Jul 25, 2010

Get Off Alan Moore's Case!

I'm honestly getting sick of talking about the Alan Moore/DC thing. Unless something big happens, this will be my last defense of the Bard.

Alan Moore in The Simpsons: Husbands and Knives.

At the DC Nation panel at Comic-Con, Ian Sattler was asked if there were any plans to use the Watchmen characters, to which Sattler refused to comment. I really think one is coming, folks.

But what I'm even more angry about is the sheer blatant disrespect of some comic book fans to Moore, which I've generally outlined here. It's honestly disgusting how many fans are on his case because they feel that they deserve stuff from him.

Folks, Moore has been coming out with stuff nonstop since 1978. If you want work by Moore, it's easy to find - there's probably a lot from back in the day that you haven't even read yet. There is no shortage.

But then I get comments like this. I won't name names, but I will cite that it's from Robot6.

How come so many other creators are able to work with the big two? They realise that comics is a business. In life sometimes you have to compromise. Moore won't and hasn't. He has to hold on to his precious moral values, and the result is that the fans, and other creators he works with, suffer.
It's incredibly selfish of him, to value his principles over the benefit of others.

It's one of the most egocentric, shortsighted, and selfish responses to the matter I've ever seen.  Here was my response.
Yes, it's incredibly selfish of him to think of himself instead of fans want him to do! For shame that he should live his life in such a way that HE'S comfortable, that HE'S happy! It has to be in accordance to what the fans want!

The creators he has worked with have NEVER suffered, ever. Why do you think he went on to continue ABC even when Wildstorm was bought by DC? So he wouldn't screw over his artists. And for shame that he should turn down the movie royalties and HAVE HIS SHARE FORWARDED TO THE ARTISTS. The creators SURE suffer!

If people want to work with Alan Moore, there are many opportunities, as there have always been, because Alan Moore doesn't just write superheroes. But that's the thing - there are a bunch of you folks who aren't Alan Moore fans; you're superhero fans who just happen to like the way Alan Moore does them, and you think he's wasting his time doing stuff that he wants to write (a highly enviable position in life) instead of writing what YOU want him to write. If he'd followed that line of thinking, we would have never had From Hell. We would have never had Promethea. We would have never had Lost Girls. We would have never had Jack B. Quick. We would have never had Big Numbers.

Moore keeps doing comics and not just comics, and there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy his work and work with him. But you're all miffed because he won't do Watchmen sequels or prequels. Because he won't live his life according to YOUR dictates.

Fan entitlement, as said by a poster above, is a huge disease. We're not entitled to anything and Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison and Mark Waid and James Robinson and Garth Ennis and Steve Ditko and whoever else aren't obliged to give us what we continually clamor for. They should write what they want to write, and let it find its audience, instead of producing work specifically suited to the tastes of a bunch of fans who can't seem to appreciate the fact that writers have their own wishes and their own desires. That, my friend, is the very definition of hack work.

While it MAY be selfish of Moore to withhold this from his fans (it's not, in my opinion), it's far more selfish of fans to be pissy about it, because Moore won't write in accordance to their demands.

Honestly, it is mind-boggling to me how superhero fans, who grew up on the values espoused by Superman or Spider-Man or Batman, can be so incredibly corporation-biased when it comes to creator's rights. An incredible and disgusting sense of fan entitlement - "I like Watchmen, there should be more stuff! How dare Moore create a new underground British comic that entertains and provides something new on the market? He should be writing about the glory days of Rorschach and Nite Owl, damn it!" - is a disgusting disease. I imagine these same people are cursing Bill Watterson for not doing any Calvin and Hobbes comics.

On another discussion board, someone said Moore should be the bigger man. Pol Rua stepped up and provided the following response:

When he first signed the deal with DC, it was agreed that rights would revert after the book was out of print for 12 months. 24 years later, DC has not let print runs of Watchmen ever go out of print.
Alan Moore was the better man and said, what the hell, that's business.

