What's Alan Moore's Problem?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Samuel T. Cogley, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. Bob The Skutter

    Bob The Skutter Complete Arse Cleft Premium Member

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    ah, I don't know where I got that from then...
     
  2. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd Vice Admiral

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    To me, Promethea wasn't his best work for America's Best...Top Ten was. They should make a movie out of that, imo.
     
  3. Samuel T. Cogley

    Samuel T. Cogley Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hold still, Jim.
    If true, then any argument about "taking food out of the mouths of Gibbon's children" is moot.
     
  4. Out Of My Vulcan Mind

    Out Of My Vulcan Mind Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  5. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.

    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?
     
  6. Out Of My Vulcan Mind

    Out Of My Vulcan Mind Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    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.
     
  7. 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.
     
  8. Out Of My Vulcan Mind

    Out Of My Vulcan Mind Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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!
     
  9. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    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?
     
  10. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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:
    And from further down in that same link:
    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.
     
  11. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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: Aug 15, 2008
  12. Out Of My Vulcan Mind

    Out Of My Vulcan Mind Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  13. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    From the horse's mouth:
     
  14. Out Of My Vulcan Mind

    Out Of My Vulcan Mind Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    Here's the continuation:

     
  15. CaptainCanada

    CaptainCanada Admiral Admiral

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    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).
     
  16. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't disagree at all. I do think that, if the rights had reverted, Watchmen would have been reprinted by, say, Kitchen Sink at some point. Maybe even Avatar.

    But would it have had anything like the market penetration and awareness that it's gotten from DC Comics? I doubt it.

    I can walk in any bookstore and find a copy of Watchmen or V For Vendetta. It's a rare occasion when I find From Hell on the shelf. I have seen Lost Girls, though.
     
  17. CaptainCanada

    CaptainCanada Admiral Admiral

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    Even if it sold less, they'd make way more money off each sale by owning it (Mark Millar said that he made more money off of Kickass #1, which sold around 40,000, then off Civil War #1, which sold about 350,000).
     
  18. Out Of My Vulcan Mind

    Out Of My Vulcan Mind Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It may well be that they'd make money from each sale if they owned it, but Mark Millar isn't exactly on a first name basis with the truth.
     
  19. CaptainCanada

    CaptainCanada Admiral Admiral

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    That's just an example; Brubaker's Criminal (which doesn't sell as well, of course) is another example, it's said to be much more lucrative than the more high-selling stuff he writes for Marvel proper; really, creator-owned titles like that would have to pay considerably better than company stuff, or they wouldn't be able to survive.
     
  20. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    Well, really, it seems like the majority of the DC characters that get adapted into other media have histories that stretch all the way back to the Golden Age. It seems rare to even see a recent supporting character like Lucius Fox or Ra's Al-Ghul to make such a transition.

    I doubt Moore would do that either, especially since he doesn't have the artistic objections to the graphic novel that he does to the movie. The stuff I've read from him mostly just says that he doesn't think a movie would work because the story was written as a comic book story and that's what its ideal format is. He might refuse to take any money from the movie (which he will probably decry as a total abomination of his work assuming he sees it at all). But there's no reason to pass up royalties for his masterwork in the format that it was always meant to be seen.

    I think that's a good point. Even if the money would have been better if they self-published, their profiles have been raised immeasurably thanks to DC's higher market penetration.

    Of course, even if the rights did revert back to Moore, that doesn't necessarily mean that he'd have to self-publish. It might simply put him in better negotiating position with a major publisher to give him a bigger cut.