The Alan Moore/Marvelman Interview: Part III: “I Definitely Wanted My Name Taken Off It”

This is the third and final part of a three-part interview I did with Alan Moore in October 2010 about Marvelman, and indeed Miracleman, and his experiences with that character. The first two parts are here: PART I, PART II. As ever, anything in [square brackets] is added by me, just prior to publishing this here.

Pádraig Ó Méalóid: Who was it who came and talked to you about Mick Anglo’s copyright – Mick Anglo’s supposed ownership of Marvelman?

Alan Moore: Nobody came and talked to me. I had a phone call, from – I’ve forgotten, you probably know the names, I’ve forgotten, I’m afraid. It was some people from a Scottish record company…

PÓM: Jon Campbell from Emotiv?

AM: Yes. Or was there another person there?

PÓM: There might have been somebody on his behalf?

AM: It might have been somebody on his behalf.

PÓM: I don’t know exactly who… and, to be honest with you, they’re not answering my emails.

AM: Somebody from Emotiv called me up and explained that they had been working with a son of Mick Anglo’s who was a musician, that this son had told them something of the Marvelman story, that they had decided to get involved, because it sounded to them as if Mick Anglo was being cheated, so they told me a few of the things – such as the fact that L Miller hadn’t gone bankrupt. As soon as I knew that the rights to Marvelman had never been with the Official Receiver, I said, ‘Well, if I’d known that, I would have never taken the job, and, yes, if I can help, I do feel bad that I must have been instrumental in taking these rights from their rightful owner, whoever that might be.’

PÓM: I would make the point here Alan that, if you hadn’t written Marvelman then, nobody would be talking about Marvelman now, nobody. Nobody would be interested in it. If anybody has made any profit of any kind out of it, it is because you worked on it, whether you may have taken Mick’s…

AM: That’s probably true but, to be absolutely scrupulous, I felt that – OK, yes, I know that it’s because I wrote Marvelman the way that I did that it became the work that it’s become, but the fact remains that I had taken somebody else’s property without knowing that that was what I was doing, because I was being assured that this wasn’t what I was doing, so I said that certainly I would, any information that would help, but also I felt that, Mick Anglo is in his nineties and has a wife who is suffering from dementia, and I just thought anything that could actually get Mick Anglo some money at this point in his life, when it sounds like he could use it – if there was anything I could help towards that with, then I was prepared to do it.

So, I had, I think someone came down to Northampton, eventually, and just filmed an interview with me where I just answered all the questions that they asked me as honestly as I could, and there may have been some other back and forth. I haven’t spoken to any of the people from Emotiv for a couple of years now. Once I’d signed all the – done the interviews and done everything else, that seemed to be sufficient for them to progress, and I haven’t really…

PÓM: I do want to clarify, I’m all in favour of Mick Anglo getting something out of this, because he definitely –he’s the other major player in the Marvelman game, I think. It was always known as Mick Anglo’s Marvelman. Before it was Alan Moore’s Marvelman, it was Mick Anglo’s Marvelman. OK, now. Did you sign over, did you sign rights off to somebody on this, or what, or not, or…?

AM: Well I’d already – I don’t remember whether I’d signed anything with Neil [Gaiman], or whether it was just a gentlemen’s agreement, which is the way that I generally prefer to do things, but I may have signed something to clarify that I was giving the work to Neil.

PÓM: Afterwards, did you sign anything to clarify that you were – with Emotiv, or Mick Anglo, or indeed with Marvel?

AM: I think that I did – one thing that I said at that time was that I was prepared to – if they brought out a collection, if somebody brought out a collection of Marvelman, then I would want all of the money from the first edition to go to Mick Anglo. This was at a time when I though, yes, I did do a lot of the work on it and it would be nice if, I don’t know, Leah and Amber, or Mel, were to profit from it in the future, but by the time that Marvel Comics were involved I just though, ‘No, let it go, give all the money to Mick Anglo,’ and – which is more tricky than it – it looked like it was going to be quite easy to do, but then I kept getting all these contracts that didn’t want me to – didn’t seem to want me to give the money to Mick Anglo, or to take my name off of it. Eventually I signed one that did state just that.

PÓM: It does seem that – as I said, this thing is tricky to get by the horns – it’s like a greased snake, trying to hold onto it. The – Mick Anglo Ltd, I think Mick Anglo seemed to have, from what I can see, vested his ownership in Mick Anglo Ltd. Mick Anglo Ltd is now owned by somebody else – again, by Jon Campbell, or Emotiv, or these people. I think they bought it from him for X amount, so they now own the copyright, and that they then went and sold it to Marvel, and there was talk about things like movies, and all that kind of stuff, which is all kinda mad, but – so, did you assign any rights to them or to someone like them?

AM: Well, I just, as far as I understood it, I did not actually have any share in Marvelman any more, I’d given mine to Neil Gaiman. We were only talking about the rights to reproduce those stories that I’d written, and I think I basically, I signed the thing with Marvel, saying that – because at that point they were saying, ‘Look, Mick Anglo’s getting a lot of money…‘, and I think they wanted me to have my name on it, but I just wanted all the money to go to Mick Anglo, just because I really wanted to distance myself from the property and all of the trail of tears that went with it.

PÓM: I can’t blame you, it’s literally a crying shame. Let me see, what am I doing? OK, you said you were interviewed for something. There’s been, online at one stage there was some advertising for a DVD called ‘Who Stole Marvelman?’ that was going to come out and tell the whole sordid tale, so I’m guessing that’s what it was that you were interviewed for.

AM: It might have been something like that. I’d got the impression that I was doing it as part of the evidence for – that was being compiled for a court case. But I haven’t got anything that was stating that that was what it was, it was just what I assumed.

PÓM: OK, I’m pretty much done here. There’s one or two other things. OK, Marvel, at the moment [October 2010] – what Marvel seem to be doing now with Marvelman is they are reprinting the old [Miller/Anglo era] black and white stuff, at – ludicrously expensive hardcover black and white reproductions, and in all the stuff they’ve done, they did this thing called the Marvelman Classic Primer, which was a little comicky thing with a few bits and pieces in it, where they give no indication of what they’re intending to do. It seems to be all about bigging up, kinda, the old black and white Marvelman, and gives no idea – have you any idea what their plan is about reproducing your work?

AM: No idea. Since I said that I wanted my name taken off of it, and signed contracts to that effect, I’ve not heard a dickey bird, so, I don’t know. It might screw up some of the film rights, I suppose.

PÓM: One of the things that – again, the internet, as you may know, is nothing but, basically, rumour – a rumour mill. One of the rumours is that Marvel were intending to take your script, get the whole thing redrawn, so they wouldn’t have to deal with all of the artists, and various people involved.

AM: There was some talk of that, but by that point I was…

PÓM: You were no longer involved?

