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Talk about the Watchmen comic book mini-series and film
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:39 pm 
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Chris Mautner wrote:
“Alan Moore has earned his frustration, his suspicions and his occasional flashes of anger. He should be listened to and learned from, not dismissed and certainly never mocked.” — Tom Spurgeon

When the comic book industry first coalesced in the late 1930s, it adopted a business model that, to put it lightly, did not put an emphasis on ethical behavior. These were publishing companies run by greedy, exploitive people who had questionable connections to gangsters or had been indicted for mail fraud. They cared little about the quality of their product, the well-being of their workers–sorry, freelancers–or seeing that anyone who contributed to their success was fairly and duly compensated.

Here we are, roughly 80 years later, and everything has changed. Whoops, I’m sorry. I mean nothing has changed. It’s still an ugly, cutthroat industry where publishers are all too happy to grab as many rights as they can to artists’ hard-won work whenever said artists are willing to take those sucker bets. It’s an industry dominated by cynical publishing ventures and easy cash grabs rather than an interest in creating long range, sustainable business models. Perhaps the worst thing about our current era is that those who have legitimate reason to complain about their mistreatment are the ones most frequently shouted down by a certain cross-section of their fans, a mercenary bunch who seem to care more for ensuring that they never, ever lose the chance to get more of the same in a timely fashion than if the people producing that same are treated with a certain amount of decency and respect.


Of course, it wasn’t supposed to be that way. The comics boom of the 1980s that gave rise to the indie, b&w movement also gave rise to a vigorous interest in creators rights. People like Alan Moore, Dave Sim, Steve Bissette, Scott McCloud, Neal Adams and Frank Miller saw what had happened to industry veterans like Jack Kirby and Steve Gerber, and were justifiably outraged. They spoke out against these perceived injustices and continually pushed for better compensation and to have a greater stake in the comics they produced, whether on their own or with a major publisher. The creator-owned works we see from companies like Dark Horse and Vertigo, the royalties that current artists and writers receive on work-for-hire projects — that’s all a direct result of these efforts.

Watchmen was supposed to be a part of that movement. As Moore states in a 2005 interview with Heidi MacDonald, the idea was that by creating characters out of whole cloth rather than relying on the Charlton bunch, Moore and Gibbons would be given the rights to Watchmen (and also V for Vendetta, which Moore handed over to DC in order to finish the project) one year after they went out of print, which they expected to happen as soon as the series was completed. To my knowledge, DC has never disputed Moore’s description of events.

Of course, we know how that turned out. Watchmen caught the rising winds of the burgeoning graphic novel movement and ended up never going out of print. Moore and Gibbons found themselves to be victims of their own success as the book continued to rise in popularity and acclaim, and readers found they preferred reading it in collected trade form to hunting down back issues. It was, as Eric Stephenson, notes, a “dirty deal,” and if it was a turn of events DC didn’t necessarily expect, well, it’s not like they’ve done much to create a more equitable situation in the years since.

You see, whether or not Before Watchmen dilutes the charm of the original comic is irrelevant — creators are just as capable of destroying the goodwill their initial work establishes as easily as corporations are. And the fact that Moore has frequently drawn upon classic literary material in works like Lost Girls and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is also irrelevant (although let me make an aside here to say that there’s a big difference between building a pastiche using familiar characters and motifs to create something new and original, and rehashing familiar material to make a quick and cynical cash grab). The basic issue here is one of fairness, of creators rights and how this industry operates. It’s about how a work that should have been a shining example of how much had changed in the comics world instead became an example of how everything has stayed the same.

Now, I am a full-time reporter for a daily newspaper. Everything I write for that newspaper is work-for-hire, including the comics column I did for them for a few years. I was not compensated, for example, when an interview I did with Alan Moore was reprinted in the book Alan Moore: Conversations, nor did I expect to receive any compensation, financial or otherwise. On the other hand, I get a weekly salary for my efforts. I get sick days and vacation. I get health care and a 401k plan. I get treated like a valued employee. Moore doesn’t get and never has received any of those things. Yes, his work has been financially successful enough to make some of those compensations moot, but there are very few creators working in this industry that can make similar claims.

If we care at all about the comics industry, if we care about comics as an art form, if we want it to be taken seriously, if we want to see talented people produce quality material, then we need to start caring about the way those people are treated in this industry. We need to start valuing creators rights over our own greedy need for more third-rate pulp. We need to stop making shameless, defensive rationalizations and questioning people’s motives when the basic motive underlying those outbursts is “me wanty.” We need to stop acting like petulant, entitled children. And we need to speak out when creators whose work we claim to value and enjoy are given short shrift in the name of the Almighty dollar.


http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/20 ... rs-rights/

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:04 am 
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Did Moore and Gibbons really get screwed when all involved thought that the "within a year of the end of printing" would really be at max a few years away? I doubt anybody at DC was thinking this ultra violent piece of political satire was really going to be one of the highest selling comics of all time.

I know I'll now get labeled as one of "those" fans, but I don't think DC tried to screw over Moore with the contract, they were trying later

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:09 am 
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Well the terms were fairly simple:

Moore and Gibbons would be paid a nice hefty sum when the book went out of print. To this day, the book hasn't stopped selling, and probably never will. So, either Moore and Gibbons will get an even bigger check when they're possibly near death, or they'll move on.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:24 am 
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Dr. Brooklyn wrote:
Did Moore and Gibbons really get screwed when all involved thought that the "within a year of the end of printing" would really be at max a few years away? I doubt anybody at DC was thinking this ultra violent piece of political satire was really going to be one of the highest selling comics of all time.

