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Old August 14 2008, 11:12 PM   #61
Bob The Skutter
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Re: What's Alan Moore's Problem?

JoeZhang wrote: View Post
Bob The Skutter wrote: View Post
Samuel T. Cogley wrote: View Post

Didn't someone already say that Moore didn't have the right to keep Watchmen from being made? That he didn't own the rights?
He wasn't the sole rights holder, only partial.
He doesn't hold any rights to watchmen, it was work for hire. People tend to forget, that when it was published it was just another comic.
ah, I don't know where I got that from then...
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Old August 14 2008, 11:16 PM   #62
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Re: What's Alan Moore's Problem?

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Yeah, I'm not a big fan of Promethea either; it's a phenomenal work of technical art, but as story it's not especially compelling.
I'm the same - I think its a pretty good read, once, because its very pretty and comics are incredibly quick reads anyway, but I'm glad I only borrowed it rather than bought it. I have no real desire to read it again.

Watchmen, however, is perfect.
To me, Promethea wasn't his best work for America's Best...Top Ten was. They should make a movie out of that, imo.
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Old August 14 2008, 11:36 PM   #63
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Re: What's Alan Moore's Problem?

JoeZhang wrote: View Post
Bob The Skutter wrote: View Post
Samuel T. Cogley wrote: View Post

Didn't someone already say that Moore didn't have the right to keep Watchmen from being made? That he didn't own the rights?
He wasn't the sole rights holder, only partial.
He doesn't hold any rights to watchmen, it was work for hire. People tend to forget, that when it was published it was just another comic.
If true, then any argument about "taking food out of the mouths of Gibbon's children" is moot.
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Old August 14 2008, 11:39 PM   #64
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Re: What's Alan Moore's Problem?

JoeZhang wrote: View Post
He doesn't hold any rights to watchmen, it was work for hire. People tend to forget, that when it was published it was just another comic.
It would have been strict work for hire had it involved the Charlton Comics characters as initially planned, but because it ended up being new characters (albeit ones derivative of their Charlton counterparts) I believe the film rights were creator-owned - they must have been since they were initially sold to Fox (then went to Paramount/Universal and then to Warners), whereas had DC owned the rights they would have automatically gone to Warner Bros in the first place circa the late 1980s.
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Old August 15 2008, 12:25 AM   #65
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Re: What's Alan Moore's Problem?

Out Of My Vulcan Mind wrote: View Post
JoeZhang wrote: View Post
He doesn't hold any rights to watchmen, it was work for hire. People tend to forget, that when it was published it was just another comic.
It would have been strict work for hire had it involved the Charlton Comics characters as initially planned, but because it ended up being new characters (albeit ones derivative of their Charlton counterparts) I believe the film rights were creator-owned - they must have been since they were initially sold to Fox (then went to Paramount/Universal and then to Warners), whereas had DC owned the rights they would have automatically gone to Warner Bros in the first place circa the late 1980s.
As far as I'm aware, that's not actually true - warner sold the rights onto fox - why I have no idea. Universal and Paramount were also in the frame to make a watchmen film at some stage during the 1990s.

but because it ended up being new characters
It's pretty much irrelevant under a work for hire contract, which is why so many old comic book creators ended up bitter and broke. I'm sure that people like Geoff Johns and Jim Lee are making smarter deals those days - but who knows?
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Old August 15 2008, 12:36 AM   #66
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Re: What's Alan Moore's Problem?

The lawsuit Fox filed over the Watchmen rights is online. The opening summary says this:

Fox acquired rights to The Watchmen property over the period 1986 to 1990 under a series of contracts and agreements whereby Fox at substantial expense obtained the rights from the creators and authors of the original works.
I don't know whether "creators and authors" can refer to a corporation (such as Warners/DC) in a legal document or whether that's necessarily a reference to Moore and Gibbons. Perhaps someone who works in the field can comment on that. As an aside, all throughout the lawsuit they refer to Watchmen as The Watchmen for some reason.
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Old August 15 2008, 12:43 AM   #67
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Re: What's Alan Moore's Problem?

It wasn't exactly work for hire, Moore and DC had it agreed in his contract that after DC finished its print run of Watchmen, the rights to Watchmen would revert back to him (not sure if him alone or him + Gibbons).
Back in the day, the idea that a company would, every year, keep printing a graphic novel for eons was unheard of.

It was, of course, popular. DC made it a point to never stop printing it, so they wouldn't lose the rights to it. This is, at least in part, where Moore's bitterness towards DC comes from.
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Old August 15 2008, 12:51 AM   #68
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Re: What's Alan Moore's Problem?

