In one of the odder marketing decisions made this year, DC Comics announced a little while back that they will be republishing Alan Moore‘s and Dave Gibbons‘ magnum opus, Watchmen, as a twelve book hardcover box set to celebrate the miniseries’ 30th anniversary.  Today we have images of said set to show you.

Originally published in 1986, Watchmen was a harbinger of a newer, more serious, more “adult” era of superhero comics.  Heralded by many as a deconstruction of the superhero genre and listed as one of Time Magazine’s top 100 novels of all time, Watchmen has been produced in many formats in the past from softcover to oversized Absolute edition hardback.

This format, clunky as it appears to most people (myself included), is likely designed to appeal to the same subset of readers who are currently buying the hardcover single issue editions of Dark Knight III: the Master Race.  Practicality aside, this Watchmen box set would stand out on a shelf.

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This collector’s edition will hit store shelves on November 16th with an MSRP of $125.00.


  1. Not “desperate” or “distasteful”. This is what publishers do all the time — they periodically re-release titles from their back catalog in new trade dress. It’s no different than issuing a new multi-volume set of Shakespeare or Harry Potter.

    As fans of the comic, I know we all feel a personal connection to both the material and its’ authors. I do. It’s one comics’ greatest and most influential works. But Moore and Gibbons made their contract with DC back in the mid-1980’s. With the advantage of hindsight, it looks like they could have made a much better deal as creators gained more negotiating power since then.

    This is the same in any of the creative arts. I work in TV and the deals I made in the beginning of my career aren’t as good as the ones I can make today. And I don’t feel bent out of shape about that. I did the best I could then — and I learned how to do better. And so have Moore and Gibbons.

    A new reprinting of Watchmen doesn’t make DC bad — it just makes them good publishers.

    Though obviously, they won’t grab your cash.

  2. You guys, I don’t have a spare $150 kicking around…and if I did it would go to buy shoes, but if I could get one of these I would. It is a cool looking and attractive item.

    There are lots of rich people out there spending money and cray ray things. let them buy comics. YOU do not have to buy one!

  3. Who designed that box?

    White and red? The colours of Watchmen are black, yellow, and red. And horizontal text? Come on, at least use the same visual language as is inside the book.

    Also, Bubastis makes the slipcover, but Rorschach doesn’t?

    Were Dave Gibbons and John Higgins even asked to be involved with this?

    I have no problem with this in principle, but in execution, this is just awful.

  4. Charlie Ryan: “With the advantage of hindsight, it looks like they could have made a much better deal as creators gained more negotiating power since then.”

    Less hindsight and more because of what happened – DC using the loophole of continued publication on Moore and Gibbons to maintain ownership, those who came after got a better deal by having their eyes open. DC didn’t set up the contract intending to grab the work, it was so successful they found the loophole.
    DC as well as Moore and Gibbons bragged about what a great deal the Watchmen contract was for creators when it was signed and the book first coming out, it was the best nine had got, until DC decided it liked republishing the book non-stop more than it liked those two.
    Apparently the original Vertigo contracts that creators liked were designed to protect them from the Watchmen deal happening.

  5. Despite what may be common practice in entertainment (or whatever), contract negotiations aren’t supposed to be a gotcha game where you sneak in language that will trick the other party out of their due. Contracts are intended to spell out in legal language what is the mutual understanding of the business relationship between the signees. Moore and Gibbons went on interviews talking about how they were going to eventually own Watchmen.. DC did nothing to disabuse them of this idea. Thus it was an accepted understanding by both parties. Moore and Gibbons did NOT negotiate away their ownership rights because of a weak position.

    Cut to today, and they don’t own Watchmen, and never expect to own Watchmen. DC has held to the language of the contract and violated the spirit of it. An ethical move by an ethical company would be to re-open contract negotiations with Moore and Gibbons or simply let the book go out of print so they can enact that clause and take possession of their book as they were promised. DC likes money more than it likes being ethical. They should be ashamed of their behavior around this classic in the field and I would be very happy to see (but certainly do not expect) a groundswell of support around these creators finally getting their book back, similar to the campaign regarding Jack Kirby getting his original art from Marvel.

    This is not Watchmen by DC Comics any more than it’s To Kill a Mockingbird by Hachette Book Group or Harry Potter by Bloomsbury. It’s Moore and Gibbon’s fucking Watchmen. It’s a towering classic and a breakthrough for the industry and Moore has given more to this art form than nearly any other living person. DC should show some respect.

  6. Interesting…

    I’ll have to pass, though, in favor of the now-inevitable 76-hardcover Sandman slipcase.

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