In an exclusive Q&A, Before Watchmen creators Darwyn Cooke and Len
Wein share their thoughts with Kindle.Be sure to check out all the single issue Before Watchmen comics.
Q: Before Watchmen is a
controversial project, to say the least. Upon being approached to work on it,
what was your first reaction?
Darwyn Cooke: My reaction was to
politely decline. I didn't know I had anything to say that wasn't already
there. It was a couple years before the story idea for Minutemen
occurred to me, and that was when I committed to the project. Once I knew I had
a story that excited me I got involved.
Len Wein: My first reaction was that the project sounded
like a great deal of fun, especially the opportunity to play with a character
The chance to flesh out Adrian Veidt's story was just something I couldn't
Q:Following up on an iconic piece of art like Watchmen can be very
daunting. Were you intimidated at all by the prospect of working on these
D.C.: Yes. Very much so. Having gone through a similar
experience with Will Eisner's Spirit I
was very aware of how hard I'd have to work to live up to the source material
Alan and Dave created.
L.W.: Not in the least. Having already written the
Watchmen video game, WATCHMEN; THE END IS NIGH, I was more than
comfortable writing in this world. Having been the original series' editor made
it even easier.
Q: Darwyn, why did you
select Nite Owl (Hollis Mason) as the narrative voice for the Minutemen series?
D.C: Hollis' autobiography, Under The Hood, seemed like the most logical foundation on which to
build my story and when we pick up the story in 1962 he's writing said book.
That put him in his late forties evaluating his life up until then. Being in my
late forties it was a very comfortable fit from a narrative standpoint.
Q: Minutemen dives deep
into the very flawed lives of a team that’s supposed to represent a Golden Age
for heroes. Was it easy to take the story in such a dark direction or more
D.C: Very difficult. Most of the darkness was built
into the characters by Alan and Dave so to be true to that and be true to the
period of the story, one has to be careful to avoid transposing one's own
values or modern mores onto the characters. Staying true to the social
conventions and prejudices of the time make for a darker and somewhat more
Spectre has been labeled as a “coming of age” story. Would you agree with
that? Why or why not?
D.C.: I suppose I can agree in general, but it feels
more like a small vignette of Laurie's journey. We see what sets her on a
certain path, but when we leave her, she's still a teenage girl and she's just
met Jon. Alan and Dave's story is where we see Laurie fully come of age.
Q: Ozymandias is such a
visually striking series, with the layouts and framing sequences especially
standing out. Len, what type of relationship did you have with artist Jae Lee
in creating such a distinct feel for this story?
L.W.: I really have to give the overwhelming credit
for the look of the series to Jae. I gave him very detailed, page/panel
breakdowns to work from. How Jae interpreted those breakdowns is entirely
to his own credit. I was more impressed than anyone when I first saw what Jae
did with my story.
Q: What do you think is
the most compelling part about the Ozymandias character?
L.W.: Oh, the internal dichotomy, certainly. The
concept of a man who so loves the world that he is willing to murder millions
of people to save it. Part of the fun of writing the book in the first person
was to show the reader the vast difference between what Adrian tells the reader
he's doing and what he's actually doing.
Bill was Steve Rude’s first DC work in years. What was the best or most
unique aspect of working with one of comics’ great talents?
very much wanted to tell a story with a happy ending in some way. Since our
hero is killed several pages before the end, that posed a challenge I was eager
to tackle. Also, how often does one get to work with a talent like Steve Rude
in one's lifetime?