Friday, February 20, 2009

The Making of Watchmen, Part One

Comic Buyers Guide in their issues #1652 (CBG), just did a wonderful job of spotlighting Watchmen, the original series and the upcoming movie, by Warner Bros.

(Plug: if you love the medium of comics and graphic novels, CBG magazine is a must-read to keep up on what's going on in the industry, plus reading monthly columns by the movers and shakers...not quite as PR oriented as a Wizard...more meat and potatoes, especially for those of us who've been around for a bit and like to know more of the industries history).
As part of their treatment, Andrew Smith (contributing editor) does a very informative Q & A about Watchmen, (which Time magazine listed in their top 100 novels...not graphic novels...of ALL TIME).
For the benefit of those of you who may not have access to the periodical, I'll share some of the more interesting information in the form of multiple choice questions/ which I'll then answer...leading up to the movie's release.
Were the Characters in Watchmen originally inspired by:

a. Golden age DC Comics heroes

b. Marvel comics characters

c. Golden age superheroes created by Archie Comics

d. Charlton comics characters

d. Charlton comics characters (with a some minor modifications)*

DC had bought the rights to the Charlton heroes in the 1980's. Their introduction to the DC universe was suppose to come through Moore's Watchmen conception. After reading it, Managing Editor, Dick Giordano, realized that there wouldn't be enough of them leftover after the series, to do much with...but he loved the script, so he suggested Moore change the characters to one's he created specifically for the project....which he did, but with some familiar traits.
-Rorshach was based on Steve Ditko's Question, with elements of Mr. A added in.

-Nite Owl II, was based upon the Blue Beetle (with lots of similarities also to Batman).

-Dr. Manhattan was Moore's version of Caption Atom, though I personally see him more derivative of Dr. Solar (or Solar Man of Atom).

-Ozymandias was inspired by Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt.

-Silk Spectre II, is loosely based upon Charlton's Nightshade...though Moore's said in interviews that the similarities only go as far as she's the only woman on the team, he was envisioning more of a Phantom Lady or Black Canary type character.

-The Comedian was really a blending of Groucho Marx, Nick Fury with G. Gordon Liddy, though visual elements of his character can be seen with Archie characters, Hooded Justice and Hangman (one of the most brutal comic characters of the 1940's).

*According to Moore, he originally had toyed with the story using the golden age Archie comic heroes, before DC offered him the Charlton ones...which explains some of the similarities to those properties.

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