Yesterday, DC finally got around to breaking the news that was already broken: Yes they were going to publish Watchmen prequels, and yes, they had managed to find a group of creators dumb enough to work on them! Huzzah!

Now obviously The Comics Internet has already had a pretty good go at covering this topic. Hell, we covered this announcement in one of our Christmas podcasts before it even happened!

Still, even assuming you’ve already read Newsarama’s I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S NOT SATIRE take and David Brothers’ elegant evisceration of the same, we figure you’ve still probably got room in that multiversal brain of yours for a very Mindless take on these announcements.

If so, rest easy True Believers. Here’s how it begins…

Bobsy: Someone said on the radio this morning that it’s the 50th anniversary of the smiley face. not sure how that fits with the ‘facts’ here, but it made me grimly reflect that if anything could turn that smile upside down then the Watchmen 2 announcement yesterday was surely it. The people in the shop were going crazy about the news, never been in there amid such animated chatter on a single topic before. Everyone basically positive too, saying they were going to buy it, looking forward to reading the characters again.

I can’t believe that we’re seriously supposed to think that the Kubert brothers are an adequate shadow of Gibbons, or that Azzarello, Cooke or (jesus christ) Len Wein are going to be able to produce anything that favourably compares with the original. I don’t even like Watchmen that much, but to go back to it seems to justify everything that Alan Moore has been saying for years about creative and cultural exhaustion.

I realise it’s a bit Canutian of me to wish for a different world, but the expansion into the Watchmen property strikes me as being a victory for capitalism’s oozing tentacles only, hence a defeat for the rest of us.

Zom: I totally understand how you feel, Bobsy, but Watchmen wasn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. It’s a particularly apposite – given the context of our enthusiasms – and somewhat egregious example of how capitalism loves to gobble up, vomit, and subsequently flog everything ever, so I can empathise with your strong feeling, but really its just one. more. example.

As for creative bankcruptcy, at a deep level yeah, definitely, but isn’t this just how the comics industry has always operated? I do struggle to meaningfully separate what they’re doing now with what Moore did then, and still continues to do with the League. It’s food for thought, though, that possible distinction, and one I’m not content to give up, and I’m open to arguments that back it, it’s just that none spring to mind.  Alan Moore says its different, and, you know, magycksz, but I wonder if what he’s doing is simply of a much better standard than we’re likely to get from the likes of Cooke and Wein.

Bobsy: Sure you’re right, in this fallen world of ours (I am apparently feeling a bit pious today) it’s no different to business-as-usual, it’s just the fact of the act of it suddenly crystalises the larger condition we’re facing -

There’s no moral objection to rehashing extant characters, of course. As you say, it’s about the standard. Moore is, simply, a far smarter man and better operator than pretty much anyone on the planet, certainly anyone in DC’s rolodex, so Before Watchmen is immediately fatally hampered by the fact that all we can possibly get is some comics that are inferior to the forerunner.  The inevitability of that is what I’m finding depressing, I think.

Botswana Beast: The difference is “more of the same”, with products licensed from a w/a who cannot now get them back because they were too successful, and “wouldn’t this be an interesting stew, all fantastical literature”.

Alan has been stolen from, but I’m sort of accelerationist about this, it is inevitable, probably the last evolutionary dead-end for the industry to mine (well, Marvel will doubtless shortly announce Marvelman stuff, they’re free and clear now Mick Anglo’s dead) and they’ll sell well, and then they’ll try and juice the thing again, with creators they aren’t paying through the nose, and by 2014 no-one will want to hear about Watchmen ever again.

Bobsy: Arguments in the Watchmen debate (not here, elsewhere) I’m finding specious:

  • Moore can’t bitch because he ripped off the Charlton characters. [He didn't, the Charlton characters inspired him to make new ones. If there were any traction in this line of reasoning then the big comic announcement of today would be 'New Blue Beetle Sequel']
  • Moore can’t bitch because he rips off Robert Louis Stevenson et al in LOEG. [Stevenson is dead. His kids are dead. His grandkids are probably dead. He can't be ripped off by anyone.]

Zom: I appreciate that that a difference in quality and ambition isn’t trivial, by the way, it’s just not enough for me to place what Moore’s doing in an entirely different category within the context of this discussion: sadly it’s still yet another example of cultural reappropriation for $.

I know what you mean about accelerationism, Botswana Beast. I really want to see what life – i.e. the superhero genre -  is gonna be like once DC and Marvel’s business models implode.

Bobsy: Botswana Beast’s accelerationist point rings true – this does feel like taking a step closer to The End, doesn’t it? This is like a textbook example of the effect capitalist realism has on cultural products.

Caleb Mazzocco’s blog on this is good – he’s saying, a lot, how crap the creative teams they’ve picked are, which everyone else seems too polite to.

Zom: I think I agree with every single word written in that post.

Andre Whickey: Re: Watchmen 2: The Watchening, couldn’t really give a shit except for comedy value. I’m sure Darwyn Cooke’s stuff will be good, I’m sure most of the rest will be embarrassing, won’t read any of it unless we do something for the site, in which case I’ll Byrne-steal it.

The Beast Must Die: Super excited about this!!!!

Going to be buying the lot.

Zom: I don’t think that much of Cooke. He draws real real good, but his writing isn’t a patch on the Moore’s or Morrison’s of this world. It’s merely entertaining.

Andre Whickey: Cooke is no Moore or Morrison, true, but he’s still one of the very best people working in superhero comics at the moment. His run on The Spirit actually didn’t feel like one gigantic shit on Will Eisner’s grave, which in itself is quite amazing.

Zom: Re the Spirit, the inoffensiveness of Cooke’s writing gets on my nerves.

He’s a kind of go-to pastiche guy.

Bobsy: This gig’ll bring out the worst in him though – all fetishised fifties social relations and fashions, men being men etc. The ditko at the heart of Watchmen, much obscured by Moore and Gibbons’ tonal and narrative sophistication, will be given free rein in Cooke’s hand, which could get quite ugly.

Maybe that’s not ‘the worst’ in Cooke, maybe the exact opposite (short skirts, basically. he draws good short skirts.), but still.

Illogical Volume: With Darwyn Cooke, it’s weird, I find his comics easily enjoyable because his arsey belief system is implicit rather than explicit, but I’d probably be more engaged with his work if he just let it all dribble out – Miller and Ditko are committed to expressing their arsey beliefs, and this might sour me on some of their work, but fuck, they’re still far more exciting to me than Cooke is.

Botswana Beast: I liked New Frontier quite a lot, found The Spirit kind of irksomely light pastiche. Azzarello is on enough of a hot streak I’d've been interested in any new DC books by him, he can grate… I’m kinda thinking is there probably a moral case for pirating their books, that I’d actually feel morally sounder doing that than buying them?

Who Thieves From the Thiefmen.

Illogical Volume: Other “interesting” factors to take into consideration dot dot dot

The Watchmen “brand” already been used for movies, computer games, toys and calendars. Capital has already had its wicked way with Moore and Gibbons’ creation, so this latest development should be treated as the four colour equivalent of an announcement that Watchmen will finally be doing anal.

So: a step closer to the end, maybe, but a small and predictable one, for all the hype.

The Watchmen toys, games, movie, etc all seem to have been created under the mistaken assumption that what makes Watchmen special is the fact that it features a group of superheroes who are quite like but not exactly like a lot of other superheroes, when what actually makes it special is the specific set of interactions between Moore and Gibbons that are caught in time, like a photograph slowly falling.

As I think the Bottie Beast has argued on That Twitter, Rorschach is probably the most complex and compelling character in the whole comic, but again, that’s all Moore/Gibbons. Post-Watchmen superhero comics have not been rubbish because they lacked characters like Rorschach.

Also, Kieron Gillen has already pointed this out, it’s super obvious, but – the past 25 years of superhero comics = the sequel to Watchmen.  None of these comics have managed to replicate the Moore/Gibbons interaction perfectly, but there have been a few amazing misprisions (Seven Soldiers) as well as a lot of tedious ones (see: the life and times of cereal enthusiast Geoff Jeans).

Alan Moore’s career is dependent on the use of existing characters and places, but these characters and places aren’t even half of the story of why his work is worth reading. Putting Bob’s latest reminder that I really need to read Cerebus put to one side , Moore is definitely one of the MAJOR cultural figures in comics (which is to say, his work makes sense outside of comics!), he has few peers - Eddie Campbell is better than some of his major literary influences, the Hernandez Bros have created some right proper art in their time, Ware is both amazing and amazingly narrow, [Your Own Less Obvious Preference Goes Here], etc.  I don’t think it’s likely that even the more capable creators involved in these prequels will be able to do a better job with these toys than Moore and Gibbons – Cooke is like a less ambitious Frank Miller, he writes and draws pretty comics about decisive men of action, but he’s no genius; Azzarello is a stylish and occasionally tedious pulp writer; Len Wein’s is the face that launched a thousand ships, and so on.

In conclusion:

Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
Into the blue again, after the money’s gone
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was

Zom: And roleplaying game scenarios which involved the input of a very willing Alan Moore. I very almost printed up a nice glossy version of that to give to the Mindless for Christmas ahead of our Watchmen podcussion in an effort to make the point you make below, Illogical Volume.

Gillen’s point cuts to the heart of the cynicism in operation here. The pedant in me wants to point out that the last 25 years are by definition not a sequel to Watchmen, but what they most definitely are, at least on some level,  is a response to Watchmen; the artistic ground has been well and truly covered, making any retreading of Watchmen’s ground almost certainly redundant except as an exercise in getting dollars ‘n’ press.

Bobsy: All true Ill-Vol, but re: the Watchmen brand exploitation this is comics!

