DC has been exceptionally tight-lipped about its upcoming November story Doomsday Clock, which introduces the iconic characters of Watchmen into the main DC Universe for the first time. During a panel for the comic at New York Comic-Con, writer Geoff Johns lifted the veil and explained why the publisher has been secretive about the 12-issue miniseries.
Johns spoke with Lev Grossman–an expert on all things Watchmen and the author of The Magicians series–as to just why readers are being kept in the dark about the upcoming book. “We want you to experience it by reading it,” explained Johns.
That comment is not without its merit. Many times, comic book publishers will unveil too much information about their upcoming series, even spoiling major moments–like deaths and rebirths–and full pages on the day of or even before the book’s release. Many big events completely lose their allure and mystique through spoilers and story details released to the public, and interest in the series–as well as sales–suffer.
However, DC readers needed something to wet their whistle with Doomsday Clock, as the company has been teasing it for months now, with numerous promo images but not much else.
Johns revealed the first six-pages for the premiere issue of the comic and walked through it panel by panel, and you can see the lettered version of those pages below.
When the final page of this preview was revealed, the hall erupted in cheers and applause as Watchmen character Rorschach appeared on the screens on the sides of the stage. Johns insisted that Doomsday Clock is something anyone will be able to read, as long as they’ve read Watchmen, which many comic book fans consider to be required reading.
The seeds for this story reach back to the DC Rebirth one-shot comic from June 2016, where Dr. Manhattan was revealed on the final page–which marked the first time that character appeared in the main DC Universe. Since then, vague promo images and an event at this past year’s San Diego Comic-Con continued to tease the book without any solid information.
While Johns discussed the creation of the comic and why he wanted to write it, he kept story details incredibly vague. However, he explained his passion for this project and that he wanted to put the heartbeat back into the DC Universe: “I wanted to get back to the essence of these characters,” said Johns.
The writer also expressed his admiration for the original Watchmen series and that he and artist Gary Frank were following a rule book for this series. Frank was following a nine-panel grid, much like the original graphic novel, and Johns said that Frank has “a slight echo” to Watchman‘s artist Dave Gibbons. “He’s the only artist to do the project,” said Johns. “If Gary doesn’t draw it, I can’t write it.”
During the final minutes of the panel, Johns explained this is a standalone story, not an event. There will be no crossovers or tie-ins into other series. Readers interested in Doomsday Clock will have to buy the 12-issue miniseries and nothing else.
Finally, according to Johns, Dr. Manhattan will be naked in this series. That, along with the swearing in the preview of the book, means that DC is keeping in tone with the original series, which is adult in nature. You can see the full comic and Mahattan’s blue penis in Doomsday Clock, which hits stores on Wednesday, November 22.