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CSBG Archive

What I bought – 25 April 2012

And Savinkov remembered that Kaliayev had once said to him, “Everything is beautiful. The stars and clouds and flowers and people and — death is beautiful, too.” (Otto Friedrich, from The End of the World)

See ya! Don't piss off the clockwork tiger! Fight Night! You know, I was never a fan of burnt marshmallows Well, that's not going to end well Oh, Howard Hughes - you're such a crazy dude! Who knew Hendrix was in cahoots with all those conspirators? Too damned big!

The Activity #5 (“The Weather Inside”) by Nathan Edmondson (writer), Mitch Gerads (artist/colorist), Joseph Frazzetta (color assistant), and Jeff Powell (letterer). $3.50, 22 pgs, FC, Image.

This is the final issue of The Activity that I am buying, and I’m not going to miss it, although I still wish it had been better. This is a fairly typical issue – one of the things I like about the book is that Edmondson isn’t writing about a group that just goes in and blows shit up, as in this issue the team allows themselves to be captured by the Thais in order to … well, they have a mission, but it’s not a “blow-shit-up” kind of mission. We get some background on one of the team members, but as usual with this comic, it’s very vague and oblique, and we don’t really get to know the character at all. Meanwhile, the larger plot of whether the government is going to shut the program down continues, but it only gets one page, so who knows how long Edmondson will let it play out (someone spells “Colombia” wrong, too, which is one reason why everyone hates Americans). Gerads’ art is a bit rougher than the previous issues, and I don’t know if it’s deliberate because the team is in a Thai interrogation room or because Gerads is rushed a bit.

I like the idea of The Activity, but Edmondson just hasn’t found a good balance in the book – the single issue stories are a good idea, but the lack of space seem to make the missions easier than they actually are, Edmondson still hasn’t given us too much with regard to the personalities of the team members, and the pace is too glacial. Maybe it will read better in trade, but as single issues, it just doesn’t work. Oh well – there’s always new comics to check out!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

'You will pay for your crimes in Thailand' is something you really never want to hear

Fables #116 (“Cubs in Toyland Chapter 3: Clockwork Tiger”/”A Revolution in Oz Chapter 3: At the End of His Rope”) by Bill Willingham (writer), Mark Buckingham (penciler, “Tiger”), Shawn McManus (artist/colorist, “Oz”), Steve Leialoha (inker, “Tiger”), Andrew Pepoy (inker, “Tiger”), Dan Green (inker, “Tiger”), Lee Loughridge (colorist), and Todd Klein (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

Issue #116 came out last week, but Diamond didn’t ship it to my store for some reason. I blame Rick Santorum!

Anyway, the possible final story arc of this series that I will read continues to move along, much like pretty much every other issue of Fables. We stick with the kids and the efforts to find Therese this time around, while Therese realizes that things in her new kingdom might not be as rosy as she thought. As usual, it’s a nice-looking comic, although I always worry when three inkers work on a book. Leialoha, Pepoy, and Green are all good, but I wonder if Buckingham is getting a bit behind. The back-up story is crunched by DC’s page count, but it still looks nice.

I haven’t quite made up my mind to drop Fables, but I losing enthusiasm for it. As I’ve mentioned recently, there’s absolutely nothing really bad about it, it just doesn’t excite me very much. Oh well.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

I'm going to start insulting people by calling them 'Dorothys'

Kirby: Genesis #7 (“New York Throwdown”) by Kurt Busiek (writer), Jack Herbert (artist), Alex Ross (artist), Vinicius Andrade (colorist), and Simon Bowland (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Dynamite Entertainment.

It’s somewhat humorous that, in the midst of this giant Marvel crossover that, apparently, features almost nothing but fighting, over in Kirby: Genesis, Busiek and Herbert give us an issue that features almost nothing but fighting, and it’s really good, even though the characters in the Marvel book are much more familiar. The stakes feel a bit higher in K:G, perhaps because we know that in AvX, nothing will change all that much, but when a character gets stabbed in this one, it feels more dangerous even though we suspect that the character will not die. Busiek structures this exactly like a big ol’ superhero fight comic, because it is one – there’s the big battles, and then the smaller ones that help “humanize” the big fight – but he also makes sure that Kirby’s romance moves on and that the bad guys aren’t exactly monolithic in their evil. One thing that is wearisome about far too many of Marvel’s recent crossovers is that it’s just heroes fighting heroes, and while that means that more fans of characters are invested and we get to hear absolutely stupid conversations about who would defeat whom, it also means that the central tenet of superhero comics – that good powerful people fight against bad powerful people to save non-powered people – isn’t being observed. Busiek gives us bad guys, but bad guys that are actually interesting and whose motives shift depending on the circumstances. Busiek has his detractors, but he’s been a very good superhero writer for a few decades now, and this is just the latest example of it.