Andre Whickey: What Moore is doing is taking a whole bunch of things from all sorts of different works and repurposing them into something else. He’s not trading off their value as intellectual properties (how many comics fans were clamouring for the further adventures of Alan Quartermain?) but making a commentary on the original works, while creating something new.

What Moore is doing is closer to, say, when the KLF released Doctorin’ The TARDIS, where they took bits of the Doctor Who theme, Blockbuster by Sweet, Rock ‘N’ Roll by Gary Glitter and samples from Genesis Of The Daleks, and stuck them all together to create something new and exciting. What this stuff is is closer to a bad pub covers band doing a cover version of Blockbuster. Nothing morally wrong with it as such, but a definite difference in kind.

Zom: I dunno, I think he’s undeniably trading on their value as intellectual properties, both artistically and financially, whether he intends to or not. I’m not sure that the work transcending mere cover version status negates this – apparent to me at least – fact. I agree that transcending cover version status makes it more worthwhile, however.

Bobsy: Not financially, Zom – no one’s been making money off alan quatermain prior to Moore.

Also not sure about ‘artistically’, to be honest. my knowledge of quartermain (who maybe for this reason isn’t the best League character to isolate like this) is 100% via Moore. Like with Rorschach/Mr. A., I feel that to great extent LOEG has been a work of REinvention. Not pastiche or ripoff, but a forging of something new out of a preexisting ore.

Zom: I was motivated to pick LoEG up, and still am to some extent, because of inclusion of fictional characters I’m interested in. The same is almost certainly true of a huge number of other readers. The characters are recognisable brands or represent elements of recognisable brands, the rejuvenation, reimaging, whatever angle just makes them more attractive from that point of view.

This is a narrow point I’m making. It doesn’t say much about the artistic worth of what Moore is doing.

Andre Whickey: Interesting- I assumed that pretty much everyone who bought it did so for the reason I did – it had the names “Alan Moore” and “Kevin O’Neill” on the cover. When I bought the first trade (back when I was just getting back into comics) I didn’t have a clue what it was about, I just knew that Moore and O’Neill were people who always did good stuff.

But then I’m pretty far from most comics fans in that characters only make up a very small part of my reasons for buying stuff – I go by writer first, artist second, character a distant third.

Botswana Beast: No, that’s why I got LoEG, and I’d imagine why 95% of folk did – it does feel a little crass talmbout Moore in market terms, somehow.

Illogical Volume: Definitely.

I’m still with Andrew, if most comics creators had announced a project identical to the League I would have given precisely zero fucks, but I’ll read most anything Moore and O’Neil work on together.

Bobsy: I was going to write something similar Andrew, but on reflection I realised that I actually am a little bit interested in the further adventures of the invisible man, so Moore was leveraging himself, for me, a little bit of extra interest there. Not sure if it’s a significant factor overall though.

Zom: I hate to get all bad faith on you guys, but really? You really truthfully weren’t properly interested in Moore’s Invisible Man or Moore’s Martians or Moore’s Dracula? The idea of Moore’s Prisoner doesn’t tickle your fancy? Moore’s Dr Jekyll didn’t pique your interest? Moore’s Moriarty? His Nemo? Really really?

Moore and O’Neill are of course the overriding factors, but I’d fibbing or failing to analyse my motivations properly if I were to try and edit the various brands that Moore’s hijacking out of the equation. I love that stuff. We all love that stuff. It’s a huge – at least in my estimation – part of what makes the League so enjoyable: the nexus of Moore’s creativity and well loved fictional standbys. Just because we wouldn’t love it if said creators weren’t attached doesn’t refute my point.

Illogical Volume: You’re egging my chickens here Zom.

I have FEELINGS about Sherlock Holmes and War of the Worlds, but when I heard that Doctor Who’s dad was working on his very own Sherlock I was just a bit like “Oh?” and when I heard that War Horse’s dad was doing WOTW I was like “Oh…” and when I heard Iron Man would be crossing over with Sherlock and Lock Stock I didn’t even make a sound, I just stayed quiet.

Which is to say: I might have been fibbing but not entirely and not on purpose.

Andre Whickey: Those are things I like about it now I know what it is, but I bought it without having any idea what the subject or characters were beyond the picture on the cover, purely because I knew I liked the creators’ work, and with the exact same level of enthusiasm with which I bought, say, the first Supreme trade without having a clue what Supreme was.

But even now, when I do know what the concept is, what interests me is the way Moore’s take on those concepts differs from the original, or throws new light upon it, or how he juxtaposes them with other characters and situations. Were Moore to write an Invisible Man or Prisoner series which was just a straight continuation of those stories, I’d still read it because he’s Alan Moore, but the idea wouldn’t enthuse me much at all in itself.

If this was going to do something *different* with those concepts, that’d be a totally different matter. One of Morrison’s Multiversity things is supposed to be (if it ever comes out) a Watchmen-analogue Charlton Universe story. I’ll read that, because I know Morrison will not just do a lazy “Further adventures of Rorschach the badass” story.

Likewise, the Giffen/Dematteis/Maguire Justice League was, in its early issues, a very obvious attempt at incorporating big swathes of Watchmen into mainstream superhero comics (the line-up has a lot of the same basic types as Watchmen, it’s all done on the Ditko nine-panel grid and so on). But it’s very clearly doing something very different from just a straight Watchmen sequel, and it’s one of my very favourite mainstream superhero comics.

This, on the other hand, seems more like the film version of Sgt Pepper, where Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees played Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Sgt Pepper isn’t as great an album as many people think, and the Bee Gees aren’t as talentless as their reputation suggests, but you know just from that single-sentence description that the film actually has negative artistic merit. (Well, not quite, the bit where Frankie Howerd sings Mean Mr Mustard while getting a massage from some robots is quite good).

Botswana Beast: Yeah, I bought all the ABC books and actually – well, Tomorrow Stories aside, I do not like when a Moore is “being funny” – I liked it easily the least, initially, because it was not so understandable as a franchise (someone on twooter sed: the greatest trick corporations pulled was making us think of narrative art in terms of franchise, which is prob troot’) or as a proto-superhero comic, which it is, much as Tom Strong is. I also maybe prefer it when they’re analogues (because it becomes less hermetic, but I’m not particularly attached to any Victorian fantastical fiction); Planetary is – was – very much the 5th ABC limb now I think of it.

Zom: Yars, Moore isn’t very good at “being funny”. It always feels like “being funny”. Which was your point.

The Beast Must Die: Wish Geoff Jeans and Jim Lee were doing some of these Watchmen things.

Also Judd Winick.

Illogical Volume: Luv U 4Eva, The Beast Must Die!

In other news, Plok just stepped into the ring. I liked this bit:

…it doesn’t matter to me how it works out.  Well, I’m not gonna be reading the damn things, am I?  If you want to read them, go ahead;  that’s your business, and I’m happy to say it doesn’t affect me any more than you mean it to.  But I must confess, it does matter to me that the grand PR circle-jerk has expanded to the point where creators are happy to paint other creators as hypocritical malcontents for failing to actively support the cynical exploitation of their creations…where creators unthinkingly adopt and promulgate the company line even to the point where they imply no creator’s contribution is as important as the contribution of the characters they made popular, and that making a living off the work of earlier authors is fine so long as no one rocks that boat, but if someone ever does then it’s still fine, only not for them.  You want to see some hypocrisy, well…there it is, you know?  And it’s of the saddest kind, too.  So I’m kind of pissed at J. Michael Straczynski, if you want to know the truth.  And is that fair?”

Zom: I go back to this point…

“It’s a huge – at least in my estimation – part of what makes the League so enjoyable: the nexus of Moore’s creativity and well loved fictional standbys”

So, yeah, I’m with you on that Andrew. I was never not with you, but regardless of whether he’s doing something new or not, he is still trading on properties which have proven $ appeal and that demonstrably enthuse people in and of themselves.

While I think that maybe I agree that looked at holistically we’re talking about different kinds of things – in fact, yeah, obviously I do -  I don’t think that Moore isn’t getting leverage (to borrow Bobsy’s term) from his use of fictional characters and settings and that have an in-built appeal*/depths, which makes it difficult to entirely divorce the League, no matter how good or worthy in other ways, from the broader cultural wotsit of capitalism eating and puking and selling the world, of which Wa2chmen is such an irritating example.

To use my favourite Wittgensteinian term (who wouldn’t?) there’s a family resemblance, at the very least, between LoEG and Watchmen Re-Wound

*I have no evidence, which is frustrating, but I’d be prepared to bet quids that Moore picked up many new readers thanks to his forays into the worlds of Holmes, Dracula, Poe, Haggard, etc…

Bobsy: “Wa2chmen” – that’s genius.

Gary Lactus: wha2evschmen.

Bobsy: I do hear what you’re saying Zom, but I think the salient nugget here might be: Alan Moore isn’t ripping anyone off by using Mina Harker. In a much more solid – though still somewhat porous and questionable – way, JMS *is* ripping off Alan Moore. And as plok says, the way they’re all covering up his righteous indignation by being all ‘make the stories relevant to today’ is some of the stinkiest bullshit.

Illogical Volume: Total Agreemence.

Zom: “Alan Moore isn’t ripping anyone off by using Mina Harker” – Agreedz.

Make his stories relevant.. cor, what a load of cobblers.

Botswana Beast: I think there are a great number of reasons why the items of this loose family are not morally of the same category, which we discussed at the start here Zom – plus, only people I’ve seen making this connect (Dave Uzi aside) are total berks, and you wooden wanna be a total berk.

Zom: I’m hardly likely to back down because I’ve been compared to berks now am I? I appreciate that I backhandedly suggested that you and Andrew were either lying or being un-selfreflective, Botswana Beast, – sorry about that – hopefully you can see that that was a measure of my incredulity that the reappropriation angle wasn’t a big factror in the League’s appeal. I went about being incredulous in very much the wrong way and I should have apologised earlier.

