Alan Moore says No to “Dopey Prequels and Sequels”, WATCHMEN, and possibly comics

No Watchmen 2 300x274 Alan Moore says No to Dopey Prequels and Sequels, WATCHMEN, and possibly comicsComics mastermind Alan Moore, creator of WATCHMEN, not to mention V FOR VENDETTA, LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, and many, many more says he’s told DC Comics to go jump in a lake. According to Moore in an interview with Wired’s blog Underwire, DC offered him the rights to WATCHMEN back in exchange for writing “some dopey sequels and prequels”.  He said no. “I just told them that if they said that 10 years ago, when I asked them for that, then yeah it might have worked. But these days I don’t want Watchmen back. Certainly, I don’t want it back under those kinds of terms.” Far more disturbingly, he also said, “I’m pretty much out of comics now. I really want nothing to do with it.”

With his upcoming multimedia extravaganza Unearthing — including live performances in the tunnels under Waterloo train station* – we all know he’s well on his way to being a multimedia megastar, but Alan Moore leaving comics? Say it ain’t so! Why, where else will we get that very special Russian roulette of creative genius, fascinatingly insane plots and characters, generalized nostalgia and OMG, WTF, why is there porn in my comic?

So that’s the news you’re actually interested in. On a more crassly self-promotional note, hey there! I’m Kate Fitzsimons and I’ll be filling in here as a guest blogger on the Elite Beat Squad while Heidi’s out of town. I’m a reserve member, sort of, so just call me Red Tornado! … Or not, really, since he’s a foot taller than me and a robot.  My own comics and geek culture blog, Geekiferous, can be found at (take a wild guess) geekiferous.com.

*Don’t ask me, he’s Alan Moore. He sings earnestly about the sinister nature of ducks. He defies explanation.

Comments

  1. “Far more disturbingly, he also said, ‘I’m pretty much out of comics now. I really want nothing to do with it.'”

    I think Alan Moore has been leaving/about to leave comics for about the last eight or nine years.

    What I found most disturbing was something I read elsewhere. Apparently, Moore is claiming that he no longer owns a copy of Watchmen.

    Really, Alan? Are your delicate sensibilities so offended that the work itself is now anathema to you?

    What’s next…Moore goes back in time to prevent himself from ever writing Watchmen….or casts a magic spell to erase all recollection of who wrote Watchmen from humanity’s memory?

    At what point did Moore the iconoclastic genius get replaced by Moore the childish prig?

  2. “At what point did Moore the iconoclastic genius get replaced by Moore the childish
    prig?”

    Probably after the 4,345th time somebody asked Alan Moore about Watchmen 20 years after it was published. The guys has written thousands of comic pages since then, many of them better, and yet all it seems he gets asked about is Watchmen. I might not have a copy of it either if I was forced to talk about it as much as Moore is.

  3. Hey now, Alan Moore can do whatever the heck he wants to do at this point. He doesn’t owe anybody anything more. He’s pretty much left the comic book industry behind, and he left it ON HIS OWN TERMS, instead of destroying his credibility for a cheap buck. Hardly anyone else currently working in mainstream comics can say the same thing, especially those empty shills presently running ‘DC Entertainment’ into the ground.

    Frankly, I’m not surprised he doesn’t own a copy of Watchmen anymore. I’m sure that Alan Moore doesn’t need to be constantly reminded what was in it.

  4. How about a simple “no comment” if someone asks about Watchmen? It’s really not that hard to distance yourself from something if you make it clear you will not comment upon it.

  5. SvenJ says:

    “I might not have a copy of it either if I was forced to talk about it as much as Moore is.”

    you do realize that every creator of art in the world dreams of such a success, don’t you?

    how sad it has come to this for poor poor Alan Moore…

  6. Kate Fitzsimons says:

    I admit I am reminded of Leslie Fish and her song “Banned from Argo” (obscure-ish filk reference, I know). She can’t stand it that everyone loves a song she wrote so much, particularly since it doesn’t happen to be one of her favorites.