Herbert (and Ross, who doesn’t do as much in this comic as he has in some of the others) is still wonderful, giving us scores of characters fighting each other but never making it too busy. It’s a frenetic comic, to be sure, but it never feels out of control. While I still don’t know every character that Busiek is using, at least he and Herbert make sure that a lot of characters have moments in this issue, which is nice. I imagine Herbert is tired, but the artwork is very nice, so he should just drink some coffee and man up!

If we consider the moral and ethical ramifications of this issue, I wonder if Busiek will stop by and answer some musings for me. David Brothers’ decision to drop DC and Marvel comics has made the rounds, and it got me thinking. Brothers has been very vocal about his disdain for Before Watchmen, and in that CA piece, he targets the Avengers movie as well. Both are fine targets, but Brothers’ decision – and anyone’s decision to boycott something for moral and ethical reasons – always makes me wonder, Where does it end? I would guess that a vast majority of businesses engage in shady practices, and will Brothers boycott those? I will bet that some part in the computer on which he blogs came from a factory where people are working 20 hours a day for a dollar a day and they never get to take bathroom breaks. I know I’m being extreme, and this certainly doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t call out DC and Marvel for being shitty companies, but where does it end? I applaud Brothers for making a stand, but I don’t share his conviction, I guess. I have dropped a lot of DC and Marvel comics for the sole reason that the comics are shitty, but I’m aware that Brothers actually likes some of their comics, so this boycott probably annoys him. I also don’t really care if the creators involved take the gigs, because comics creators don’t make any fucking money. Brothers has written about his love of Darwyn Cooke and how he feels a bit different about Cooke now that he’s doing a BW comic. Well, if Brothers wants another Parker novel (as I do) and doesn’t want Cooke to fuck off into the dark bowels of animation, Cooke needs to take gigs like this every once in a while. Again, that doesn’t make it right. But it does make it a reality. Part of the reason Alan Moore comes across as holding the moral high ground in this debate is because he’s already made his money (I suppose he “renounced” some movie money, most notably for Watchmen, but did he for LoEG or From Hell, because it doesn’t seem like he did). If this came out right after he wrote Violator vs. Badrock, I doubt if he would have as many supporters as he does now. Again, that doesn’t mean he’s wrong, just that it’s fairly easy to make moral pronouncements when you don’t have to worry about a paycheck. I don’t work, so it’s easy for me to say that every household should have a stay-at-home parent. What’s wrong with you two-parent households where both parents work? Don’t you know that you’re ruining your children?!?!?!?

My point is, if you’re going to boycott things for moral and ethical reasons, shouldn’t you support things for the same reasons? This is where Busiek might be able to help me, if he’s reading (he does read the blog occasionally, so I hope he stops by). Kirby: Genesis, unlike many (all?) Marvel books, specifically lists Kirby as the creator of the characters in the comic. Busiek seems like a stand-up guy and I know he appreciates the old-school creators. So do Kirby’s heirs get any money from this comic? It seems right, doesn’t it? And if they do, shouldn’t Brothers be buying this comic and talking it up at every opportunity? You might see where this is going – what if Brothers thinks this is a shitty comic? Does his moral and ethical fiber that makes him want to support Kirby and his heirs override his taste? If he’s serious about supporting Kirby, doesn’t he have an obligation to at least buy this comic and at most blog about it so others buy it too? This is all moot if Dynamite isn’t paying Kirby’s heirs anything, but this is the conundrum, isn’t it? If I say look in a mirror and say Busiek’s name five times, will he appear and answer my question (after, of course, gutting me from stem to stern because I invoked him)?

Me like comix. Look at purty pitchers!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

I think everyone should refer to themselves in the third person

The Li’l Depressed Boy #10 (“Worried Shoes”) by S. Steven Struble (writer/colorist/letterer) and Sina Grace (artist). $2.99, 24 pgs, FC, Image.

You might recall that I’ve been a bit disappointed with recent issues of LDB, and I’m still deciding if I want to keep getting it. This is a better issue – LDB gets a job as a movie usher, and although I’ve never worked at a movie theater, the way the head usher describes the job to the newbies – “you’re about to see the most disgusting things man has ever seen” – rings true from what friends of mine in high school talked about. LDB also sees Jazmin on a date (see below), and as he’s, you know, depressed, it sends him into a bit of a spiral. But unlike a few issues ago, it feels more real this time, and the fact that Struble introduces a new possible love interest for him also makes this a more enjoyable issue. I still don’t know why LDB passed out in the bathroom (he passes out in the bathroom at the movie theater, by the way), but it does get him an introduction to the cute redhead who presumably will be the new object of his affections. After the rather tedious road trip that marked issues #5-8, some of the charm of issues #1-4 is back. I’ll be interested to see if it continues.