My argument, such as it is, is limited but I think quite sound, it’s also not supposed to be a moral point. I am not saying that Wa2chmen and LoEG are morally equivalent. Maybe the aforementioned family resemblance has moral dimensions, but I’m not overly concerned with them right now. Taken in isolation Moore is unequivocally doing a good thing with the League – good creatively, artistically I mean – taken within the broader context of a culture which constantly sells us the same old stuff coated in bile I think it’s more problematic.

Bobsy: STOP! cest finis!

There are familial resemblances obvs – neither Wa2 or LOEG use wholly-original characters and settings.

The difference is that with LOEG – no-one died (because they were all already dead. A victimless crime.). With Wa2 – a little bit of ‘Da Alan Moore Complexsz’ is dying, so is a problem.

Supplement to the above: LOEG is just better – so it contributes far less to the ongoing problem of cultural entropy that Wa2 is – by consent, I think – symptomatic of.

Zom: Yesthat.

(We have an end to the post)

98 Responses to “‘The Second Coming of Night Owl’, and other stories…”

  1. Patrick Meaney Says:

    Interesting dialogue, and definitely reflects a lot of my own feelings on the project.

    But, I do wonder, how is this project hurting Alan Moore? How are they ripping him off any more than he is by using Peter Pan characters for Lost Girls? Would this project be okay if Alan was dead?

    I definitely agree the difference between Alan’s treatment of Marvelman, Quatermain or whoever else is the quality of the writing. But, I don’t know that just being good gives you the right to be morally superior to other writers.

    Alan was screwed by DC, but based on the content of the League itself, all these characters belong to the blazing world, our own imagination. How can anyone even own Watchmen once it’s out in culture? That’s why it strikes me as so strange that Alan is so angry about the films, etc., since his own work seems to support the free exchange of ideas and concepts in the cultural space.

  2. Frank Says:

    It kind of weirds me out to see people talking about reapportion of characters as some kind of cultural nadir, because its a view that only comes into existence with the specific industrial conditions of the late 19th and most of the 20th century, and a reaction to those. Dickens and Twain met and only talked piracy and copyright (might be getting the authors wrong). The classical cultures were rife with character theft, look at how many people wrote sequels and prequels to Oedipus, of which Oedipus Rex is only one. Reinterpreted and recycled culture has been around since the beginning of high culture, it represents a continuation rather than a dead end. An interpretation of LOEG might be that it is about the death of fluid culture and start of the fetish for “originality”.

  3. Zom Says:

    Oh for sure, but seriously you don’t think that there’s a truly excessive number of remakes, etc.. around these days? Yeah there’s more media channels to fill but there were plenty enough 15 years ago and the American film industry didn’t respond by making it nigh on impossible to make a movie not based on some extant property.

  4. Thrills Says:

    “The Watchmen toys, games, movie, etc all seem to have been created under the mistaken assumption that what makes Watchmen special is the fact that it features a group of superheroes who are quite like but not exactly like a lot of other superheroes, when what actually makes it special is the specific set of interactions between Moore and Gibbons that are caught in time, like a photograph slowly falling.”

    YES YES YES YES. I just don’t give a shit about reading the further (nearer?) adventures of the Watchmen characters. It’s not that they are intrinsically great characters, DC! It’s that they were in a good comic by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, that worked well as a whole!

    Ocht well, I’m not fussed from a “they’re killing my childhood/I love watchmen it is sacred” angle, it’s just the whole thing seems such a creatively bankrupt idea, one that was depressingly inevitable.

    I would have bought it maybe 6 years ago, for Darwyn Cooke? But, yeah, that’s just as I loved New Frontier. Tried ‘The Spirit’ from the library, stopped reading after one chapter as it was just competent-but-dull. Looked quite nice, though I’m sick of old-style cheesecake to quite some degree.

    This whole new Watchmen thing just makes me feel pretty disconneceted from superhero comics. They’re just not aimed anywhere near me, now, and I suppose it’s taken the Nu52 and this thing to properly hammer it home?

    Moan moan moan, that’s me.

    ‘Wa2chmen’ is good work, though. If it was that, drawn by the classic Image boyz, it’d be actually quite an interesting project.

  5. plok Says:

    He’s angry about the films because he feels personally fucked with, no? And because they’re like, total shit. Johnny Depp’s From Hell isn’t even a good Jack The Ripper movie.

    Oh, so much to engage with here, and you know I’ll be back, but…the Lost Girls thing. This was unearthing a/the sexual component in beloved children’s literature, the tornado comes when Dorothy does, etc. That’s an idea, an idea about our shared culture: that we think it’s all this, but really it’s got some that in it. I could put that shit in a university paper. It isn’t about Booster Gold meeting Tarzan or whatever. And I’m not saying Moore’s never done a “Booster Gold meets Tarzan” kind of story, because obviously he has, but you don’t usually have to dig too deep to find a respectable, even original take on the often taken-for-granted subject matter. Moore’s Mina Harker has just about nothing to do with Bram Stoker, right? She barely shares her name. She’s an allusion, not a rip-off. If you read LoEG and then pick up Dracula you’ll be all “who the fuck is this chick?” Zero resemblance. But, there’s a collage aspect, and I hope we’re not debating whether or not collage is art at this late date. Tom Strong looks an awful lot like Doc Savage, Rorschach is an extremely lively take on the masked Ditko heroes, wherein is embedded a critique…actually, two critiques, one of Ditko and the other of people who think Ditko’s stupid. By the laws we have governing copyright, these are all super-high-jumping creations, they’re not derivative works at all, they totally clear the bar. Unless you know the Charlton code, you’re never going to look at Nite Owl and say “oh, so obviously Blue Beetle!” Dr. Manhattan and Captain Atom share “an origin having to do with radiation”, the Peacemaker and Thunderbolt are characters you can’t find in Watchmen, and who exactly is Laurie modelled after? Dresses in yellow negligee? Fights crime? Brown hair? Sorry, I’m ranting, but six times out of ten it doesn’t fucking work. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, yeah. That’s about as famous as you can get, and it’s hard to mess with that…except it’s sort of The Hulk, too, isn’t it? Miracleman is clearly Marvelman, who’s clearly Captain Marvel, that’s true. And yet Miracleman (I’ve got the Eclipse books) is a FAKE identity, a fake history, a fake person. Superficially it’s the Big Red Cheese, but Billy Batson isn’t in there anyway. It’s silly to think Moore does these things because he’s out of ideas otherwise, or something. Promethea’s Wonder Woman, I guess. Jack B. Quick is Tom Swift? The Terror of Limehouse is Fu Manchu because they couldn’t get the rights to Fu Manchu. One has to assume, then, that the Terror of Limehouse isn’t a close enough copy of Fu Manchu to sue over. So why is it close enough to worry over? Daredevil’s like Superman in a lot of ways. The Sub-Mariner’s like Dracula.

    Sorry, I am ranting! Apologies, apologies all. But the difference is that JMS is going to be writing a Dr. Manhattan comic. It’s not an artful mashup of the John Bunyan and Danny Dunn and Baba Yaga, it’s Jon Osterman whose useless pal is Jimmy Ols…I mean, Wally Weaver. Does anyone anticipate them slipping into a Little Nemo comic, or something?

    RANT!! But I just really want to say it, it isn’t just appropriation. It’s re-appropriation. That’s what Moore does. He changes stuff we’ve all got lying around the place. I really feel bad about just bashing this hammer with this anvil, I honestly do, it’s so impolite.

    I thought the Spirit was boring though I like Cooke quite a bit. Azzarello I have liked but I thought his “Lex Luthor” thing was super-tired. It’s not just the talent that counts, but the intentions, the character of the effort. I’m sorry, I’ll be much better-behaved when I return. Please do nuke this comment if you think it sounds too aggressive!

  6. plok Says:

    Maybe it doesn’t sound as bad as I thought it did…?

  7. Thrills Says:

    I fucking loved your block of text at the start of that comment, Plok. I’ve got actual OCD and one aspect of it is that I have to read huge blocks of text in one go without stumbling or stopping for a breath, or I have to start over again. It was worth the hassle in this case, as it had Good Rant Momentum.

  8. Patrick Meaney Says:

    But that all just boils down to Moore can do what he wants with other peoples’ creations because he’s a good writer. From a reader standpoint, I totally agree with you.

    The only area I take issue with is the idea that just because Moore is good at what he does it makes him morally superior to someone re-interpreting one of his characters.

    If one of these writers finds a new layer and extracts something new from the world of Watchmen, would that remove the ethical questions surrounding doing the book in the first place and make it okay to do the books?

  9. David W. Kasper Says:

    Although I admire Moore’s integrity in not accepting royalties for (awful) movie adaptions, he is being hypocritical about Watchmen; considering so much of his work is based on widely known, pre-sold fictional characters, or indeed famous real-life people. Watchmen itself was based on Charlton characters, and fairly parodic in its treatment (both Moore & Gibbons acknowledged ‘Mad’ as a major influence).

    Moore’s reputation relies so much on reboots, reference points and quotation (sometimes of whole stories) that he doesn’t seem to realise that his creative sensibilities were as formed by work-for-hire franchises as much as any other fanboy comics writer. Moore was of the post-modern generation that assumed it could ‘subvert’ or ‘deconstruct’ pre-existing genres or characters. However, capitalism has outlived post-modernism – and at the end of the day, capitalism calls the shots on the characters it sells; no matter what the intentions of their original creators were.

  10. Deep Space Transmissions Says:

    Hmm, problematic isn’t it? Suggesting others shouldn’t be permitted to trade off of Moore’s cultural currency gets sticky given that Moore has essentially built his career doing just that from the cultural currency of others.

