A plus from the Before Watchmen insanity has been KC Carlson’s Westfield Comics blog post about the infamous Watchman Ashcan. What’s that? You’ve never heard of such a thing…? Let KC explain…
You see, Al Gordon, as well as being a legendary inker for decades, was also in the running for being the most legendary Watchmen fan, ever. He would pester any DC editor he could find to send him advance photocopies of the Watchmen issues before they were published. The wait between #11 and #12 was obviously driving Al crazy, as he was calling DC every day wondering were his photocopy was. He managed to tick off several people. So, some unidentified DC staffer made sure that Al got the very first photocopy of Watchmen #12 — but not before that mystery person gathered together a bunch of other unidentified DC folks (possibly named Carlin, Helfer, and Bove) to alter the photocopy.
KC links to this old CBR column where Mark Waid gives more details:
It gets increasingly wackier, but it’s really subtle at first. The first dozen pages or so, you wouldn’t know your mind was being messed with unless you were paying super-close attention, I swear. Gradually, however, small alterations in the lettering and art turn into huge ones. In the end, by the time Veidt reveals that his agent of psychic delivery isn’t the squid, it’s reruns of “Pee Wee’s Playhouse,” you’d kinda have to catch on.
This is something that I really wish would see official print at some point, even if it’s just as an extra in yet another collected edition in years to come.