The critically acclaimed comic book series watchmen is an official part of the DC Universe. After years of existing as its own stand-alone story, characters and elements of the work of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons have made their way to becoming an integral part of DC’s expansive and iconic domain.
but how did it happen? Why has he watchmen move from a largely independent miniseries to an active part of the DCU? And what does this mean for the future of both entities? Screen Rant has compiled a full history on how watchmen slowly became the next centerpiece of the DC Universe.
watchmen Original Connection to the DC Universe
Before Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons started working on the good watchmen history, DC acquired a number of characters from now-defunct publisher Charlton Comics. Moore penned a proposal for a new story that would use characters like the Question and Blue Beetle, but was rejected due to the story killing off several of the characters. However, Moore was able to pursue his proposal using original characters based on Charlton’s heroes. After collaborating with Dave Gibbons on the watchmen world, the series began in September 1986 and continued until October 1987. After its publication, watchmen became one of DC Comics’ most beloved series, even becoming the only graphic novel to make TIME magazine’s 100 Best Novels list.
Despite the resounding success of watchmen, the series remained independent for decades. There were no official crossovers between universes, nor watchmen has designated its own place in DC’s vast multiverse. However, there have been a few tricks to top off the highly acclaimed story over the years. In 1988, Rorschach made a kind of “cameo” in Question #17 when the titular hero reads watchmen on a plane and then dreams of the character. In 1999, DC released a team book made up of the characters who inspired watchmen cast called LAW (Living Assault Weapons). Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely took this idea a step further in 2014 with Multiversity: Pax Americanaa one-shot that also used the Charlton Comics characters. American Pax was even structured the same way as watchmen, opting for an eight-panel layout instead of nine. Clearly, watchmen wasn’t just a hit with fans. Other comic book creators took inspiration from the work that Moore and Gibbons released to the world.
watchmen Begins to grow
watchmen the outstanding reception made the series an evergreen title for DC Comics. The editor kept watchmen in circulation with reprint after reprint, making it one of DC’s longest running and most regularly printed titles. Although Moore and Gibbons never made any additional titles in the watchmen universe, the duo did contribute to a series of RPG books based on their story that provided additional information and knowledge. watchmen the popularity also led to an incredibly difficult and time-consuming journey to adapt the comic into a film. watchmen has been trapped in development hell for years, with some calling it “unfilmable”. In 2009, Zack Snyder directed watchmenexposing a whole new audience and generation to the story that comic book fans have known for years.
The watchmen The film sparked renewed interest in DC’s beloved series and for the first time the publisher decided it was time to strike while the iron was hot. In 2012, DC Comics announced Before the Guardiansa collection of books that served as a prequel to the original watchmen story. Before the Guardians consisted of several mini-series that elaborated on the background of watchmen main cast, as well as several secondary characters. Although Dave Gibbons gave his endorsement, Alan Moore chastised the project, going so far as to call the effort “completely shameless”. DC and Warner Bros. continued to capitalize on Moore and Gibbons’ story later that decade with the creation of HBO. watchmena direct sequel to the original story set three decades after the events of the comics.
watchmen Officially collides with the DC Universe
But the most amazing and by far the most consequential change watchmen came in 2016 during DC’s Rebirth initiative. The story at a glance DC Universe: Rebirth #1 by Geoff Johns, Ethan Van Sciver and Gary Frank stunned the comic book world with its final pages showing Batman holding the comedian button of watchmen iconic cover. It was just the first salvo of what the future held for the characters of watchmen. Almost a year after the mysterious tease, DC has released Apocalyptic clock by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. Not only watchmen getting a follow-up story for the first time in its history, but the world has become an official part of the DC Universe. Although Doctor Manhattan was largely the focal point of the Apocalyptic clockthe story also features Ozymandias, a new version of Rorschach and a time-shifted version of the comedian.
With watchmen now an official part of the DC Universe, other stories have begun using concepts established by watchmen and Apocalyptic clock. The miniseries Front flash featured Wally West endowed with powers similar to Doctor Manhattan’s due to The Flash sitting in a Mobius chair infused with Manhattan’s energy. The comic book event 2020 Dark Knights: Death Metal featured a Dark Multiverse Bruce Wayne who replicated the energy associated with the Comedian Button and became “Batmanhattan.” And it looks like Geoff Johns isn’t done with the work he started in Apocalyptic clock. Flash point beyond introduces a new watchmen-character inspired with the implication that the association of the DC Universe with watchmen is far from over.
Is it a good thing that watchmen became an official part of the DC Universe? Some fans are probably excited to see the two worlds interact and create new things. Others may think that DC’s attempts to expand the comic didn’t add much to watchmen and even misses the point of the original series. For the best or for the worst, watchmen is now tied to the DCU and this genie isn’t going back in the bottle anytime soon. The real question is what the future holds watchmen in the DC Universe? A new line of watchmen comics? The newest Rorschach joining the Justice League? Honestly anything is possible now that watchmen became an official part of the DCUs.
Next: Alan Moore Praises V For Vendetta Legacy (But Hates Watchmen)