Alan Moore says that if you buy Before Watchmen, "just stop buying my other books".

“I have to say that if you are a reader that just wanted your favorite characters on tap forever, and never cared about the creators, then actually you’re probably not the kind of reader that I was looking for. I have a huge respect for my audience. On the occasions when I meet them, they seem, I like to think, to be intelligent and scrupulous people. If people do want to go out and buy these Watchmen prequels, they would be doing me an enormous favor if they would just stop buying my other books. When I think of my audience, I like to have good thoughts and think about how lucky I am to have one that is as intelligent as mine and as moral as mine. [...] The kind of readers who are prepared to turn a blind eye when the people who create their favorite reading material, their favorite characters, are marginalized or put to the wall — that’s not the kind of readers I want. So, even if it means a huge drop in sales upon my other work, I would prefer it that way. I mean, there’s no way I can police this, of course. But, I would hope that you wouldn’t want to buy a book knowing that its author actually had complete contempt for you. So, I’m hoping that will be enough.” - Alan Moore from the interview found here:

http://www.seraphemera.org/seraphemera_books/Alan_Moore_Interview.html

This comes a couple of weeks after David Mazzucchelli asked readers to not buy the new edition of Batman: Year One after all of the extra work he put into creating the "definitive" edition has been dumped for new printings.

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Watchmen was a brilliant piece of art - unquestionably.

The lead characters were also - unquestionably - based on pre-existing characters, the Charlton super-heroes of the 1960's.

So Watchmen, LOEG, and Lost Girls, just to name three of Moore's celebrated works, violate Moore's objection to BW, imo.

If he has contempt for me as a reader, I'll try not to cry.   

Man, that just makes me want to go out and buy an Alan Moore book on the same day that I buy Before Watchmen. In fact, I think I'm going to count on it.

And John Dunbar, that's a really good point. A really, really good point.

Moore, and his sympathizers, feel that if the creator/s are dead, then it's okay to do whatever he wants to their characters whether it be twisted or brilliant. Some claim that the Watchmen characters were planned as take-offs of the Charlton characters but they were originally to be Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, the Question, etc and Moore was instructed to use them as the basis of his story just as he was instructed NOT to use them when he handed in the story which would have rendered them unusable afterwards. This is all detailed in the first Watchmen hardcover edition.

Also important to remember that his first major American work was Saga of the Swamp Thing where he made significant changes to the Swamp Thing without considering Len Wein and Berni Wrightson's opinion on them. But he had the approval of DC's editors. Many of his later problems with DC were the result of Moore getting offended by any sort of editorial direction from the people publishing his work, regardless if he was right or wrong. In his mind, he was always right.

What gets me is that Moore had what every Golden, Silver and Bronze Age writer and artist wanted: respect, credit and compensation. No matter how bitter he is about it, he is still the co-creator of Watchman, LoEG, the ABC titles and the rest. He should still be a driving force in the evolution of comics but he took his ball home but left his toys behind, discarded. Now he yells at us for wanting to play with them again.

He may hold me in contempt but I still respect his talent and his genius.



ClarkKent_DC said:

Figserello said:

In the interview, he says that League of Ex Gents was a story that he and O'Neill wanted to tell.  Whereas Before Watchmen was thought up in a boardroom and creators hired to execute it.  That's the largest difference between LoEG's and BW's use of already extant characters.

 

To which I have a two-word reply: So what?



That's in response to Mickey's equivalence between LoEG and Before Watchmen. Those are differences that Moore mentions in the interview, rather than that Watchmen is a Sacred Cow.

 

Moore addresses everyone's points in the interview. It's worth a read.

 

The arguments you guys make above have all been made and addressed during the original furore over Before Watchmen. I was just trying to keep it about the interview at hand.

 

"So what?" could be used in response to every single post ever put up on the Captain's board, sadly, and most boards on aspects of popular culture, come to that...



Philip Portelli said:

 

Also important to remember that his first major American work was Saga of the Swamp Thing where he made significant changes to the Swamp Thing without considering Len Wein and Berni Wrightson's opinion on them. But he had the approval of DC's editors.

His editor was Len Wein. Karen Berger soon took over, but Wein hired him.

""So what?" could be used in response to every single post ever put up on the Captain's board, sadly, and most boards on popular culture, come to that..."

I prefer a response I posted at MASTERWORKS weeks back. Rather than be drawn into an excessively long-winded, twisted, totally convouted argument, I totally dissed the entire opposing viewpoint, by saying... "Do you really believe all that nonsense?"  (The person I was responding to just about blew a fuse when I did that, went on at EVEN GREATER length desperatrlyu trying to prive his point, not realizing it was impossible.)

Thanks Rob! I thought Karen Berger was the editor of "The Anatomy Lesson" but it was Len Wein. However that shows how other creators allowed Moore to alter their characters without raising a fuss AND that Moore got to play with whatever toys he wanted to and leave them in whatever condition he wanted to!

Rob Staeger said:



Philip Portelli said:

 

Also important to remember that his first major American work was Saga of the Swamp Thing where he made significant changes to the Swamp Thing without considering Len Wein and Berni Wrightson's opinion on them. But he had the approval of DC's editors.

His editor was Len Wein. Karen Berger soon took over, but Wein hired him.

Philip Portelli said:

Moore, and his sympathizers, feel that if the creator/s are dead, then it's okay to do whatever he wants to their characters whether it be twisted or brilliant.


What difference does it make if the creators are alive or dead?

Because he's not taking anything away from them. They are not writing about their characters anymore (being deceased) so he can use them anyway he sees fit.

Be careful of addressing arguments that people are putting in Moore's mouth, rather than what he says himself, Philip.

 

Moore admits in the interview that DC 'offered' him Watchmen - the actual initial 'dreaming up' isn't his - but the circumstances in which they did so is the thing.  He is hurt at how (as he sees it) DC diddled him out of ownership of Watchmen.  He expresses that and scoffs at the creative bankruptcy they exhibit by having to turn his closed finished work Watchmen into an open, unending narrative like ordinary superhero stories.

 

He kinda has a point.  Their actions in continually alienating the only writer to have produced such a widely known perpetually-selling graphic novel makes them look very desperate and foolish and yes, creatively bankrupt. 

 

His arguments about using other writers creations circle artistically around how they are used* and legally, whether they are in copyright or out of copyright.  The Watchmen were supposed to be his to use as he saw fit after the first year, and his to decide who could use them or not.  LoEG and Lost Girls, Superman and Swamp Thing are completely beside that point.

 

He has every right to hold people who support DC's position on Watchmen in contempt, given his perspective and experiences with DC, and given how those have long been a matter of public record.  

 

* "Well" being one of his criteria it seems.

I've read lots of stuff by people who would hold (or would've held, in the case of the deceased) me in contempt did they know that I even existed. What fool only reads stuff by people that he imagines would've approved of him?

Interesting discussion.

I have already decided to at least try the Before Watchmen stuff and let it rise or fall on its own merits. Since I’m not likely to ever meet Alan Moore face to face, I think I will be able to live under threat of his contempt.

RELATED NOTE: The DC Universe by Alan Moore hardcover is scheduled to ship today.

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