When DC made money of Watchmen merchandise - posters, badges and whatnot, Moore, Gibbons and Higgins asked that they be given a share of these profits. DC claimed that the items (which were being sold) were 'promotional materials' and therefore the creators were not entitled to a share of profits.
Alan Moore was the better man, and didn't push the issue.

When DC bought up Wildstorm Publications (chiefly in order to obtain the publishing rights to Moore's ABC line), Moore could have just screwed over his co-workers like Rick Veitch, Jim Baikie, Chris Sprouse, Kevin O'Neill et. al. and pulled out of the deal altogether...
But Alan Moore was the better man, and once arrangements were made, he went back to work making money for DC.

When DC went back on their agreement not to interfere with the running of the ABC line by pulping issues of 'League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' and censoring a 'Cobweb' story in 'Tomorrow Stories'...
Alan Moore was the better man, and kept working for DC.

When he was accused of conspiring to rip off another writer's work and passing it off as his own with the 'LXG' trial, he was annoyed that DC/Warners settled the case, which he saw as an admission of guilt (partly on his behalf).
Alan Moore was the better man, and continued working for DC.

When he asked DC editorial to arrange for his name to be taken off future film projects involving his work, and they refused point-blank to do so until he was forced to go over their heads to get it done...
Alan Moore was the better man, and continued to work for DC.

It wasn't until Joel Silver lied in print about Moore's contribution to the 'V for Vendetta' film and DC Editorial refused to contact Warner Brothers and seek a public retraction on his behalf that he severed ties with the company for good, and even then...
Alan Moore was the better man, and agreed to produce the work he had been contracted to do before taking his property elsewhere.

Yeah, he's an absolute prick all right. What an unreasonable bastard!

I'm exasperated at this whole mess, and I'm unbelievably annoyed at so many comic book fans who will put their desires over a plain and simple issue of respecting the creators who gave you the stuff you enjoyed in the first place. Go read some Big Numbers. Go read some Top Ten. Go read some League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Oh, wait, here's a better idea - you want a Watchmen sequel? Make it yourself. Channel those hostile energies you're putting into bitching and complaining and try making one yourself. It will probably be better for you.


fanboy420 said...

As an aside, my ex gave me this little book called The Courtyard by Mr. Moore, and I loved it. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't read it yet.

On to the matter at hand:

Yeah, you bastids. Get off Alan Moore's case!

The problem is DC. In trying to revive any semblance of competition they had with their competitors, they've sold out on most of their best franchises (i.e. Wonder Woman's costume and Bruce Wayne's not-so death, rest his weary time-traveling soul) just to get quick buys. They've replaced tight storytelling with dimension-shattering drivel that, in the long run, no one will remember.

This is the way comic books are ruined: disrespecting creators by stymieing their growth (Watchmen 2--- COME ON!), throwing in hurried and uninspired puppet authors to sell sell sell (yes I'm talking about you Geoff Johns and your insignificant attempt at making death in the superhero world the definitive salvage-line marketing propaganda using a RAINBOW SPACE OPERA AS YOUR BACKDROP), and thinking that the concept of supply and demand works similarly in a world where people can fly.

Bring back Jenette Kahn you soulless cretins!

Allysons Attic said...

I agree with everything you said.

Sometimes the fans become like junkies. They want more...another hit... no matter the cost.
They think with bashing one creator, that they can get what they want from another creator.

Or if they can strong arm the creator, then he'll produce what they want.

It doesn't work well that way.

Sometimes... because of contractual obligations creators have to keep churning things out, rather its good or bad.

Alan Moore doesn't have to do anything. The books were and are great as they are.
If he is...interested in doing more on the story, he has the common sense to want to wait until it can get done right, or when the muse hits him.

You certainly not going to get anything out of the guy by being rude.

Pól. said...

