HBO has released the first real trailer for creator Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen series based on the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons graphic novel of the same name, debuting in October.
Welcome to the final installment of Grizzlybomb’s Greatest Joker Moment’s Ever! Brian Kronner and I (Scott Fraser) took a look through our memory warehouse and compiled a list of those moments that we felt made Joker who he is today. Obviously with the New 52/DCYou reboots the Joker of today may or may not have been affected by these moments, but we will look past that to continue to celebrate the awesomeness of the Clown Prince of Crime.
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Whether he’s duking it out with Batman, intimidating fellow criminals, making time with Harley Quinn, or terrorizing the Bat family he is always in the forefront of the Bat titles, and is well-regarded as the ultimate Bat-villain. No other member of Batman’s rogue gallery has caused the level of pain and suffering to the city of Gotham quite like the Joker has, and the remaining moments on our list further prove this. So enough of the chit-chat, let’s get to it.
Veteran actor Mark Hamill will be lending his trademark vocals to Batman’s arch-nemesis for the animated adaptation of The Killing Joke, one of the most revered Batman stories of all time.
As you may know, Kevin Smith is a huge Batman fan and weekly presents a podcast called Fatman on Batman as part of his SModcast empire. Each week Kevin Smith invites a creator who is involved (sometime tenuously) with Batman. This week Smith was again joined by famed writer and spiritualist, Grant Morrison for issue #44. Morrison was invited to discuss his favorite Batman stories, and as part of the podcast discussed Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s seminal Batman story The Killing Joke.
As if Alan Moore’s work has not been butchered enough by the motion picture industry, it looks like Fox is going to have a go at one of Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s crowning works. Yes, they want to make a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen TV series. Now maybe I am been a bit harsh on the adaptations of Moore’s work. While Watchmen was pretty good (but not without its flaws) and V for Vendetta certainly had its moments, none of these films have ever come close to the raw emotion and amazement you get from reading the source material. Moore himself is very aware of this, having distanced himself quite publicly from every adaptation so far. Fox’s plans for the book are as follows:
[quote]“A drama series based on Alan Moore’s critically and commercially successful graphic novel series about a group of Victorian-age literary characters, including Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, who team up to fight a common enemy.” [/quote]
Not really much to go on at this stage, but what Fox really needs to do is take a good hard look at the abomination that was The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie starring Sean Connery, and do the exact opposite from that. Turning Moore and O’Neill’s work into an action epic took away most of the wit and charm of the book and dumbed it down for a movie going audience that could have coped with its dark edge. If you take it as a below average popcorn movie it can be quite the enjoyable guilty pleasure, but when you remember what source material this film actually came from it takes all of the joy away from repeat viewings.
Fox already has a team in place with the show runner for Kings, Heroes, and The River; Michael Green taking on multiple roles as writer/executive producer/showrunner, and Erwin Stoff (The Matrix) producing (per Collider).
Could the books work as a TV series is the main thing we have to ask ourselves here? There is a wealth of material from the books, and numerous storylines branching out throughout history, so it could be good if Fox followed this template and had each season follow the various incarnations of the League as they live through the different decades. The television format has proved it can successfully adapt great stuff like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, though less so on network television. If structured correctly though, I think there is potential here but that’s a big IF.
There are other comic book series out there more deserving of a TV show than The League, which has already had its time in the sun Fables for example could be a great book for TV expansion. For the sanity of Alan Moore fans everywhere I certainly hope it will be better than the movie was…
So. Van Helsing. We all have our views on it, and for the most part I think everyone would agree that it is not exactly the cinematic masterpiece we were hoping for. I kind of dug it though, in that “this is awful but let’s see what other tripe they throw at the screen” kind of way. But the advertising company certainly tried to get us to like it, the promotion was everywhere. That leads us to this comic book, which is a semi prequel to the original film.
In this article we celebrate everything that comprises those strange pieces of folded paper we call comic books. More specifically we focus on some of the more obscure, weird and just plain out there examples of comic literature. Starting with this Whatmen?!