Like The Activity, I really want to keep buying this book. Unlike The Activity, it has a shot. We shall see, shan’t we?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

You kind of get what you deserve if you date a guy named Jet

Next Men #41 (“Jigsaw”) by John Byrne (writer/artist), Ronda Pattison (colorist), and Neil Uyetake (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, IDW.

So last week, I got issue #42 of this series and realized that I had never picked up issue #41. My retailer helpfully ordered it for me, and so this week I’m going back in time and reading issue #41. The entire comic is about moving around in time, so I feel right at home!

As always with Next Men, Byrne has such a long-term goal in mind that it’s difficult to keep track of what’s going on issue-to-issue. They’re enjoyable, but they add just another brick to the giant edifice of Next Men, so it’s hard to perceive the whole. He continues one thread from this book in issue #42, but leaves so many others hanging that, presumably, he’ll get back to, including the big image at the end of the book. Bethany is running through a wasteland and getting chased by weird aliens and later Civil War-era soldiers who don’t have nice things in mind for her, while the other Bethany and Nathan find a car and some World War II-era soldiers. Jasmine, meanwhile, catches us up on some of the Next Men history, so that’s nice. There’s a lot going on and Byrne has a lot of balls in the air, but I probably have to wait until he’s all done with it before really coming to any conclusions about it. It’s mostly a goofy, exciting, quasi-superhero comic. Byrne does those quite well.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Nothing's more fun than killing aliens!

The Secret History #18 (“The End of Camelot”) and #19 (“The Age of Aquarius”) by Jean-Pierre Pécau (writer), Igor Kordey (artist), Chris Chuckry (colorist, issue #18), Leonard O’Grady (colorist, issue #19), Edward Gauvin (translator), and Marshall Dillon (letterer). $5.95, 54 pgs each, FC, Archaia.

Archaia has been in a weird place ever since they re-organized a few years ago. They have made a commitment to publishing only graphic novels, but they do make some exceptions – Mouse Guard is the most high-profile one, but The Secret History is another. They recently scrapped plans to release the spin-off to this series as single issues, offering it as a complete whole, but it still hasn’t arrived, and it’s frustrating only because someone references it in issue #18 of the main series. Meanwhile, The Secret History continues to come out erratically, as this week’s two issues at the same time shows. I’m not sure when Pécau and Kordey finished this or if it’s being published in Europe so close to the publication date in the States that it gets held up in translation (it’s a whole lot to translate, after all). It’s frustrating like any comic that is published erratically is frustrating, because it’s an interesting book and I can’t imagine its schedule is helping it in any way.

The most interesting thing about the entire series is how Pécau has managed to weave almost every conspiracy that ever existed and make it one conspiracy, and how he has managed to take so many disparate historical events and people and link them. So in issue #18, Howard Hughes takes center stage, plotting the assassination of JFK with his mob buddies and Alan Foster Dulles. Meanwhile, Curtis is still trying to kill Kim Philby because Philby killed his (Curtis’) wife, but he has to get around Philby’s father, St. John Philby (I always get a kick out of the fact that that’s pronounced “Sin-Jin”), who’s a powerful magus. It all leads to Philby killing Lee Harvey Oswald in a parking lot moments before Kennedy is shot. Oh dear. Meanwhile, issue #19 has Curtis still trying to kill Philby, one of the archons, Reka, using LSD to enter the mythical city of Kor (she stages Woodstock so she can channel all the energy of the LSD users), and the Soviets doing Soviet-ey things. Erlin, meanwhile, finds out that the world is going to end in 2012, thanks to those confounded Mayans. Damn you, Mayans!

It’s all very wacky, but Pécau has always made it work, and Kordey continues to pack a lot of good work into the book. I was disappointed that he used actual photographs of Woodstock and manipulated them using a computer, because it’s one of the few places the book looks shoddy. He’s used actual photographs before (he does in this issue when the bad guys are planning to pin Martin Luther King Jr.’s murder on James Earl Ray), but it’s been small-scale and unobtrusive. When he does it for Woodstock, it looks kind of crappy. But it’s only for a few pages, so I guess I can deal with it!

Only three issues of the main series remain. I hope they come out in a timely fashion (especially considering the world is going to end in 8 months), because The Secret History is a pretty cool comic. Can I be blamed for wanting it more often????

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

That's certainly one way to get a thrill ...

The Pterodactyl Hunters in the Gilded City by Brendan Leach (writer/artist). $9.95, 39 pgs, BW, Top Shelf.