I read earlier today that DC is planning to publish 1 million copies of Watchmen to go on sale as the film comes out. Yowza!
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Old August 15 2008, 01:29 AM   #69
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Re: What's Alan Moore's Problem?

Out Of My Vulcan Mind wrote: View Post
JoeZhang wrote: View Post
He doesn't hold any rights to watchmen, it was work for hire. People tend to forget, that when it was published it was just another comic.
It would have been strict work for hire had it involved the Charlton Comics characters as initially planned, but because it ended up being new characters (albeit ones derivative of their Charlton counterparts) I believe the film rights were creator-owned - they must have been since they were initially sold to Fox (then went to Paramount/Universal and then to Warners), whereas had DC owned the rights they would have automatically gone to Warner Bros in the first place circa the late 1980s.
That was my understanding as well...

There's no question but that there's a percentage of the proceeds from this film that would go to Moore which he's ceded to his artist counterpart... that's been publicized fairly widely, so if it weren't actually true, I think we'd have heard official rebuttal against it by now, wouldn't we?

If he didn't own ANY rights to the material, there would be no renumeration going to him. That's been a major issue for many comics writers over the years... they create something and then have no claim on it in the future. But in this case, there IS "some" claim he has... and there's some claim that Dave Gibbons has. Neither would even be ISSUE if this were, as stated, a pure "work for hire," would they?
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Old August 15 2008, 01:46 AM   #70
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Re: What's Alan Moore's Problem?

Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
If he didn't own ANY rights to the material, there would be no renumeration going to him. That's been a major issue for many comics writers over the years... they create something and then have no claim on it in the future. But in this case, there IS "some" claim he has... and there's some claim that Dave Gibbons has. Neither would even be ISSUE if this were, as stated, a pure "work for hire," would they?
Not true. DC Comics has been offering its creators royalties for the use of their comics characters in mediums outside of comics for over twenty years now. Len Wein, for instance, received money for the use of Lucius Fox in The Dark Knight and other Batman adaptations. See here:
DC started with royalties on issues sold, and Marvel soon followed under Shooter (Shooter would note that royalties were a bigger concession for Marvel, as their books sold better than DC).

That’s different from what I’m talking about here, which is a royalty paid to creators of characters for the use of the characters in toys, TV shows, movies, etc.

Marvel did not do THAT until the early to mid 90s.

DC did it when Kahn took over, but I rarely see it discussed since the late 80s, so I do not know if it a case where fewer notable creations have come about in DC’s superhero universe or if DC changed their policy on their normal titles (Vertigo, naturally, still maintains tremendous creator rights).
And from further down in that same link:
Another Wein example I’ve been told is, never mind Lucius Fox, that he’s also received more royalty payments for STAR labs (as the creator of that as well) being used in every episode of the Flash TV series than he has for Wolverine.

DC I gather has become a bit generous in grandfathering things in– I understand Denny O’Neil saw some royalties for R’as Al Ghul in Batman Begins
So, not only would Moore be receiving a royalty check from DC on the million copies of Watchmen they intend to sell this year, he would be receiving a royalty check for the use of his creations in the film. Which, based on past interviews, he would simply have kicked over to Dave Gibbons.

I can't imagine Moore kicking the royalty check for a million copies of Watchmen over to Gibbons as well.

The thing I find insane about Moore's stance? Writers would kill to have a book of theirs stay in print -- and stay selling -- for twenty-plus years. If the rights had reverted to Moore back in 1987, if there hadn't been a trade paperback collection, would anyone except people who read the original twelve floppies, even know what the hell Watchmen was?

Moore has made a truckload of money off Watchmen over the past twenty years thanks to DC keeping his book in print. If Moore and Gibbons had the property, though, I don't think there's any question that Moore wouldn't have made anywhere near what he's earned from Watchmen the past two decades.
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Old August 15 2008, 01:59 AM   #71
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Re: What's Alan Moore's Problem?

It would have been strict work for hire had it involved the Charlton Comics characters as initially planned, but because it ended up being new characters (albeit ones derivative of their Charlton counterparts)
If you want to be technical, it was originally supposed to be about the Archie Heroes -- the Shield, the Fly, the Comet, the Black Hood, etc.

God, what a weird alternate history that would be, if in 1986 Archie Comics published Watchmen #1, which begins with the murder of the Shield.

Last edited by Allyn Gibson; August 15 2008 at 02:11 AM. Reason: "Alternate history," not "[i]ultimate[/i] history" *sigh*
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Old August 15 2008, 02:05 AM   #72
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Re: What's Alan Moore's Problem?

Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
It would have been strict work for hire had it involved the Charlton Comics characters as initially planned, but because it ended up being new characters (albeit ones derivative of their Charlton counterparts)
If you want to be technical, it was originally supposed to be about the Archie Heroes -- the Shield, the Fly, the Comet, the Black Hood, etc.
Hadn't heard that it was going to be the Archie heroes. The characters Moore came up with are certainly replacements for the Charlton heroes, so I'm not sure how far the Archie heroes progressed in Moore's formulation.
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Old August 15 2008, 02:10 AM   #73
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Re: What's Alan Moore's Problem?

Out Of My Vulcan Mind wrote: View Post
Hadn't heard that it was going to be the Archie heroes. The characters Moore came up with are certainly replacements for the Charlton heroes, so I'm not sure how far the Archie heroes progressed in Moore's formulation.
From the horse's mouth:
Wouldn't it be nice if I had an entire line, a universe, a continuity, a world full of super-heroes—preferably from some line that has been discontinued and no longer publishing—whom I could then just treat in a different way. You have to remember this was very soon after I'd done some similar stuff, if you like, with Marvelman, where I'd used a pre-existing character, and applied a grimmer, perhaps more realistic kind of world view to that character and the milieu he existed in. So I'd just started thinking about using the MLJ characters—the Archie super-heroes—just because they weren't being published at that time, and for all I knew, they might've been up for grabs. The initial concept would've had the 1960s-'70s rather lame version of the Shield being found dead in the harbor, and then you'd probably have various other characters, including Jack Kirby's Private Strong, being drafted back in, and a murder mystery unfolding. I suppose I was just thinking, "That'd be a good way to start a comic book: have a famous super-hero found dead." As the mystery unraveled, we would be lead deeper and deeper into the real heart of this super-hero's world, and show a reality that was very different to the general public image of the super-hero. So, that was the idea.
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Old August 15 2008, 02:12 AM   #74
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Re: What's Alan Moore's Problem?

I'd just come across that and was about to post it.

Here's the continuation:

When Dick Giordano had acquired the Charlton line, Dave Gibbons and I were talking about doing something together. We had worked together on a couple of stories for 2000 A. D., which we had a great deal of fun with, and we wanted to work on something for DC. (We were amongst that first wave of British expatriates, after Brian Bolland, Kevin O'Neil, and I was the first writer, and we wanted to work together. ) One of the first ideas was that perhaps we should do a Challengers of the Unknown mini-series, and somewhere I've got a rough penciled cover for a Martian Manhunter mini-series, but I think it was the usual thing: Other people were developing projects regarding those characters, so DC didn't want us to use them. So, at this point, I came up with this idea regarding the MLJ/Archie characters, and it was the sort of idea that could be applied to any pre-existing group of super-heroes. If it had been the Tower characters—the T. H. U. N. D. E. R. Agents—I could've done the same thing. The story was about super-heroes, and it didn't matter which super-heroes it was about, as long as the characters had some kind of emotional resonance, that people would recognize them, so it would have the shock and surprise value when you saw what the reality of these characters was.

So, Dick had purchased the Charlton characters for DC, and he was looking for some way to use them, and Dave and I put forth this proposal which originally was designed around a number of the Charlton characters. I forget how much of the idea was in place then, but I think that it would start with a murder, and I pretty well knew who would be guilty of the murder, and I've got an idea of the motive, and the basic bare-bones of the plot—all of which actually ended up being about the least important thing about Watchmen. The most powerful elements in the the final book was more the storytelling and all the stuff in-between, bits of the plot. When we were just planning to do an extreme and unusual super-hero book, we thought the Charlton characters would provide us with a great line-up that had a lot of emotional nostalgia, with associations and resonance for the readership. So, that was why we put forward this proposal for doing this new take on the Charlton characters.
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Old August 15 2008, 02:13 AM   #75
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Re: What's Alan Moore's Problem?

Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
The thing I find insane about Moore's stance? Writers would kill to have a book of theirs stay in print -- and stay selling -- for twenty-plus years. If the rights had reverted to Moore back in 1987, if there hadn't been a trade paperback collection, would anyone except people who read the original twelve floppies, even know what the hell Watchmen was?

Moore has made a truckload of money off Watchmen over the past twenty years thanks to DC keeping his book in print. If Moore and Gibbons had the property, though, I don't think there's any question that Moore wouldn't have made anywhere near what he's earned from Watchmen the past two decades.
If he and Gibbons got the rights back, they could publish it themselves/through another publisher; indy creators have been doing it for decades now (Dave Sim really got the ball rolling with his Cerebus editions around the time Watchmen was published).
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