    Thinking about it, apart from V for Vendetta most all of Moore’s major works stem directly from the work of others; the Charlton heroes, Marvelman, Wein and Wrightson’s Swamp Thing, Lovecraft etc. etc. And that’s without even getting in to LOEG.

    Moore is a paragon of the amazing work that can come from reinterpreting and revitalizing corporate marques, and I don’t think he should put himself forward as a stick to beat others who attempt to do the same.

    Though obviously on this front, Cooke and JMS pretty much beat themselves…

    Don’t get me wrong, I think Before Watchmen will be awful, is totally unnecessary, and will probably make DC a metric shit ton of money (largely through peddling more copies of Moore and Gibbons’ original, as they did in the wake of Snyder’s ‘flop’ movie). But I don’t feel righteously indignant about it – especially not on Moore’s behalf.

    Like the prospect of more Monty Python, new Blackadder or a live action Star Wars TV series, a sequel to Watchmen is simply an excuse to spin more money off of something so ingrained in the cultural landscape that the original has become something I don’t need to read anymore, probably ever again. It is, in a word, completely irrelevant.

    Won’t be reading.

  11. David W. Kasper Says:

    PS. Moore moaned when Great Ormond St hospital tried to ban Lost Girls from the UK. He seemed to think it was fine for Peter Pan to engage in pornographic (and pederastic) scenes, but took umbrage to Keanu Reeves playing John Constantine. How sensitive is he to the legacies of all those Victorian children’s novelists?

    It’s just a (highly subjective) matter of taste really – not fairness, morality or politics.

  12. Ken Quichey Says:

    Hello-o. All the characters in LoEG come from different sources.
    That’s part of the appeal, right? It’s not just a load of Bram Stoker characters being revived, along with the fictional world they previously inhabited.
    Putting all those disparate creations together and relating them to each other in a unified narrative requires creativity, it’s not there on a plate already.

    Also, Moore doesn’t, as far as I know, have a previous history of treating the LoEG characters’ authors with complete disrespect, both personally and in terms of business relationships. I don’t think he ever pressured them into co-operation or aqcuiescence by exploiting his dominant position (in the relations of production) over them and their friends (who weren’t even involved in the project) leading to their friends being out of work in a time of dire need, for example.
    It’s a bit more complex than simple re-use of existing characters.

    This idea that characters are the thing is totally fucking insidious. Why are characters the thing? Because they can be modelled, and the model can then be passed around from one irrelevant worker to another.
    Sod the bloody characters. Characters serve the story, not the other way round. Once the story’s over, what are the characters for? They’re for hooking punters, nothing else.
    Fucking branded bullshit fucking logos on their chest cabbage-patch-care-bear-pokemon fuck-shits.
    What’s wrong with Othello?
    Nothing. It’s perfect.
    Kill them all.

  13. Ken Quichey Says:

    (that was in response to the blog-post, not the comments which I had barely glanced at)

  14. plok Says:

    David W. Kasper makes me curious about Moore seeming to think it was fine for Peter Pan to engage in pornographic and indeed pederastic scenes. In what way, I wonder, did he seem to think it was fine? How was this seeming evidenced? And what form did his Keanu umbrage take? The question of his sensitivities to legacy is a good one; if pressed, I would have to say I think he is quite sensitive to this sort of thing, but sadly I don’t know if I could dredge up adequate citations to convince anyone else of this feeling of mine.

  15. Ken Quichey Says:

    (i’ve read them now and it’s fine.)

  16. Ken Quichey Says:

    (recursion)

  17. David W. Kasper Says:

    LOEG wasn’t that original in its ‘concept’ anyway. He cribbed the whole extended idea from Philip Jose Farmer’s ‘Wold Newton’ continuum.

    These crappy versions of Watchmen will be soon forgotten in terms of their quality as comics. Their main purpose – if any – will be to supply prequel/sequel material for movies, TV shows, novelisations, and videogames sold by the same corporation that owns DC. I refer you to the goddawful Howard the Duck ‘revival’ that was published to coincide with the movie. Both were a flop, but it was a relatively primitive example of what’s become standard practice in mainstream comics and the other mediums they supply characters to.

  18. plok Says:

    I agree with David W. Kasper! LoEG was just a copy of the Wold Newton thing! Bah, Moore! Give me a challenge!

  19. amypoodle Says:

    Absolutely. But not the ‘kill them’ bit.

    The characters in Watchmen are functions of the plot – yeah, fuck them. The thing’s a novel. It doesn’t need a prequel. The only reason it’s getting a prequel is for fans to enjoy a good hand shandy over their Rorscharch action figures and DC to make some cash.

    Straczynski has tried to sell this thing by claiming that fans want to know shit like ‘Why was Jon stupid enough to enter the test chamber when he’s so precise about time’, or thereablouts – well fuck that. I don’t care! This isn’t about creating anything new, or doing anything artistic, or saying anything, it’s about R2D2 really, really for real flying! League, Lost Girls, etc. *are* about more than that, and, you know what, that COUNTS for something.

    I’m not saying DC can’t do what they like or that people aren’t allowed to enjoy same, just that it’s shit, and, yes, there really is a big difference between Moore’s reapproriations and Watchmen 2.

    Moore is giving me the shandy with Mina and Dracula, but that’s not all he’s giving me. It’s a crucial point and it can’t be stated enough.

  20. Botswana Beast Says:

    I struggle to think of an occasion when Alan Moore has used characters against the express wishes of their creators, David – Mick Anglo wasn’t initially happy about Marvelman, but they came to an accomodation and friendship.

  21. David W. Kasper Says:

    plok -

    Moore argued that as characters in the public domain, the Lost Girls characters were fair game for ‘re-imagining’. He almost put a highly respected children’s hospital on the same level as Marvel or DC in terms of their restrictions on ‘his’ imagination; despite them using the character as brand for charity, not profits.

    He basically moaned about Constantine because they cast an American in the part, ‘perverting’ the concept – of a character that you’d already find in a fair few old horror films/novels anyway.

  22. RetroWarbird Says:

    I’m personally so ambivalent toward Watchmen that none of this surprises me, nor do I care. I plan to give Cooke’s and Conner’s pencils a look-see, and skip the reading. I have no ethics, so I have no hard feelings about DC Entertainment’s cash grab. Props to them – make some money, pay some creators, steal some Marvel talent.

    Watchmen is rote at this point. (As a critic and literate academista I’d grade it an A for the narrative, but man are the characters cardboard) When everybody has became a grim&gritty, edgy rebel the only rebellion left is to do what Moz done did and re-rebel back into high fidelity optimism. And there’s so much better Moore out there to glorify, as well, than this. Hell, Jeansy’s Moore Expanded Universe Green Lantern has more to leverage than Watchmen prequels.

    That’s what it comes down to for me. Watchmen is a well told tale. But piss on the actual appeal of the Watchmen cast of characters as solo operations.

    My only gripe for Moore wouldn’t be one of these polarized “Well you use other people’s characters” vs. “Just leave Moore alone, DC” gripes. They’re both fucking naive arguments.

    I’d just say to old Beardy, “Listen, Beardy … the narrative of Watchmen, the whole cynical lesson it teaches, almost predicts or guarantees the inevitability of this all.” You were like Nite-Owl and Rorschach making your argument to the DC Corporation’s Ozymandias. It was a valiant plea and all … but they already implemented their plan … 35 minutes ago.

  23. Thrills Says:

    ‘Why was Jon stupid enough to enter the test chamber when he’s so precise about time’

    Do people actually wonder about that? I can’t say it’s a thought that’s ever crossed my mind, but maybe I’m just not enough into Dr. Manhattan and his Battery-Tasting Fingers. I don’t believe it’s a story that needs to be told, to be honest (though obviously not all stories are ones that need to be told, nor should they be). Maybe he just wanted his watch back?

  24. amypoodle Says:

    See, I absolutely DON’T think Watchmen is cynical.

  25. plok Says:

    Moore dared to argue that characters in the public domain were “fair game”? Shocking! And yet there he is, moaning all about the place. Well, it’s his own fault for tackling a highly-respected children’s hospital; he should’ve tried a children’s hospital no one thought much of, instead.

  26. plok Says:

    Yeah, I’ve never ever thought about why Jon was acting so out of character by going back into the test chamber. Maybe, no one has ever thought that? Ya gotta hope that’s just JMS bullshitting, rather than saying something he actually believes.

  27. Ken Quichey Says:

    He went back in their cos that’s what Moore had him do.
    For the sake of the story.

  28. Ken Quichey Says:

    I spell “there” wrong a lot these days.

  29. Botswana Beast Says:

    but man are the characters cardboard

    This is total fucking bullshit, though, because one of them is Rorschach, who is quite easily (and you could add qualifiers like “Western”/”mainstream” if you want, i’m comfy w/o) one of the greatest ever characters the medium has created.

    (the other ones are pretty bollocks, though, apart from the Comedian)

  30. Botswana Beast Says:

    Stracynszki apparently is right into having chars. engineer – via SF – their own origins, so look forward to that everyone!

  31. David W. Kasper Says:

    Jon went into the chamber because Captain Atom did in the 1950s – and cos ‘radioactive accidents’ are a handy old superhero cliche.

  32. plok Says:

    I like Laurie.

  33. Ken Quichey Says:

    Cliches, or types, or tokens of types, are fine. Constantine was based on other characters: fine.
    It’s not the continuity of simulated human presence, or of the franchise, which is interesting, it’s the dynamic that that character effects within the particular narrative being enacted.
    The various Oedipus revisions aren’t about Mr. Oedipus and his continuing, consistent life as a coherant person. They’re all slightly different stories which have certain themes in common.
    (The song remains the same? erm… anyway)
    I forgot the rest cos I’m thinking about Led Zeppelin now.