Welcome to Comic Rack! My pick of the top five comic news stories in no particular order…
Iron Man Gets New Armor.
Frankly this shouldn’t surprise anyone. Iron Man gets a new armor every other week. That dude is constantly fiddling with his armor, always looking to improve or maintain it in some new way. He’s like that kid you knew in school, who kept modifying his toy models, or appliances, until they barely even resembled what they were anymore. Sure man, you added a series of remote-controlled LEDs, spring-loaded shelves, touch sensitive paneling, and an automatic motion sensor, but goddamnit it’s just a TV, now every time I walk by it turns on at max volume, the shelves fly out and I get hit in the calves. Did anyone else know that kid? Do you know what I mean? No? Right. Well regardless, his “new” armor, doesn’t really look that new.
It looks like a bigger, dumber version of his Hulkbuster armor. And we all know how successful that was at busting Hulks. Wait, what’s that? How many Hulks did he bust? Zero? Zero Hulks busted? C’mon Stark, get it together! Stop putzing around with your armor and get your head in the game! I WANT THOSE HULKS BUSTED NOW.
Cerebus Possibly Being Re-printed By Fantagraphics?
When you tell people about Cerebus, it’s one of those things you almost don’t believe. A guy wrote a parody fantasy epic, about an Aardvark, that becomes an example of a fantasy epic that it’s parodying, spirals into a societal and political satire, mutates into an insane polemic, and eventually becomes a document of its own author literally going insane, writing and drawing his own mad ravings into a published comic? So when people tell me they want to read it, I tell them that not only is it all of those things, but it’s incredibly LONG. How long? 300 issues, 6000 pages long. It’s a daunting task to try to read it, and even if you had the will, the books are hare to find, because there’s 13 of them. Even if you did feel like reading the slow, steady descent into madness by a comics writer/artist, you’d be hard pressed to find all 13 for the complete story.
Which is why it’s interesting to hear that Fantagraphics, a publisher long known for their brilliant, eclectic line up of independent comics, has been trying to get Dave Sim to commit to letting it be repackaged and republished. He’s being non-committal at the moment, but seems to be going back and forth on letting it happen, or never allowing it ever. Fantagraphics wants to republish it, hopefully in an attempt to get it into a form that’s a bit more manageable than 13 goddamn thick ass books you could kill a small dog with. If you haven’t read Cerebus, I don’t blame you. It’s dense, it’s weird, and towards the middle it’ll almost definitely offend in one way or another, but if you like insane ideas, concepts, and insane polemic stories that revolve around an animated Aardvark, I suggest you track it down.
Captain America, Our New President!
Yes that’s right. Captain America has been elected into office. Why? I’m not sure exactly, but Sam Humphries, the writer of The Ultimates, has said this:
“Captain America is not going to behave like any other president behaves… He takes the oath of office and barely takes a breath as he goes to hot spots. . . . Cap is out there because he’s so concerned about the state of the Union that he doesn’t have time to think about the State of the Union.”
Which is a statement that the more I read, the less sense it makes. Cap is so worried about us, he can’t worry about us? What kind of backwards motivational logic is that? In no way am I trying to slam Cap. In fact, I think his character is one of the best, and his sense of non-jingoistic, true patriotism, love for civil freedom and all of the things that America should stand for, but currently doesn’t, are what make his character great. In a real life situation, of course I’d elect a man like Steve Rogers for president, but unfortunately, men like him don’t exist. It’s fitting that something like this would only happen in a comic book, because it’s just as realistic as shooting lasers out of your eyes, or having adamantium bones. I have no doubt that Cap will be the president the marvel universe needs, rather than the president the marvel universe deserves, (everything can go back to Batman, FYI), but the thought in and of itself, in a vacuum, is quite humorous. What is he gonna throw his shield around when discussing foreign policy with a bunch of diplomats? Punch a skrull in the face hard enough that Health Care Reform happens?
Plus, Mr. President America doesn’t have the same ring to it, if we’re going by military rank.
Scoot’s Marvel Mashup!
