It was an interesting read but I wish she hadn't wandered quite so much. I'm obviously right there with her in preferring to see creators do something new rather than revisit old, corporate-controlled characters but I understand the financial realities of the comics business well enough to understand why the latter happens all the time. I've always felt (with comics, films, books, etc.) that Id rather see something new and great than a sequel or prequel to something that was great. However, sometimes the latter are wonderful so there's room for all of it.
I didn't mind the wandering. It's hard for me to separate so many aspects of the way that the industry works, and the treatment of creators, and the nature of the "characters first" marketplace, that I didn't mind. It took as many tangents as my mind does on the topic, so I could relate.
I'd also like to see someone decrying the ethics of Before Watchmen to thoroughly explain their position re: those ethics because I still haven't seen that articulated clearly, or at least not in a way that helps me understand why people think the very concept of the project is so appalling and reprehensible.
I understand why people are upset. As comic fans, we're all brought up to believe that justice wins out, and that if Moore thought
he and Gibbons would get the book back, he should
get it back, regardless of the the outcome that was dictated by the unprecedented success of the book. It's unfortunate, but still legal.
This quote, from the Chris Roberson interview at TCJ, highlighted a huge gap in perceptions:
Alan Moore has implied that one of the reasons he hasn’t sued over Watchmen is that if he did, he wouldn’t be able to speak publicly about the situation.
I think there’s that. I think there’s also, and he’s joked about this a couple of times, but if he were to file suit against Time Warner he would likely have a protracted and very expensive lawsuit on his hands. We have the case of the Siegel estate who had a very clear-cut indisputable claim to recover the rights on Action Comics #1 after a certain amount of time passed. They exercised those rights and were awarded them, and still Joanne Siegel went to her grave never seeing the end of that, because Time Warner has a battery of lawyers who were going to fight her.
Here's the disconnect for me: Fans seem to understand that Moore, financially, couldn't take on DC/Time-Warner and win. They can put themselves in Moore's shoes and say "That would be like throwing money away." I get that. Yet they never look at the other side of the coin.
DC Entertainment isn't a sentient being. It's a corporation. The consensus opinion is that Paul Levitz was Watchmen
's gatekeeper, protecting the IP from sequels, prequels and so on. The consensus opinion is also that Before Watchmen
came about by way of Dianne Nielsen.
In a corporate environment, how would your boss respond if you said, "I refuse to work on that project."
In most cases, I suspect you'd find yourself in the unemployment line pretty quickly.
How much do Dan DiDio, Jim Lee, and Geoff Johns earn? Over $100k a year? Over $250k a year? More? How much are they earning in stock options, bonuses and benefits? How long has each one been working in comics and related entertainment fields to get where they are today? 15–20 years each?
What would each of these guys be throwing away, in terms of years spent building a career and financial stability for them and their families?
"Honey, I quit my job today, because 25 years ago a comic creator was screwed and the company wants me to further exploit his contract. We'll need to cash in my retirement fund until I get another job."
"Alan Moore's integrity needs my help more than my daughter needs to go to college."
"No, Dear. Alan's not fighting the company, but I am. We'll need to sell the house."
conversations like that.
I'm not saying they're right or wrong. I'm just saying that I understand
. We all make our ethical choices as best we can. We all try our best to follow our conscience. I don't want to piss all over the choice that someone else made because I'm not privy to the details of their situation.I'm sure that people in their 20s look at it differently than those in their 30s or their 40s or their 50s.
And even if all three of them had quit, do you honestly think it would have stopped DC from going down the line to Bob Harras, or whoever else is next in line, and asking them to head up the project?
I say we start an internet meme: Quit Your Job for Alan Moore
Day. If you feel strongly enough about how Alan Moore was wronged, quit your job on the day that the first issue of Before Watchmen
It will have as much impact as if DiDio, Johns and Lee had quit their jobs in protest.
(Again, I understand the anger over Moore's situation, but I'm pragmatic —or maybe cynical—enough to know that Before Watchmen
was an eventuality.)