  34. David W. Kasper Says:

    Led Zeppelin were thieving, greedy bastards too!

    They had many a court case to settle their ‘original ideas’.

  35. Ken Quichey Says:

    I know man, Audience were much better.
    “Jack-daaaw, keep away from my back-doo-oor…”

  36. yawn Says:

    well that pic of doc manhattan doing a fembot laurie ‘fae behine’ is my new desktop. go watchmen 2!

  37. yawn Says:

    but the ‘before watchmen’ strip is lazy-ass graphic design.

  38. Ken Quichey Says:

    The guy who drew that cover is a worry.
    All his women look like glamour taxidermy.

  39. Botswana Beast Says:

    “Adam Hughes draws hot birds, mate,” he typed, confident no woman would broach the conversation.

  40. Ken Quichey Says:

    They smell like chloroform.

  41. Botswana Beast Says:

    an arousing fragrance (to some!!!), clearly

  42. Ken Quichey Says:

    DC knows its target audience better than they know themselves.

  43. RetroWarbird Says:

    Rorschach’s king of the heap. Curiosity killing the cat, exemplified. (I’m an O’Neill “Question” man myself) I’d qualify my cardboard statement a little, but it’s mere adjective malpractice, not shifting feelings. Rorschach’s words are practically Dad’s; “We oughtta just shoot ‘em all dead”. Here in the States … he’s not a shocking evolution of the good crimefighter pushed too far … he’s an everyman, adapted from Bogart to Bronson to Eastwood to whoever the hell is doing “KILL ‘EM ALL” jaunts now. It’s been your Caines and Neesons lately. We’re a nation of Jason Todds. (I’m more of a Grayson)

    Rorschach’s “you’re trapped in here with me” bit was nice, though. I caught a whiff of that when Stephanie Brown dropped her “… and I’m the teacher” line last month. Moore always did meet his bad-assery quotients.

    I just can’t put Watchmen on a pedestal. It’s good, but even with a heart at the core of it, it’s dreary. I was one year old when it was released, and well into mid-20s cognitive dissonance when I did get ’round to reading it. You know … after 10 years of every bit of magick it could ever hold spoiled by the Internet. Relevance in the Internet Age doesn’t hold up.

    I suppose I’m the cynic, if I take a cynical message from it. Shocking.

  44. Igmus Says:

    Blaming this on capitalism is, of course, true. But to me I think the larger point would be to think about the very basis for this selling.

    I mean, regardless of a capitalist environment, you still have to have demand for your product in order to sell it.

    What I’ve kept coming back to, over the last few days, is asking myself why on earth there would be so many people who would want Watchmen sequels/prequels?

    It’s totally foreign to me. I have zero interest in these things. The only way I might have any interest would be if Moore and Gibbons reunited, but even then it would be as sketchy a proposition as Miller returning to Dark Knight Returns. There’s just no reason for any of this stuff. So how can so many people be SO interested in it?

    Capitalism aside, I really blame this on “the people” themselves. Whether they’re Right or Left, capitalists or communists, socialists or cavemen, people are just so goddamn stupid and eager to jump on the next bandwagon without really even considering what they’re jumping onto.

    If people actually understood what the fuck they were getting into, and what the fuck the real value of Watchmen was, they’d have no interest in these new comics.

    And Watchmen isn’t even anywhere near my favorite comic. It isn’t a holy relic. But the idea of Watchmen sequels excites me less than pretty much anything else. It’s completely useless and pointless.

    If people weren’t such gullible suckers and trend-chasers, the world would be a better place and none of these comics would sell even 5 copies.

    In a reasonable world, there wouldn’t be a demand for these in the first place.

  45. Andrew Hickey Says:

    David, your take on Moore and Great Ormond Street is simply wrong. I saw Moore and Gebbie do a talk about Lost Girls moderated by Stewart Lee, a year before it came out over here, and Moore specifically said that he didn’t think that Great Ormond Street actually had a legal leg to stand on with regards to Lost Girls, but he and the publishers had chosen to respect their wishes because the last thing he wanted to see happen was for Great Ormond Street to have to spend money on lawsuits that could be used for sick children.

    Also, no-one in the post is arguing that the people doing this don’t have the legal right to do it. We’re not even (or at least I’m not) arguing that they don’t have the *moral* right to do it. ALL art is based around riffing off other people’s ideas, whether James Joyce retelling stories from Shakespeare and Homer in the course of a single ordinary day in Dublin, or whoever’s writing Spider-Man this week bringing back a villain Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created in 1965.

    The point is that it’s *stupid* of them to do it – to deliberately invite comparison with a creative team who are leagues ahead of these people, and with a work that’s an acknowledged masterpiece of the medium, and to do that when one of the creative team is very vocally against the idea, is a stupid idea.

    And it’s doubly stupid because Watchmen itself is such a hermetically-sealed work, and one that more than anything else is about its own formal structure. A sequel to V For Vendetta or Halo Jones would arouse far less ridicule, because those works are about the characters and settings. Wanting to know ‘what happens next’ is not an utterly ludicrous idea, and since those works aren’t so much about their own formal qualities, any fairly competent team could do something that might be quite interesting.

    But anyone saying “I’m going to do a sequel to Watchmen” is either someone who is fundamentally illiterate – someone who is incapable of looking at a piece of work and seeing what it’s about and what it’s saying – or they’re a revolutionary genius who has some great new revolutionary idea which would make us all understand the original in a new way and advance the art-form by decades. There’s really no in-between there.

    And somehow I don’t think the people involved in this are revolutionary geniuses. Wein and Higgins I’ll give a pass to – they are almost as important to Watchmen as Moore and Gibbons were, and if they want or need to exploit their own creative history for a pay-cheque, then that’s their business. The rest, though, have gone down a lot in my estimation.

  46. Richard Bensam Says:

    All the discussion I’ve seen online is getting into moral and ethical and aesthetic issues but missing one critical point about Watchmen raised by Lance Parkin in a post I plugged over on my own blog. Step out of the comics world for a moment, and one of the biggest factors in the popular acceptance of Watchmen is its singularity. There’s only the one book. The book introduces its characters, they live their lives, and their story is resolved at the end. You don’t come in having to know these characters from before — in fact, you can’t. Everyone starts on roughly the same footing. You don’t have to know how some development resonates with other events in a character’s history to appreciate some plot point. You don’t have any sense that this fits into some preexisting continuity or diverges from same. There’s no (or there didn’t used to be) saying “I remember this guy from the movies or tv, but he’s different here.” Like any novel, you could buy it or hand it to someone and say “This one book is all you need to have the whole story.” Apparently not anymore.

    I think comics people forget how intimidating and impenetrable this wall of prior knowledge we cultivate seems to everyone outside of it. (That is why we built that wall, to keep them all out, right?) Watchmen was perhaps the most appealing costumed hero story to the outside reader, the most inviting to people who just want to read a story. The end result of this new thing may be that it’s what finally kills off the exceptional sales run of Watchmen itself, precisely because there will now be more of it to deal with.

  47. Andrew Hickey Says:

    Yeah, Parkin’s piece was very good (I read his blog regularly, obviously) but I’m not sure that Watchmen *is* all that accessible to new readers, given how much of it is actually built on its formal cleverness and the way it does new stuff with familiar material.

    (Of course, it’s still infinitely more accessible than anything published by the big two in the last decade, but on an absolute rather than relative scale it’s still pretty daunting.)

  48. Zom Says:

    To take up Andrew’s point, Kieron Gillen’s argument that the last 25 years have been a response to the ideas opened up by Watchmen is yet another reason not to do these books in that, beyond banal character work and retreads of thoughts that will almost certainly have been better thunk elsewhere, there’s very little to say that wasn’t said in the OGN. Wa2chmen is a dead end.

  49. Zom Says:

    (Of course DC don’t care about creating art or even particularly good entertainment, they care about making a buck in, it would seem, the short term. Like I said on Twitter a couple of months ago, if those are your concerns then Wa2chmen is a no-brainer)

  50. James W Says:

    Actually, by using the same branding/titling convention for the prequels as for their “please read comics Zack Snyder fans” initiative, DC have made much of the last 25 years (but mainly the last 10) a true, diegetic sequel to Watchman. What I’m saying is: Mitchell Hundred is Nite Owl’s son, Morpheus is a delusional Dr Manhattan and Ozymandias funded the We3 program.

    Speaking of which, while I’m in full agreemence with most of A-Wix’s points, I’m always leery of the idea that actually No, You Should Not give Watchmen to a non-comics, because they’ll miss the formalism and references. I’m not convinced of the former – at worst they might think all comics are so considered – and there’s still a decent-to-good mystery/adventure/sci-fi story there, which I’ve witnessed many a non-comics enjoy.

  51. Zom Says:

    I once gave Watchmen to a non-superhero-comics friend. She didn’t like – thought lots of the formal tricks way too obvious and hamfisted. I don’t disagree with her on that score, actually.

  52. Andrew Hickey Says:

    Watchmen was one of the first superhero comics my wife read and she was utterly unimpressed, although she’s since enjoyed Promethea and A Disease Of Language and other Moore works.

  53. Bovva Boy Says:

    As long as I’m getting more blue cock up my arse I couldn’t care less what you eggheads have to say.

    “If one of these writers finds a new layer and extracts something new from the world of Watchmen, would that remove the ethical questions surrounding doing the book in the first place and make it okay to do the books?”

    Well, we’re all looking forward to “Multiversity,” yeah?

  54. James W Says:

    My anecdotal green ring doesn’t work on yellow counter-anecdotes! *dies*

  55. Zom Says:

    Andre Whickey above:

    “One of Morrison’s Multiversity things is supposed to be (if it ever comes out) a Watchmen-analogue Charlton Universe story. I’ll read that, because I know Morrison will not just do a lazy “Further adventures of Rorschach the badass” story.”

