A month before the premiere of Zack Snyder’s Watchmen, excitement for what is likely to be the comic-based movie year is building, fueled by extensive coverage in prime media outlets typified by a major article by David Itzkoff in the “Arts and Leisure” section of Sunday’s New York Times.  Itzkoff charts the heightened interest of fans who are excited but also fearful of the changes that Snyder may have made in his adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ graphic novel masterpiece. 


Snyder has added two introductory scenes.  One is a lengthy fight scene involving the Comedian that is glimpsed only occasionally in the book and the other is a montage behind the credits that brings viewers who haven’t read Watchmen up to speed with the political and social underpinnings alternate history saga.  Of course with a work as dense as Watchmen, Snyder has had to leave a lot out.  The “Black Freighter” EC Comics/Joe Orlando homage was filmed anime style, but it will only be available on the DVD edition.  More crucially Snyder has changed the ending, telling the New York Times that “To preserve the original ending of Watchmen, you’d be talking about taking 30 minutes of other stuff out of the movie.”


Sales of the Watchmen graphic novels, which took a huge jump since the trailer for Snyder’s film debuted with The Dark Knight in July, remain extremely strong.  In spite of the fact that one would think that everyone who would want a copy of Watchmen already has one, numbers are likely to climb as the movie’s debut nears.  Sales of Watchmen-related volumes have also benefited.  Demand has been so great that Titan Books has gone back to press on Watchmen: The Film Companion ($19.95) two weeks before the book was released.  Titan has two other deluxe Watchmen movie-related titles due out on February 10th, Watchmen: The Art of the Film ($40), and Watchmen: Portraits ($50).


Last October Titan published Dave Gibbons’ Watching the Watchmen: The Definitive Guide to the Ultimate Graphic Novel ($39.95), which should also benefit from the buzz created by the impending release of the Watchmen movie.