The clock is ticking, and the Doomsday Clock is about to strike. When Geoff Johns wrote DC Rebirth #1 last year, he included hints that the world of Watchmen was bleeding into the DC Universe in some way... and then he let it sit.
As it turns out, Johns himself was ruminating on the story to tell. As the post-election political situation in the U.S. and around the world devolped, inspiration struck, and he finally had the story. But Johns would only do a sequel to Watchmen -- yes, Doomsday Clock is a direct sequel to the seminal story -- if he had the right story and the right artist.
"People ask me why Gary Frank is the perfect artist for this book. He isn't just the perfect artist, he's the only artist," Johns said at a special event at New York Comic Con Thursday night, hours before taking today's Main Stage prime-time spotlight. He recounted being set on not doing the book at all if Frank wasn't on board. But when the story finally broke in his head, he called Frank up at his home in Italy, gave him the full pitch, and Frank just said, "I'm in."
That gave us Doomsday Clock, a story that Johns is extremely protective of, holding back on releasing too many details. Yes, it's the story of "the Watchmen characters meeting the DCU." But the rest of the story is being kept heavily under wraps. One thing Johns would tell the assembled press (and today's panel) is that the story is fully self-contained; there are 12 issues of Doomsday Clock, all by Johns and Frank, with zero tie-ins, crossovers, or marketed lead-ins. Johns said that while some events in current comics are leading up to it, they "won't have a 'Road to Doomsday Clock' banner" or any similar marketing.
That echoes what Johns told SYFY WIRE in an exclusive interview back in May, upon releasing the first teaser image. At that time, he said they'd "one-thousand percent believe in it," and would not include any "watered down one-shots or mini-series on top of this one."
"Read Watchmen - or rather re-read Watchmen, and know who Batman and Superman are as characters. That's all you need to enjoy and understand Doomsday Clock," Johns told SYFY WIRE.
In a fairly unprecedented move for DC Comics, they gave out Ashcans (small, digest-sized black-and-white comics) of the first six story pages of the sequel series, with full lettering, at the event, and again at the panel Friday night, where Johns went through the pages, panel by panel. Going even further, now they're releasing them online.
The pages in the gallery below are the actual first six pages of the first issue of the comic. You'll see some very direct connections to Watchmen, you'll see some modern politics, and you'll see a fearless approach from Johns and Frank to tackling the continuing story of these iconic characters.
And somewhere in there, you'll also see humor too. “There’s a quirkiness that I think it has to have,” Johns said during the panel. “Humor is natural and a part of life. The stakes are high, but there’s a humor and quirkiness because the characters are strange.”
Speaking of strange, Rorschach is indeed back in the picture, early on, as you can see below. And Johns apparently thoroughly enjoyed writing him: “Rorschach is the most fun character I’ve ever written in my life.”
And yes, you'll see classic DC villains involved, too. Johns teased that a scene between Ozymandias and Lex Luthor was particularly fun to write.
Indeed, there's much to look forward to. And sure, we have many questions about what's to come and how it all fits together in the greater DC Universe, and what have you. But don't worry, time answers all querries:
“Everything you read in this first six pages, you’re going to have a hundred questions, but they will all be answered. There will even be answers to questions you didn’t know you had,” said Johns.
Read the first six pages (and see some other promo art and covers) of Doomsday Clock from Geoff Johns and Gary Frank in the gallery below, and get your questions ready for when the DC Comics series kicks off in Nov. 2017.