    On one hand, I can understand being haunted by the Same Damn Work all your life, but on the other hand you’ve created something that people love, and it would be great if you could take their love with good grace.

  7. What, if anything, says “love” in this instance, Kate? They don’t want to build bridges, they want more stuff to fill the shelves. More variant covers and new IP to exploit. Prostate-tickling cameos and thematic callbacks which are objectively no cheaper than novelty, but subjectively far lower-risk.

    It’s not some fan with the best intentions, it’s an ex-lover with an ulterior motive. It’s an apology with fingers crossed. “We’re sorry you’re upset,” rather than “we’re sorry we wronged you.”

    They should hand him back the ABC characters, first. No strings, no by-the-waysies. But what would be in it for them?

    //Oo/\

  8. Kate Fitzsimons says:

    Matthew, no, I didn’t mean writing unwanted sequels for DC. Frankly, there’s nothing I’d like less than such an abomination.

    No, I only meant being less publicly dismissive of his own work, which he may feel as if he has outgrown but so many fans still love, that’s all.

  9. Yes, for the record, NO Watchmen sequels or prequels for me, either. Still won’t stop the Didio-Lee team, though. Hell, Didio will probably write it himself with Jim Lee on the art.

  10. Perhaps Alan doesn’t own a copy of Watchmen because the people at DC so disgusted him over it, every time he thinks about it or looks at it, he just doesn’t want to be bothered anymore.

    I don’t blame him.

    As much as I loved Watchmen, DC’s incessant attempts to suck every last drop out of blood out of it has diluted my own enjoyment of it so I completely understand.

    Thing is, if DC wasn’t so creatively bankrupt, they wouldn’t need to do prequels and sequels. They would just come up with something new that surpasses it in literary achievement.

    Somehow though, given the people in charge, I don’t see that happening any time soon.

  11. If a DC, a of a multinational conglomerate doesn’t have the resources to come up with commercially sucessful new IPs, then maybe it isn’t possible.

    Nowadays, it seems either large businesses or small businesses can afford to take chances anymore. Is there really a difference between indy (movies,music, art, etc) and non-indy anymore other than the budget? It seems that there’s here’s no such thing as a non mainstream sensibility anymore. Avante garde has become a tradition at this point amongst the upper class. Given the intense desire for novelty in consumer culture, science(innovation) it maybe possible that humans have reached limits to their creativity OR capacity to absorb new stuff,hence the nostalgia and recycling.

  12. Funny i’ve said no to anythimg Moore has written years ago. Though I would buy a Watchmen sequel or prequel not written by him just to piss off the Moore worshippers.

  13. Henrik J says:

    “Hey now, Alan Moore can do whatever the heck he wants to do at this point. He doesn’t owe anybody anything more. He’s pretty much left the comic book industry behind, and he left it ON HIS OWN TERMS, instead of destroying his credibility”

    Alan Moore lost his last bit of credibility when he made a terrible porn comic featuring other peoples characters, while at the same time whining about others making movies based on his comics.

  14. Henrik, I hope you understand the notion of “public domain”, right?

    By your definition, Shakespeare was the biggest thief and hack in literary history because he lifted the characters story, plot wholesale of his biggest plays from other peoples works.

  15. Pour your heart and soul into something and your publisher rolls it up and proceeds to ass rape you with it for a few decades.

    Who would hate that?!

  16. So, by publishing the Watchmen near continuously for the past 20+ years….which exposed countless more people to the work….is considered “ass raping” the writer?

    Up until the Watchmen movie, I don’t think there was a single piece of merchandise DC based on the property outside of the published work (in various formats).

    I’ll never stop being amused by the people who are shocked, SHOCKED! that commercial entities are in business to make money. Alan Moore knew exactly what he was getting into (sob stories of “ass raped” creators were the coin of the realm by the time he broke into the American market), so spare us the drama.

    Now….if only he WOULD actually just go away, rather than just talking about it.

