MAD had a difficult dilemma concerning their proposed parody of the movie “Watchmen”… the question of when to do it.
For once the problem was not in getting a reliable advanced script. MAD occasionally tries doing movie parodies prior to the release of the films, so that they will be on the stands around the same time the films were hot. This doesn’t always work out, as the source material the writers would work from were often leaked scripts that didn’t turn out to be accurate… like the time we got the ending wrong for “X-Men 2”. Supposedly the source material obtained for the parody was rock solid… so that was not the problem.
The problem was the timing of the movie and that of the magazine. They couldn’t do it in #499, because that was slated for release in mid-February and MAD‘s parent company, Time Warner, didn’t want any spoilers revealed before the Warner Bros. film debuted. They didn’t want to do it in issue #500 in April, as they felt it would get lost in the shuffle of that anniversary number and they wanted the parody to anchor the issue. Of course we now know that #501 won’t be out until late summer 🙁 , so that would be way too late.
Interestingly the powers that be at DC and Time Warner agreed that, if MAD delayed the shipping of #499 until late February they could do the parody and run it in that issue. Apparently “Watchmen” was to be released earlier in Japan and/or elsewhere overseas. With the internet being what it is, they figured that spoilers that might be revealed… like, say an entirely NEW ENDING… would hardly be kept a secret once the movie was in theaters somewhere.
So, I get a call from MAD to do the art on the parody of “Watchmen” but the catch is I have a little less than two weeks to do 6 pages. Yikes. Fortunately there are two trailers and many sources of pictures of the cast and scenes all over the internet, so putting together reference was not difficult. As it turned out I actually finished early… I found it very easy to do the art for this one. One of the reasons is that the crazy costumes and action poses makes doing goofy drawings easier, and also eliminate a lot of the caricature work usually involved with a movie parody. Plus as a big fan of the graphic novel I was well acquainted with the story and the characters. Finally I was so keyed up about working on “Watchmen” it didn’t take much to keep me motivated when working.
Here is the rough pencil of the splash page pictured above, and a couple more sneak peek panels:
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