Supascoot, here, I’m jacking some of CheeeeEEEEEeeesssse’s space because I am sickened by his disdain for Marvel and feel the need to represent a little bit. There, I said it. Now I apologize for my aggressive behavior as it’s very un-Canadian of me. Where was I? Right, Marvel stuff. Pretty much all the teasers Cheesebadger told you about last week are explained here. By me.
Cable makes his triumphant return along with a brand new X-Force written by Dennis Hopeless with art by Salvador Larocca and Frank D’Armata. I have always loved Cable, and by extension X-Force. This is good news. And an interesting lineup for the team. Domino (An X-Force Alum) Colossus (De-Juggernauted), and Doctor Nemesis (From the X-Club). It was also the WANTED teaser that was released last week. This makes me assume they are wanted for some reason. They will be hunted by the Uncanny Avengers, who are actually led by Cable’s uncle, Havok.. You gotta love time travel. Would you like to know more?
So what’s to come of Uncanny X-Force? Remender is moving on from the title and a new creative team and story is on its way. Sam Humphries and artist Ron Garney will be bringing us Psylocke and her team of ‘killers’ (yes, this was the KILLERS teaser released last week) in a story that takes place 6 month’s after the end of Remender’s run. On the team will be Storm (not a killer), Puck (Alpha Flight… not a killer), and Spiral (from any tale involving Mojo or Longshot. She’s a killer) with a few additions in the future. It also features the return of Bishop as the villain of the book. Would you like to know more?
Another series by Hopeless and artist Kev Walker will be Avengers Arena. Originally presented as the SURVIVE teaser last week, Avengers Arena is basically Battle Royale with Avenger’s Academy, The Runaways, Darkhawk and more all flung together on Arcade’s Murder island. Sound’s awesome right? Even better? The cover is a homage to Battle Royale, so you can put your nerd claws away and stop telling people they stole the idea. Would you like to know more?
And finally, the LIGHTNING teaser from last week which Badger thought was Punisher and I thought was the Thunderbolts turns out to be… a team of Thunderbolts that feature the Punisher. Put together by the Red Hulk, it also features Elektra, Venom, Deadpool, and a few more to be announced when the issues drop. This sounds like a great team book full of death. Written by Daniel Way with art by Steve Dillon, the team will be, well killing stuff I would assume. Lot’s of stuff. I can’t wait. Check out that cover. Would you like to know more?
That does it for me. You can have your article back now.
Thanks Scoot, but you forgot one teaser. In fact, it’s potentially the most important one of all:
Another in a series of teasers for Marvel NOW!, this one is a bit more current. The word on the street, so to speak, was that it was hinting at the return of the fabled Marvelman/Miracleman character. For those unfamiliar, Marvelman was a superhero that had some brilliant stories written by both Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, and for reasons I don’t entirely understand, has been stuck in legal limbo, unable to be re-published for all to enjoy again and again. Issues of the original run are hard to find, and some can be costly, so the thought of bringing back his character, either into the current Marvel Universe, or simply just releasing a trade collection of those seminal Moore/Gaiman stories, would be AMAZING. Unfortunately, that may not be the case, and the teaser is probably having to do with Spider-Man. Current writer Dan Slott has said that what he’s planning to do for Spider-Man #700, will be referred to as the “Most Shocking Book Of 2012”. Considering the teaser, it’s release date of January, which lines up with the time Spider-Man #700 will be coming out, it’s most likely gonna be goddamned Spider-Man. I know, it’s not popular to dislike Spider-Man, but I just find him so uninteresting lately. I liked him a lot when I was younger, so maybe he’s a superhero geared towards the young? Maybe I am just some terrible asshole hater? Either way, if this teaser turns out to be Marvelman, I’d be happy.
I’m gonna copy Scoot’s weird, Starship Troopers/Propagandistic thing here, and say; Would you like to know more?
There has been a lot of skepticism about the new Watchmen prequel.Personally, I would love to see the Minutemen in action! The claws have come out on Twitter! Check out all of the pissy and hilarious reactions on Gamma Squad.
