February 01, 2012

Alan Moore proves his massive ego once again

DC plans to put out numerous prequel Watchmen comics in the months to come (titled Before Watchmen), but original creator Alan Moore ain't happy about it:

Moore, however, isn’t as generous, describing the prequels as “completely shameless.” “I tend to take this latest development as a kind of eager confirmation that they are still apparently dependent on ideas that I had 25 years ago,” he told The New York Times.

The writer, who stopped working for DC in 1989 following disputes about Watchmen royalties and a proposed age-rating system, revealed in July 2010 that the publisher had at last offered to return the rights to his most famous creation, if he “would agree to some dopey prequels and sequels.”

“So I just told them that if they said that 10 years ago, when I asked them for that, then yeah it might have worked,” he said at the time. “But these days I don’t want Watchmen back. Certainly, I don’t want it back under those kinds of terms.”

Moore echoed those sentiments to The Times, insisting he likely won’t try to block Before Watchmen or face DC’s “infinite battery of lawyers” in a legal battle. “I don’t want money,” he said. “What I want is for this not to happen.”

And though I can't stand J. Michael Straczynski's politics -- he's writing the Dr. Manhattan prequel -- he's spot-on about Moore's ego:

“A lot of folks feel that these characters shouldn’t be touched by anyone other than Alan, and while that’s absolutely understandable on an emotional level, it’s deeply flawed on a logical level,” he said in an exclusive interview with Comic Book Resources. “Based on durability and recognition, one could make the argument that Superman is the greatest comics character ever created. But neither Alan nor anyone else has ever suggested that no one other than Shuster and Siegel should ever be allowed to write Superman. Alan didn’t pass on being brought on to write Swamp Thing, a seminal comics character created by Len Wein, and he did a terrific job. He didn’t say ‘No, no, I can’t, that’s Len’s character.’ Nor should he have.”

Exactly right. Scores and scores of writers and artists have created [good] stories using characters created by other people. Some argue that because Watchmen is a self-contained story -- it has a beginning, middle and end -- this makes Moore's point valid. No, not really. There's easily plenty of room for more background story on the characters; for that matter, there could easily be a Watchmen sequel, too, if DC wanted. Watchmen is quite a lucrative property for DC, so it makes perfect sense to expand upon its "universe." DC will make money, mainly because demand should be high for these prequels (such that demand is these days for comicbooks). The different creative teams and their respective characters' books are here.

I won't buy the prequels, but not because I'm uninterested. As mentioned, Straczynski's politics are a huge turn-off (as are those of many other current writers), and comic prices are just nuts when compared to what you get for your cash. Maybe when the series are collected into trade paperbacks I may consider a purchase.

Posted by Hube at February 1, 2012 05:38 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Disagree. Watchman was a well told tale with a beginning and an end. It was the comic equivalent of a mini-series and is a contained narrative. And when DC told Moore that he couldn't use the Charlton characters in his original plan, they made Watchmen into Moore's baby. In comparison Superman, Batman, or Swamp Thing have always been serials written by multiple people. The structures of the two are not comparable.

Posted by: Jeff the Baptist at February 1, 2012 05:54 PM

Disagree. There is plenty more that can be told, especially in a prequel. Watchmen is a lucrative creation and as such it makes sense on all levels. Kingdom Come was similar, yet they expanded upon it ...

I liken Moore's attitude to bands that get all pompous and don't want to play their biggest hits in concert ... because they want fans to accept it "as it was" or some such nonsense.

Posted by: Hube at February 1, 2012 05:58 PM