Friday, February 12, 2010

This Should Get Me Some Hate Mail

You know, I'm not saying that Alan Moore wasn't cheated and robbed of his intellectual property rights by a loophole in his 'Watchmen' contract...I'm just saying that someday, I too would like to be cheated and robbed in such a way that gets me enough money to buy my own house in the country.

"Oh noes! They continue to promote and reprint my work again and again, making it a multi-generational best-seller! CURSE THEM!"


E. Wilson said...

It's going to get you at least one virtual fist bump from this guy, right here.

But, I'll argue the opposite point for just one second: If DC hadn't taken advantage of that loophole, then Watchmen would be out of print, and I'd have never ended up wasting the hours of my life reading that awful, awful book.

Eric Qel-Droma said...

I agree. I wish I had Alan Moore's problems in this case.

Johnny Bacardi said...

I don't think Moore accepted any money from any of the filmed adaptations of his comics. Or at least that's the accepted story- who knows what really goes on.

Anonymous said...

i don't think he is talking about the movie. He's just talking about the trade getting more copies printed because of the sucess of the book. He might now have accepted money directly from the movie, but he likely continued to get money for the sucess of the book, which was indirectly caused by the movie at least after it came out.

Kate Holden said...

I have to admit, that while the films of his works aren't 100% perfect, they're not actually that bad (except maybe the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). The movies of V and Watchmen were decent films, perfectly watchable. If somebody made a movie of my comics that good, I wouldn't complain. It says a lot about somebody's quality of life when their biggest problem is a few little nitpicks over the movies based on their works, or the continued reprinting of them. Many young, upcoming, broke comic artists and writers would do anything to have what Moore has. Money, respect and well-received films based on their work. It's a little galling when he's complaining about this stuff really.

John Seavey said...

Yes, that's more or less it. I understand that Moore is standing up for the principles involved, more than anything else, but given the number of people who have stronger grievances and have complained less, it's hard not to feel like the whole thing is a bit of a whinge.

Not to mention, I feel like Moore's ideas on intellectual property are ultimately unworkable in practice. The original Marvelman rights were structured according to his explicit desires, and wound up tying up the rights in a morass of conflicting claims and counter-claims for the better part of two decades now. (And Marvel's new claim just adds another nasty mess of extra tangles to the pile.)

Quinn said...

What galls me about Moore is his disrespect of the work of others. People rave about his Swamp Thing, but he radically changed what the Swamp Thing was. The character went from a man trapped in an awful body to a "creature of the green." That's, as they say, a horse of a different color. That's not what the character was, but Moore didn't care.

His League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was one character rape after another. I've actually read "The Invisible Man", "Dracula", "Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde". (I never read the Alan Quartermain stories). I didn't like Wathcmen (yeah, I get it, Superheroes are tools, but at least he didn't trash someone else's work. He did pastiches of them, making the characters his own, and the stories his own. That's fair. The way Moore wrote those Victorian characters didn't have anything to do with what the authors wrote.

Suddenly Nemo is a Sikh who has contempt for Muslims. (I guess Jules Verne said Nemo was a Sikh is his sort of sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in that Island book he wrote. Moore took that and really ran with it).

If he's going to complain about how others use his work, he has to be respectful of the work of others. It's that simple.

John Seavey said...

Actually, I'm going to defend Moore on those points. Changing Swamp Thing's origin was a smart move, storytelling-wise; the character as he was pre-Moore was stuck in a false status quo. (His default story is "searching for a way to regain his humanity", but he never can because that ends the story. So the writer constantly has to come up with new ways to duck the central premise of the book. It's a major hassle.) Moore freed the character from the false status quo, allowing him to go in new directions.

And I can't speak for "The Invisible Man", because it's been too long since I read it to really remember it, but when I read "Dracula", "Jekyll and Hyde" and "20,000 Leagues", I was struck by just how perceptive Moore's reading of the characters actually was. His viewing of Mina as a proto-feminist was actually quite sharp, picking up on lots of details in the text that are often overlooked, while his characterization of Nemo says some things that Verne was only able to hint at.

Sometimes he's not respectful of his borrowed characters, but I don't think that you can say that about the original League.

Anonymous said...

Alan Moore's frustration about the Watchmen is that DC's contract specifies that he gets not one penny from any promotional materials --

and then classifies all the T-shirts with Watchmen images, all the headbands and watches and wallets with Watchmen images, and at one point even tried to classify the expensive reprints of the Watchmen comic books as promotional materials!

They were using word games to try to cheat him out of a single penny despite his contract.

That's a pretty good reason for complaint!

Anonymous said...

After seeing John Byrne tirelessly carry on his smugly petulant, mean-spirited, bullying crusade against Jim Shooter, mostly out of a temper tantrum because decades ago Shooter didn't agree with Byrne's conviction that it was a fun idea for Dark Phoenix to commit genocide (the sun Dark Phoenix devoured had been specifically written to have no intelligent life on any of its planets, but Byrne decided to make her commit genocide on a whim and drew in the innocent race she killed off, and that whim of his is the sole reason why Shooter made the editorial call that Jean Grey had to die because Shooter didn't think being a hero gave one a pass on committing genocide whereas Byrne thought that being a sexy girl did give her a free pass -- for which Byrne has never forgiven him),

after seeing how Morrison alienates his fans with his comments,

after seeing Rich Veith's temper tantrum at DC (resulting in his anti-DC series Brat Pack) because they wouldn't let him use The Swamp-Thing as a vehicle for a vicious attack against Christianity,

really, Alan Moore's more vitriolic moments are fairly tame.

At least Moore hasn't dedicated much of his life to attacking one person and burning him in effigy (like Byrne).

It seems to be the norm for comic book writers to have their ill-tempered days.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to include Bob Kane among the nasty interviewees -- just read his comments about Bill Finger, who by all accounts had more to do with creating The Batman than did anyone else.

Anonymous said...

Really, the only gentleman in comic books seems to be George Perez.

He is the only one who has refused to speak ill of any of his fellow comic book writers and artists in any of his interviews.

Even his rare criticism is spoken in a cautious, gentlemanly fashion.

Not even Stan Lee or Jack Kirby can be said to live up to that.