AM: I was no longer involved. Because the first draft of the contract that I’d got said that, ‘If Marvel makes any alterations to the artwork, then Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman will have the right to take their name from the strip.’ And I got back and said, ‘No, this is irrespective or whether Marvel makes any changes to the artwork,’ and then there was talk that, ‘Oh well, it might be difficult, we might have to get some bits redrawn’ – which, again, I don’t see that – that’s the work that it originally was, and I don’t want to see – Alan Davis did great work, Garry Leach did great work, I thought that Chuck Beckum did as best he could…

PÓM: Yeah, I think that’s probably the kindest thing to say. It was a bit of a shock after Alan Davis’s work, let’s say.

AM: It probably was. But he was only there for an issue or two, and Rick Veitch did a serviceable job, did his usual good job on stuff, and of course John Totleben’s stuff was breathtaking.

PÓM: I was firing some questions at Alan Davis, who was good enough to answer some stuff for me, and I was asking him about all this, and he said that somebody, a lawyer representing somebody at some point was trying to get him to agree to a contract to get his work republished, and he said OK, as long as he was going to get paid properly for it. And they said, he’d get paid the standard reprint rate, and if he wasn’t happy with that, that they’d go and get it redrawn, so he told them to go and get it redrawn.

AM: I didn’t hear any of this, but it sounds true. They would be trying to get it done for as cheap as possible. They’ve no respect for the writers and artists involved, that’s Marvel Comics.

PÓM: Who would want to be the person who was thinking they could redraw Alan Davis’s work? That’s just disgraceful.

AM: Well, it would be a kind of career suicide. Probably one of the problems that’s holding up this whole Marvelman thing: they can’t put my name on it, they’re not going to be having – it sounds like a lot of the original artists are just going to say ‘no, get it redrawn.’

PÓM: I’ve been in touch with as few of them. I have a stalled interview with Rick Veitch that I started about two years ago that we’re going to get back to in a couple of weeks [Hah! It’s taking a bit longer than that. Sorry, Rick!], and one of the things I was asking his was, ‘By the way, have you ever heard anything from Marvel?’, and he said, except for the fact that they all got a courtesy call just before it was announced at San Diego last year [in September 2009], that’s all he’s heard. And it seems that Marvel is telling nobody nothing, and I think that’s because they haven’t a fuckin’ clue what they’re doing. [A terrible slur and calumny on my part! And one I'm now happy to withdraw, as it seems they really did know what they were doing, after all. They just weren't telling the rest of us...]

AM: I think that’s probably true. I did hear of a comment that I didn’t really understand from Neil Gaiman that said that – I think this was after I’d said that I definitely wanted me name taking off of it, and they’d sent me another contract saying that, all right, ‘All the money will go to Mick Anglo, and Alan Moore’s name will not appear on the cover.’ So I sent that back as well, saying, ‘…or the insides, or anywhere in the advertising, or anywhere connected to this project.‘ Eventually we got that accepted, but Neil Gaiman said something to me over the phone which I didn’t really understand. He said that he’d been talking to Marvel and had said, yes, they did have the rights to publish Marvelman, but that he had been talking to them suggesting that it might not be a good idea if they did. I didn’t care one way or the other by this point, so I didn’t really register that, or understand quite what Neil meant. Maybe he would know more about it, I presume he’s in closer touch with Marvel than I am.

PÓM: Yes, I imagine he is. He did have, the whole Marvels and Miracles thing that he set up was funded by money from Marvel for a couple of things he did for them, and all that, so he’s sleeping with the enemy, Alan, God help him! OK. You know, the funny thing is, after all of that, I’m no closer to knowing anything, really.

AM: Well, that just reproduces my experience perfectly. After twenty-five, thirty years of this shit, I’m no closer to knowing anything, and everything that comes up just seems to make the matter more complicated, more murky.

PÓM: I tell you what it is, actually, it’s fractal [cue photo of fractal cauliflower...], I find that I find out something, and I agitate it a little, and it opens up and it opens up and it opens up still further. I found out that Arnold Miller was still alive, and through somebody, through somebody, through somebody else, I ended up getting in touch with Arnold Miller, and I was thrilled, I was writing back and forwards, and he’s saying that – the only thing is, is he’s saying that Mick Anglo – this legendary conversation where they rang up and said, ‘Mick, we’ve got terrible trouble, we need you to come over and rescue us immediately,’ he said that never happened, and that Mick didn’t own the rights, but at the same time…

AM: This might be true. All I’ve done is do what I thought was best with whatever information I’ve got at the time. I suspect that it’ll probably turn out that it all ended up completely unfairly for almost everybody.

PÓM: The thing is, none of the Millers own it either, because if the company was wound up, the company ceased to exist. A nonexistent body cannot own property. It’s like if you drop twenty quid on the ground, and then die? It’s ownerless. So, it’s entirely possible that by publishing it in Warrior, that reclaimed the rights, because nobody had the rights at the time. At the same time, Mick Anglo did a lot of work on it, and he was, if you like, the last honest man to have his hands on it, at that stage.

AM: That was the feeling that I was going for. That I didn’t want any of this money, because it had been polluted, that I figured that if Mick was in a bad situation, he’s getting on, and his missus was ill, then I figured that, at least, if it was going to go to him, to make himself comfortable for the remainder of his life, then that would be a good outcome.

PÓM: I do believe he has got some money, and I think Emotiv allegedly paid him four grand for the thing…

AM: Four grand?

PÓM: Allegedly they gave him four thousand for it. I don’t know what they supposedly got from Marvel, because I haven’t heard that, but he would hopefully get more money than that afterwards.

AM: He certainly would, and I would have hoped that – they were promising me and Neil Gaiman quite large amounts of money…

PÓM: Well, that’d be because they wanted you and Neil Gaiman onside, and because you are the two big names…

AM: But I made it clear, just give all my money to Mick Anglo, so he should have got that, at least, I would have hoped.

PÓM: I genuinely hope that somebody somewhere has given him some money, because there’s all of this talk, but one hopes that it has actually happened.

AM: True, and it is difficult to actually trust anybody in the equation.

PÓM: OK, I think that’s us done with that.

and then we talked about other, non-relevant stuff, sent our best wishes to each other’s wives, and we were done.

GaryAlanIainOct08
Gary Lloyd, Alan Moore, and the late Iain Banks, about to enter their Tardises. (Tardi? Tardes? Who knows?)

I hold forth at much greater length about all things Marvelman / Miracleman-related in the series of articles called POISONED CHALICE, on this very website, which this interview is technically part of. And one of these days, I’m definitely going to actually finish it. No, really.

Comments

  1. McRonson says:

    Keep it coming! I suspect this story will outlive most of us…

  2. Molnek says:

    Great interview, just great. It’s easy for us to all think Alan Moore is a bit crazy over having his name removed from things and all that. But man when they’re still trying to make a buck off his name who can blame the guy?
    Do we know is anything is being redrawn for the upcoming collection?

  3. If someone said to me, “We know you like the Beatles, but we’re going to bring in some new musicians to play and sing the songs for the new iTunes additions.” I’d say they were barking mad. Doing it with artists work isn’t any more acceptable.

  4. Christopher, iTunes is filled with other performers interpreting the scripts that the Beatles wrote.

  5. …but not to replace what they preformed, and never as good. It’s just another way of trying to convince people who have already payed money for something that they need to buy it again. “You may think you’ve seen Jurassic Park, but even though you’ve watched on cable like 100 time already, you haven’t, because you haven’t seen it in the new 3D IMAX! Buy your tickets now!” Meanwhile we’re losing our past (our history) more and more every day.