I know I'll now get labeled as one of "those" fans, but I don't think DC tried to screw over Moore with the contract, they were trying later


Were any of us even discussing that fact before the prequels were announced ?

That's the point of the article, as soon as prequels began to hit the media, a portion of the fans of the comic began a process of rationalization and truth-bending to reduce their guilt and justify buying the minis of their favorite characters.

It's one thing to be excited about the prequels, I think these characters have earned our love and appreciation, as well as the people penning and pencilling their stories. It's a completely different thing to sell out the very person, who elevated comics to absolute brilliance, with nothing more than hollow rhetoric.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:34 am 
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WJK wrote:
Well the terms were fairly simple:

Moore and Gibbons would be paid a nice hefty sum when the book went out of print. To this day, the book hasn't stopped selling, and probably never will. So, either Moore and Gibbons will get an even bigger check when they're possibly near death, or they'll move on.


And even in death, the book would only sell more copies.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:54 pm 
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feliciano182 wrote:
That's the point of the article, as soon as prequels began to hit the media, a portion of the fans of the comic began a process of rationalization and truth-bending to reduce their guilt and justify buying the minis of their favorite characters.


I don't really think that's what fans were doing.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:40 pm 
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Dr. Brooklyn wrote:
feliciano182 wrote:
That's the point of the article, as soon as prequels began to hit the media, a portion of the fans of the comic began a process of rationalization and truth-bending to reduce their guilt and justify buying the minis of their favorite characters.


I don't really think that's what fans were doing.


That's exactly what you've been doing :lol:, along with several other "fans", going through the entire history of Moore and DC's deal and twisting each part in favor of DC.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:02 pm 
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feliciano182 wrote:
That's exactly what you've been doing :lol:,


That implies that I have felt guilt and am working around it... I don't know if I've ever felt guilty about reading these prequels

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:10 pm 
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Dr. Brooklyn wrote:
feliciano182 wrote:
That's exactly what you've been doing :lol:,


That implies that I have felt guilt and am working around it... I don't know if I've ever felt guilty about reading these prequels


I can perfectly accept you saying do not feel guilty, which is great. But you, as well as others, sure as shit have tried to find innumerable examples of why the prequels "are right".

The fact alone is that if any of the "Before Watchmen" prequels are any good, they will speak by themselves when they hit the stands, nobody needs to re-write history by picking apart and bending the truth on the "Moore VS DC" situation, and neither do we need the imbecile of JMS playing figurehead to DC comics.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:02 am 
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Dr. Brooklyn wrote:
feliciano182 wrote:
That's exactly what you've been doing :lol:,


That implies that I have felt guilt and am working around it... I don't know if I've ever felt guilty about reading these prequels


I wouldn't say that I feel guilty about reading the prequels per se, I just feel on principle that Watchmen should've been left as a standalone. However that isn't going to stop me reading further material about some of my favourite comic book characters of all time, with a strong creative team behind them. If details for the prequels had been announced with terrible cover art, and dubious writers behind them, I probably wouldn't be going near them. Moore has every right to be opposed to the idea of prequels given his history with DC, but as a Watchmen fan it is my choice whether or not to acknowledge the prequels. I think many people who are opposed to the idea will end up reading them anyway out of curiosity.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:35 am 
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Just going to put this l'il guy here

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:02 am 
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Quoting that:

'People are firmly on one side or another, but in the context of the almost-guaranteed sales this book will have, the ethics of it all become moot.'

I know I have stated my stance, that comics are where different teams of writers n' artists can reinterpret archetypal characters, and that part of the genre's strength and fascination is this process. All this quite apart from the artistic drives or financial systems that make up the world of comics publishing.
Also, I have said Moore knew what he was signing. He (and DC) had no way of knowing the long-lived success that was to come. Whatcha gonna do?

BUT, despite all that. I don't sit on one side of the fence or the other. I'm straddling right now. Straddling a sharp, nasty fence. As publication draws closer, I find the ethics becoming less moot all the time, and I feel more and more uneasy about this whole scene, maaaaan.

A movie based on the original Watchmen comics, fine. Comics based on the original Watchmen.... AAAARGGGH!

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:03 pm 
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For your consideration

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:09 pm 
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Dr. Brooklyn wrote:


To actually consider:

"The smartest thing DC’s done with these Watchmen prequels is put some quality talent on them. JMS, Azzarello, Darywyn Cooke, Kuberts – this definitely isn’t the new 52 featuring a “Where are they now” murderer’s row of 90′s talent.

It’s funny, every interview you read with the people on these books is weirdly defensive. They give reasons for why this is okay, reasons why Moore shouldn’t be mad, reasons why this is a good idea – and the thing is, the product will show all that if it’s good. Don’t tell us Moore shouldn’t be upset about this, don’t try to take some moral high ground. Just do a good job on it and shut the fuck up. None of you had a burning desire to tell a new Night Owl story. This isn’t some kind of passion project you’ve wanted to do for years.

You are talented and DC recognizes that and is giving you a lot of money to work on a very controversial project. Just say that, do your best work and shut up about it."

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