Buzzfeed has 21 leaked photos from the DC Headquarters. These display the characters we know and love before the Watchmen was formed. For your entertainment, here is a look at a possible continuity error thanks to Bleeding Cool. The prequel will contain 36 issues total from 7 different series. I cannot wait to hear even more bitching when the even less respected movie eventually comes out. Although, I already know I will be seeing it… possibly dressed up. Only time can tell.
Considered by many to be the seminal story of the comics medium, and a work that singlehandedly changed the comics forever, Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons has been a consistently successful story for over a quarter of a century. A complete deconstruction of the Superhero mythos using close facsimiles to classic Charleston Comics characters – Watchmen ushered in the grim and gritty narratives all to prevalent in comics today. Against the wishes of writer Alan Moore, but not by artist Dave Gibbons – Watchmen has spawned numerous merchandising opportunities and a Hollywood film in 2009 by director Zack Snyder. In just twelve issues, Gibbons and Moore constructed an intriguing world and very interesting characters, with back-stories largely untouched. Considering how widely revered the Watchmen comics are, the series has been considered a sacred cow of sorts, and its universe has for quite a while, not been expanded upon in anyway.
On February 1st, DC comics announced that they will be releasing several four to six issue miniseries set in the Watchmen universe, written and drawn by some of comic’s top creators.
USA Today reports:
Who watches the Watchmen? This summer, it will again be a legion of comic-book fans.
Under its DC Comics banner, DC Entertainment is reviving characters from the beloved and seminal graphic novel Watchmen for seven prequels collectively titled ‘Before Watchmen’.
The comics will feature all of the heroes — and anti-heroes — who writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons created in the 1986-87 Watchmen series, which was later collected as a graphic novel. Those characters will star in miniseries by some of the company’s top writers and artists, including:
•Rorschach by writer Brian Azzarello and artist Lee Bermejo
•Comedian by Azzarello and artist J.G. Jones
•Minutemen by writer/artist Darwyn Cooke
•Silk Spectre by Cooke and artist Amanda Conner
•Nite Owl by writer J. Michael Straczynski and artists Joe and Andy Kubert
•Dr. Manhattan by Straczynski and artist Adam Hughes
•Ozymandias by writer & original editor Len Wein with art by Jae Lee
Issues will be released so that there will be a new one every week, and each will include two pages of a separate, continuing backup story, Curse of the Crimson Corsair, by Wein, with art by Watchmen colorist John Higgins. A single-issue Before Watchmen: Epilogue will also be a part of the prequel series, featuring several of the writers and artists involved.
According to the Guinness World Records, Watchmen is the best-selling graphic novel of all time, with more than 2 million copies sold. However, Azzarello first read the series when it came out monthly in the ’80s and was a huge fan 10 years before he broke into the industry.
Azzarello says he “dropped the phone” when DC co-publisher Dan DiDio called him last summer and asked if he’d write the fan-favorite character Rorschach, the vigilante clad in a mask with shifting ink blots who investigates the death of his old friend, The Comedian, in the original Watchmen story.
“He’s the face. The guy who covers his face is the face of the franchise,” Azzarello says. For the four-issue Rorschach series, he’s teaming again with Bermejo, the artist from his Joker graphic novel.
“You’re going to get the Rorschach that you know and want. It’s a very visceral story we’re going to be telling,” Azzarello says.
Set in a bleak version of 1980s America where Richard Nixon is still president and powered beings have changed the fabric of society but are now considered outlaws, Watchmen created a legion of fans with its rich storytelling and deconstruction of the superhero genre. The phrase “Who watches the Watchmen,” spray-painted on buildings in the original book, has become iconic.
Many of those readers view Watchmen as a sacred text that shouldn’t be touched. Moore himself publicly stated that he wanted nothing to do with the 2009 movie adaptation by director Zack Snyder, or any sequels or prequels.
Gibbons, who was an adviser on the movie, has given his blessing. “The original series of Watchmen is the complete story that Alan Moore and I wanted to tell. However, I appreciate DC’s reasons for this initiative and the wish of the artists and writers involved to pay tribute to our work. May these new additions have the success they desire,” he says in a statement.