  6. JasonF says:

    There have been some absolutely amazing covers of Beatles songs, and I would push back on “never as good.” Check out Al Green’s version of I Want to Hold Your Hand. Joe Cocker’s WIth a Little Help From My Friends. Aretha’s Eleanor Rigby. The Black Keys’s She Said She Said. It’s exactly because Lennon and McCartney were such amazing writers that their music can be transofrmed by so many great artists.

    I mean, I would love to see what a J.H. Williams or a Brent Anderson or a Jim Cheung could do with one of the Marvelman scripts. And that’s not a knock on Alan Davis or even Chuck Beckum, but the point is that if Davis were refusing to let his art be used, I’d rather see a new interpretation of the story than not see the story at all.

    All of which appears to be a moot point anyway, since all indications are that Marvel will be releasing reprints, not redrawn scripts.

  7. I won’t say they’re all bad (although Joe Cocker’s version of With A Little Help From My Friends makes me want to stab my ears) but I’ll stick with never as good. The difference is, they’re not replacing the original songs, and this is yet another example of companies rehashing Moor’s work for a buck, rather than fostering new innovations… and what of today’s generations who will look at the reworkings and believe that’s how it always was? Not good.

  8. Kurt Busiek says:

    >> The difference is, they’re not replacing the original songs, and this is yet another example of companies rehashing Moor’s work for a buck, rather than fostering new innovations…>>

    Before you insist that this is what it _is,_ shouldn’t you know what it is? You seem to be assuming that they’re going to have the scripts redrawn, as opposed to using the original art to the extent that there’s usable repro material available, and doing their best to recreate that art when there isn’t.

    Honestly, if one of the artists who drew that material refused to let their version be used, the recourse would be to have it redone or not publish those chapters; in such a case, I’d think redoing the art would be justifiable, since there wouldn’t be any other way to get it back into print. But it doesn’t sound like that’s actually happening.

    >> and what of today’s generations who will look at the reworkings and believe that’s how it always was? Not good.>>

    I dunno. How many generations have looked at the TINTIN books, and have no idea that the artwork’s been redone and refined over the years, but isn’t the same as that of the original printings?

    How many people read various editions of novels without knowing that they’re edited and things have changed from the original printings — or that in some cases, there is no one “original printing,” as with the Harry Potter novels or Neil Gaiman’s work, which got different texts published in England and the US right from the start?

    There’s something to be said for preserving the original, and there’s something to be said for making new editions available rather than leaving out-of-print work to be increasingly unavailable or lost. The two don’t always overlap, though it’s nice when they do.

    MIRACLEMAN is one of those things that should be available. If it can be done in a manner that’s faithful to the original printings, great (although even there, in some of those original printings, the character’s name is different from other chapters, so an editing choice has already resulted in changes in the existing TPB collections), great, but if it can’t, then having it available in a version that preserves as much as is achievable is better than not having it available at all. If that’s how it works out, then those who simply want to read it may be happy with the new versions while those who value preservation over availability have the option to pay collectors’ prices for the original comics or first-edition TPBs.

    You could continue to postulate scenarios — do you reprint the work of authors that was originals published in pulp or slick magazines with illustrations without those illustrations (or with different ones) as has been done often? If you have a manuscript of a lost novel and it’s in such poor shape you have to use judgment to recreate it here and there and it won’t be exactly the same, do you do it or leave the work lost? Do you do only scholarly reprintings, limiting the appeal of something that could have wide readership, or do you go for a popular edition even if it’s a compromise (aware that the original publications were compromises even then)?

    But eventually it becomes a choice: Do you decide that in the name of fidelity, you won’t make new editions available at all? That’s not really a great option either.

    This still seems like a hunt for something to be outraged about. If someone discovered a bunch of rough demo tapes for Beatles songs that had been heard once but never made widely available, and one of the backing tracks was corrupted, would it be a not-good thing to clean it up digitally, put together a new backing track and make some work intended as popular music available as popular music?

    I also think there’s a difference between what Moore complains about as rehashing his work for a buck — i.e., taking finished work and building new ancillary stories or spinoffs, etc. out of details and background stuff — and republishing the work in accessible editions. Conflating the two, as if there’s something inherently nasty about making MIRACLEMAN available at all, seems like a mis-prioritization, one aimed more at trying to condemn anything to do with making the material available than seeing value in doing so.

    I’m hoping they do a good job and we get a nice one-volume hardcover of the Moore run. If so, I’ll be able to sell off my original printings, because a one-volume edition would be more convenient. If there’s some well-done art restoration along the way, that won’t strike me as a crime. If there isn’t, I’ll keep the printings I have. Either way, I won’t be worse off — and people who can’t afford those editions will have a shot at reading and enjoying the material. Which doesn’t strike me as a pitchforks-and-Frankenstein-rakes moment.

    kdb

  9. Kurt, I respectfully and completely disagree with everything you said. I’d rather see a good work rest in piece than be reworked into something that it’s not and be presented to a new audience as reality. I own many original Beatles albums, and they sound nothing like what has been presented to today’s generation, and when kids from today’s generation say to me that they don’t understand why the Beatles were a big deal, I see why. It’s because what they’ve been shown is a “tidying up” or (from my own personal perception) a dirty lie by people who feel they know better than the artists who created the original work. It’s only ever done for two reasons: Egotism (Amazon.com’s meddling in the works of Mark Twain, to make them less offensive comes to mind) or Agenda, mainly being as an excuse to sell it all over again. I’m not looking to be outraged. I feel no outrage, only sadness for a loss of truth. I praise the “pirates” who have put the scans of the original issues online, so that they wont be lost to everyone, and I thank God that redrawn additions of Moore’s work are not coming to pass, this time around.

    “The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.”
    ~George Orwell

  10. “I feel no outrage, only sadness for a loss of truth.”

    Ugh. I immediately flashed back to awful conversations I had with pretentious drunk guys when I was in college.

  11. johnrobiethecat says:

    “I also think there’s a difference between what Moore complains about as rehashing his work for a buck — i.e., taking finished work and building new ancillary stories or spinoffs, etc. out of details and background stuff — and republishing the work in accessible editions. Conflating the two, as if there’s something inherently nasty about making MIRACLEMAN available at all, seems like a mis-prioritization, one aimed more at trying to condemn anything to do with making the material available than seeing value in doing so.”

    You seem in love with defending the corporate comics take on the world from Image to Marvel. Like they are just well-intentioned craftsman trying to do things right and not just trying to lock up another property because they can and have a willing shill like Neil Gaiman to faciliate that. Meanwhile, people who came from less organized times and will have to stand by while Marvel vacuums up the financial benefits of their work as well as the rights. Comics worlds seems like its just wired to exploit independent creators who don’t have lawyers around to explain the loopholes, then and now. Alan Moore is pretty right to be wary of Marvel’s intentions.

