A couple of days ago, in my speculative post about the upcoming Before Watchmen: Dollar Bill one-shot, I issued a blanket condemnation of the previous Before Watchmen efforts as rehashes of what Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons did in the original Watchmen. In the interest of, as I titled this post, full disclosure, and total honesty (which, as Billy Joel reminds us, is such a lonely word and hardly ever heard) I feel obligated to reveal to my readers that I based that statement on hearsay and anecdotal evidence gathered from reviews, solicitations and other on-line sources. The only one of the bunch that I've actually bothered to read was the first issue of the Minutemen series, which, while it provided new biographical details about the members of the eponymous super-team, did in fact include a fair amount of rehashing. I liked Minutemen #1, but not really enough to commit to spending four bucks a month on it over the course of half a year.
I did briefly possess copies of the first issues of Ozymandias and Comedian, which were given to me by a friend, until I fobbed them off on some poor unsuspecting fool at a White Elephant gift exchange last month without bothering to actually read them. When I flipped through Ozymandias, it seemed, from the art, to be simply a retelling of Adrian Veidt's life story from Chapter XI of Watchmen. Having read that chapter, and in fact the entire graphic novel, more times than I can readily remember, I didn't feel I needed to read that issue. As for the Comedian book, I just couldn't get past that hideous cover and thus didn't even open it. I mean, just look at the damned thing over there. Disgusting, ain't it?
I've got to wonder if whoever commissioned or designed that repulsive cover image actually thought it was going to help sell the comic. Is that even the function of comic book covers anymore? Is there such a thing these days as a casual reader who might be induced to pick up a new comic because of the cover image or copy? Or are most new comics pretty much pre-sold to a dwindling community of fans and collectors who'll buy the damn things no matter what the publisher slaps on the outside?