is great, but Wonder Woman #609 (third chapter of that book, chapter nine of Odyssey overall) is fantastic; he does a gorgeous spread of a bunch of different Wonder Woman eras. I miss Don Kramer's work from the JSA days.

    Mandrake's work is stylized, to be sure. What I like is how well it evokes certain eras -- I might not want Mandrake as the artist on Superman, but his art is what I imagine when I think about a Spectre series. Speaking of Kramer and Mandrake, I still love that bit in JSA: Lost where they brought in Mandrake just to do the Spectre pages.

  9. Well now! Lookie who just announced a new Phantom Stranger series:

    Unfortunately (in my opinion anyway), it's written by Dan Didio!

  10. I guess I didn't like DiDio's Outsiders series, but OMAC got good reviews (decide on your own how Keith Giffen's influence played a part). Can't be a Freight Train-like character in Phantom Stranger ... can there?

  11. I read OMAC #1 and wasn't interested enough to add it to my buy list - does "pull" list apply to digital comics? ;-) - despite my fondness of Giffen. But yeah, I have read many positive things about it, despite its low sales numbers. Any idea if you'll be reviewing the TPB? I'm still kind of unlikely to buy the rest of the series, considering that it got cancelled, but I could be swayed the other way!

  12. An OMAC review is a definite. On its own merits and also for the tie-ins to Frankenstein, Justice League International, and so on.

  13. I can't find any news of Before Watchmen being released in softcover. I haven't looked at any numbers for the hardcovers but how were sales? I know the focus has been on the New52 but Before Watchmen is something outside the DC Universe. I'm not saying that I would buy them if they were released (I have not read the stories in any form yet), but the chances would go up if they were released in softcover.

    1. All four Before Watchmen volumes will get released in paperback in June.

    2. Thanks for the heads up!