    That about covers that. Like 1001 commentators are saying, Morrison is about the only person who could conceivably have something new to say re the Watchmenverse, mainly because of his irreverance for Moore.

  56. The Beast Must Die Says:

    Super-psyched about these Watchmen sequels!!!

  57. James W Says:

    I only just got the title of this post!

  58. Zom Says:

    Blame Illogical Volume.

    He has certain… obsessions

  59. werdsmiffery Says:

    Purely anecdotal evidence: my route back into comics a few years ago was: Watchmen, then a few other Moore collections (V, LoeG), then the other widely-know/praised stuff (Year One and the like), and from then on just followed writers I liked and recommendations I trusted. So it does happen that way for some people.

  60. Carmen the Salsa Says:

    Christ, that fucking Comedian cover.

    If Moore goes out of his way (in every book) to portray (and trivialize) rape by going “This is awful” – it seems so only to serve the Millars of the world to go “Oh fuck yes it is, baby… Oahw this is fucking awful! Fuck or be fucked!”

    Like, there is no insult that won’t become a new flattery, there is no bottom. Follow the company line forever. There is no parody that won’t become a new normal (“badass Rorsharch”). The comics industry will eventually become this weird ring of blackwater electrician contractors raping dead cockroaches to see who can do the most fucked up darkest shit. “Who can face the toughest vilest shit? Rocknroll!” and Clarkson drinks horse semen, and some little blind kids arrive along with knives separately. “My name is Mark Millar, and this is a 20 year long unfunny Jackass skit”.

    Like, really, you only need to double dare them — not even that, they just need to fear someone else will reach lower than them first, that someone could have that edge, that ersatz of 60s rebellious taboo-breaking (even fascists are “mavericks”), that last unPCness (so “Incorrect” it’s encouraged), that advantage point of a lower POV into papparazing Goatse himself, of degraded/brutalized defensive/preparing self-lashing, that little extra armor in the run to the bottom of the shit tank to get that inhuman capital. Miners of shit. A world without unions but an excess of reality shows. I was going to say something about letting them burn, but there’s no need.

    Thank you for such great dialogue and the space for me to vent. And yeah, this seems just (hopefully) the blatant final point saying “we can’t seem to stop doing watchmen, we have to kill it, we have to make a mockery out of it in the most blatant way possible”. I was going to say “good luck to them, Watchmen was alright but jeez”, but I don’t really want The Industry to be reformed. There is really nothing worth being saved. Even the few authors I like I’d risk in the fire.

  61. Prankster Says:

    Heh heh, I love that in your discussion of the writers involved you all pointedly failed to mention JMS. AS IT SHOULD BE.

    I think the crucial difference between LoEG and Watchmen is this: LoEG happened because Alan Moore, a comics creator, decided he wanted to tell stories using those characters. Wa2chmen is happening because DC decided its brand isn’t performing well enough, and it’s rounded up some writers to generate content for optimum bleeding-edge interfacing of the paradigm and somebody please kill me.

    As this obviously implies, I would be OK, or at least “more OK”, if this was happening because some hotshot writer had said he or she had an idea for a Watchmen sequel. It would probably still be horribly misguided, but it would have its roots in a creative impulse. This even goes for someone who decided they wanted to destroy Watchmen and spit in the face of Alan Moore, the way some people are arguing Moore did to Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz. As I’ve been writing all over the web of late, when Marcel Duchamp painted a mustache on the Mona Lisa he was at least paying it the compliment of engaging with the work creatively. DC isn’t doing this; they’re treating Watchmen as a product to be commodified. That’s a far, far greater insult, and puts things on a whole other plane. But of course, this also highlights the fact that the superhero comics industry is built on this kind of thing.

  62. amypoodle Says:

    They’d keep on making stuff anyway hopefully.

    Or do you mean more than just the Big Two dying the death?

    You know, it really is difficult enjoying Moore’s stuff without taking the next train up to Northhampton with all his comics in tow and the rape scenes circled, ringing the big man’s doorbell and running away after leaving them there along with a note saying ‘NO!’

  63. amypoodle Says:

    That wasn’t to Prankster, but to Carmen.

    Well, yeah, Prankster, this whole thing is about fucking Watchmen toys, isn’t it (see what I did there?)?

  64. Ken Quichey Says:

    When are they going to make a film out of Skizz?

    Oh, no rapes in it. Boring.

    I don’t think you need to be a cape tugger to enjoy Watchmen. Reading it in the late 80s was not really similar to reading a superhero comic.
    I also don’t think you need to be any more comics literate than people naturally are unless they’re idiots. Comics isn’t an artform which has evolved out of elitist obfuscation of content.

    I do agree that some of the formal virtuosity in that book could seem a bit ham-fisted, some of it. It’s a bit like film-makers doing Hitchcock cinematography, it’s fine until you pick up on it, then it becomes too much of a thing in itself.
    E.G: Moore can be a bit over-fond of his transition-via-similarity-of-object thing. He does it in Voice of the Fire a lot, too. It’s nice at first, but it starts to notice too much and ends up feeling like he’s learned a new trick and can’t leave it alone. Except he kept doing it for years.

    Should have stayed with 2000AD, then none of this would have happened. That would have been suweeeeet!

  65. Ken Quichey Says:

    “Comics isn’t an artform which has evolved out of elitist obfuscation of content.”

    Apart from the merry marching continuity footnotes etc in post Marvel age superhero cwomics.

  66. Carmen the Salsa Says:

    “Or do you mean more than just the Big Two dying the death?”

    I don’t know, even the “outer” rim of not-awfulness still swirls around these two black holes (and sort of rekindles & legitimizes the awfulness by being the exception to the rule). It’s like being gay in some communist party in the 20s – like yeah, not as bad as the mainline of discussion, but it’s still mega shitty (as much as Moore or Morrison might not be cornerstone of THE LADS, they still bring the mud in & open the door). Even if someone like Chris Ware might not be a complete ass without any sensibility whatsoever, it still seems to exist around not being mainstreamy and therefore in full relation to it (so it becomes some rigidly depressing boring mature adult saying “I wear my underwear INSIDE my pants” with a face too tired to make a smug expression).

    It’s weird, I can’t explain all that properly. I’m mostly spewing anti-reformist nonsense (the old situationist “Non-commodified culture? But that’s the main commodity that makes all others possible, it’s the fire’s oxygen”). I start writing and can barely finish a sentence, “Why would I want for this to be ‘better’? What is this expectation and presumption? What’s wrong with me? They’re right, why do I think I have any right, desire or space to feel anything about this? Let it burn”

    Then you look at Jones’ (“this is my face while I”) Comedian cover (the cheap capitalist ‘cynicism’, the fanboy macho randian teen-satanism, the exploitative rapey tones, the pervasive realityshow-esque s&m suffocation) and it actually manages to get a rise out of me – and I want to strangle even things like Flex Mentallo, “nothing should be saved, kill the oxygen” (god i’m turning into some accelerationist… so maybe i should be glad the industry wants to become a rape-fanfic factory, what do i know)

  67. technicolorpissstain Says:

    Say what you want about Wa2chmen and how shitty an idea it is, it’s produced some really fun dialogue at least!

    I’ve got to totally disagree with Richard Bensam’s point of these prequels ruining acessability of Watchmen. It doesn’t. I understand that years and years of cape comics makes it quite a bit impenetrable but that’s mostly because there are more than one good story. These aren’t going to be good. They’re not going to kill the story Moore and Gibbons told. They’re going to still be there and you and whoever you want to show it to can read it when you want to and stop there.

    Also to harp on artistic reappropriation (and i might be totally misinformed because I haven’t read it yet) didn’t Moore use Voldemort in his most recent LoEG book? Without stating his name of course but the similarities were obviously strong enough that people noticed and discussed it. Rowling, I believe, is very much alive and very much against unauthorized use of her characters. Does Moore not using the name of Hewhomustnotbenamed make it ok for him to use the character against the authors wishes? Isn’t it kind of him finding a safe, legal loophole? Is it ok because, fuck all, it’s good?

  68. Islington Comic Forum Says:

    Hi. Not much to say – but wanted to say: really enjoyed all the stuff said here: in the article and in all the comments.

    Really liked the insight (one of those things that I know but didn’t really knew that I know) that: at the end of the day: it’s “the creators stupid” not the characters.

    Anyone read Moore’s “Writing for Comics”? It has a pretty good line of defence that most people have touched upon: basically – when you write a story the first thing you need is a good idea. And – well: with Wa2chmen – it’s obvious that the only idea is “let’s make money!” Although although although (strangely – and I don’t know why I’m saying this but) that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to be awful. I might be wrong about this – but wasn’t Lost first conceived by a bunch of producers who wanted to make a fictional version of Survivor? and wasn’t Doctor Who created by a focus group or something? (RTD said something somewhere once)?

    But yeah: thanks everyone.

  69. Fletcher Wortmann Says:

    Before I get too far into my argument I want to state that 1) whatever else happened Moore was, as I understand it, dicked over by DC with a misleading contract, that 2) these Watchmen Prequels probably won’t be anything other than quarter-bin fodder and 3) whatever I think of Moore’s recent output (Lost Girls and most of LoEG are interesting failures; 1969 and Neonomicon are repugnant for a number of reasons) I expect even the worst of it to be miles beyond Before Watchmen.

    But that’s not what bothers me about this. What bothers me is this: DC should have the right to make a Watchmen prequel. And so should Moore. So should Grant Morrison or Marvel or JokerFan666 on Livejournal or Alice Munro. So should you and I.

