When DC's upcoming Rorschach comic series was announced, many fans of writer Tom King weren't exactly surprised. The Eisner Award winner has never shied away for his appreciation and love for Alan Moore's work, but one might be surprised to learn that his original reaction to being offered the project was to turn it down. Speaking in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, King opened up about how the series came about including how he flat out refused it a few years ago and what eventually convinced him to dip his toes into the Watchmen waters.
"Before the [HBO] television show, DC reached out to me, Dan (DiDio, former publisher at DC) reached out to me, and said, when Mitch (Gerads, artist on Mister Miracle) and I were forming our next thing — we'd pitched Strange Adventures, and (DiDio) said 'You should drop Strange Adventures and do Rorschach, you and Mitch should do Rorschach!' and I was like, 'That sounds like a terrible idea.' (Laughs.) For so many reasons! The number one reason is, I just kind of emerged a little bit from Alan Moore's shadow and it'd be like, 'Let's go right back into the shadow and let's be compared to him. I'll do a direct thing!'"
He continued, "I very rarely say no when someone offers me, 'Here's something that's gonna be a best selling, artsy-fartsy project.' That's a very rare offer, but I was like, 'No, we don't want to do best-selling. We'll stick with Adam Strange and ride his popularity in the sunset.' (Laughs.)"
King then revealed that his interest in doing the project came after he and artist Jorge Fornés collaborated on the Batman Annual #4, likening the experience of seeing his work to the first time he saw the artwork of Mitch Gerads on The Sheriff of Babylon. He knew making that demand for DC would be the only way he'd commit. This happened around the time that the Watchmen TV show on HBO premiered, which also helped convince King to take on the comic.
"That was, to me, eye-opening in the fact that it was so good, you know?" he added. "I feel bad for saying this, but I really wanted to hate it, you know? I wanted to be like, 'How dare you?' All the stuff I think people are gonna say about me when Rorschach comes out, I wanted to say to the Watchmen TV show, and [instead] I was like, 'This is so good." It's not Watchmen, but it's using that vocabulary to talk about huge themes that are happening in our society. And it's using Watchmen almost as a symbol to say, 'This is important.'"
King concluded, "The HBO Watchmen is not about the same things that '86 Watchmen [comic] is about, it's about completely different themes of race in history in America. That kind of opened my eyes where I was, 'Oh, this is possible, this can be done."
Rorschach #1, by Tom King, Jorge Fornés, Dave Stewart, and Clayton Cowles, will go on sale on October 13th from DC's Black Label imprint and is rated as being appropriate for readers ages 17+. The cover price is $4.99 with card stock cover artwork by Fornés and a variant cover by Jae Lee.