Trouble with Comics

List of Disgraced Watchmen 2 Scabs Revealed

Comic Book Resources has obediently cooperated with Time-Warner corporate superhero comic book publisher DC Comics in revealing the long-ago leaked “news” that DC will publish comic book derivative of Watchmen, a comic book created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Here is the list of scab creators associated with this unethical publishing decision:

Brian Azzarello
Lee Bermejo
Darwyn Cooke
J.G. Jones
J. Michael Straczynski
Adam Hughes
Andy Kubert
Joe Kubert
Len Wein
Jae Lee
Amanda Conner

No comic book reader who believes in creator rights or ethical business practices will buy or read the comics being planned. Writer Alan Moore co-created Watchmen and signed a contract with DC Comics that under normal industry practices of the time would have seen control of the work revert to Moore and artist Dave Gibbons after the work had gone out of print for a period of time, as was the case with every DC graphic novel created under a similar contract up until Watchmen. Because of the unprecedented quality and success of Watchmen, DC has never allowed the work to go out of print, and therefore has retained legal control of Watchmen for decades longer than anyone at the time could have imagined they would have. I’ve said before that DC may have the legal right to create more Watchmen comics, but their ethically dubious stewardship of the property and repeated actions against the interests and wishes of Alan Moore make these comics nothing but the fruit of a poisoned tree.

I once again ask anyone who believes DC is in the wrong here to sign the petition asking the publisher not to create more Watchmen comics until such a time that DC reaches an accord with Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, and the two fully and freely endorse such work.

I’m disgusted by the long list of scab writers and artists above, who have willingly thrown in their lot against creator rights and in favour of unethical corporate thuggery. Any writer or artist who respects the rights of their colleagues throughout the industry would refuse to work on any derivative works related to Watchmen until DC, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons are all in agreement on the creation of new Watchmen properties. 

Alan David Doane 

Let It Be

I reject utterly the premise and substance of “The Rare Case Against Creator-Owned Comics,” posted on the Newsarama blog. If anything, Alan Moore’s veto of a reprinting of the 1963 project is a good argument for creator-owned comics. Moore’s writing was the prime appeal of 1963, and speaking as someone who bought it new on the stands, and not disregarding the wonderful artwork by Steve Bissette, Dave Gibbons and Rick Veitch, I can tell you I bought it primarily — if not solely, because of the writing of Alan Moore, and the clever way in which he invoked the tone of Silver Age Marvel Comics. Could the artists have done it without Moore? Not with the same level of quality and creative ingenuity. Certainly not without the enormous number of copies sold. Could Moore have done it without the particular artists who illustrated his ideas? Of course he could have.  

Which isn’t to say I don’t sympathize with the artists. I do, completely. But I place more importance on Moore’s right to say “no,” and I totally sympathize with Moore’s desire to distance himself from the larger segment of the comics industry. Comics as a whole — readers and publishers — have treated him with contempt and ethical shenanigans for nearly as long as he’s been writing them. I can’t blame him at all for wanting to move on. I wish the 1963 partners could have reached an accord and would have loved to see the 1963 Annual back in the days when it was supposed to be published, but those days are over, and near so far as I can tell, as disappointing as it might be to the other creators, Moore is well within his rights to say “no.” If only his rights and desires had been respected a little more often over the last 30 years or so, he might be a little more magnanimous now in what he is willing to cooperate with, or at least tolerate.

Alan Moore has, in my over thirty years of reading his writing, earned my respect, my admiration, and my trust. I know he has higher-than-average expectations and standards when it comes to friendship and relationships, and I know there are good and decent people who have, for reasons I am not privileged to know, somehow found themselves fallen out of Moore’s good graces. I’m sure that’s unpleasant, even painful.

But Moore, as an individual and as a comics creator, has more than earned the right to associate with, both personally and professionally, only those he chooses to associate with. He should not be forced into business contracts or personal relationships he does not wish to be a part of, and we should respect that. He’s earned the right to work on the projects he chooses to do, and not a goddamned thing more. Frankly, he’s earned the right to be left in peace. Comics has taken enough from the man. He’s given enough of himself. Steve Bissette, as a former creative partner, has the right to say what he wishes about 1963, as does anyone else who was involved in the project. Everyone else is just blowing so much hot air.

Alan David Doane