That approval, however, isn’t as important as making sure all the Before Watchmen books work on their own, Azzarello says. What’s key is “that we all get in there and we tell the best possible stories we can and we reconnect these characters. It’s 25 years later. Let’s make them vital again.”
All around the tubes, nearly every forum, such as Bleeding Cool and those annoying hipsters over at comics alliance, are rife with comments of hot frothy hatred over the notion over such a blasphemy. Most comments are about how perfect the original series was and what not, and that no one is as brilliant as Alan Moore blah blah blah, you get the picture. A perfect example of how much people already hate this project is over at Topless Robot, but then again the folks over at Topless Robot epitomize the irrational bitter fan stereotype that never enjoy anything, regardless of how good it might actually be. One talking point is that somehow these prequels could possibly taint the experiences of the original, which is a logical farce. The “Star Wars” prequels are utter garbage, but that doesn’t sully the original trilogy in anyway, but if one were to continue to watch said prequels out of an obsessive need even though they hate them- that could make the experience sour. However, issues like that are less in the content and more in the viewer. It seems as though the negative fan will probably be the greater driving force though, as they will need to validate their judgments on how bad it sucks. Much like how Howard Stern rose to the top from having a great number of listeners who found him appalling and listened to field complaints as opposed to those who wanted to listen to naked lesbians on the radio,
Are these books a bright idea? Perhaps, perhaps not; however, the talent they have compiled for these projects rival some of the best in the business. Brian Azzarello is one of the greatest writers working in comic books today, and author of “100 Bullets”, a series I believe is the greatest of all time. Plus having artists such as Darwyn Cooke, Amanda Conner, Lee Bermejo, Jae Lee and J.G. Jones on these titles means they will also be some of the best looking comics this year. I personally don’t care about Watchmen prequels, since over time I have grown to dislike the original “Watchmen.” It’s slow, it’s rather derivative and isn’t entertaining- I appreciate what the work has done for comics as a whole, but just because it’s influential doesn’t mean I’m obligated to sing its praises. Just because I listen to The Police doesn’t mean I must listen to Bob Marley as well.
The fantastic Michael Avon Oeming tweeted it best:
Oeming hit the nail on the head: comics are not scripture, they’re fictional, the stuff that happens between the pages of these books never actually happened. Things like Canon and Continuity are bullshit, nothing is truly official or unofficial in the land of make believe. Adding to the universe that Moore and Gibbons created does not in any way, change the story or anything about the original Watchmen. Any of these prequel comics can be as official or fan fictional as you, as the reader want them to be – if you don’t like them, forget about them and read the original all over again, and enjoy it for what it is. If you believe that there is absolutely no goddamn chance you could even fathom liking these prequels, then just don’t read them! It’s that simple, don’t piss and moan and then buy all of them anyways just so you can break down and nitpick every single minutia of things you hate about them, just ignore them. Some very talented people with bills and families are getting paid possibly the best money they’ll ever see in their careers to tackle these projects and perhaps, put enough money aside to not worry about expenses for a while to make a completely original property that might even be more significant than Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns, and Hellboy combined, they don’t need you belittling them over trying to make an honest living.
Of course Alan Moore, who hates everything involving other creators involved in his works told the New York Times, “I tend to take this latest development as a kind of eager confirmation that they are still apparently dependent on ideas that I had 25 years ago.”
Moore, Author of such works as League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which stars characters like Bram Stoker’s Mina Harker, H.G. Wells’ Invisible Man and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Batman: The Killing Joke featuring characters made by Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson, is no stranger to using the ideas of others to craft stories. Alan Moore also received his breaks from his runs on “Marvelman” a character created by Mick Anglo, and “Swamp-Thing” a character co-created by Lenn Wein for DC Comics, who at the time was roommates with Gerry Conway, one of the collaborators whom created Man-Thing, a similar character at Marvel comics who premiered prior to Swamp Thing.
