Moore: spitting venom on WATCHMEN film

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alanmooremovie Moore: spitting venom on WATCHMEN film
§ Geoff Boucher chats with Alan Moore and makes a shocking discovery…Moore doesn’t think much of the upcoming WATCHMEN film!

“Will the film even be coming out? There are these legal problems now, which I find wonderfully ironic. Perhaps it’s been cursed from afar, from England. And I can tell you that I will also be spitting venom all over it for months to come.”
[snip]
“There are three or four companies now that exist for the sole purpose of creating not comics, but storyboards for films. It may be true that the only reason the comic book industry now exists is for this purpose, to create characters for movies, board games and other types of merchandise. Comics are just a sort of pumpkin patch growing franchises that might be profitable for the ailing movie industry.”


Much more Moore in an excellent piece that covers a lot of territory. It also reminds us that the DVD THE MINDSCAPE OF ALAN MOORE is coming out on the 30th! MTV’s Splash Page even has an exclusive snippet.

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Comments

  1. Alan Moore hates that people “don’t do his characters right” yet loves to take public domain literary characters and turn them into action heroes or porn stars. Hypocrite much?

  2. Steve Taylor says:

    Hypocrite,…genius.

  3. snoid says:

    I gotta stop reading about Alan Moore. The more I read, the more I dislike him and it’s starting to cloud my view of his work.

  4. “Mr. Moore, will you sign my DVD of Watchmen babies? Which of the babies is your favorite?”

    I gotta say that he’s rather spot on about “companies now that exist for the sole purpose of creating not comics, but storyboards for films”. It’s a disturbing trend I’ve noticed too. They’re thinking comics are a secondary or intermediate medium to get your movie made. I find that sad. I love comics. I love film. Yet one is not superior to another, despite what popularity dictates.

  5. Alan Coil says:

    I am seldom disappointed by a comic,a comic book; frequently by movies.

  6. mrpeepants says:

    why are some writers such nutter butters. alan moore and frank miller are not fun people.

  7. mrpeepants says:

    why are some writers such nutter butters. alan moore and frank miller’s disconnect to today’s comic world is really disappointing

  8. Watchmen is my favorite comic work of all time but Alan Moore is getting on my nerves. I’m disliking him more and more.
    He’s alienating himself from all his fans.
    And who cares if a lot of comics are trying to be films? It’s comics, man, do your own @#$% and don’t worry about the other guy.

  9. Steven R. Stahl says:

    Moore might be acidic, but he has a point re people seeing comics nowadays as mere storyboards.

    When I look at a dialogue-only superhero comic, with a bunch of splash pages and wordless panels, I generally see an attempt to imitate a movie. That attempt always fails. A movie’s soundtrack, the audio, the special effects, the motion — attempting to capture even a portion of that within the pages of a comic book seems ridiculous, but that’s what some creators are trying to do. Such creators should look at novelizations, compare them to the movies, and wonder what the point is of an imitation that’s bound to look inferior.

    The old approach to writing comics, with thought balloons and narration, is better because the resulting stories actually function as stories. If a writer is unskilled, the result can be clunky, with narration or thoughts repeating what’s seen in the artwork, but a skillful, lyrical writer can produce material that is wonderful, and, if the accompanying artwork is good, terrifically entertaining.

    I don’t believe it matters how good the artwork is if the artwork isn’t supporting an actual story, with plot content, characterization, etc. If a writer sets out with nothing more in mind than to imitate a movie, the result can be talking heads that render the art irrelevant, attempts to emulate cinematography, or, if the writer bungles the material, paper and ink that’s practically worthless because there’s no story. The best results I’ve seen, as far as superhero fiction is concerned, are fair emulations of a TV “movie of the week” or direct-to-DVD schlock, still not as diverting as the videos would be.

    The competence and intents of the writer always matter.

    SRS

  10. gianco says:

    Moore is Moore.

  11. Moore— hypocrite? alienating? nutter butters? not fun? (To be added to the usual list of curmudgeon, eccentric, weird, hirsute, etc. etc.)

    Nobody ever called Pablo Picasso an asshole.

  12. I too find Moore’s constant ramblings a bit over indulgent.

    I mean comic books and movies are supposed to be both synonymous of each other.

    Storyboards and panels – screenwriting and comic book scripting are nearly the same thing in describing angles and types of head shots or how many people are talking or causing action in a panel.

    At least that’s the way I learned it.

    ~

    Coat

  13. As much a prick as he is brilliant. It’s sad that someone with so much success at his chosen artform seems incapable of enjoying his life or the evolution of his creations. I’ve had the fortune of meeting so many of my favorite creators, and while Moore has done some of my all-time favorite work, I couldn’t imagine meeting him would be remotely enjoyable.

  14. Steven R. Stahl says:

    There’s a flow in a TV show or movie that enables a viewer to quickly grasp what’s going on that simply can’t be replicated in a serial comic book only through artwork and dialogue, especially if the plot has any complexity, if there are character development subplots, or if the storyline has SF elements that need to be described. At some points, the writer will have to provide info to the reader through narration or thoughts–and there will go the precious stylistic purity. If the only way to do the story with dialogue only is to lift the plot from a B- (Z-) grade movie or minimize plot content in the hopes of wowing the reader with the artwork, the story isn’t’ worth doing.

    I’ve repeatedly seen people go ballistic when narration and thought balloons are mentioned; I’d bet that they read comics almost entirely for the artwork, and have only minimal concern for plot content.

    SRS

  15. Nice guy. “Curse” a project that your longtime art-partner clearly considers the pinnacle of his life’s work — maybe even the dearest thing in his life, aside from home and family. Maybe he can stomp on some puppies at his next public appearance.

    An I the only one to notice he seems, with every new photo shoot, to be turning more and more into Mordru? Apropos, the evil wizard.

    Oh, and Ed? Henri Matisse begs to differ with the appellation “Nobody”.

  16. Picasso’s an asshole.

  17. cbrown says:

    “I mean comic books and movies are supposed to be both synonymous of each other. . . . At least that’s the way I learned it.”

    Holy shit, where’d you learn THAT from?!?

  18. “The old approach to writing comics, with thought balloons and narration, is better because the resulting stories actually function as stories.”

    To be fair, I don’t feel that way. There’s no one right way to tell a story, so to say “with thought balloons is superior” would just limit certain writers. Some writers use them, others do not, but good stories have arisen from both types.

    As for Moore, I find it perplexing how others are getting bothered by his cynicism and attachment to his work. Does anyone really expect him to be enthusiastic about films and other interpretations of his characters? He’s Alan Moore. It’s almost a given.

    And yes, I realize I just made way for a “I expect Moore to be enthusiastic about films and other interpretations of his characters” post.

    Cheers.

  19. afdumin says:

    “I mean comic books and movies are supposed to be both synonymous of each other.”

    I must be reading this statement wrong, because I can’t begin to make sense of it.

  20. “Dirt” has a pretty good point.

    Robert Louis Stevenson’s bones are presumably long gone, but on the astral plane his bod did a few turns at the “crossover” between Mister Hyde and the Invisible Man.

    Ditto Herbert George.

  21. chris7crows says:

    Why is Moore a “prick”? He wrote “Watchmen”; if he wants to diss on the filmed version of his work, that’s his perogative. I find his attitude refreshing: He writes comics, not comics for later film adaptation.

    (And in terms of someone who “does their own @#$% and doesn’t worry about the other guy,” you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who embodies that more than he does.)

    Of course, I’ll still go see “Watchmen” in the theaters and hope that it manages to capture something of the original work on film, but I’ll always have the book on my shelf for the full experience.

  22. brett weldele says:

    I’d be hard pressed to hate anything that puts the original work in people’s hands that wouldn’t have seen it normally, and made people aware of the art form in general.

  23. Oswald Carver says:

    “Alan Moore hates that people “don’t do his characters right” yet loves to take public domain literary characters and turn them into action heroes or porn stars. Hypocrite much?”

    I used to have this same question about the apparent hypocrisy, but Moore apparently addressed it at one point. It’s a matter of degree; Moore does use characters created by others quite freely in his work. But he doesn’t do comic book adaptations of stories he didn’t create. In other words, he’s used Jeckyll/Hyde, but at no point did he do a comic book version of “The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde.”

    My understanding is he would also be fine with other creators, in any medium, using his characters to tell new stories. What he’s not fine with is someone *retelling his stories,* and usually doing a much worse job on it given Hollywood’s track record with his stuff.

    * * *

    “Nice guy. “Curse” a project that your longtime art-partner clearly considers the pinnacle of his life’s work — maybe even the dearest thing in his life, aside from home and family. Maybe he can stomp on some puppies at his next public appearance.”

    I’m not sure that Dave Gibbons considers the Watchmen *movie* to be the pinnacle of his life’s work, but I could be wrong. And if Moore follows suit from what he did on the “V” movie, Gibbons will likely receive Moore’s cut of the movie profits.

  24. I hope The Mindscape of Alan Moore DVD is better than his “Alan Moore Interviews Himself” video. That one left me a bit embarrassed that I like his work so much.

  25. michael says:

    I like Alan Moore, but I also like this current, ‘heyday’ of comics that we live in now.

    That merchandising is involved in some of the financial and success of comics, it should also not be used viewed or used for it’s lifeline, but it can certainly help the industry as a whole, when kept in check.

  26. The comic industry exists as a movie storyboard machine? I’m sorry, but there *are* people making comics for the sake of making comics. Please don’t paint us all with one stroke. I find it hard to believe the deluge of comics pouring out every Wednesday are mainly fodder for film. Where are all these movies? (yea, yea, I know… being Optioned is not the same as making a film)

    Don’t get me wrong, I know what Moore meant to say, but the fact is the majority of comics creators are working their asses off just to *make* comics. The back of the Previews Catalog isn’t 3x bigger than the exclusives in the front of the catalog for nothing.

    Moore is right that a few companies are working aggressively to sell their products as film, but I hardly find that as the entire industry.

  27. He laments how the film compresses and shortchanges his original work on the book, but he must realize that the release of this film will probably lead to more new readers picking up and reading the source material than have done so in the last decade or so. The trailer alone caused a surge in sales of the book on Amazon and DC said they were planning on doubling or tripling the normal print run for the year. And that’s before the movie has even been released.

    Perhaps he should just look at the film as an extended advertisement for his book. As long as it actually gives a relatively good idea of what the book was like, it will probably work for book sales. The film versions of LoEG and From Hell were basically bad as movies and as adverts for the books, since they deviated too much. V was little better in both regards. This looks like a decent superhero movie that will probably also boost readership.

  28. Jesse Post says:

    The constant comparison of Alan’s views regarding his own work and his use of public domain characters is starting to really grate on me. Here’s how it breaks down:

    Copyright laws exist to protect living creators from abuses against their creative work. The concept of “Public domain” exists to protect the work itself from falling into disuse AFTER a creator’s death. Moore’s feelings aren’t hypocritical because he’s not criticizing the way someone else is using his characters 75 years after he’s dead but the way they’re being used now. I highly doubt he will give venomous interviews like this about Watchmen 75 years after he’s dead. If he does, please correct me.

  29. brett says:

    The subject of Picasso… and Moore:

    There’s an old saying that compares something, anything, say X, to a Picasso:

    From 1000 feet away, it’s art, pure genius!
    Up close, it’s just a big old mess.

    I’m thinking that’s the way some people now feel about Moore. Just reading his work, you keep a proper distance, know nothing about the man, the author / artist. Meeting the person, in person, you see them up close and find, they may not be as pretty up close as they tend to appear, from a distance.

  30. Dave F. says:

    >>I used to have this same question about the apparent hypocrisy, but Moore apparently addressed it at one point. It’s a matter of degree; Moore does use characters created by others quite freely in his work. But he doesn’t do comic book adaptations of stories he didn’t create. In other words, he’s used Jeckyll/Hyde, but at no point did he do a comic book version of “The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde.”

    I believe this is the core nuance that everyone’s missing in their race to brand Moore a hypocrite. Seems to me his central problem with Watchmen is that he thinks it’s going to be a bad movie, not that it has no right to exist. And now he’s just tweaking the noses of interviewers asking him the same question for the umpteenth time. I imagine it must go something like this…

    “Hi, Alan, we know you’ve already expressed a lack of interest in the Watchmen movie and film in general – many times, in fact – but…HOW ‘BOUT THAT WATCHMEN MOVIE, HUH?!!”

    And every time he gives some dismissive answer, it flies around the blogosphere like the guy’s out there actively campaigning against it. He ain’t, folks. People just won’t stop asking him about it.

    One more thing. Did anyone even read the interviewer’s note that, “Moore said all that with more mischievous glee than true malice”? I’m gonna guess not.

  31. Joe S. Walker says:

    League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen belongs with the very worst of superhero comics for anal continuity links, clever-clever retcons and fanboy nods and winks – and Moore doesn’t even have the characters’ legal owners’ permission to piss on them.

  32. Actually, ed, if you had read Sir John Richardson’s stupendous multi-volume biographies about Picasso, you could come to that conclusion.

  33. I agree with Jimmy. I don’t aspire to write comics in the hopes they become movies, I write comics because I like the format. It is a form, it is not a rendition. It is not someone saying, “Oh hum, I can’t make this idea into a movie so I better settle for some pictures and words on a page.”

    I love comics because of the spaces between panels, because of the element of time, and inevitability that is possible from the space between the first panel and the second.

    And I don’t mind Moore being dismissive about the movies of his work. The people responsible for these things always try to use his name to sell a product he has never tried to be involved with, and his agitation, caused by years of corporate malfeasance and double-dealing, is just a protection from getting screwed over again in the future by some corporate asswad executive.

  34. Jesse Post says:

    Hey Joe — Public domain properties are owned by the public (see earlier post in this thread) so there are no legal owners to complain about Moore’s interpretations. That’s why you can write an Alan Quartermain story if you like and not get sued. Moore’s stories may deserve your critique but Moore himself does not deserve to be called a violator of copyright law.

  35. i thought that whole opening issue of the LOEG vol.2 –with all the various forces of Victorian literary Mars teaming up was some of the best comics I’ve ever read.

  36. Dave F. says:

    >>i thought that whole opening issue of the LOEG vol.2 –with all the various forces of Victorian literary Mars teaming up was some of the best comics I’ve ever read.

    And here’s a guy who knows a little sumpin’ about Martian-themed comics!

    Paul, did you read The Black Dossier? Any thoughts on that?

  37. Joe S. Walker says:

    I just think it’s on the same creative level as INFINITELY FINAL (TILL NEXT YEAR) CRISIS ON EARTHS 1-93, but with an element of pretentiousness that makes it considerably more offensive. Re copyright, maybe you can write an Allan Quatermain story without getting sued, but why the hell SHOULD you? Make up your own damn characters.

  38. Brian B says:

    Umm… I’ve owned a storebought DVD copy of “Mindscape of Alan Moore” for over a year now. Is everyone getting excited for a re-release or something?

  39. “I just think it’s on the same creative level as INFINITELY FINAL (TILL NEXT YEAR) CRISIS ON EARTHS 1-93, but with an element of pretentiousness that makes it considerably more offensive. Re copyright, maybe you can write an Allan Quatermain story without getting sued, but why the hell SHOULD you? Make up your own damn characters.”

    Well, there are narrative advantages to using characters that have an established history, both within their stories and as part of the greater pop-culture universe. You might try to make up a loose history for your faux Allen Quatermain but you won’t really *have* such a history until you’ve written a fair quantity of your own stories with that character. And if like Moore you’re less interested in writing such a character than in commenting on the culture that gave him birth, then if he’s public domain you might be better off using the real thing. It doesn’t really damage the corpus of what Rider Haggard wrote any more than millions of later Spidey stories eradicate the Lee-Ditko works.

    I’d grant that Moore *may* be more concerned with the work being bad than because other creators have messed with his works. Still, since in his original stories he does sometimes “rewrite” the histories of other peoples’ characters, I’d say that from the viewpoint of the original authors (if one could ask them) they’d probably feel that Moore has messed with their works by so doing, and not always to the better.

  40. Jesse Post says:

    But you didn’t say that he SHOULDN’T use those characters, you said that his using them meant he was a creators’ rights hypocrite which is incorrect and slanderous. Sorry for sticking this one, but it’s a pervasive and vicious meme we would all be wise to put a stop to if we value creative expression.

    Moore has every right to defend his own work/complain about its use. Moore has every right to use public domain characters in his work because that’s the entire purpose of public domain. You have every right to feel like his work is crap and point out why on the internet. No one has any right to call someone an IP thief when they aren’t.

  41. Rodney wall says:

    I honestly don’t understand the venom that Alan Moore gets directed at him.
    He isn’t happy with the film adaptations that have been made of his work, and has asked that his name not be used to promote them. He then passes the royalty money that he would potentially get on to the artists, involved.
    That sounds to me like somebody putting their money where their mouth is.

    I would guess he likes to use public domane characters to tell some of his stories, because they are easilly understood archatypes. Moore has always seemed interested in the underlieing meaning, of the kind stories he tells.
    What does the kind of adventure fiction popular in Victorian times say about that culture? And how dose it relate to the reallitty of what was going on at that time?

  42. Rodney wall says:

    Damn!
    I hit submit before I finished writing or spell checked that.
    If only we could edit.

  43. Dave F–I didn’t get into Black Dossier for lack of time and I guess the fact that at this point, a tract on Victorian mysticism/obscurantism is a little off my interest radar. But of his more recent works, I must say I think LOEG is some of his best work and never had a problem with Moore’s take on–or use of–these characters. I always considered LOEG–while on the one hand it is a good, classic adventure story in the Victorian pulp tradition– it is simultaneously his critique of British Victorian culture. He routinely breaches subjects such as racism, women’s rights, the “plight of the underclass”, STDs, and the treatment of the criminal/insane in his LOEG stories– his concerns and critiques of his own country’s history. he also evokes a time in the world’s history in which there were still undiscovered, unexplored places and the world was a much bigger, more mysterious place. In this sense, he is using these classic personas as filters or cyphers for his own views and literary concerns. He did the same sort of thing with the themes he used in his Jack The Ripper book. He’s also not the first writer to use this technique– even in comic books. EC comics was doing this in the old Two-Fisted Tales stories, to name one on the top of my head. Satanic Majesties, Last Temptation of christ, Faust, anything touching on Greek history or mythology…

    When I say that particular LOEG ish is some of the best, I mean that every facet of that issue worked perfectly for me as a reader–and for me at least, I had the sensation of being a kid again reading comics with a sense of wonder and the larger-than-life. Of course I am a sucker for Mars-related sci-fi but this one was particularly good.

  44. steampoweredboy says:

    To paraphrase”

    Yeah Alan Moore! Why don’t you just write us up a sequel to Watchmen and do what we want! Screw you for having artistic integrity or caring about your work! You think you’re better than me? Do you! I almost wrote a comic once, damn near finished th whole outline. Yeah! You’re not so hot Alan Moore. Mr. Smarty-pants, with your books and thinking and stuff. Why can’t you just go write Captain British and those other gay marvel books that suck now. You could make so much monies! You’re crazy! Why don’t you love DC? What are you a commie? You’re crazy. You’re a hypocrite, you’re weird.

    *Sigh*

    People like you are the reason Alan Moore doesn’t want anything to do with people like you.

  45. Dave F. says:

    Thanks, Paul! Always interesting to hear someone talk passionately about art that moves them.

  46. Joe S. Walker says:

    “But you didn’t say that he SHOULDN’T use those characters, you said that his using them meant he was a creators’ rights hypocrite which is incorrect and slanderous.”

    I said nothing of the kind. I said that unlike the authors of Marvel/DC continuity porn, Moore doesn’t have the excuse that somebody hired him to do it to their property.

  47. “Perhaps he should just look at the film as an extended advertisement for his book.”

    The point is, it isn’t “his” book. In terms of who controls the book and its ancillary merchandising, the book is DC’s, not Moore’s.

    Of course, in every important ethical and artistic sense, the book is Moore & Gibbons’. But not in the financial or the legal IP sense. Speaking practically, DC controls the work. Moore has of necessity divorced himself from current and future exploitation of the work in the marketplace, including the film.

    Why the hell should Moore care about whether a film serves as an extended advertisement for a property that was essentially stolen from him? Why should it matter to him that DC gets some advertising?

    He’s got other, better things to do, surely, than abasing himself by participating in the hyping of a property over which he has been robbed of proprietary interest and artistic control?

  48. “League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen belongs with the very worst of superhero comics for anal continuity links, clever-clever retcons and fanboy nods and winks…”

    The comparison is specious. As Paul points out above, there is considerably more ideological critique in LOEG than in mainstream continuity porn. What’s more, there are also more distinctive characters in LOEG, more flavorful writing, more wit (verbal and visual), and, in sum, more to chew on, more to think about, more to laugh about, more to learn from and dig into and simply dig. LOEG is capable delivering much more than the “worst of superhero comics.”

    Finally, LOEG is, like a lot of Moore’s work, metafiction. His relationship to his source material is like that of Borges or Barth to theirs. He isn’t simply ringing changes on continuity; he’s asking readers to think about what they’re doing when they read fiction. That may not be your cuppa, but arguing that Moore is simply writing continuity porn seems pretty obtuse.

  49. Jesse Post says:

    “I said nothing of the kind. I said that unlike the authors of Marvel/DC continuity porn, Moore doesn’t have the excuse that somebody hired him to do it to their property.”

    Nope, what you said was this: “Moore doesn’t even have the characters’ legal owners’ permission to piss on them.” I characterized that is factually incorrect and slanderous.

    Sorry, man — I’m not letting you get away with this one.

  50. Jesse Post says:

    Also, I agree with Charles, but I’m not really caring too much about the dislike of the work expressed here, just the ill-informed and unwarranted personal smearing of a fellow artist.

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