This book might have usurped Wednesday Comics as the oddest format in which you can present a book. It’s gigantic (you’ll notice that I couldn’t fit the entire cover on my scanner) and the pages are newsprint, because the conceit is that this is a story in a newspaper. No, it’s not very long, but it looks way cool. Here’s the entire cover, by the way:

**********

I will say that although AvX Vs. has one of the dumbest titles and is one of the dumbest conceits I’ve heard in years, I was extremely tempted to buy issue #1 just for the “fun facts.” “Magneto is the master of magnetic counting” might be my favorite, but they were all awesome. Well played, Marvel. You almost got me to plunk down 4 bucks just because someone remembered that comics can feature lots of fighting but still have a sense of humor.

So what’s going on in the world? Well, in one of the union’s craziest states, we had a moment of sanity when Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a bill that would allow people to carry guns in public buildings, which passed our legislature even though a bevy of cops and other public servants – you know, the people law-and-order conservatives lionize (not that they don’t deserve it) – said it was a horrible, horrible idea. Brewer does this occasionally – vetoes a bill that seems tailor-made for her conservative brain, and it actually makes me respect her a bit more. Of course, she’s still a terrible governor, but I don’t think she’s an evil one, and that’s a big difference!

I guess they’re holding (held?) hearings on Capitol Hill about SB 1070, our controversial “everyone with a tan is obviously an illegal immigrant!” law. Apparently, it was sparsely attended and allowed smarmy Charles Schumer to claim the moral high ground. I’ve written this before, that as much as I absolutely hate SB 1070 with a passion, it’s almost as annoying that the federal government for years wrote laws about illegal immigration and then did nothing to enforce them. As boneheaded as the Arizona law is, it’s in response to the feds sitting around with their dicks in their hands. Of course we screwed it up – we’re Arizonans! We want to take guns to swimming pools and senior centers, for crying out loud! But that doesn’t mean that snotty New York senators get to talk shit when they’ve never brought anything to the table, even a general amnesty proposal (because they know that would get them crucified by the public). Politicians are generally weasels, so they really should avoid claiming the moral high ground as much as they can. Man, I hate having to defend Arizona. Why does Charles Schumer make me?!?!?!?

I like feminist Cthulhu.

So Mike Sterling pointed out this review of Avengers, which caused its Rotten Tomatoes score to fall from 100% to 96% (not being an aficionado of Rotten Tomatoes, I only have a vague idea of what this means and I have no idea why I should care, but apparently it’s very important!!!!!!). The reviewer is a woman, which is really all you need to know about how the comments play out. In other words, it’s not just Kelly and Sonia who are targets (they’ve both told me about the comments they need to delete, and I just have to say that I’m not only ashamed of comics fans sometimes, but of humanity in general), but any woman who dares to express an opinion about anything that guys think is “theirs.” You see this misogynistic bullshit spewed at women in sports, from Violet Palmer (the NBA’s only female referee, who I understand, through some of the bullshit, isn’t that good, but I think a lot of male refs suck and they don’t get the hatred spewed at them like she does) to women calling college football games, and it’s awful in comics, as well. It’s disgusting, and it makes me sad. Kelly and Sonia have both tweeted about this, wondering if it’s even worth writing about comics, and I really, really hope they don’t stop what they’re doing, because I love both their columns and I think they really bring interesting perspectives to this stupid little world of four-color entertainment. I don’t always agree with what Kelly says and I’m not always 100% on her side in arguments that she has (she doesn’t always agree with me, naturally, because we’re thinking human beings), but I like to think that we have enough respect for each other that we can discuss it rationally. Even if I don’t agree with her, I have in the back of my mind that she (and Sonia, and a lot of other women on-line) have to deal with such a vile reaction from so many people that I’m on her side. You might not know of some of the shit they (and Brian) have to delete, but it’s just sad. I wouldn’t blame them one bit if they stopped writing for our blog … and I know that this blog is one of the more rational places on the comic book Internet. But I really hope they don’t, because I would miss them. Anyway, sorry for the rant, and I apologize to Kelly and Sonia for feeling protective of them when they could both probably kick my ass (I know Sonia could, and I suspect Kelly could). It just makes me so angry that so many men are such dicks.

Okay, I’m done ranting, so let’s move on. I’m still not bringing back the ten most recent songs on my iPod yet, but I decided to do Top Ten lists for a while, if that’s all right with you. Some of these I’ve blogged about before (on my now-defunct personal blog), including this one: My Top Ten Celebrity Crushes (not current ones, but throughout the years)!

1. Daisy Duke (Catherine Bach), 1979-1980. Duh:

I was 8 years old and couldn't really handle this much woman!

2. Bailey Quarters (Jan Smithers), c. 1980. Way hotter than Loni Anderson.

Way cooler, too!

3. Sarah Purcell, early 1980s. This might be a little weird, considering that Ms. Purcell is not a typical sexy chick, but I loved Real People back when it was on the air (Fred Willard represent!) and, I don’t know, I had a crush on Sarah Purcell. What are you gonna do, I was 10.