The truly tragic thing is that, I look at Alan Moore interviews from the 1980's and he has a lot of genuine enthusiasm and optimism. He's really interested in seeing 'what comes next'.

It makes me sad to think of all the wonderful things that guy could've produced if he hadn't been repeatedly treated as a worthless cog in a conscienceless machine, if he hadn't had so much of that enthusiasm and optimism repeatedly kicked out of him by short-sighted bureaucrats who can't see that you can get more out of someone by treating them with respect and consideration than you can by beating them like a mule.

Duy Tano said...

Whoa, lots to respond to. Let me see what I can do.

Waps: I was actually not happy with the Courtyard, but I think I'm just not a fan of Lovecraft. I certainly don't have problems with it technically.

While I think DC is a huge part of the problem, I think an even larger part of the problem is the fans who are demanding it and disrespecting creators. DC, after all, is just looking to maximize profit, and if there's demand for this crap (not to mention that there are clearly people who would buy this stuff even if they hate it), then, speaking from a business sense, why shouldn't they do it? Then Moore turns them down and you have the fans - the FANS - who bitch about it.

Look, Morrison did wonderful work with All-Star Superman, and I think Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's run on Superman has been the best Superman has been in years- which DC then promptly spit away with editorial mandates regarding all the New Krypton crap that lasted for over a year and ended with EVERYTHING GOING BACK TO NORMAL ANYWAY. Why couldn't you just tell good, self-contained stories that people obviously want to tell with earnestness?

It's not just DC too; I'm so event-exhausted between Final Crisis and Secret Invasion and Civil War and everything else that doesn't stand on its own and you need to buy all the crap the companies are putting out to keep up with it! The best superhero comics that come out month after month are self-contained and focus on telling the best stories they can and not just about doing all these ridiculous "EVERYTHING CHANGES NOW!" bullcrap. Wonder Woman's costume? No one buys it! I was 12 when Superman died and people said he'd be replaced by one of the four Supermen, and I didn't buy it! They broke Batman's back and said Azrael was permanent, and I didn't buy it! BAH!

Allyson: I honestly think that these fans who complain about Moore completely don't get his position. He's writing what HE wants to write, not what THEY want him to write. So they bash him and hate on him, because they simply don't get it.

Pol: I think we can still see that genuine enthusiasm and optimism in interviews now so long as he's not talking about DC or Marvel. Dodgem Logic has such a huge sense of fun being had and he's clearly having a ball, but whenever he gets interviewed, everyone asks him the same damn questions all the goddamn time.

I can't even imagine how well a bunch of Moore's books would have sold if DC bothered advertising them properly.

Anonymous said...

Loved yours and Pol's defense of Alan Moore. I too am disturbed by the selfish way fans (and fellow creators) treat creators. Moore some months ago addressed the disparity between the values espoused by superheroes and the actual values of the people in the industry:

"And one of the things that strikes me most about superheroes as they currently stand, is that these are heroes, as the term implies. These are people who stand unflinchingly against tyrants and oppressors, who protect and support the underdog, who are fearless and noble in everything that they do. I’m starting to feel that the most significant part of the superhero makeup is that part which is not talked about, the fact that these triumphant paragons are being created by an industry of people who are frightened to ask for a raise, the rights to their work, and, especially after seeing what happened to Gardner Fox and the others, to form a union.

This is why I split from the comics industry. The way it had handled The Black Dossier certainly propelled me into other directions away from comics, to the point where the League is my only expression in the comics field and is likely to remain to so for the foreseeable future. When that happened, the nearest we got to supportive comments from the rest of the industry was along the lines of useful advice like, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” I’m not expecting the writers and artists of the industry to go out and struggle with Galactus, should he turn up suddenly and threaten to eat the world. Of course I’m not. I’m just asking them to show a little bit of ordinary human courage. I think that if they had done that, then the industry would probably not be in the state that it is."


As always, he's incisive and speaks about what others fear to discuss.

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