True Firsts: Ego ipse custodes custudio?
In anticipation of DC’s Rebirth here is a list of Watchmen books and related material collectors might want to take a look at. It also appears than Dr. Manhattan isn’t the only member of the Watchmen who will be affecting the DC Universe for the foreseeable future. This means that all Watchmen characters should now be speculated upon. Concerning this list I am leaving books like DC Spotlight ( first Watchmen appearance ) and Before Watchmen: Dr Manhattan #1-4 and their variants out of this article as they have been expounded upon in great detail elsewhere.
Any fan of super-hero comics should own the Watchmen in one form or another and if you are new to collecting I suggest reading the entire series right away!
The Watchmen 1 & Watchmen 1 ( Spanish Ed, Zinco )
First sequential appearance of the Watchmen and first appearance of the Minutemen ( SIlhouette, Sally Jupiter, Hollis Mason, Mothman, Hooded Justice, Dollar Bill and Captain Metropolis )
The most influential comic work of the 80’s wasn’t just the first time we were introduced to the Watchmen. Silk Spectre 2, Nite Owl 2, Dr. Manhattan, Rorscharch and Ozymandias may have appeared in an earlier comic but not the Minutemen. DC would be wise to incorporate all of Moore’s characters into their new vision.
Origin of Dr.Manhattan
As we all know by now Dr. Manhattan is set to be a major player in DC’s Rebirth. This is his origin. Buy now. It’s a modern key and while everyone is spending the Henchgirl profit on Watchmen 1 you can get in early.
See Jimmy Linguini
Before Watchmen: Minutemen 6, 6b and the combo pack
The divergence between the Watchmen universe and the DCU likely occurred in 1938 and coincided with the release of Action Comics 1. This event could be of major importance as Rebirth unfolds.
The Watchmen Sourcebook
This neat little publications pairs nicely with the Role Playing Modules from Mayfair and it gives a ton of insight into the world of the Watchmen through a detailed, epistolary narrative.
Before Watchmen: Minutemen 5 ( regular & combo pack )
Of all the Before Watchmen comics this cover impresses me the most. Right now all the Cooke covers from this series are undervalued. The legend’s recent death has generated a spike in sales for his best works and whether you believe that to be a good or bad thing, these books remain overlooked.
DC Heroes Role Playing Modules
Mayfair games produced these books in 1987. They reprint material directly from the comic and are super rare. The only rpg game I play is with this girl I know who’s got a killer White Tiger costume but if you dig RPGs and the Watchmen then you are a rare breed and owning this should be a priority.
The Watchmen Millennium Edition 2000
Certain titles from this DC reprint series are highly collectible. Look for the chromium editions and the regular editions of Dark Knight Returns Book 1 and the first issue of Preacher.
Neca’s Under the Hood Journal
The movie release for Watchmen saw a plethora of tie-in merch at major retailers like Hot Topic and Newbury Comics. Nothing was a sweet as this Hollis Mason autobiography replica in the form of a journal.
The Watchmen 1 2008 Reprint
As far as reprints go this one is probably the hardest to find in back issue bins across America.
The Watchmen Portfolios ( 1988 )
This set included art from series creator Dave Gibbons including previously unpublished Watchmen art.
The Watchmen Promotional Poster ( 1986 )
This promo poster was reprinted for the portfolio mentioned above. The original poster is much harder to find and I have never seen an original unfolded.
The Question 17
When Vic Sage ( The Question ) experiences an internal crisis concerning heroic ideals he buys a comic book off the stands to ease his mind, The Watchmen! Now that the Watchmen are part of DC proper this comic inadvertently has become an example of Grant Morrison’s explanation of “what DC is”. In his ambitious epic Multiversity, heroes are knowledgeable about heroes from other Earth’s through the comic books that they read on their own world. It is an idea Grant has revisited again and again going all the way back to Animal Man. In this comic Vic experiences a connection to his Charlton counterpart Rorschach but he doesn’t actually know that he and Rorschach are bound by a state of existence called the multiverse.
Others like Captain Atom from Earth-4 are so powerful that they know they are just characters in the comics that you and I read. This guy knows that our existence is his plaything. That’s OK as long as we don’t know he knows. Well here he is telling us that he knows and it’s unnerving.
Captain Atom and Dr. Manhattan are similar in many ways and their origins are forever intertwined, it is important to understand just how powerful Manhattan is and why he’s as good a candidate as any to take on the DC Universe.
Spawn 225 1:25 variant
Thank to Jeff “Nebo” N for cluing me into this one. Homage covers are quite a thing these days and this one is definitely the best Spawn had to offer!
Who’s Who Update 87 Vol. 5
I consider these types of Publications to be appearances in their own right and many shops simply do not carry them anymore. Granted it has more historical value than anything else but you can probably find it online for next to nothing.
Amazing Heroes 97, 115
Amazing Heroes 97 might just be Dr. Manhattan’s first cover appearance!
Note: If you are a Rorschach fan he also appears in Darkwing Duck 8: Crisis on Infinite Darkwings and in issue 1 of Moore’s SMAX!
Oh and if you want to see Rorschach in a bathing suit I hear he appears in these:
Kingdom Come 2
Rorschach and the book Under the Hood appear in this legendary work from Waid and Ross. Have fun looking for both!
A final word on Dr. Manhattan…
Like the other Watchmen characters Dr. Manhattan is based on a Charlton character. In his case it’s Captain Atom. If you know the history of the Watchmen then you know why this was done. Manhattan has appeared in various forms over the years and recent incarnations like the Earth-4 Captain Atom illustrate the true power he possess. Manhattan’s motivations in Rebirth are not yet know but delving into the source material is a good idea and lucky for us it’s often a dense metatextual, Grant Morrison adventure or the work of other talented creators. The best contemporary examples are Pax Americana and Final Crisis: Superman Beyond. In my opinion DC needs a new, powerful antagonist. The heroes we love can only fight Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor so many times before it all seems stale and repetitive.
Other items worth a look: