What do I think this will mean for fandom? Not much. New readers will discover Watchmen; I doubt it’ll be overshadowed. I don’t know if any of the Before Watchmen miniseries will be slavishly mimicking the structure of Watchmen, or if there will be a melange of storytelling styles. I’m pretty sure there’ll be in-jokes aplenty. And if any of them turn out to be bitter deconstructions of the Watchmen characters we thought we knew, it’ll 1) channel LoEG's cynical-old-man writer, people, or 2) earn the vitriol of a million fans everywhere.
Watchmen will still exist. The world of Watchmen has been processed through a funhouse mirror in the never-mourned early script and the Saturday morning cartoon and (apocryphally) even through The Family Circus.
As for new fans being “ruined” (or ruining fandom, how dare they) by irrelevant spin-offs: I discovered comics through Death: Through Death's Door, a manga-style retelling of Sandman vol. 4 (Season of Mists), moved on to Promethea and The Books of Magic and Watchmen and V for Vendetta and haven’t regretted it, okay?
- Ugh, Laurie’s weird airbrushed face on the Adam Hughes cover. Isn’t Dr. Manhattan supposed to be the one skirting the Uncanny Valley? (Also, she has a four-fingered, mutant hand. Wut)
- The blood splotch on the Comedian seems to be there just to say, “Hey, this is Watchmen”. That said, that mask makes him a terrifying mofo.
- Fractal Rorschach! That is, the Rorschach blot on the mask is in the shape of Rorschach, who has another Rorschach-shaped blot on its mask.
- I’m most excited for the Minutemen comic. The Silhouette, Mothman, and Dollar Bill had little “screentime” in Watchmen; I wonder if we'll get to see their personalities, and if they’ll match up with what we were told.