DC unveils Watchmen prequels...
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TOPIC: DC unveils Watchmen prequels...

07 Feb 2012 04:30 #115497

Re: DC unveils Watchmen prequels...

Not sure about "Gibbon's blessing."

robot6.comicbookresources.com/2012/02/watchmen-prequels-announced-with-gibbons-blessing-moores-scorn/

“The original series of Watchmen is the complete story that Alan Moore and I wanted to tell,” the artist said in a statement. “However, I appreciate DC’s reasons for this initiative and the wish of the artists and writers involved to pay tribute to our work. May these new additions have the success they desire.”

doesn't strike me as "Yea, go get 'em!" YMMV

When a trade is released I'll probably pick up out of curiosity. I'm down to just a few monthly titles and have cleared out 4 long boxes so far and still pruning.

In general with the new 52 DC is "Deadtome Comics"

My favorite Moore?

- Promethea is way up there for sure - my favorite of the ABC line

- Top 10 was really good - didn't care for where they took the Smax character - my recollection is a different writer did that but I could be wrong.

- Great article on Lost girls www.salon.com/2006/08/30/moore_26/ - "dignified pornography?" Ok, that feels pretty close.
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09 Feb 2012 01:12 #115684

Re: DC unveils Watchmen prequels...

dragonstout wrote:


False. His contract said that he would get the rights to Watchmen some number of years after the comics went out of print. This was in the age before graphic novels. He could have had no IDEA that they would keep Watchmen in print FOREVER so that he would never get the rights to it. Such a thing was completely unprecedented.


Keeping books in print so that the publishers retain the rights is the opposite of unprecedented - it's standard operating procedure (as I found when I worked in the book trade.)

I'm ambivalent about the prequels but we have to remember that Moore based the Watchmen characters on pre-existing properties (the Charlton heroes) that he wasn't allowed to use for this purpose, so he made his own up based on them. If Moore does own the characters lock, stock and barrel then DC are clearly acting in breach of contract. Moore has every right to bitch, but if DC own the characters (as it appears) then they can do what they like.
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10 Feb 2012 14:57 #115872

Re: DC unveils Watchmen prequels...

One thing I concluded from this thread is that if I were to boycott Before Watchmen because of DC's treatment of Alan Moore, I'd also have to boycott everything Marvel publishes because of their treatment of Jack Kirby. I have the Fantastic Four and Captain America titles on my pull list, but I'm not enjoying them anymore anyway . They're incomprehensible to me (insane Celestials? Where did they come from?).

I'm going to cut down my pulls to just the Kirby: Genesis titles from Dynamite. At least Jack's estate gets something out of those books.

Here's a recent article from Slate by James Sturm about the upstart movement to boycott Marvel:
www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2012/02/the_avengers_why_i_m_boycotting_marvel_s_movie.html
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Last Edit: 10 Feb 2012 15:01 by Juniper.
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10 Feb 2012 18:40 #115934

Re: DC unveils Watchmen prequels...

Gary Friedrich created Ghost Rider under the usual Marvel work-for-hire contract. After the first Ghost Rider movie came out, he sued Marvel for a portion of the proceeds and lost. Then Friedrich started selling his own line of Ghost Rider merchandise at conventions, and got successfully sued by Marvel for $17,000. Anyway, I was reading a discussion about that case in another forum and saw this awesome analogy that might apply to Moore's situation as well:

"The guy was paid for Ghost Rider and Marvel owns it. If you pay me to build a full bathroom for you, it's not like I have the right to come in there and take a shit whenever I want."
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10 Feb 2012 21:13 #115988

Re: DC unveils Watchmen prequels...

Kirby built the house that the bathroom is in, and he had a role in the construction of all the other houses on the street, and the other streets in the neighbourhood, and pretty much every neighbourhood in the city, except for the Ditko District. He did this work under no written contract, but with the understanding that once the city was profitable, he would get a cut. Ditko had the same understanding, and left Marvel when he realized they wouldn't make good on it.

For decades, Stan Lee claimed to have built all the houses in the town, and that Kirby merely painted the walls. We know that's not true. Stan Lee still claims (under oath) that Kirby helped build all those houses under the equivalent of an implied (but unwritten) work-for-hire contract, and the court accepted his testimony at face value. Others (Steranko, Sinnott, Evanier, Morrow) have expressed doubt about that. The court rejected their testimony as hearsay.

And Marvel didn't just tell Kirby not to shit in their toilet. They also went into Kirby's house, and took a crap there, and took the paintings off the walls on the way out, and held them hostage in an attempt to intimidate Kirby into signing a document granting to Marvel all rights in all of the properties that he created.

Anyway, Marvel comics just aren't targeted at me anymore, and they don't entertain me, and I'm going to stop buying them. The Kirby thing is a factor in my decision to drop all Marvel titles, but my inability to enjoy them is a bigger factor.

As for Moore, he felt that DC violated their contract with him even while the original 12-part Watchmen comic book was still being serialized. According to the contract, he was owed a cut of the merchandising revenue, but DC skirted that obligation by providing free retailer-incentive bonus merchandise to the comic shops in exchange for ordering DC product in sufficient numbers. DC knew the retailers were just going to sell these incentives, so they were clearly merchandise, but since they were kind-of-sort-of free, Moore received no royalties on them.
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Last Edit: 10 Feb 2012 21:26 by Juniper.
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10 Feb 2012 21:23 #115993

Re: DC unveils Watchmen prequels...

Shellhead wrote:

"The guy was paid for Ghost Rider and Marvel owns it. If you pay me to build a full bathroom for you, it's not like I have the right to come in there and take a shit whenever I want."


Sure, they can fuck that guy all they like. They hold the power to make Ghost Rider popular not him. If it was just his idea no one would know who ghost rider is and he wouldn't have been famous anyway. It's a tough spot to be in and why the Superman creators successfully sued DC. They got fucked the same way but judges back then were more understanding. Plus it's harder now and the new contracts are more bulletproof.

In any case none of this changes the fact that Watchmen is done, the story finished. I won't read these stupid pre-quels and most of the writers involved I will actively avoid from here on out. They KNOW that Moore doesn't want this and they're doing it anyway. For the money I assume and that means I don't want to read them.

I don't need to take a shit in that guys bathroom or even look at it. DC is free to do what they want and fans that built the company have every right to say fuck them and make a fuss about it too. That's how it works.
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10 Feb 2012 21:36 #115994

Re: DC unveils Watchmen prequels...

JonJacob wrote:
It's a tough spot to be in and why the Superman creators successfully sued DC. They got fucked the same way but judges back then were more understanding. Plus it's harder now and the new contracts are more bulletproof.


The Superman story in Action Comics #1 was not produced under any work-for-hire arrangement. Siegel and Shuster created the comic first, then shopped it around town as a daily newspaper comic strip. When they couldn't sell it in that format, they pasted it together as a comic book story and eventually sold it that way to National Periodicals. Since it was never work-for-hire, and the authors never explicitly granted their copyright in the work to DC, it was always theirs, but DC was and is chipping away at the edges of that.
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11 Feb 2012 00:10 #116015

Re: DC unveils Watchmen prequels...

trif wrote:
dragonstout wrote:


False. His contract said that he would get the rights to Watchmen some number of years after the comics went out of print. This was in the age before graphic novels. He could have had no IDEA that they would keep Watchmen in print FOREVER so that he would never get the rights to it. Such a thing was completely unprecedented.


Keeping books in print so that the publishers retain the rights is the opposite of unprecedented - it's standard operating procedure (as I found when I worked in the book trade.)


WAS completely unprecedented, in the comic industry, in 1986. This was the comic business, not the book business. Comics, superhero comic books, were never, ever, ever, ever kept in print at the time.

They fucked him in a completely legal manner, but they still fucked him unexpectedly. I'm always disgusted by the assholes in this thread and others who seem to think that the law is all that matters, ethics is irrelevant.

Juniper thankfully understands: I mean, you guys realize that without Kirby & Ditko, there IS no Marvel, right? None of it. The entire multimillion dollar company would not exist without them. And yet Kirby had to fight like fucking crazy to try to get his own goddamn original art back without signing away the rights to everything.
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12 Feb 2012 19:47 #116212

Re: DC unveils Watchmen prequels...

From Tom Spurgeon's Comics Reporter (www.comicsreporter.com), some thoughts on Watchmen; please, at least read this first paragraph:

"11. Somehow lost in the discussion -- either ignored or waved away -- is DC's conduct over the lifetime of the original work. Say what you will about Moore and Gibbons' faith in having the work returned to them when it slipped out of print. Call it naive, call it clueless, wrap yourself in hard-man certainty that you would have done things differently had you been around at the time. That the project was going to return to the creators is indeed what everyone believed was going to happen, to the point it was bragged about in comics circles. This means that when that turned out not to be the case DC was violating the spirit of the agreement. They then turned around and messed with the actual agreement through the "licensed items as promotional items" stunt. When this and other actions lost them the services of Alan Moore, they eventually reclaimed those services by buying a company for which Moore was working at exactly the time during that work when he was least likely to leave. They promised him a specific working arrangement that when it suited them they violated, for what seems like in hindsight stupid-ass, arbitrary reasons. Their stewardship of the comic in question as a movie property led to a slightly clueless misfire of a Watchmen film, turning the greatest work of its genre into another movie that comes on opposite The Hangover and 27 Dresses on a random Saturday night. There were a thousand minor cuts, too. More recently, I believed DC has played a role in allowing Moore to become an object of derision. Heck, one of the authors they had doing publicity work for the More Watchmen project even mocked the author's pretension and perceived lack of reason in the course of that publicity campaign.

12. That yields a depressing irony, of course. Because of the movie, because of the open derision of Moore, and because many of the surface elements have been redone to death by lesser creators, doing More Watchmen has become less of a creative risk than it would have been at an earlier time. Seeing that ridiculous Comedian cover would have seemed much more absurd before we saw spinning, kung-fu Rorschach; the idea that the creator that gave us Walkabout Superman would really be hired to write more of this work would have seemed absurd when he was following in the footsteps of Creative Genius Alan Moore, and seems much less so now that he's following Crazy, Snake-Worshipping Dismissive Alan Moore that can't get a decent movie made. Looking at ten years of comics Internet activity even with a much more useless brain isn't that far off from what Ozymandias was doing with all of western culture via that bank of TVs. That experience tells me that the reputation of Watchmen has declined just enough that the original work and its creators -- even and maybe especially Moore, who wants nothing to do with them -- will shoulder a significant part of any blame to go around if these new books don't hit.

13. I'm sort of at a loss when it comes to explaining what Alan Moore has done that makes so many fans quick to mock and criticize him. If you feel like you've been poorly treated, how is it a bad thing to say so in forthright fashion? As far as I can figure out, the only real thing Moore's done during the entire process that would make me want to say something to him were he to do it at a dinner party is be quick to criticize creators with whose work he's not entirely familiar, and to too easily conflate a certain kind of superhero comic book making with all of comics. I think those using Moore's statements as a way to drive attention to what they're doing share the blame in these incredibly minor acts of ingratitude finding expression, but mostly I'm not certain it's a big deal. The fact that we wave off the open exploitation of corporations and their actors as "well, that's what they do" and we somehow can't process when a human being acts, well, human -- that makes me sad.

14. One gets the feeling that Moore's biggest crime in the eyes of many is his failure to be properly appreciative of the money made on his behalf. Note this places the moneymaking itself squarely on the business partner facilitating the product rather than the creative person making it, which is already dubious to my mind. The absolute and frequently expressed inability of people from comics fans to fellow comics creators who should know better to realize that a creator might not hold making as much money as is possible the ultimate goal of art is astonishing to me, and distressing. There are other values, arguably more noble ones, and even if you don't think so you shouldn't get to decide what someone else's should be.

16. That More Watchmen represents the triumph of brand over literary content, I think is more true than overly facile. Watchmen the work doesn't require a sequel and never did. Watchmen the collection of cool characters and isolated story moments and licensing opportunities demands one. It may really be that simple.

17. I'm also not certain how you can see this as anything but a step away from the wider cultural message of Watchmen back in the 1980s: that authors matter, that original work can be rewarded on the same level as reworking someone else's ideas, that comics have literary and culture value for their ideas and expressive force above and beyond their value as entertainment product. I might call DC foolish if they were touting these sequel books as a match for Watchmen's artistic achievement, but that this idea isn't even on the table may be scarier. This is a toy line. This is a happy meal. This is "based on." This is product."
Last Edit: 12 Feb 2012 19:49 by dragonstout.
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12 Feb 2012 21:24 #116217

Re: DC unveils Watchmen prequels...

I read this after my post and, indeed, DC are in an invidious position. The first paragraph greatly clarifies the arrangement with DC.

Dragonstout is right about Watchmen changing everything. For the first time DC has a star writer - who they could have cultivated the way that most major publishers do (to keep them happy and under contract) - but instead (and I'm reminded of the parable of the turtle crossing the river with the scorpion non his back) they royally fucked over.

I'm not unsympathetic to Moore at all (though my post may have come across that way) - I just think the parentage of the Watchmen characters (not the plot, dialogue or any other aspect of the work) is suspect enough to damage Moore's ability to sue over breach of contract. I only wish he had got a decent agent who could have fought these battles on his behalf - but then Watchmen is the work that would have made him worth representing because, up to that moment, no-one would have believed that a "superhero" comic could have had major literary worth. (I'm really talking about the marketing/perception side of this.)

I do wonder about the role of the editors in this - Len Wein (creator of Wolverine) and Barbara Kesel - how much they went to bat for Moore.

Spurgeon makes a good point about Moore's "biggest crime" - but I also think there's a backlash against Moore because he dared to expose (and continue to expose) the ethical bankruptcy behind mainstream comics (which are after all IP farms - "a triumph of brand over literary content" as Spurgeon puts it.) Fans of the major publishers (and I'm implicated in this) don't like having their face shoved in the excreta of the process that brought them their favourite comics. Moore (and Kirby) are the Banquo's ghosts of the mainstream comic industry.
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