  12. Padraig O Mealoid says:

    I think there is a lot of merit in what Kurt Busiek says. Yes, ideally, we’d all love to see the original work presented as it was originally meant to be seen – I’d love to see, for instance, an ‘Artists’ Edition’ of the original black and white work from Warrior – but compromise is not submission.

    I think Marvel are right, for example, to re-letter the whole series, and – although they’ve made their intentions in that regard less clear – to recolour it too, if necessary. The thing I’m least happy about is seeing them using the name Miracleman here, rather than the original name, Marvelman. But again, I can see why they wish to do this – Marvelman, whether we like it or not, would be taken as being some sort of figurehead for Marvel Comics, which he most certainly is not, because of the things that happen in this story, and which are to continue to happen, if Neil Gaiman gets to finish this the way he had described it previously, where the least issue of the Dark Age sees two people left on a blackened and smoking Earth. So, these original adventures will appear under the name of Miracleman. But, given the choice between not seeing them at all, or seeing them finished with a name I dislike, it would be madness to choose the former over the latter.

    I don’t doubt that, later on, we’ll see all manner of editions of the material, both affordable editions for the people who really just wish to be able to read the story (me, for instance), and more specialised editions for the collectors market, for people who want more detailed versions, and original editions, of the artwork (again, me). Mostly, I just want to find out what happens next, and have been waiting for a very long time for this. I bought Warrior #1 just about thirty years ago now, so I don’t care how it’s presented, at this stage, just as long as I get to find out how it all ends. That’s not unreasonably, is it?

    As an aside to this, and the argument over presenting things exactly as they originally were, versus later amendments that may or may not make the original either better or worse, there’s a comment on PART II of this interview by Robert Stanley Martin who suggests that I should have edited the interview to correct places where Moore was incorrect – he singles out AM’s remarks about Mike Grell’s Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters, which AM suggests didn’t sell at all well, when this apparently wasn’t the case. And he seemed to think that the interview was too ‘raw.’ I understand what he’s saying, but I like to present the interviews I do as close to word for word as I can – although I’ve removed huge amounts of verbal tics like ‘you know,’ ‘I mean,’ and other such like, so there’s at least some editorial fiddling on my part. Other people do it differently, but this is the way I like to do it. And, funnily enough, this is the first time that anyone has in any way objected, that I’m aware of. I’m not saying ‘Well, nobody else minded,’ but rather that , as much as anything else, I’m kind of surprised I’ve never run up against this before.

    I certainly do not think, though, that it’s my place to do a running comment on which bits of the interview are true or untrue – at least as much because I believe the average reader of The Beat is canny enough to work that out for themselves. And I think it’s important to preserve the very fact that AM seemed to be unhappy about the format he was complaining about, and what he chose to illuminate that dislike, which I think is much more important than the comparatively trivial fact that his facts were actually wrong.

  13. Kurt Busiek says:

    >> I’d rather see a good work rest in piece than be reworked into something that it’s not and be presented to a new audience as reality.>>

    Yeah, we definitely disagree. I’d rather see good work made available — it doesn’t erase the original printings, and they’re still out there for the collector, but it means the work can reach new readers. I’m all for that.

    I also wonder — if Marvel couldn’t get the rights to use, say, Chuck and Rick’s artwork, so they commissioned Alan Davis to redraw those chapters, would fans be really upset that work readers largely complained about the first time around was redone, or would they be welcoming (or at least intrigued) at the thought of one of the artists they liked on the series getting to re-do the parts they didn’t like? I honestly don’t know either way — I bet some would hate it and some would love it. And I doubt it’ll happen anyway. I think we’re going to get “art restoration,” not redrawn chapters.

    >> You seem in love with defending the corporate comics take on the world from Image to Marvel.>>

    Yeah, that’s me all over.

    >> Like they are just well-intentioned craftsman trying to do things right and not just trying to lock up another property because they can and have a willing shill like Neil Gaiman to faciliate that.>>

    I like the idea of Image — lumped in with this story seemingly at random — is the kind of company that locks up properties because they can.

    I also really like the idea of Neil as “willing shill” out to help Marvel lock stuff up because that’s his prime interest, rather than as someone who wants to finish a story he started writing years ago, and who has a large audience of readers eager to see it. It’s not like Neil couldn’t spend that work time writing a novel that’d make him much more money, if money was what he wanted. It’s just that he’s eager to be a shill, because that’s his career path: Shilling.

    >> Meanwhile, people who came from less organized times and will have to stand by while Marvel vacuums up the financial benefits of their work as well as the rights. Comics worlds seems like its just wired to exploit independent creators who don’t have lawyers around to explain the loopholes, then and now. Alan Moore is pretty right to be wary of Marvel’s intentions.>>

    Virtually all publishers are in it to make a profit, including Leonard Miller, Dez Skinn and Dean Mullaney, in their time working with Marvelman. Merely wanting to make a profit is not a bad thing. Doing so by making material the public wants to read available for sale is not a horribly unethical way of doing that, either.

    And in this case, unlike, say, the WATCHMEN situation, Alan Moore has agreed to the reprinting under certain conditions, which Marvel is abiding by. And the thought that they might have chapters redrawn (which is so far just speculation) is rooted in the idea that Alan’s collaborators have rights to their work and could refuse to license those rights; for all that I want to see the material as originally published, I like the idea that the artists get to choose whether they want to ride the train or not.

    I think there are many things to complain about in corporate comics publishing — but that someone has put in the time, work and expense to unsnarl the Miracleman rights situation to the point that the work can be reissued isn’t really one of them. It’s something readers have wanted for decades, at this point.

    >> The thing I’m least happy about is seeing them using the name Miracleman here, rather than the original name, Marvelman.>>

    My guess is that this material will be republished as Miracleman, since that’s the name it’s known by to the widest audience, and became a thematic element in the series — and then when Marvel introduces a new version of the character into the Marvel Universe, they’ll call that guy Marvelman. The Mick Anglo stuff will be known under its original name, the Moore/Gaiman stuff will be marked off by a name special to that material, and the new version (which no one has announced, but does anyone want to bet against it?) will get a name that identifies it with the publisher.

    kdb

  14. Kate Willaert says:

    @Padraig O Mealoid:
    Not having had a chance to read Miracleman myself yet, I’m curious what the issue is with the original lettering that it requires being re-lettered?

    @Christopher Moonlight:
    The reason younger people think The Beatles are overrated is because the innovations they made during their career have become so commonplace today that they’re either taken for granted or even considered cliches. It happens to all heavily influential works over time.

  15. JasonF says:

    I’ve not read the Gaiman Miracleman stories (though I’m looking forward to finally being able to do so!), but my understanding is that his scripts, in certain sequences, played off the idea that the character’s name is Miracleman, incorporating the concept of miracles as a rhetorical/narrative hook. So, while changing the name back to Marvelman might satisfy the purists for the first set of issues, it would do damage — both from a craft perspective and from a “no changes ever” perspective — to the back half of the run.

  16. johnrobiethecat says:

    “I like the idea of Image — lumped in with this story seemingly at random — is the kind of company that locks up properties because they can.”