You know you love her!

4. Phoebe Cates, 1982. Again, duh:

5. Jennifer Jason Leigh, 1982-1994. Jennifer Jason Leigh is gorgeous, but her acting abilities are part of my crush on her. Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, she put together quite a résumé: Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Flesh + Blood, The Hitcher, Miami Blues, Backdraft, Rush, Short Cuts, The Hudsucker Proxy, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle. I think it’s a travesty that she hasn’t won an Oscar yet.

How awesome is she?

6. Keanu Reeves, 1989-1999. I still think he’s wildly underrated as an actor. Sure, he’s clunky a lot, but he’s absolutely great in River’s Edge and My Own Private Idaho.

Plus, Sad Keanu is awesome

7. Sherilyn Fenn, 1990-1993. For a few years, Sherilyn Fenn was the hottest woman on the planet. I remain convinced that she was born in the wrong time – if she had been an actress in the 1930s, 1940s, or 1950s, we’d remember her as an all-time great glamour girl. Instead, she’s largely forgotten today. So sad!

Dayum

8. Emma Thompson, 1991-1994. I still love Ms. Thompson’s acting, but in the early Nineties she was a great actress and drop-dead gorgeous. She’s amazing in In the Name of the Father, and absolutely stunning in Much Ado About Nothing (granted, everyone was).

She even made Nanny McPhee tolerable!

9. Michelle Yeoh, 1993-2000. I first saw Michelle Yeoh in Jackie Chan’s Supercop, which is a tremendously fun movie and also stars Maggie Cheung, another actress I’ve had a crush on in the past. This crush reached its apogee when she did Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, of course, and then faded. I still like seeing Yeoh show up in movies, though.

She kicks ass and takes names!

10. Brad Pitt, 1995-2001. I saw Pitt in stuff before 1995, but he didn’t do it for me. Seven and 12 Monkeys really made him crush-worthy in my eyes. Fight Club is still one of my favorite movies (all three leads kick ass in it), and then he did Ocean’s Eleven. I would love to pull off his wardrobe in either of those latter movies, but I’m nowhere near cool enough. Since 2001, he’s still been in good movies, but my crush has cooled. Oh well.

I could NEVER pull that off

I’ve had other crushes, of course, but those are my favorite ones. Do you have any? Don’t be shy!

Anyway, I hope those who hated my post last week come back and read this one, because it’s written in straight-forward English! And I hope those who did like my post last week know that I never know when I’m going to get all weird again, so stay tuned! Have a nice day, everyone!

43 Comments

Did you drop X-Factor?

Some of the comments I delete, it really makes you wonder about the lack of humanity in these folks. I mean, what’s going on in their world that they would write some of the stuff they write?

By the by, you had me going there for a sec. “Is he actually defending Violet Palmer, who is darn near the worst referee in all of the NBA?” But then you didn’t, so I was happy.

You missed out on a couple of fun books: the new Popeye #1 (Roger Landridge is awesome, and the artist, whose name I sadly cannot remember, did a wonderful Segar riff) and the Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #1 (based on the new cartoon), which I bought because Ty Templeton is awesome. I also picked up the Merciless: The Rise of Ming #1 (Flash Gordon spinoff) and it was pretty good. New Deadwardians #2 was ok, but I dunno, it’s probably the 20 page count, but damn it’s slow moving. Rich Johnston’s 2 Avengers parodies weren’t bad, but weren’t great, either.

Anyway, speaking of Ty the Guy, and Kirby, and ethical dilemmas…

http://tytempletonart.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/ethics-lesson-bun-toons-yay/

There’s Ty’s interesting perspective on another moral dilemma.

As to the Kirby Genesis book, unless I’m mistaken, the Kirby family is getting money, as it’s an authorized book. Busiek worked on the Kirbyverse stuff Topps did (I think before Kirby passed away, but I’m not 100%), so he’s familiar with these characters. I think it’s also a way to show that the Kirby family is doing something with the Kirby TMs and Cs that they do own, which I would think would strengthen their case in the Marvel trial (they’re currently trying to keep the TMs and Cs of other Kirby stuff viable, so they would with the Marvel stuff).

If one is boycotting one work that a creator doesn’t own, should they be supportive otherwise and buy one the creator (or heirs) does own? I don’t know. All of this ethical dilemma stuff ultimately comes down to what the individual thinks is the best solution. We obviously have to make ethical decisions and ethical compromises through everything we do, and ultimately hope that what we do does the least harm, I suppose. I’d say if you’re boycotting Marvel over Kirby’s treatment, you should at least try and buy the Kirby Genesis stuff, but if it’s not your thing, I don’t think you have an obligation to support something you don’t like just because you don’t want to support what you think is someone having gotten screwed over over the years.

