DC Entertainment announced plans to release four deluxe hardcover editions this Summer collecting serialized stories from DC Comics’ Before Watchmen prequel series. DC also announced that Chip Kidd, the award-winning book and cover designer (as well as occasional comics writer) will design book covers for each title.
The four books will include Before Watchmen: Minute Men/Silk Spectre by Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner, Before Watchmen: Ozmandias/Crimson Corsair by Jae Lee, John Higgins and Len Wein (to be released in late June to comics shops and July 10 in the book trade); Before Watchmen: Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan by J. Michel Straczynski, Adam Hughes, Andy Kubert, Joe Kubert, Bill Sienkiewicz and Eduardo Risso, and Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach by Brian Azzarello, Lee Bermejo and J.G. Jones (to be released July 10 in comics shops and July 16 in the general book trade). The cover images depicted in this article are not final.
Despite the controversy over the creation of the Before Watchmen series spurred by acclaimed comics writer Alan Moore, who is vehemently opposed to derivative works based on Watchmen, his bestselling and critically acclaimed super hero epic graphic novel, the stories proved to be popular to fans. Based on the iconic characters from Watchmen—Comedian, Silk Spectre, Rorschach and others—the Before Watchmen prequels fill in and expand on the background stories and histories of the characters Moore created for his superhero masterpiece. Created by some of DC Comic’s most popular artists, the new deluxe hardcover editions will collect these prequels and they will likely also attract the fans, and, DC hopes, big sales when they are released this Summer.
Kidd is no stranger to comics. In addition to editorial oversight of the graphic novels published by Random House’s Pantheon imprint and a stellar cast of authors that includes among others Chris Ware, Art Speigelman, Ben Katchor, Craig Thompson, Dan Clowes, David Mazzucchelli, Leela Corman and Charles Burns, Kidd is comics writer himself. Kidd is the writer of Batman: Death by Design, an original hardcover graphic novel created with artist David Taylor and published by DC Comics in 2012.
Kidd also designed one of the variant covers ( Before Watchmen: Rorschach issue #3) for the Before Watchmen periodical series offered an acknowledgement (and a characteristic joke) about the imposing legacy of working on Moore’s masterpiece. “To design these covers is both a privilege and an honor,” Kidd said, “and a challenge. The Before Watchmen creative team did a truly impressive job I will try to do justice to them. So to speak.”