Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Who Watches The Sentinels?

Here's an updated post from 2009 - from right before THE WATCHMEN film came out.
The controversial comic book prequel, BEFORE WATCHMEN arrives in stores tomorrow. As most people know, the original WATCHMEN was a 12-issue DC Comics miniseries by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. 

What a lot of people (including some comic book readers) don't know is that the characters are actually based on comic book heroes that originally appeared in the 1960s under the Charlton Comics banner.
While never a team at Charlton, the characters returned from a self-imposed limbo and formed the team called Sentinels of Justice when Americomics published their adventures in the early 1980s.
Only four of the characters appeared during this run, with Peacemaker and Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt sitting this one out.

The characters resurfaced in the mid-1980s when DC Comics folded the Charlton "Action Heroes" into the DC Universe through the events of CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS.
These characters were favorites among comics fans and creators alike and DC hoped to eventually introduce them to a new generation of readers through a proposed weekly publication called Comics Cavalcade Weekly. This never happened.
Meanwhile, Alan Moore, who had already breathed new life into Swamp Thing and the British hero Marvelman, had other plans for the characters. Unfortunately DC decided that if Moore had used the Charlton characters, they would be unusable by anyone afterwards. The result was that Moore and Gibbons created new characters based on the originals.
Peacemaker (Christopher Smith) became The Comedian (Edward Blake). Captain Atom (Allen Adam) became Doctor Manhattan (Jonathan Osterman). The Silver Age Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) became Nite Owl (Dan Dreiberg). Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt became Ozymandias (Adrian Veidt). The Question (Vic Sage) became Rorschach (Walter Kovacs). And Nightshade (Even Eden) became Silk Spectre (Laurie Juspeczyk). Judomaster and Sarge Steel didn't make the cut.As WATCHMEN became a critical and sales sensation, DC continued using the original characters. Most had their own series, some were part of group books and eventually most of them teamed up in a memorable issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE QUARTERLY.Years later, after DC lost the rights to Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt (they reverted back to his creator) - the rest of the gang (including Judomaster) formed the superteam called L.A.W. - Living Assualt Weapons. This ill-conceived concept did not last past it's six issue miniseries.
In recent years, Peacemaker died and was replaced twice, Captain Atom went rogue and became a super villain, Blue Beetle was shot to death and replaced by a teen hero, and The Question died of cancer and was replaced by former Gotham City policewoman Renne Montoya.
Nightshade actually fared better than most, having successful runs with the teams Suicide Squad and the Shadowpact. The Watchmen, on the other hand became media darlings.I can't help but wonder what if DC had allowed Moore to use the original versions of the characters...
Would Captain Atom ever be caught with his pants down? Highly unlikely.


Tony Z™ said...

I just wonder if that particular panel will be represented in the movie...

doug said...

I hope so - after all it's rated R!

doug said...

Lots of blue penis in the film - which is AWESOME by the way. Ten times better than DARK KNIGHT. There, I've said it.

Tony Z™ said...

"Lots of blue penis in the film - which is AWESOME by the way."

The film? Or the penis?