    Seems like Image has the same sour track record with Alan Moore. A “random” observation just tossed in there.

    ——–
    Alan Moore
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    “Image partner Jim Lee offered to provide Moore with his own imprint, which would be under Lee’s company WildStorm Productions. Moore named this imprint America’s Best Comics, lining up a series of artists and writers to assist him in this venture. However, Lee soon sold WildStorm – including America’s Best Comics – to DC Comics, and “Moore found himself back with a company he’d vowed to never work with again”. Lee and editor Scott Dunbier flew to England personally to reassure Moore that he would not be affected by the sale, and would not have to deal with DC directly”

    —–

  17. johnrobiethecat says:

    “And in this case, unlike, say, the WATCHMEN situation, Alan Moore has agreed to the reprinting under certain conditions, which Marvel is abiding by. And the thought that they might have chapters redrawn (which is so far just speculation) is rooted in the idea that Alan’s collaborators have rights to their work and could refuse to license those rights; for all that I want to see the material as originally published, I like the idea that the artists get to choose whether they want to ride the train or not.”

    Maybe they were offered a crummy deal and no royalties. And no editorial input on how therir work is handled. Then Marvel might have told them, if you don’t like it, we ‘ve got guys, big stars, chomping at the bit to draw these things- just like Before Watchmen. Who knows?

    Not sure if you would like that offer to ride the train, cooporate or have your contribution be erased to the newbies. Lettering is fine but I’d say keep that too…. Sounds like its the same old comics cartel of old-type stuff. (which is Image is practicing this week on that ripping comics guy to juice publicity)

    “I think there are many things to complain about in corporate comics publishing — but that someone has put in the time, work and expense to unsnarl the Miracleman rights situation to the point that the work can be reissued isn’t really one of them. It’s something readers have wanted for decades, at this point.”

    I’d say a big messy, collected pdf of whats avaialable will do, could be a group project in a public domain format. Or for $2.99 split amongst any of the creators around , publishers or their families, or given more to main creator. Marvel and Disney can stay on the sidelines. They don’t really own anything outside of exploiting a scattered comapnies or less than mindful businesses if this account is correct .

  18. JasonF says:

    So to fight Marvel’s “exploitation” of Moore, Leach and others, we’re going to illegally scan their work and sell it, but it’s OK because we’re going to give the proceeds to them (not that we’ve obtained their input on this approach or verified that they like the plan or the price point)?

  19. Kurt Busiek says:

    >> Seems like Image has the same sour track record with Alan Moore.>>

    Nope. Image doesn’t own anything. That’s why, when Jim Lee sold Wildstorm to DC, he was able to take all that stuff he (not Image) owned and sell it to them without Image having any input into or profit from the deal.

    That Alan Moore chose to make a work-for-hire deal with Jim is between Alan and Jim, and never involved Image owning the rights to anything. I don’t know why Alan and Jim chose to work that way — I’ve heard it was because that way Alan got more money up front, but I don’t know for sure — but I can attest that it was very possible to make creator-ownership deals with Wildstorm, as in the case of ASTRO CITY, STRANGERS IN PARADISE, LEAVE IT TO CHANCE and others.

    >> Maybe they were offered a crummy deal and no royalties. >>

    If so, I’d have turned that down (though even the anecdotal claims made here don’t go that far), and I’d be supportive of their right to turn down a deal they don’t like.

    [Heck, I might be in a position to negotiate over just such a deal, since my MIRACLEMAN: APOCRYPHA story wasn't a work-for-hire deal, so if they want to reprint that collection at some point, they'll have to make deals with the various creators on it. So maybe I'll find out.]

    >> I’d say a big messy, collected pdf of whats avaialable will do, could be a group project in a public domain format.>>

    Except the material’s not in the public domain, which isn’t a format, but a legal status.

    >> They don’t really own anything outside of exploiting a scattered comapnies or less than mindful businesses if this account is correct .>>

    I’m not sure what that sentence means — I think you’re trying to say that Marvel don’t own anything except for having bought the rights from the various owners and claimants, which would mean they do own something — but I can’t say your suggestion of disregarding copyright law and then possibly sharing the profits as you see fit among creators and former publishers who may have legal objections to however you choose to portion out those payments is superior.

    But for those who want a big messy PDF, I expect those are available illegally online somewhere already. So if you’re not interested in respecting anyone’s rights issues, your suggested idea already exists, and will still exist even when Marvel publishes their editions.

    That wouldn’t get us the rest of Neil and Bucky’s story, of course, since they do think the ownership issues matter and had to be sorted out (to the point of Neil funneling his profits from 1602 into the effort to do so), but as long as they’re being dismissed as just shills, I’d guess that wouldn’t be seen as a detriment.

    I’d see it as one, though.

    kdb

  20. Kurt Busiek says:

    >> So to fight Marvel’s “exploitation” of Moore, Leach and others, we’re going to illegally scan their work and sell it, but it’s OK because we’re going to give the proceeds to them (not that we’ve obtained their input on this approach or verified that they like the plan or the price point)?>>

    It does seem a little odd, doesn’t it?

    So far, the only people whose attitude toward the reprints we know are all people who’ve granted permission for Marvel to do it (in some cases with conditions attached), and some of these guys presumably prefer to have their work published in a way that’ll reach a wide audience in a profitable way that funnels income back to them. But then, why should the people who owned the character or wrote or drew the stories have any say in how their property is published? Marvel’s clearly using them, so in order to defend their rights and integrity, the thing to do is ignore their wishes and any deals they’ve made.

    kdb

  21. Kurt Busiek says:

    >> Not having had a chance to read Miracleman myself yet, I’m curious what the issue is with the original lettering that it requires being re-lettered?>>

    Probably that they don’t have good repro materials available. The lettering itself is fine, and if they wanted to they could easily have someone like Comicraft create a duplicate font to match the style; it’d be simpler than trying to restore and clean up stats of the original stories (and then editing them to change the names, as had to be done for the Eclipse editions).

    But as I recall, the lettering was by someone named “G. George” and maybe Annie Halfacree (and then Wayne Truman on the later original-to-the-US-edition stuff) and it was solid, professional work.

    kdb

  22. Padraig–

    I actually think it’s much worse that you’re printing gossip-based attacks on people without checking things out with those who have firsthand knowledge of the situation. I brought that up in the other comment, too, although I see you ignored it in your response above.

    However, if you want to be irresponsible and spread misinformation, I suppose that’s your call. And if Heidi MacDonald wants to print it, that’s on her.

  23. johnrobiethecat says:

    >>That Alan Moore chose to make a work-for-hire deal with Jim is between Alan and Jim, and never involved Image owning the rights to anything. I don’t know why Alan and Jim chose to work that way — I’ve heard it was because that way Alan got more money up front, but I don’t know for sure — but I can attest that it was very possible to make creator-ownership deals with Wildstorm, as in the case of ASTRO CITY, STRANGERS IN PARADISE, LEAVE IT TO CHANCE and others.>>

    Well explained. That makes sense to me, cede the floor here.

