Alan Moore’s Watchmen graphic novel is about a group of ex-superheroes who have disbanded. When one of the old crew is murdered, the paranoid Rorschach is convinced it means the former Watchmen are being targeted, so he and some of his pals head into action to solve the mystery…and possibly save the world from destruction. The Watchmen novel was published by DC Comics and is one of the best-selling graphic novels of all time. Though the story frequently digs into the history of the superheroes and what led up to the events in Watchmen, there's always room for more backstory, and DC Comics has decided it's time to give it to you.

To do this, DC comics has hired a slew of writers and illustrators to cover the pasts of Watchmen’s most important characters, including Rorschach, Minutemen, Comedian, Dr. Manhattan, Nite Owl, Ozymandias, and Silk Spectre. Today DC Comics officially announced the new prequels, which will print under the Before Watchmen banner. Before Watchmen will come in seven prequel mini-series, with a bonus 2-page backup feature titled “Curse of the Crimson Corsair” in each installment. Series creators Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons will not be involved with the series-- Moore is famously estranged from DC Comics and no longer holds the rights to the books--so why bother with it at all? DC Entertainment Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee have one answer.
“It’s our responsibility as publishers to find new ways to keep all of our characters relevant. After twenty-five years, the Watchmen are classic characters whose time has come for new stories to be told. We sought out the best writers and artists in the industry to build on the complex mythology of the original.”

Despite some anger from Moore over the series, DC Comics has hired a slew of names to write and illustrate the series including original Watchmen colorist John Higgins. You can check out the full list of collaborators over at the DC Comics Blog.

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