  17. The general cluelessness of DC in dealing with Alan Moore is epitomized by the fact that they thought there was a chance in hell he would go for this.

  18. brandon says:

    Any chance the timing of this interview had anything to do with Moore’s release of Neonomicon from Avatar just this past Wednesday?

    Out of the comics industry? Nice try Alan.

  19. Why do so many comics fans get so terribly butthurt whenever Moore disparages the comics industry or (gasp!) his own work?

  20. Wow…again with the butt/ass-raping imagery.

    I’m just wondering how many more of these “Alan Moore is mad at DC” newsflashes need to happen before we all realize it’s no longer news, but boring scab-picking.

    If anyone’s “butt-hurt”, it’s the legions of whiners like Alan Moore and his fellow travelers who still can’t quite understand that multi-national corporations probably aren’t your ideal partner when creating and publishing your “dream children” masterworks. You swim with the sharks, you’re probably going to get bit at some point.

    Why is this still a mystery? In 1938, yeah…I can see how Siegel and Shuster may not have known what they were getting into. But by the 1970’s, it was a pretty well-established meme that The Big Two were companies…not artist’s communes, despite some improvements in payment and profit sharing policies.

    Moore knew exactly what he was dealing with when he signed on with DC in the early 80’s, and if he didn’t, then shame on him for thinking DC would be anything other than a profit-driven corporation (i.e. “a shark”).

    Enough with the victimology.

  21. brandon says:

    Moore complains to keep his brand up. How many times has DC management turned over since his first, second and third feuds? At this point he is literally barking at a logo.

    But it keeps his label as a mad genuis that will defend himself, the little guy, from the big bad company.

    I have no idea what the specifics were with his deals with DC but he begged for some of his gigs, like What Ever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow. He can’t possibly pull off the victim crap.

  22. “Henrik, I hope you understand the notion of “public domain”, right?”

    What does that have to do with it? Really?

    Moore bitches because his characters have been used by others in ways he doesn’t agree with. Same thing here.

    Public domain or privately owned has little to do with it at this point. His whole beef has been that others have somehow distorted or corrupted or misportrayed HIS original creation. Yet he’s done the same with others.

    And I don’t truly get the worship thrown his way. He’s a talented writer, for certain. But most of the things he’s done take a template created by others and tweak it. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; Promethea; Doc Savage … I mean, Tom Strong; Supreme; Watchmen — all are variations on themes created by others. V for Vendetta is about the most original thing I’ve ever seen him actually create.

    His talent seems to be grounded in “updating” archetypes which appeal to the fan’s sense of nostalgia as much as anything else. There’s nothing wrong with that — others do it much worse — but his constant denunciation of mainstream comics is quite silly at this point.

  23. “He can’t possibly pull off the victim crap.”

    He can because there will always be a willing and sympathetic audience.

    Despite the possibility and, as is increasingly the case, reality of millionaire comic book creators (a story that’s never really told for some reason), it seems the image of the naive, pure-hearted creator at the mercy of soulless corporate robber-barons is still a popular one for creators and fans alike to cling to and exploit.

  24. Kevin Hynes says:

    That’s fine, more power to Moore. Why not? Also it’s not like DC can break into my house and use my copy of Watchmen as toilet paper. The worst they can do is produce their own sequel that I wont read.

  25. Kevin Hynes says:

    The Beard was not amused.

  26. Mark Engblom:

    “Up until the Watchmen movie, I don’t think there was a single piece of merchandise DC based on the property outside of the published work (in various formats).”

    Um, the very reason why Moore got upset with DC in the first place was because DC didn’t want to pay Moore his share of the proceeds from Watchmen merchandise sales (Watchmen button sets), claiming that they were “promotional material.” There was also a Watchmen portfolio set available for sale way back in the late ’80’s (my cousin used to have it), but I’m not sure whether Moore and Gibbons were paid for that.

  27. So, assuming that’s correct, does that rise to the level of “ass-raping”, as asserted by George Williams (to whom I was responding)?

    We don’t know what sort of contracts Moore signed with DC regarding merchandise. Again, Moore should have been sophisticated enough to know DC had the right to make merchandise based on anything he created for them and, unless it was contractually agreed to, didn’t owe him a penny.

    You may argue there’s a difference between what’s legally mandated and what’s ethically the right thing to do…namely the sentiment that DC should have paid Moore for merchandise sales anyway. But if we’re going to go there, how ethical was it of Alan Moore to use well-known literary characters in wildly controversial ways, even though it was technically legal for him to do so (due to their public domain status)?

    How can Moore and his supporters expect DC to do the ethical (extra-legal) thing when he himself appears to live by the “ethics are in the eye of the beholder” philosophy?

  28. “So, assuming that’s correct, does that rise to the level of “ass-raping”, as asserted by George Williams (to whom I was responding)?”

    In case you didn’t notice my username, I’m not George Williams, and I didn’t express any opinion about whether such actions on DC’s part constituted forced sodomy. I just wanted to direct your attention to the fact that your statement about DC not producing any Watchmen merchandise before the movie is factually wrong.

  29. Right, but it seemed to support William’s (rather dramatically stated) notion that DC’s been exploiting Watchmen for the past two decades…and I assumed he meant through merchandise.

    Perhaps William George meant the mere fact that DC’s kept the work in print all these years constitutes forced sodomy. Maybe Mr. George can elaborate.

    Plus, by saying I didn’t think there was any merchandise, that left open the possibility of there being some (vaguely apocryphal) Watchmen stuff I wasn’t aware of.

  30. Synsidar says:

    Moore is in an unenviable position. His greatest success, WATCHMEN, came decades before it should have. He’s generally more renowned for his stories done as WFH or about archetypal characters than he is for his original creations. When a writer deals with such material, there’s always the danger that the readers’ reactions are based more on their feelings about a character, than on what the writer does with him.

    If he were to do anything related to WATCHMEN again, he’d be setting himself up to fail, in the view of critics, if not the public. He’d certainly be aware that he was repeating himself. Whatever the pay was, it might not compensate for the damage to his self-image. If he were a novelist, he could tackle different material, but as a comics writer, he has to collaborate with artists.

    Given his situation, hating WATCHMEN is probably an appropriate stance. It’s not a matter of wishing that he’d never done it, but doing it recently and with original characters would fit far better into a list of accomplishments.

    SRS

  31. Alan Moore was told that he and Dave Gibbons would regain the rights to Watchmen. They never have. They likely never will. It wasn’t in some kind of wink and nod kind of way. Their contract stated the rights would revert to them after the book went out of print. As has been stated, this was from an era where no comic book collection had stayed in print for much longer than a year or two. DC has kept the book in print in perpetuity. Moore’s quote has been that if he had written a less popular book, a less successful one, he would own it by now. He HAS been punished for his success. He did sign a contract that said he would only get the rights back when the book went out of print, and since it hasn’t gone out of print, he doesn’t get the rights back. But Moore hasn’t sued, or tried to go back on his contract. But maybe he’s sick of being asked about a book that clearly has brought aggravation to him. But oh, man, Rorschach is so cool, Moore must be a whiny bastard that he doesn’t want to go see Night-Owl and Silk Spectre have sex on the big screen!

    I don’t understand the Moore hate, except that maybe people find integrity annoying.

  32. Yeah, that’s gotta be it. I find integrity annoying.

    Oh…and I must be jealous of Moore, too.

  33. Quoth RJT: “Alan Moore was told that he and Dave Gibbons would regain the rights to Watchmen. They never have. They likely never will. It wasn’t in some kind of wink and nod kind of way. Their contract stated the rights would revert to them after the book went out of print. As has been stated, this was from an era where no comic book collection had stayed in print for much longer than a year or two. DC has kept the book in print in perpetuity.”

    I’m reminded of something Peter David said many years ago: “Do you have any idea, any comprehension, how many authorial jaws must have dropped when he complained because DC has kept his work IN PRINT AND AVAILABLE for fifteen years, as if that was a BAD thing? Most authors I know would KILL for that.” (Source)

    I have a difficult time seeing how keeping the book in print is a bad thing — or that DC did some unfair to Moore and Gibbons. DC has kept Watchmen available and in front of the public for twenty-five years. Think of all the books have have been published, languished, and forgotten in that time. A sane author would say in Moore’s place, “Damn, I’ve hit the gravy train, a steady stream of residuals to infinity and beyond!” Moore’s reaction is like someone contracted out a hit on his favorite cat.

    I find it impossible to believe that Moore would have earned more money from Watchmen had DC not reprinted the series and allowed it to go out of print than he actually has earned from the status quo.

  34. Army of Dorkness says:

    “I have a difficult time seeing how keeping the book in print is a bad thing ”

    I don’t. By doing so, DC continues to own the publishing rights to the work which is CLEARLY something Alan Moore did not want to happen, and it was already mentioned that it was expected he would regain the rights due to the realities of TPB publishing at the time. Parties on both sides of the table understood this as the norm and signed the papers accordingly, but because Watchmen never went out of print due to popularity or circumstance DC could continue to hide behind the contract as written despite any appeals to fairness and decency from the creators.

    It’s really easy to see how this topic could be a sore point for him and he has ever reason to tell DC to piss off.

  35. Stripey McKenna says:

    LOEG pees all over Watchmen with its hands tied behind its back. I don’t blame Moore for getting irritated. People should be asking questions about his far-superior and more recent work. Like LOEG.

  36. “Yeah, that’s gotta be it. I find integrity annoying.

    Oh…and I must be jealous of Moore, too.”

    I just don’t understand your angle. You either want Moore to think the way you want him to, or you want him to lie about how he does feel. Watchmen is CLEARLY a sore point for him, and maybe reporters should know by now to stop asking him about it, but they don’t, so the suggestion that he should just say ‘no comment’ in order to avoid offending your sensitive feelings about the subject is ridiculous.

  37. “A sane author would say in Moore’s place, “Damn, I’ve hit the gravy train, a steady stream of residuals to infinity and beyond!”

    But is he getting residuals?

  38. “I find it impossible to believe that Moore would have earned more money from Watchmen had DC not reprinted the series and allowed it to go out of print than he actually has earned from the status quo.”

    That may be true, however, not everything is about money. It’s also about control. If Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons held the Watchmen rights, it’s likely there never would’ve been a film version. Also, if Moore had been able to gain the rights to Watchmen, and then publish it through Mad Love, maybe he would’ve been able to finance the completion of Big Numbers.

    The point is–and this comes up everytime there’s an Alan Moore thread anywhere on the internet–money is not the be-all and end-all. If it were, Moore would be writing a Watchmen prequel right now.

  39. I guess most of the people pissed at Moore for having an opinion they disagree with are either too young or missed the whole late-80s creator rights movement.

    Moore and Gibbons own The Watchmen, but have no control over it. The idea of creator-owned and controlled comics was alien to North American publishers at the time.

    Creators fought for and gained more control of their properties. Moore was a part of that fight. The assumption at the time of producing Watchmen was that he and Gibbons would regain the property in a year or so and be free to pursue a better deal with another publisher or publish it themselves. That hasn’t happened.

    Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman is far more intertwined and derivative of actual DC IP, but he has more control over that than Al & Dave have over anything from The Watchmen. Neil tried to broker a deal between DC and Al & Dave so they would have a more contemporary arrangement, but DC rejected it. Considering the other shit DC has done to Alan over the years, there’s little reason to think Alan could trust or even consider any offering from the company.

    They created the most successful creator-owned series in North American comics history and have no say in what gets done with it.

    Yeah, they get paid, but if that’s all that you think that matters, then you probably never created anything of worth.

  40. Allen Rubinstein says:

    Any person or company that suggests additional material based on the Watchmen characters with a straight face deserves every scrap of scorn and ridicule that the sickest imaginations can produce.

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