  24. johnrobiethecat says:

    <>

    I was just tossing out an idea, probrably a dumb one in the context of reality. Even split amonst everybody involved from AM to the colorist. I’d rather see a big jumble pdf where everybody just gets an even cut than an “event” that Marvel exploits, Before Watchmen style. You seem to have full faith in Marvel to output something faithful to the original story and honoring its integrity which I find odd. I’ve never read it, but I remember Warrior a bit. In Marvel’s recent history, they have regurgitated past stories into long terrible, drawn events like A vs X, Age of Ultron etc that have little artistic integrity to their purpose and exploitation of properties at its core.. Why wouldn’t they do that here? Neil Gaiman might have the Avengers materialize with Thanos at the end for all you know.

    Think the last sucessful, high profile character they’ve made on their own was DeadPool ( via Liefeld) more than 20 yrs ago and maybe Wolverine 15 yrs before that. So all this intrigue around Miracleman is attractive to them, maybe at $5 or $8 a pop for these issues. And they get a potentially a profitable character for the stable by being the corporate daddy in the house that’ll make this mess right. Not that I’m invested Marvelman but if no one can agrees on rights, just make an even split for everybody involved. If you don’t sort it out before they publish it, upset creators will need thousands, or hundreds of thosands in lawyers fees to take on Disney which probrably isn’t going to happen.

  25. JasonF says:

    I’ve never understood why such a high premium is placed on creating new characters, as opposed to doing interesting things with old characters. Particularly in the context of Alan Moore, whose bibliography reads like a murderers’ row of “doing interesting things with old characters (or pastiches thereof).”

    Here, we’ve got Marvel republishing an established work (which was, I hasten to add, a revamp of a character who was a serial-numbers-filed-off version of a character who was an attempt to cash in on Superman’s success). Yet people are angry simply because it’s Marvel, so surely artistic integrity must be in the process of being destroyed and creators in the process of being exploited. Never mind that this is being driven not just by Marvel, but also by one of the most successful and powerful creators in comics, with a sterling reputation for respecting the rights of his fellow creators. It’s Marvel, so there must be foul deeds afoot!

  26. Kurt Busiek says:

    >> I’d rather see a big jumble pdf where everybody just gets an even cut than an “event” that Marvel exploits, Before Watchmen style.>>

    I don’t think that’s the choice here. Marvel’s not talking about doing “Before Miracleman,” they’re talking about reissuing the stuff that already exists, and finishing up the story that was interrupted decades ago — and finishing it up by the original creators of that arc, no less.

    I find it hard to understand how that resembles BEFORE WATCHMEN to you.

    >> You seem to have full faith in Marvel to output something faithful to the original story and honoring its integrity which I find odd.>>

    I have faith in Neil and Bucky to finish out their story the way they intended to, at the very least. What Marvel does with Miraclemarvelman after that I don’t have much concern about — if it’s good, it’ll be good, and if it’s not, it won’t be, but it’s not as if there haven’t been reams of bad Marvelman stories before — the Mick Anglo-era stuff is not a high point in comics history.

    So while I can easily understand the arguments that to extend WATCHMEN beyond what it was created to be is aesthetically and ethically questionable, I don’t see that doing more Marvelman adventures beyond what Alan wrote is a parallel — there were years and years of Marvelman adventures before Alan ever got there, after all.

    The closest parallel I can see to this is when DC bought the unfinished V FOR VENDETTA, reprinted what had been done and then had Moore and Lloyd finish it up. When they did that, we finally got the rest of the V story, and here, we’re finally going to get the rest of Neil and Bucky’s story.

    >> In Marvel’s recent history, they have regurgitated past stories into long terrible, drawn events like A vs X, Age of Ultron etc that have little artistic integrity to their purpose and exploitation of properties at its core.. Why wouldn’t they do that here? >>

    Because those are new events based on old stories, not reprints of the old stories. Marvel certainly could do subsequent material bringing Marvelman into the Marvel Universe (in fact, I’d bet money on it), but that won’t make a reissue of the Moore and Gaiman material any less worth doing than modern Marvel events you don’t like makes those old Lee, Kirby and Ditko stories less worth collecting and reissuing.

    >> Neil Gaiman might have the Avengers materialize with Thanos at the end for all you know.>>

    Neil didn’t put hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money into straightening out the Marvelman rights so that he could finally finish the story he set out to do decades ago in order to turn it into a promo opportunity for the Marvel Universe. I’m as confident as I can be that the material Neil and Bucky do will be the stories they originally outlined way back when.

    >> Not that I’m invested Marvelman but if no one can agrees on rights, just make an even split for everybody involved.>>

    If no one agrees on the rights, they won’t agree on an even split either. You seem to think that if the various rights-claimants can’t reach a deal, you can simply impose one on them, and assume that if you think it should be acceptable, they’ll just accept it. But that’s not how rights and ownership work, and moreover, it’s doing exactly the sort of thing you imagine Marvel doing — it’s trampling on their control to do something you like, whether they like it or not.

    >> If you don’t sort it out before they publish it, upset creators will need thousands, or hundreds of thosands in lawyers fees to take on Disney which probrably isn’t going to happen.>>

    The weird thing is, what’s been going on these past few years is that Marvel has been sorting it out, and has been spending that money on legal fees to make sure that there won’t be disputes — as far as I can tell from outside, what they’ve done is make deals with everyone who appears to have some sort of claim that amounts to something, so that regardless of which of those claims are the most accurate, everyone’s signed off on the deal. Everyone’s agreed to it. That seems to be a good way to go about it, but you seem to be imagining that Marvel’s made no deals with anyone, and they’re all now going to want to sue Disney.

    But why would they sue? Mick Anglo and Leonard Miller’s camps seem to have been taken care of, and the people who did the 1980s revival seem to be covered as well. Marvel hasn’t wrenched their rights away, they’ve purchased them by coming to mutually-agreeable terms.

    So now, they’ve announced that after years of work, they’ve locked down the rights, are going to reissue the material and finish out the Gaiman/Bucky stuff — this seems relatively straightforward. It took a long time for them to get here, because straightening out the rights tangle took some time.

    But you’re imagining that despite what they’ve actually announced, what they’re really going to do is some sort of big bad crossover, and everyone’s going to want to sue over it. This doesn’t seem to be based on anything but a worry that if Marvel’s involved it must be bad. Even if it’s largely a reprint project.

    I don’t get that. But, again, even if it’s somehow bad, the old material’s still out there. It’s just hard to find and wicked expensive, which is why there’s this desire for someone to do what Marvel’s done: Straighten out the rights, reissue the work and finish the Neil/Bucky stories.

    kdb

  27. Kurt Busiek says:

    A question:

    If Marvel’s big plan for MIRACLEMAN: THE SILVER AGE was to turn it into a big ugly crossover with Marvel co-stars…why would Neil and Bucky sign up for it?

    For the money? Both of them make good money elsewhere — Neil makes far more money from novels than he would from a work-for-hire comics mini-series, so doing this represents making _less_ money than he could for the same amount of work, not a big payday that’d overwhelm his resistance. And Bucky’s got FABLES, which sells steadily and well, so taking time away from FABLES to do this would have to be for something other than financial concerns.