I would think, that in my experience with the Kirby stuff in Genesis, that buying that and reading it, you’d find that there’s obviously the great Kirby mind behind the concepts, but that there were also things brought to the table by others that can’t be ignored. Kirby’s Marvel work, for example, wasn’t created in a vacuum, and Stan did bring something to the table with it.

It’s like with Siegel and Shuster and Superman — the concept is great, but would Superman be the phenomenon he is without the distribution that the company now known as DC brings to the table, or the editorial eye that (I think) Sheldon Mayer brought in choosing to run the strip (or in cutting it up to comics pages) (remember, Superman was much rejected, including by Will Eisner). There’s something brought to the table by all the parties that contributes to how a concept becomes what it is.

In the comments of the Ty piece I linked, there’s a comment quoting Dave Sim on this stuff (including the semi-famous “no company will pay you enough to successfully sue them”). Sim did a bulk of Cerebus himself, and it wouldn’t be the book it was without his guiding hand. However, even something like that, where it’s one of the purest self-publishing things around (and probably 3rd most successful after TMNT and Bone, unless there’s something else I’m forgetting), there are elements that can’t be replicated that led to it becoming a certain phenomena.

Also in the Sim quote, the notion of when DC okayed the move for the Charlton characters to be changed into the Watchmen characters, that okayed the notion that if you really wanted to do a certain character, just change the look and the name, and do what you want to do. It’s an interesting notion.

As to Alan Moore and what movie money he renounced — iirc, From Hell was the first produced Moore comic based movie, and I think he took the money there. IIRC, Oliver Stone was originally the producer on that. I do know that the movie money bought Eddie Campbell a new house (and I think financed his foray into self publishing). I’d personally say the V money is where Moore most famously renounced the money, as it was after some WB PR flak said something to the idea that Moore read the V movie script and really liked it. Moore denied that, wanted an apology, didn’t get one, then said fuck you, take my name off it and keep your filthy lucre. Or something like that. LOEG — I don’t remember if he took the money or if his name is still on the film, but I know he faced some sort of lawsuit because some other screenwriter accused the film of ripping off some script of his. I think Moore testified and the experience put him off movies, which then led to the V stuff above… (and based on what I’ve seen of the V movie, the end in particular, I wouldn’t take the money for that shit).

As to wanting more Parker from Cooke (as an example), I would wager that the preferred thing for people like Brothers (or myself) would be to (somehow) get more people to buy that stuff so that Cooke doesn’t have to do shit like BW. How you do that, I don’t know.

All I know is that I don’t plan on spending money on BW, although I may break down and read it at some point.

I don’t know who Sarah Purcell is, but I see no reason to not own up to liking her, as she’s purty. Emma Thompson is also damn funny, as can be seen from that British show that she and House and some other guys were in in the early 80s. And Fight Club is fuckin’ awesome. Whoa! Whoa! Where is My Mind?

I lost the will to reread this before I posted, so I hope I didn’t go typo crazy.

Patrick Joseph

April 26, 2012 at 5:16 am

Jan Smithers. Thank you.

Tom Fitzpatrick

April 26, 2012 at 5:36 am

May I suggest that you wait until FABLES # 120 before dropping it? That way you can say you’ve spent a decade reading this series! ;-)

I used to have a thing for Sherilyn Fenn (especially in Twin Peaks), as well as Madchen Amick, Lara Flynn Boyle, Sheryl Lee, Joan Chen, Heather Graham. Where, oh where, have all the Twin Peaks alumnis gone?

Farrah Fawcett, Cheryl Ladd, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates, Michelle Yeoh as well. Good God! I feel so old!!!!

Here’s to calling you, Dorothy, Mr. Burgas! ;-)

May I suggest FF#17? Its just a one and done story of Peter Parker and Johnny Storm living together. It also has a talking Space Horse playing poker and that’s not even the best panel.

Greg, I agree with you on the matter of boycotting. Where does it end? I also scoff at the sanctimonious comic fans who think the pressing issue of the day is protecting Alan Moore–Alan has money in his bank account I presume? How many creators can eke out a living doing what fans love? Let alone become wealthy from it? I think it is shabby of companies to not offer health benefits to their employees regardless of “exclusive contracts.”

@Tom–have you seen Lara Flynn Boyle lately? Scary.

I never liked Pam Ward doing play-by-play. Not because she’s a she, but because she wasn’t very emotive. BUT I feel that way about a lot of the college p-b-p and color commentators. That’s just a product of there being so many games being broadcast every Saturday.

In the future, everyone will do 15 minutes of college football.

Thank you for being a voice of reason, Greg. The holier than thou attitude from the comics community is at all time high right now.

Kabe: Nope. I’m getting issue #235 next week!

