Bleeding Cool ran a post yesterday stating that DC Comics is moving forward with a sequel, prequel or spin-off to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic literary graphic novel, Watchmen.

Now this isn’t necessarily a new topic: since the Watchmen graphic novel was first released, people have been whispering, speculating or (in the case of geeks) losing sleep over the thought of DC Comics trying to build upon the brilliance of Moore and Gibbons’ complex tale of superhero morality. However, that anxiety hit a new high when Zack Snyder’s Watchmen movie was released last year, and rumors of a Watchmen 2 are yet again rearing their ugly heads.

According to Rich Johnston over at Bleeding Cool, the situation is this: DC Comics President and Publisher, Paul Levitz, stepped down from his position recently, and Levitz – despite a major falling out with Alan Moore – was basically the force that kept Watchmen in tact by faithfully nixing any sequels, prequels or spin-offs. However, Johnston claims that DC SVP-Executive Editor, Dan DiDio, is now trying to impress his new bosses (remember, DC is now DC Entertainment, a big superhero corporation with multimedia aspirations) by trying to build upon the success of Watchmen, which became DC’s best-selling comic book of all time thanks in large part to the hype surrounding the movie.

This has led many bloggers to the logical conclusion that some form of new Watchmen comic book is on the horizon, which has inevitably led to the conclusion that another Watchmen movie could go into the pipeline soon after.

When Watchmen the movie was released last year, I had a similar concern that the film’s success would birth a bunch of bastard sequels/prequels/spin-offs, so I took the opportunity to ask Dave Gibbons himself about it. Here was Gibbons’ response:

‘At one time DC [Comics] thought about making [Watchmen] spin-offs , but cooler heads prevailed. I think that anything you do to try an alter the Watchmen story that Alan [Moore] and I told would only take away from it. But I’m in no position to stop Warner Bros. from making any other Watchmen films. However, if they did so I doubt you’d see me sitting up here and I doubt that Zack Snyder would involve himself in it. Sometimes I think you should just leave well enough alone.’

I had to give Gibbons an Ali G-style “Respect,” for that answer; so it’s kind of surprising to hear Bleeding Cool and other sites floating his name as the possible writer/artist of these new Watchmen books….

As far as any new Watchmen movies, Nikke Finke over at Deadline Hollywood is claiming that while new Watchmen comics might be coming, a cinematic sequel/prequel/spin-off is still a far-fetched notion. This is the quote Finke obtained from “a well-placed insider”:

“There is no truth to anything related to a movie sequel. Not a chance by a longshot. With regards to the comics, well, I guess anything is possible. I’ll keep my opinion to myself as to whether it’s a smart idea to do so.”

So let’s patrol this rumor, shall we?

Now, with a change in management often things we took to be “the rules” get thrown out or otherwise revised. With Levitz out and DiDio supposedly trying to impress his bosses, sure, it’s totally possible that DCE will try to release new Watchmen books – sans Alan Moore – to capitalize on the property’s sharp increase in popularity. And while I believe that Nikki Finke does have a point in saying that another movie is a longshot, we all already know what that “longshot” is: the new Watchmen comics catching on with readers (blaspheme!). If the books spark enough interest, do you really think it’d be too long before we see another Watchmen movie? And there is enough in the Watchmen universe to bait readers with: early days of the Minute Men or the Nite Owl II and Rorschach teamup, etc…

“Um, you do know that half of us are dead, right?”

CHUD warns us that our duty as comic book purists is to not by any of these new Watchmen books if they are indeed released -it’s the only way to send a message to DiDio and DCE that some things are still sacred. But wait – is anything still considered sacred anymore? If new Watchmen comic books hit shelves, I suspect morbid curiosity will draw a lot of readers in; if enough readers get lured in, film plans will start to be made (maybe a Sin City-style movie of several tales set in the Watchmen universe?) and Alan Moore will ultimately commit Seppuku, signaling the coming of the apocalypse.

That’s my prediction and don’t be too shocked or disheartened as the omens come to pass. To quote Rorschach: “The End Is Nigh.”

Will keep you updated on how this Watchmen 2 business plays out. For now – how do you feel about it?

Sources: Bleeding Cool, Deadline Hollywood & CHUD