    To finally finish their story? Sure, but if Marvel’s telling them to have Thanos show up, it’s not their story any more. So unless they’re doing the story they set out to do years ago, that doesn’t wash.

    For the joy of being a Marvel shill? Both of them have very successful careers that don’t involve shilling for Marvel, even though they both could have spent all this time doing nothing but work-for-hire projects for Marvel if that was their real career ambition. So I’ve got to assume that it isn’t.

    It seems reasonable that the reason they’re doing it is to finish out the stories they set out to tell back in the 1980s. And if Marvel wanted them to turn it into MARVEL SUPER HEROES MIRACLE WARS, they’d have said no.

    kdb

  28. johnrobiethecat says:

    @Jason F
    Almost everybody loves the Marvel characters but as we know business wise, Marvel has an ugly history. Maybe they’ve changed under Disney. We’ll see.

    @kdb
    Wow! You really know your stuff and filled in a lot of blanks.
    Now I’m curious about this, thanks.

  29. johnrobiethecat says:

    p.s. re:Question
    not sure the Neil Gaiman part is what people are waiting for. Could be a writer face-off of sorts.

  30. Kurt Busiek says:

    >> not sure the Neil Gaiman part is what people are waiting for.>>

    It’s certainly one of them. Getting Alan’s three volumes back into print is one big attraction to all this. Getting Neil and Bucky’s stories finished is the other. There are many eager readers awaiting both.

    >> Could be a writer face-off of sorts.>>

    How so? Which writers would face off? Alan’s already done with his stuff, and he gave his rights to the material to Neil. Who’d be facing off, and over what?

    kdb

  31. Padraig O Mealoid says:

    Rather than go through all of these individually, let me just say that I’m writing a piece about the recent announcement about Marvelman/Miracleman that will hopefully be on the site tomorrow – Sunday – at noon [Edited to add: or possibly Monday, at the rate I'm going...], where I address some of the issues that arise here, including issues about colouring and lettering; something about the deal that the various artists got; the continuing change of the character’s name; and how Marvel are actually going to be doing this, to the best of my knowledge – which in these matters, even if I do say so myself, is considerable.

    Well, I’ll address one issue…

    Robert Stanley Martin: I actually think it’s much worse that you’re printing gossip-based attacks on people without checking things out with those who have firsthand knowledge of the situation.

    Now, how do you know that I haven’t checked out these things? In this case, I’d venture that you are the person who doesn’t have firsthand information of who I did or didn’t contact, or what facts I checked, and with whom. The fact that I haven’t said it here doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. However, and here I quote directly, ‘if you want to be irresponsible and spread misinformation, I suppose that’s your call.’

  32. Padraig O Mealoid says:

    Kurt: One thing – one of the original letterers for Marvelman at Warrior, Annie Halfacree, is now Annie Parkhouse, seeing as she’s now married to Steve Parkhouse, and is still working as a letterer. She’s also, I’m very happy to say, a Facebook friend, and a lovely and warm human being.

  33. Kurt Busiek says:

    Padraig – yes, I know that.* But she was Annie Halfacree when she did that lettering, so that’s the name I used.

    kdb

    *well, not that she’s a Facebook friend of yours, but the rest, yes.

  34. Padraig O Mealoid says:

    Kurt: OK, good. I have to say, one of the truly wonderful things about this here Internet, and things like Facebook, is the ability to actually correspond in a meaningful way with people whose work I’ve known sometimes since I was quite young. Annie and yourself would be perfect examples of that – at least we both seem to be on the same side this time, which I believe was very much not the case when I wrote those pieces about Superfolks, and AM & GM!

  35. johnrobiethecat says:

    <>

    I’m definitely the wrong guy to ask here. All I can offer is raw impressions with only my man-on-the street take on this topic. I’ve read more of Alan Moore than Neil Gaiman. And I’m not sure if one issue of the Eternals even counts,

    But isn’t Neil Gaiman more of a force amongst female readers ? The dreamy looking, talented guy who’s on the Blackberry commercials who emotes sensitivity, the Sandman, spirits and all. (taking a chance being frank here, the editor of this thing might erupt like a volcano if she happens upon this) While Alan Moore may have just as many female fans, he’s got almost limitless cred for superhero epics with pathos with the Wed crowd that Marvel covets. Though he’s wildly successful and revered, I suspect NG has another mountain to climb there unless his take on Miiracle Man was just as good. It may be but I haven’t heard that. I’m looking forward to discovering his Gaiman’s writing there if they don’t jack it up to $8- prices thing this time. Still, could be NG’s chance to shine in the Marvel machoverse, epic tale, good prodoction values, established character still to be molded, all eyes looking, Alan Moore started, he finishes etc…Maybe that’s why he wants to do it. Again, just speculating. I don’t know.

    Its fun stuff to talk about unless he ends it with Thanos, Dr Strange Galactus in a dreamworld. Then I’ll find those pdfs.

  36. johnrobiethecat says:

    p.s. answering this question…

    >> How so? Which writers would face off? Alan’s already done with his stuff, and he gave his rights to the material to Neil. Who’d be facing off, and over what?>>

  37. Kurt Busiek says:

    >> But isn’t Neil Gaiman more of a force amongst female readers ? >>

    Neil’s one of the most popular writers of comics we’ve seen in a long, long time, among any readers.

    Alan’s another.

    I expect you’ll like the Gaiman MIRACLEMAN stuff just fine, when you get to read it.

  38. While I’m really not a fan of computer-typeset lettering, I’ll acknowledge that it’s probably a good idea to reletter the stuff for consistency, since not only were there multiple letterers, but they were working at different sizes to begin with. The magazine-format pages being shrunk down to comic size makes the lettering in those stories look tiny, and not only is the lettering on the natively comic-sized pages large by comparison, but my recollection is that the (Vansant?) lettering in the Beckum issues is fairly large, even by comparison with other comics of the day.

  39. Sam Thielman says:

    I love Moore’s work on the series, but for my money Gaiman’s is actually better. It will be really great to see what he had planned all those years ago for the end of The Silver Age, and hopefully The Dark Age as well. It was as good as a lot of The Sandman.

  40. jacob lyon goddard says:

    i’m much more concerned about the computer re-coloring/re-lettering, no to mention the eventual binding.
    i see no reason for it, and Marvel has an abysmal recent history when it comes to this (as does DC, and Dark Horse).

    wish this could have landed at Drawn and Quarterly or Fantagraphics, or even IDW; companies that actually seems to care about the finished archived product.

  41. Don Murphy says:

    Your obsession continues POM- your need to learn facts and to interact with a behemoth who cannot even be bothered remembering what he signed or who he spoke to. I mean if YOU gave an interview for a legal case would the important details slip your damn mind?

    Leaving aside the drug addled Mr. Moore, who now has a problem with 99% of the people he has ever worked with (hate on me and Bissette, fine, hate on Karen Berger YOU are the asshole), Padraig for the first time picks up on what I always thought- Emotiv made all this up and made a profit for THEMSELVES. I was approached at the time about doing a Miracleman movie and besides the idea of success being remote, I quickly didn’t believe a word that Emotive said and their chain of title was wildly defective. Marvel may reprint the books for the 10,000 people who might buy it ( I will) but they will never do anything else with it. Too much of a chance that other people will come forward and REALLY have the rights.

  42. Synsidar says:

    I’ve never understood why such a high premium is placed on creating new characters, as opposed to doing interesting things with old characters.

    Because, for many readers and writers, being creative means creating new characters in combination with the other elements of a story. There’s nothing magical about creating characters for use in a story; there is something magical about reading a story in which the elements blend together so effectively that, upon finishing it, you’re disappointed that the story is over, or immediately reread pages that lead up to the climax or present an affecting moment.

    Hard SF writers have been criticized, over the years, for sometimes writing stories featuring wooden characters because a writer is more interested in developing the scientific concept the story is based on instead of making the characters convincing or involved in dramatic situations. He might feel that the people he’s writing for won’t care about the characters, that they’ll admire the fine points of his extrapolation of life spent by humans in zero gravity–but the wooden characters will turn off readers who want realism and drama, not props accompanying a lecture.

    If an attorney writes a story about a messy divorce, he’ll balance the descriptions of the legal proceedings against the development of the characters and the drama of the conflict. If the balance is off, readers will notice, but a balanced story could be educational, amusing, dramatic, affecting, surprising, etc.–all in one package.

    There’s nothing wrong at all with reusing characters in complete, satisfying stories. Problems arise when a story is merely an excuse for re-presenting a character without doing anything new with him or her.

    SRS

  43. Dan Ahn says:

    I used to think this was a murky situation.

    Then I saw that Marvel was putting out a $5.99 first issue of which only like 10 pages will actually have Moore-written material on them. And then the second issue will be $4.99. All for REPRINT material.

    So, yeah, I don’t blame Moore one bit for having his name totally effaced from this project. Totally shameful.

    (“But at least Marvel is reprinting it so that everyone who wants to read it will finally be able to!” No. All and all, the reprints are going to be just about as expensive as the originals”)

    (“Well at least they’re letting Neil Gaiman finish his story!” No. The Neil Gaiman of 2013 is an awful parody of himself. He would have done well to maybe get in a drunken fight like once in his life. If Garth Ennis and him actually got in a barroom brawl after that Sandman parody came out, maybe something like that would have finally made a man out of Neil. Instead he degenerated into an awful, fey, dilettante. A parody of himself. He was a great writer until he became famous.)

  44. JasonF says:

    There’s nothing wrong at all with reusing characters in complete, satisfying stories. Problems arise when a story is merely an excuse for re-presenting a character without doing anything new with him or her.

    Well, sure. But that goes without saying. But all that really means is that being creative is better than not being creative. I just take issue with the idea that, “The Killing Joke” (for example) is a flawed creation because it involves characters created by Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson, Bob Kane, Gardner Fox, and Carmine Infantino (and riffs off a story by Finger and Lew Schwartz). Moore did a great job of synthesizing those ingredients and adding his own creative mojo to come up with something new and interesting. And part of what makes the story work so well is that we, as readers, come into the story with our own background and baggage on Batman, the Joker, Batgirl, and Commissioner Gordon — it would have been a completely different story had Moore created new characters (just as Watchmen was ultimately something different from what “Who Killed the Peacemaker” would have been).

    And my point is that we shouldn’t dismiss the creative accomplishment of The Killing Joke simply because it was building off components that predated Moore. Judge it as a piece of literature, not by weighing how much it has contributed to the accretion of entries to Who’s Who in the DC Universe.

  45. Steve Replogle says:

    I won’t defend the cost of $5.99 for the first issue, but I do remember the first Eclipse issue was mostly Mick Anglo oreprints with Moore’ first chapter at the end, and that worked quite well. I wouldn’t mind if they did that again.

    Yes, it’s all reprint material – but it’s reprint material of legendary comics that have been unavailable for years. How can it be said that “the reprints are going to be just about as expensive as the originals?”
    The original Eclipse comics are selling for a lot more than five or six bucks, when they are available at all. Which is not often.

    I find Neil Gaiman’s work is as strong as ever, whether you’re talking about “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” or “The Eternals” or “1602.” The attack on him, above, seems nasty and stupid.

    I love the Miracleman series, and I’m thrilled that it will be both available and finally completed. I enjoy these behind-the-scenes articles, mostly – but it’s depressing how vicious so many posts are.

  46. Padraig–

    You write:

    Now, how do you know that I haven’t checked out these things? [...] The fact that I haven’t said it here doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen.

    My apologies for a less than ideally worded comment.

    However, for all your defensive umbrage, you still haven’t indicated whether this crumpled-up letter business was confirmed by someone with direct knowledge of it.

    As near as I can tell, the only two people alive you could go to for that are Tom DeFalco and Jim Shooter. Because of this interview, I’m going to have to ask them about it for a project of my own. We’ll see what they say.

  47. Heidi MacDonald says:

    RSM: it is not the duty of an interview transcriber of this sort of judge the truth of the matter. PAdraig’s other pieces have shown much scholarly inquiry, and I trust him this far; I’ll trust him the rest of the way.

    Also it is indeed your duty when talking to De Falco and Shooter to ascertain their memory of these matters. I suspect history will keep it a he said/he said.

  48. Chris Hero says:

    The comment thread to this interview was really depressing. Yes, Marvel is an evil, evil company, but if anyone’s ever going to get to read the rest of the Miracleman story Gaiman and Buckingham were telling, then that’s that. BTW, what the Hell is with all this Gaiman hate? If you don’t like his writing, cool, but there are a lot of personal attacks on the man in this thread. I just don’t get it.

  49. jaroslav hasek says:

    anyone know if Moore is ever going to finally publish the Mackerel Man series he once mentioned?

  50. faboofour says:

    “If someone discovered a bunch of rough demo tapes for Beatles songs that had been heard once but never made widely available, and one of the backing tracks was corrupted, would it be a not-good thing to clean it up digitally, put together a new backing track and make some work intended as popular music available as popular music?”

    USENET 1995 on line 1: “Oh, God, not the ‘Anthology’ flame wars again!”

Trackbacks

  1. […] from the esteemed writer. The rather lengthy interview is in three parts, here, here, and here. Some […]

  2. […] Non tutto può dirsi però risolto, in quanto Moore, desideroso di non essere coinvolto in questa riproposizione, premeva perché il suo nome non fosse ricollegato all’opera. A gettare ulteriore luce sul punto di vista di Moore in questa vicenda giunge una lunga ed esaustiva intervista pubblicata in questi giorni dal sto Comicsbeat.com e risalente a fine 2010 (all’incirca l’epoca in cui si intrapresero le azioni principali per sciogliere il nodo) che ci offre il punto di vista dell’autore e il suo coinvolgimento (o mancato tale) nella riproposizione di Miracleman. Trovate il testo integrale dell’intervista a Moore a questo link. […]

  3. […] isn’t to be mentioned once in the book after washing his hands of Marvelman, which is again detailed in length in this interview with Moore’s royalties going to Marvelman creator Mick Anglo, and his family. Moore is […]

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