In addition, “Watchmen” wasn’t originally going to star original characters. Moore and Gibbons originally wanted to use characters such as The Question, Blue Beetle and Captain Atom, who were properties recently acquired by DC Comics form the defunct Charleston Comics. DC comics decided they would rather integrate the Charleston universe into their soon to be rebooted comics universe (sound familiar?) leaving Moore and Gibbons to create thinly veiled analogues of their initial idea. Had Moore and Gibbons been able to use the Charleston Characters like they originally intended- Moore wouldn’t have an argumentative leg to stand on. To be fair, DC could have easily done these miniseries with the Charleston Characters, but due to the success of “Watchmen,” the new analogues are more recognizable to audiences than the Charleston originals. While it’s certain that these prequels will go against what Moore’s artistic vision of “Watchmen” should be, Moore himself has done the same with a multitude of properties in his career, granted many have been public domain and he can do with them as he pleases. However, in one of his most recent stories League of Extraordinary Gentleman: 1969, Moore has written a scene where a Wizard named Tom who’s “ . . .middle name is a marvel and my last name is a conundrum” in an effort to use the character without violating any copyrights, sexually assaults Mina Harker in a scene. This is certainly not something that JK Rowling would have envisioned even her most heinous of villains to do in her successful series of children to young adult novels. Of course, the other collaborator- the artist, who is always the more important creator (it is a visual medium, and artists typically get a majority of the royalties) Dave Gibbons, has given his consent to DC comics to make these prequels.
Seemingly, all Moore’s opinions of his work gives off the impression that he feels as though he is some sort of creative zenith, that no one could ever craft a story as well as he. Moore lambastes every film adaptation of his work, or in the case of the Watchmen film adaptation, refusing to even see the film or acknowledge it in any way. One of my very first articles I had published at the website of the great Armenian flake, I wrote of how I felt the ending of the Watchmen film was actually better than the source material. Without spoiling anything, the movie ending ties in better with the core themes of distrust and paranoia rather than the random ploy used in the books. Alan Moore will never see this, thus he will never have to concede that others can perhaps, craft a better story with his own ideas than he could. Instead of denying the chance, it would be bolder to see these adaptations as a challenge for both the author and his colleagues to do better. Batman: Year One is one of the greatest batman stories ever told, but one of its sequel series that is based on Miller and Mazzucchelli’s story is Batman: The Long Halloween, is a superior story made by an entirely different creative team, and the original creator makes neither. Ego is one of the greatest hindrances in the realm of fiction.
However, from a moral standpoint- DC comics should have never been in the position to create Watchmen prequels in the first place. Even though Nite-Owl, Dr. Manhattan and the rest or the cast is analogous to Charleston Properties, they are in fact original characters because of this. The legends say Gibbons and Moore had a contract that specified that Watchmen would be a work for hire project, meaning they were compensated up front to create the book, instead of creating the book at their own expense: which would have made Watchmen creator owned. However, DC comics also stipulated that once Watchmen was no longer in print by DC, the copyrights would revert to Gibbons and Moore.
Watchmen has also continually been reprinted in trade paperback since 1987, thus preventing Gibbons and Moore from ever receiving ownership of their work. Thanks to dirty pool, DC has taken the control of Watchmen from Gibbons and Moore, and ensured they will never have it. Watchmen will never cease to be reprinted; it’s for too influential and lucrative for DC to ever want to let it go, so in essence, any support of any Watchmen related material aids in DC Comics’ theft of Watchmen from two very talented individuals. Eric Stephenson, publisher over at Image Comics, wrote an article for ‘It Sparkles’ that I insist you read because it perfectly illustrates what DC did wrong and the plight of the comic book creators.
Whether or not you’re enthused or incensed about Before Watchmen, it really matters not, since DC is going to make them regardless, there’s money to be had and they’ll get every little bit they can from Watchmen until they’re blue in the face and run around with their weenies exposed. However, what does matter is whether you buy them, it won’t stop these projects, but it can stop or continue any other Watchmen related projects in the future. Regardless, at least these books have top talent on them; DC could do much worse: