DC Plans Prequels to Moby-Dick

Watchmen, one of the most influential comic-book works of the last 25 years, is about to yield additional chapters, a plan that has already drawn the outrage of its original author. On Wednesday DC Entertainment is expected to announce that its DC Comics imprint intends to publish seven comic-book mini-series that will continue the stories … But Mr. Moore was unconvinced, saying that the endeavor only weakened the argument that comics were an authentic form of literature. “As far as I know,” he said, “there weren’t that many prequels or sequels to ‘Moby-Dick.’ ” – From an article in the NY Times, Feb 1, 2012

New flash: On Wednesday DC Entertainment is expected to announce that its DC Comics imprint intends to publish seven comic-book mini-series that will continue the stories of the adventurers introduced in Moby-Dick, which was written by Herman Melville.

First published in 1851, Moby-Dick chronicles a group of whale hunters who find they are as powerless to solve their personal problems as they are to catch an elusive great white whale.

The new mini-series, collectively called “Before Moby-Dick” and scheduled to start in the summer, will not be direct sequels to the original, which has been widely praised for its sophisticated storytelling and for its emphatic (if deliberately ambiguous) ending. Instead a new group of writers and illustrators will expand on the back stories of the Pequod crew, like Ahab and Starbuck.

“It’s our responsibility as publishers to find new ways to keep all of these characters relevant,” Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, the co-publishers of DC Entertainment, said in a statement. “After 161 years these are classic characters whose time has come for new stories to be told.”

Complete plans for the series have not been officially announced, but we have been able to learn about a few of the story lines from a source within DC Entertainment who wishes to remain anonymous, due to contract negotiations and commercial tie-ins still in negotiation. Our source reports that the series will include “Call me Ishmael”, about the narrator’s life before the Pequod as an apparently mild-mannered schoolteacher, an identity that was actually a cover for his true mission as a fearless costumed fighter of crime.

Then there is Ahab, whose past as a sea captain was a thin cover for his true identity as “The Whaler”, a fearless costumed fighter of crime. Upon catching evil-doers, the intrepid lone crime-fighter was famous for shouting “To the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee,” after which he would throw a harpoon at the thoroughly confused miscreant.

Starbuck also gets his own series, centering on his earlier life as a young man in Nantucket, where his repeated and comically failed attempts to open a chain of coffee shops served as a convenient cover for his true mission, together with his intrepid wife Mary, as fearless costumed fighters of crime. Their many heroic deeds of crime fighting utilized advanced technology they developed within their secret laboratory on Starbuck Island in the central Pacific. Spielberg has expressed interest in obtaining film rights.

At press time, Herman Melville was unavailable for comment.

2 thoughts on “DC Plans Prequels to Moby-Dick”

  1. I suppose you’re right. If Jane Austen were alive today, she’d be turning in her grave.

    Or, possibly, bursting out of it to shamble menacingly toward the nearest tasty human.

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