Brian: I don’t know enough about NBA refs to make the call one way or another on Palmer, but I have read that she isn’t very good. I don’t really like Pam Ward, who calls college football games on ESPN, but I don’t like a lot of people who call college football games on ESPN. You can legitimately criticize women, and some people do that to Palmer, but there’s also the oceans of crap that people would never say about a crappy male ref. It’s not restricted to women, of course – some of the racist stuff I read about Wayne Simmonds during the Flyers/Pens series was horrible – but it seems like if someone doesn’t like a woman in her work, it’s open season on her. Blech.

Travis: I’d address all your points, but I think you make good ones. Much like life, it’s kind of complicated. And by the time she was in Real People, Sarah Purcell was older than she was in that picture and gave off a more “maternal” vibe (she was only in her mid-30s, so “older” is a relative term, but again, I was 10, so it felt like a maternal vibe), so if people know her from Real People, they kind of think I’m weird. Real People was a cool show about weird Americans, and it would be interesting to see it on DVD (I don’t know if it’s on DVD or not). Purcell, Fred Willard, Byron Allen, and Peter Billingsley (the kid from A Christmas Story) – it was a nice cast!

Patrick: You’re welcome!

Tom: Madchen Amick is still working, and actually looks better than she did in Twin Peaks, because she’s still gorgeous but a bit more mature, if that makes sense. Lara Flynn Boyle, I agree with Marc, is a bit creepy because she’s waaaaaay too skinny, or at least she was the last time I saw her.

Lando: I’ll have to swing by the store and take a look at it!

Marc: Yeah, I think DC and Marvel should do the right thing by Moore (as Heidi McDonald pointed out, book publishers try to keep their cash cows happy, no matter how weird those writers are, while DC and Marvel go out of their way to antagonize them), but it’s also true that he was extremely talented AND in the right place at the right time. I made a bit of a specious argument with regard to Moore – I don’t know how he feels about the actual creators making the BW comics, but it’s also true that these people need to make a living. I agree with Travis – it would be nice if more people bought the creators’ more independent stuff, but as we’ve seen time and again, that doesn’t really happen, and it’s too bad.

jjc: While you were commenting, I was using Pam Ward as an example! It’s serendipitous!

SnoMan: I don’t mind the holier-than-thou attitude, because I think these are very important issues. But I also think that it’s a complicated issue, and people don’t like complicated issues.

“I would love to pull off his wardrobe”

It took me two readings to understand the meaning of “pull off” you intended. ;)

Also, I really enjoyed that Avengers review. She supported all of her complaints pretty well and wasn’t even that negative (3/5 stars is positive, yeah?). I honestly don’t get why the commenters think they can blame her for being the first negative review on rottentomatoes. Are reviewers really the ones who upload their own reviews and decide if it’s rotten or fresh? I thought it was the rotten tomato staff that did that… which is why I’m occasionally confused to see a review marked “fresh” that, after reading, I would have considered negative.

To my mind, Heidi really nailed the Before Watchmen problem. It’s not so much about Alan Moore– although he has every right to be angry with DC, and anyone who thinks he’s being ‘sanctimonious,’ or a ‘whiner,’ or whatever, just hasn’t been paying attention.

The problem is that this is yet another example of an ongoing pattern of anti-creator behavior, in a publishing industry that should have outgrown this decades ago. There’s Siegel and Shuster, DC’s mass firings of its aging writing staff in the late 1960s for asking for a health plan, Tony Isabella and Black Lightning, Dan DeCarlo and Josie, Gerber and the Duck, Wolfman and Blade, and on and on and on. This is just one more.

Why haven’t comics publishers started behaving better when every other media industry has been treating its writers like adults? Well, when have we ever given them a REASON to? Superhero fans have repeatedly demonstrated that they don’t really give a shit about how creators are treated, not where it counts. The most depressing thing about Before Watchmen is that, no matter how many of us hate the whole idea and deplore the way DC is acting, not one of us– not Heidi, not David Brothers, not me– thinks that it won’t sell, or that it’s a bad bet commercially. We all are certain it’s going to be a big cash cow for DC, and that says as much or more about the fanbase as it does about DC as a corporate entity.

The most offensive comments about the whole thing are the ones that are along the lines of, “Alan Moore needs to grow up, that’s how it works in comics, everyone gets screwed,” as though it’s something inevitable.

Greg: Yeah, I mentioned Heidi’s piece in the comments but didn’t link to it. This is just another reason why I don’t think of DC and Marvel as real companies, because they run the companies so poorly. Ultimately, you’re right and the fans need to take a stand against it, but I still maintain it’s not as simple as people on both sides are making it out to be. Travis’ link to Templeton’s cartoon is hilarious, because while Moore was under no obligation whatsoever to recognize his use of Rosenbaum’s character, you’d think he would.