    The premise that any fictional character is sacrosanct, that they must be protected from further interference and reinterpretation, is absurd. The idea that stories need to be “protected” is nonsense. People have told hundreds of Dracula stories over the years: Anno Dracula, Chris Sims’ recent all-ages stuff, Tomb of Dracula, Castlevania, all kinds of nonsense. And Dracula’s still doing fine. People still make money off Dracula. Stoker’s book is still recognized as the progenitor; the other stuff is welcomed into the canon, if it’s good, or forgotten, as I’m sure Before Watchmen will be.

    Instead, copyright has been used to establish fictional characters as “intellectual property,” as “franchises,” at the cost of variety and depth in popular culture. Darren Aronofsky wants to do a blue-collar Batman reboot, which sounds interesting, but which we’ll never see because Warner Brothers has a legal monopoly on depictions of Batman, because a character created in 1939 is not yet in the public domain. How many great stories have we been denied? How many significant new versions of Superman, James Bond, Harry Potter have been smothered before they could even be released?

    And it doesn’t matter if you call this stuff “transformative works” or “fan fiction.” Before Watchmen is fan fiction of “Watchmen,” but that was fan fiction of the Charlton Comics characters who were all second-rate pulp rip-offs to begin with. Ulysses was Odyssey fan fiction, The Wide Sargasso Sea is fan fiction of Jane Eyre, and so on. The fact that a work was not approved by the great-grandchildren or corporate exploiters of the author doesn’t invalidate it’s artistic value. Frankly, I’d rather read “fan fiction” by interesting and ambitious amateurs than the pandering garbage that DC’s putting out right now.

    Copyright protection used to last 28 years, then 56, now 110; and it’s so restrictive that even legitimate creative reinterpretations of a work are prohibited. Hate speech is protected in the US, criticism of our government is protected, but try to tell a story about a specific cartoon mouse and you will be summoned to court. Decades-long corporate monopolies on cartoon characters are more important than freedom of speech.

    This isn’t to justify DC’s treatment of Moore, or their (likely abysmal) Watchmen prequels. And certainly creators should have some legal protection against forgeries and corporate exploitation of their work. But right now copyright is doing the opposite. It’s protecting corporations from artists. If these characters are our contemporary mythology (as company man Grant Morrison argues), if Superman really is bigger than Siegel and Shuster: then he’s sure as hell bigger than a mob of Warner Brothers suits and anal-retentive editorial fanboys.

    So as far as I’m concerned this problem goes a lot deeper than Moore and DC: it’s a fundamental problem with copyright law and with our concept of “intellectual property.” People (even asshats like JMS) should be able to make the art they want to make. Any law that interferes with that is unacceptable.

  70. plok Says:

    BACK!

    Zom makes me wonder how much League does profit by its beloved source material…but, shit, I don’t know about that terminology, actually. Take the very biggest of big names that’s appeared in League to date, the biggest of the big and the famousest of the famous, rendered so perfectly by O’Neill…it’s old Sherlock, of course. Anyone will read anything with Sherlock Holmes in it, after all this time people still really care, right? And yet, I wonder if talking about it in terms of drawing in the $$$s is really the most accurate way to talk about it. Because there is an avalanche of Sherlock material out there, right? So many movies, so many stories…I mean, even Andrew is doing some Holmes-derived stuff, which is not to slight Andrew because I really love Dr. Watson Investigates, but what I mean to say is…Sherlock’s a whole ecology now, he’s so vast that if what is really to your taste especially is Andrew Hickey’s take on Matters Holmesian, then by God you can find that, you can find even that. If you like it comedic, you can find it comedic. Big 70s stars? We’ve got that too. Sherlock Holmes in WWII? Available! We can do it dark, we can do it frothy, we can do it with Jack The Ripper or with Steven Spielberg…oh, you want a team-up with Sigmund Freud? DONE! Holmes as a robot? PRESTO! So I guess that’s where the capitalist slant on it goes a bit funny for me: yes, people have a seemingly-inexhaustible appetite for Ol’ Sherl, but at the same time you can get him absolutely anywhere, so in economic terms (as long as we’re playing with economic terms) it isn’t just the demand that’s important but the elasticity of that demand, and as far as I can tell it’s pretty durned elastic indeed. So I think you could argue that even though it’s got some Holmes stuff in it, which is so enormously magnetic, perhaps the authorship makes up most of the pull, here.

    Though of course I’m exaggerating a bit, because even though it’s a fantastic Sherlock, he’s not really in it, and Moriarty’s a plot twist, and blah blah blah. Doesn’t really matter, since Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are just one tiny cut below Sherlock, they may not have the insuperable magnetism but they’re certainly far from small fry. Will you pardon me if I ramble? It’s too hard to get everything said, otherwise…

    On the subject of what is the categorical difference between Before Sunrise and LoEG, I’m a little surprised it’s so hard to make out…LoEG’s a book about cultural influences, and the other thing’s just a shit copy of Watchmen? LoEG has many things going on in it, which I think is not just a matter of degree but of kind. It occurred to me today, for example, that Jekyll/Hyde is rather built on the Hulk model more than it’s a faithful re-presentation of RLS…and yet, how curious, it’s quite immune from any Marvel lawsuit, because it’s a Catch-22, a logic trap. Jekyll/Hyde is where the Hulk comes from, it’s the Hulk’s parent. So how can the child sue the parent for ripping off the child’s DNA? That’s a thing of perfect recursive beauty, in my opinion…but at the same time it’s much more a commentary than it is a mere checkmate. Moore and O’Neill’s Hyde explores the Hulk, and every other chatacer who’s the child of RLS’ nightmare as well. Well, it’s just one example, with one League character, but to me it’s a proof: it isn’t just “I used a character to tell a story”, because there are all different kinds of stories, and that difference actually does matter. You can’t strip it down too much, otherwise you end up saying stuff like “what’s the difference between using one IP property to generate Content, and using another IP property to generate Content” and you end up sounding like you’ve had a head injury, or work in Silicon Valley or something, the poor thing. But…

    BACK!!

    Back to Sherlock, and don’t you think Moffat’s kind of a tool for thinking, you can sense it, that Sherlock Holmes is of the Geek World, of the genre-obsessed subculture, “our thing”? When really Sherlock Holmes is a mass culture phenomenon that little else can be compared to, something that cuts across all lines. Yet he will make it something about valourizing fourteen-year-old boys’ failure to be what they think they ought to be, he will make it comic books and sci-fi (a word I have chosen) and the Big Bang Theory. I love Doctor Who, and I have a good idea how staggering the number of people who love Doctor Who is, but Sherlock Holmes is far bigger than that, and always will be. So you can’t tell by looking, but what “Sherlock” is probably best at is shedding potential audiences…

    But anyway, it’s interesting to think of this as The End. Could it be The End, for real? Marvel and DC are doing everything wrong at an ever-accelerating pace these days, it seems. There’s no reason to do Watchmen Unplugged, in business terms it really means nothing as far as I can see. People say they’re looking for a hit (as in smack not popularity, of course) and I can understand that, but the hit won’t last, and then they’ll be back where they were anyway. So what’s the upside? If Marvel and DC are really just cheap IP farms for Disney and Time-Warner now, then even if they kind of do have to show a profit they still don’t have to beat hell out of the rival company…it doesn’t matter anymore, now that they each have an uplink to God-Money. So that temporary hit, it’s not justifiable as an emergency necessity, so it doesn’t make sense to squander the big Watchmen-capital this way. It’s a lot of capital, probably the biggest they’ve got — the movie may not have worked out so well, but one thing it did do, which I didn’t think of at the time, is that it made it so the average guy on the street has now heard of Watchmen, and a lot of people were turned into Watchmen-readers even if they weren’t turned into comics-purchasers. All without really fucking with the gold-standardness of Watchmen very much at all. So you’ve got all this cultural capital sitting there, your nest egg. The 25th anniversary is coming up.

    Why do this?

    People say that the Internet gets angry and then goes back to buying shit they hate, but I think it could really be The End, maybe. Maybe that’s just cock-eyed optimism? But line up the Siegel stuff, the Kirby stuff, and this stuff all in a row and I think people do begin to feel it. Not the hardcore to-the-end fanboys, maybe. But then the cultural capital isn’t worth anything anyway, to them! But it does matter to the wider market where these things either promise ROI or don’t…

    So maybe it could be The End?

    Man, it’s about time, though.

  71. plok Says:

    Sorry, long comment! Also as I said to Fletcher over at 4L!, I actually think copyright’s a good thing, and I don’t think this is a good example of how everything would be better if only creators regularly outlived their rights. In my perfect world, Moore and Gibbons would own Watchmen, and there’d be no shitty JMS Dr. Manhattan stories. If shitty Dr. Manhattan stories were what he wanted to write, and he wasn’t clever enough to figure out a way to get around infringement to tell his story, then he would just have to accept he was born a hundred years too soon. Tough break! But really this is the crux of the difference between LoEG and NuWatchmen — Moore and O’Neill want to tell a story that can be told if you can get around infringement, but JMS and the rest of them don’t have Watchmen stories to tell that can be told independently of the characters actually being Nite Owl, Ozymandias, Dr. Manhattan et. al…

    Oh, which just brings me to the last thing I wanted to say above: for all that LoEG is “Alan Moore writes Captain Nemo and Mr. Hyde!”, okay, yeah, I do see that…except, personal experience, I didn’t know that much about it when it came out. I didn’t know the Invisible Man was going to be in it, or Jekyll/Hyde, or Nemo, I didn’t know who Mina was at first, I knew Allen but that’s only because I’m a geek and besides I didn’t know he was going to be in it. I knew “Alan Moore puts together super-team made of Victorian literary characters”, so en masse, yes definitely those famous practically-in-your-blood-now characters did draw me in conjunction with Alan’s name — and I guess you just have to know, you can’t help but anticipate and look for, the Holmes connection in that sales pitch! — but at the same time, I at any rate was not specifically drawn by the promise of Moore’s take on any character or characters.

