Now before I begin, I want to point you in the direction of where I got these quotes. They are taken from an interview between Moore and Kurt Amacker on www.seraphemera.org (click on the name to get a link to the full interview, it’s an exhaustive 8 pages though).
The reason I’m doing this is due to the fact that the interview was conducted because Moore never really seems to get a chance to speak his mind. Whilst that seems a strange thing to say considering he seems to do nothing but speak his mind, and his rantings have been quoted around the interwebs ad nauseam lately, they’re not usually interviews so much as soundbites containing the interesting or controversial parts of his interviews.
I’m also doing it to ease my discomfort at now blatantly using some of the interesting and controversial parts of the interview below. In the interview he said things such as:
“If DC want to soil themselves in public and kill the reputations of a number of otherwise possibly halfway-decent writers and artists, then I’m certainly not going to stop them. And I shall take my fun and my pleasure however it comes”
That was the understanding upon which we did Watchmen–that they understood that we wanted to actually own the work that we’d done, and that they were a “new DC Comics,” who were going to be more responsive to creators. And, they’d got this new contract worked out which meant that when the work went out of print, then the rights to it would revert to us–which sounded like a really good deal. I’d got no reason not to trust these people. They’d all been very, very friendly. They seemed to be delighted with the amount of extra comics they were selling. Even on that level, I thought, “Well, they can see that I’m getting them an awful lot of good publicity, and I’m bringing them a great deal of money. So, if they are even competent business people, they surely won’t be going out of their way to screw us in any way.” Now, I’ve since seen the Watchmen contract, which obviously we didn’t read very closely at the time. It was the first contract that I’d ever seen–and I believe that it was a relatively rare event for a contract to actually exist in the comics business.
The money would’ve been from DC. He was acting as an intermediary. He told me they were planning to do these prequels and sequels, and that he had been offered something in the region of a quarter of a million dollars to oversee the project–that it would be handled by the top talent in the industry, to which I said some quite intemperate things. I said that, as far as Watchmen was concerned, I didn’t really think that there was any talent in the mainstream comics industry. If there had have been, they presumably, sometime over the past 20 or 25 years, would have perhaps come up with something that was as good as Watchmen–or as notable or as memorable–after they’d already been shown how to do it. So yeah, I was angry and I said some things which I still stand behind. And, that was the end of it. And, that was the end of my friendship with Dave Gibbons: because he hadn’t phoned up and thanked me and he had done the one thing that I’d asked him not to. When I mentioned this in an interview, he phoned me up again to say, “Oh, thanks for that money, Alan.”
It strikes me that, yes, I can understand why they took on Before Watchmen. It will probably be the only opportunity they get in their careers to actually be attached to a project that anybody outside of comics has ever heard of. So, I can see how that would be a great lure. I don’t think I would have done it, though, because to go down in history as the people who did the lame rewrites and prequels to Watchmen–well, that’s not for me. But, of course everybody has to make their own choices. So, no, obviously I won’t want anything to do with any of the people who are attached to this project at a
I have a huge respect for my audience. On the occasions when I meet them, they seem, I like to think, to be intelligent and scrupulous people. If people do want to go out and buy these Watchmen prequels, they would be doing me an enormous favor if they would just stop buying my other books. When I think of my audience, I like to have good thoughts and think about how lucky I am to have one that is as intelligent as mine and as moral as mine.I know a way that they could have sorted out their continuity. I could have gotten rid of all of their problems for them. It would have been really simple. But, like I say, they unfortunately alienated me. But, they’ve done that everybody who has been a heavy-hitter creatively. Jack Kirby and all the people who genuinely created stuff all got screwed. It was only the company employees who kind of created stuff that wasn’t really that original in the first place that didn’t. It was the Len Weins who kind of did all right out of it because they always did what the company told them.
More rantings from Alan Moore (and don’t forget there’s an entire interview which can be found here).
Now I may be considered a philistine for saying this but Watchmen was a really good comic but I thought the movie kicked it right in the balls. Personally I felt it worked better as a film (and they took out the alien squid jobby thankfully). Also, whilst I’m sure alot of people will agree with Moore’s points here, and I agree to the extent that I also think these prequels are an un-necessary cash in, I can’t help but feel the man comes across as a complete prick.
Sure, there really is no need for a sequel and I won’t be reading it. The whole affair has caused huge Internet debates when the solution is a simple, you want to buy it, buy it. You don’t want to acknowledge it’s existence, then don’t. But for Moore to attack the other authors for wanting to tell stories about comic book heroes (which is a medium were different writers dip in and out of franchises all the time) seems abit cheeky. Especially when you consider his brilliant “The Killing Joke” was about Batman and The Joker. Does that mean he should count one of his best stories as a cheap cash-in because he’s not using his own creation but using already established characters and doing something new and different with them?
(Note, I’m aware this isn’t entirely the same thing as Batman is a serialised character whilst Watchmen was a stand alone story, but the principle is still the same.)
Plus to tell fans who want to see more stories featuring his creations to stop buying his other books is possibly the most insulting thing I’ve ever heard a comic writer utter. They’re buying it because they loved the story and the characters you created, pretty much every single comic character has been written by someone else at one stage or another so to insult their intelligence because they’d the cheek to love something you created for them (and are now pissed off about because you didn’t read your contract properly) makes me think that Moore has become so obsessed with his own genius (he’s damn good, don’t get me wrong) and how much he has been “betrayed” by DC (once again, he didn’t read his contract properly) that he forgot what comic books were about.
The Fans, not your own overblown ego!alan moore