    Although, Lost Girls? Yeah, in that case, it was all “Alan Moore Wendy/Dorothy/Alice Porn”. You see I don’t deny it.

    …GONE AGAIN!

  72. plok Says:

    Fletcher, what a weird sensation having a dual conversation with you here and at 4L! at the same time! Is making my head hurt. But enjoyable!

  73. plok Says:

    Okay, not really gone, sorry.

    Technicolorpissstain, that 1969′s Voldemort is not actionable isn’t a “loophole” that makes it okay; it IS okay, so it doesn’t need a loophole. The law is there to protect J.K. Rowling’s rights, and it does. Making a roman a clef isn’t in and of itself an immoral act, and things can be similar without being outrageous…as I think anyone would say they were in the case of 1969. Of course they can be similar and outrageous as well, but in that case the law protects the rights of the outrager as well: if you haven’t done anything that damages another’s rights, they don’t have any legal recourse against you, ipso facto.

    Of course it can get muddy, too: sometimes a perfectly legal thing is outrageous in a way that we might call immoral. Michael Moorcock has a policy of letting anyone use Jerry Cornelius in a story, but he’s also pissed at Grant Morrison because he thought Gideon Stargrave was just a straight rip-off. So, which way the moral compass is pointing there is something I myself haven’t thought about much, but I bet there are differing viewpoints. But, maybe that’s much as Above Watchmen? DC (as far as we know) has the right to do what they’re doing, and probably loophole-free. I don’t know anyone who’s actually called it immoral. Stupid, shameful, bankrupt, offensive…but I think the immorality for them lies in the way they screwed Moore and Gibbons out of Watchmen, not in what they permissibly did once they had?

    That may be overly fine logic-chopping, sorry. For my money, DC’s real immorality in re: Alan is the way they just keep fucking with him over the years, over and over again, they can’t leave him be and they won’t back off. However, Alan having a character in 1969 who’s “meant to be” Voldemort…well, hell, who cares? It’s not like he’s writing a Harry Potter prequel, right?

    But if he did, I’m sure he’d do it with respect.

  74. plok Says:

    I AM TALKING TOO MUCH.

    (And with that, he was GONE…!)

  75. Ales Kot Says:

    Dear Zom: There is a fundamental difference between writers using characters that fell into public domain (such as the characters in TLOEG) and writers using copyrighted characters that were obtained by unethical means.

  76. Ken Quichey Says:

    Speculating about Moorcock’s beef:
    If someone uses the fictional character Jerry Cornelius, it explicitly refers back to Moorcock’s work – if someone uses Jerry Cornelius but changes the name, Moorcock’s conceptual work is being used to generate value, but he’s not getting his citation.
    Jerry Cornelius is a fairly complex and original creation, too. A bit more than a classic type with a new name.

    It’s interesting to compare the dynamic there with that of name-brands pulling fan interest but essentially being vacuous, facades for any number of disconnected ideas.
    I suppose Cornelius is a proper literary character (in a funny sort of way) whereas, say, Batman is just a costume and a few other accoutrements.
    A playset, not a persona.

  77. Zom Says:

    Dear Ales,

    There’s an important ethical distinction, there’s not a fundamental difference.

    More importantly at which point in the discussion did I draw a moral equivalence between Moore’s use of characters in the public domain and DC’s plans for the cast of Watchmen or suggest that I didn’t think DC have behaved unethically?

    DC have been, and continue to be, utter shits. That’s always been my opinion, it’s just not what I wanted to talk about. Seems like a self evident and fairly banal point that I don’t think anyone with half an ounce of ethical feeling could reasonably disagree with.

    All my love

    Zom

    x

    See how annoying that is?

  78. Carmen the Salsa Says:

    “if Superman really is bigger than Siegel and Shuster”

    I don’t think that Morrison-esque concept is supposed to be necessarily a good thing, the way that concept is allowed to exist is only in the sense of how screwed they were. Everything that was rightfully hated about what Superman potentially symbolizes (and its hypocrisy) and the potential way it functions in its dehumanizing abstraction (and patriarchal-corporate-patriotic dream-veil) is that it can smash reality in a bad way – as if Bizarro’s giant smiling S-shield is covering the exploitation of its Creators. It was a small part of what was inside that cloudy ball of putrid smoke behind that red&blue smile – that made everyone feel cynically betrayed and run to the grim gritty era. Morrison’s reminder of how admirable that original hopefulness is (even if as a lie) is pretty correct, but we shouldn’t forget why we had to be reminded by Morrison in the first place and why we escaped from it too far away in Reaction.

    Yes, these ideas and characters are our narratives and myths which should be the plaything (to have its hold be undermined, criticized, reinforced, whatever) of everyone – but one only sees corporate goons being the “everyone” now – so we’re back to the old saying that “the law is equal to all: neither the rich nor the poor can sleep under the bridge” (or more precisely, “all are equally free to violate copyright with their megacorporations dicks to communicate their ideas and stories”).

    I think most would tend to agree with you on how copyright is capital bullshit, but these arguments usually come to front the most when someone who’s not a giant conglomerate is being screwed. It’s a transgression quick enough only to reinforce the prohibition of further transgressions (it’s the hidden criminal injunction of lawfulness itself). Freedom is quickly invoked when you’re free to starve or freed to be exploited (or free from copyright – which yes it’s a shit concept, but it’s only genuinely questioned in quick convenient bursts to serve the very enforcers of copyright themselves).

    But you’re correct big time. Specially since I’m sincerely fascinated with what kind of rightwing political revisionism wa2chmen’ll have (and how awesomely awful things like Rorsharc will be) – Watchmen deserved for a while its own Watchmen to gaze its own role as today’s 50sSuperman-esque hold (“who watches the etc”). What’s shameful is how it won’t be violated & watched ENOUGH and is only being done in a timid closed environment (with the aesthetic gaze’s surface it helped create).

  79. Botswana Beast Says:

    Gosh, Zom, it’s almost as if you didn’t read a post you participated in where I made the exact same counterpoint and need a reminder fom a wee scrote.

  80. Zom Says:

    I struggle wif the readin’

  81. plok Says:

    One day you’ll find your special talent, Zom!

  82. Zom Says:

    But probably not in a book

  83. George Bush (not that one) Says:

    Glycon is a false god! Don’t worship him! Save your soul!

  84. Richard Bensam Says:

    Technicolorpissstain, just to clarify this for the historical record, that’s totally not what I was saying. Watchmen prequels obviously don’t change the content of the Watchmen book. Obviously. What their existence MAY change is the perception by the non-comics reader that Watchmen is this thing, this one book, that you can pick up and hold in its entirety and have it all. Instead, it may make Watchmen itself seem to the non-fan just one part of a whole amorphous tentacled Watchmen-thing. “Wait, this says BEFORE Watchmen, should I read it first then? I don’t want to get the story out of order. What do you mean, this isn’t the graphic novel? Why do I have to read a study guide before I can read some book? Oh, forget the whole thing.”

  85. Joel Says:

    Carmen the Salsa: for real, especially the first para of your comment – these are the conditions of possibility (a previous moment of exploitation) upon which we get to make any bold claim to liberate narratives or characters from their producers.

  86. Carmen the Salsa Says:

    Yeah, it seems like a false liberation. A democracy where everyone gets “equal” time to say the first syllable without ever forming the same sentence they all wish to vocalize against fully phrased exploitation (i guess i’m defending Moore/ Siegel/ Shuster and their bourgeois rights as creators in the sense of Zizek’s tale about deGaulle saying he alone spoke for democratic France – and “defending copyright” in a leninist spirit of “undemocratic democratic will” to crush menshevik’s fanfics & The White Army’s Wa2chmen or something – i’m so confused. Death to bourgeois democracy’s freedom to be exploited & equally worthless, i suppose… and, i dont know, long live the true Man of Steel that was “really bigger than his creator”… *sigh*)

  87. Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » Tues Reviews, fuck the winter blues! (featuring Mister Attack) Says:

    [...] the legal drama Superman’s creators faced, but right now they’re harder to shake. As Carmen the Salsa noted in our comments section the other day, the idea that Superman is “bigger” than his creators has a certain corrosive poetry to [...]

  88. Spiritof1789 Says:

    I should post here often! Good theory on Moorcock/Morrison/Cornelius espoused (I have been a dedicated Moorcockian for years), but it seems to fall down in the face of two obvious comics based exceptions I can see: Talbot’s Luther Arkwright, self evidently rooted in Cornelius, yet a distinct characterisation which Moorcock appeared entirely happy to let Talbot propagate (even to the extent of writing the foreword to one of the more recent TP editions); Moebius’s ‘Garage Hermetique (de Jerry Cornelius)’ for ‘Metal Hurlant’, a re-interpretation of the character principally trading on the resonance of the name, but frequently precluded from utilising the given reference in later English language reprints. On the basis of this, I have always felt it necessary to conclude that whatever beef Moorcock may have held with Morrison,it must have been conditioned as much by personal factors as any specific frustration over whether or not the character in question was named as ‘Jerry Cornelius’.

  89. 4thletter! » Blog Archive » if newsarama knew better, it would do better Says:

    [...] -Tom Spurgeon’s “Sometimes They Make It Hard To Ignore Creators Issues” and “Twenty-One Not Exactly Original Notes On More Watchmen, Written At A Slight Remove” -Image Comics publisher Eric Stephenson’s “NO FUN” -Chris Mautner’s “We’ve come so far: On Before Watchmen and creators rights” -Rich Johnston’s “The Ethics Of Before Watchmen” -Mindless Ones’ “‘The Second Coming of Night Owl’, and other stories…” [...]

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