It’s a mess, to be sure, and you’re right – it will make a ton of money for DC, and it sucks that more people aren’t supporting Cooke’s Parker novels or even buying Rising Stars trades if they want to support JMS. Fans need to speak out, but still realize that there are a lot of variables to the situation.

>> Busiek seems like a stand-up guy and I know he appreciates the old-school creators. So do Kirby’s heirs get any money from this comic? >>

Yes. Not because I’m a stand-up guy, but because they own the book, they own the characters, and are licensing them to Dynamite.

Which is one of the reasons I was so happy to do the book. These characters belong to Kirby’s family. If the comics make money, the family shares in it. If there are movies based on them, the family benefits. And so on and so forth.

And I’ll add that while Alex may not have painted as many panels in this issue (what he paints depends on the story needs), he laid out every single page of the book, so he’s well represented.

kdb

Just a note about using “Dorothy” as a pejorative.

Although it’s not as common these days, being a “friend of Dorothy” is slang for a gay man, or–less common–a person who is sympathetic to the social plight of the gay community.

So, calling someone a “Dorothy” in the sense you extrapolate from the Fables comic, would perhaps be misconstrued as an insult to gay persons. Gotta be careful.

Kurt, I cannot think of a better situation to be working in.

Kurt: I meant that I didn’t think you would have taken the gig if Kirby’s heirs weren’t getting something, not that you insisted on it. Thanks for the explanation – that’s very cool.

Dang, I forgot Ross did the layouts in the issue. My bad!

JRC: I was just joking, but you’re right – I’ve actually reviewed a comic called Friend of Dorothy here, so I was vaguely aware of the connotation. Thanks for reminding me!

If only everyone read Fables, I wouldn’t have to explain myself!

Tom Fitzpatrick

April 26, 2012 at 2:49 pm

@ Mr. Burgas & Mark C:

I’ve seen Madchen Amick, Sheryl Lee and Sherlyn Fenn in recent tv shows, and tho’ agree with Madchen Amick, but the other two have, well, not aged well, for the lack of a better word.
Haven’t seen Lara Flynn Boyle lately, but heard the rumours about her.

Like Mr. Burgas, I was simply waxing nostalgia about the good ol’ days. ;-)

I had a serious crush on Lara Flynn Boyle that led me to watch many of her movies in the early days after Twin Peaks. Then I followed her to The Practice, and the increasingly worrisome skinnying put me off entirely. Deep in my heart I knew it was really the character Donna that I’d had a crush on anyway.

Pterodactyl Hunters is an amazing book. I have the original newspaper edition. It’s a fun read.

Andrew Collins

April 26, 2012 at 7:10 pm

I’m honestly a little shocked to see a list of “crushes” from someone who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s and doesn’t include Lynda Carter, Erin Grey or a single Charlie’s Angel… :P

Andrew: Well, these are my favorite crushes, so I did have others! I always liked Erin Grey, but as I lived in Germany in the late 1970s (1975-1979), I never watched Wonder Woman or Charlie’s Angels, because they weren’t on German television. I may have been too young, too, because I would have only been 5-7 when those shows were on.

Black Lodge Flash

April 26, 2012 at 9:27 pm

man, Sherilyn Fenn was smoking hot on Twin Peaks and i bet she still looks good. I definitely agree with you about Activity, just way too slow. Kirby Genesis is a comic that I haven’t tried but will check out on my next trip to the LCS. Just got the big ass Starstruck HC solely on you saying the comics kicked ass and man you weren’t lying. Its fucking Epic! After Im done with that im gonna check Secret History. Anyway, thanks for the recommendations and that hot pic of Sherilyn!

I remember Emma Thompson in a bizarrely funny movie with Jeff Goldblum called The Tall Guy — centered around a musical version of The Elephant Man — not to be confused with Elephantmen — and Emma was absolutely luminous in it.

This is why, despite his obvious talent and intelligence, Kenneth Branagh is a charter member of The Stupidest Men on the Planet Club — along with David Justice and Tiger Woods. He cheated on Emma — idiot!

OK, now to put my money where my mouth is — I already donated the money I was gonna spend on the Avengers to Steve Niles’ fund for Gary Friedrich — now to make another positive move and buy Kirby: Genesis.

Okay, since you asked for it and my ability to procrastinate today has no bounds, here are my top celebrity crushesr, and where we would go on our first date. Read on if you dare!

10. Lillian Gish- I’d honestly just like to trade a few records with her, maybe hit up the local coffee shop and used book store to read each other poetry, and then we’d head to the gym for a sick game of racquetball.
9. Sherilyn Finn- A FOX. I totally agree with you on this one. I’d take her out for pie and coffee.
8. Rosie Perez- What can I say? I like her spunk. We’d hit the clubs fo shizzle.
7. Toshiro Mifune- If we’re putting the man crushes on here too, this guy takes the cake no-contest. Probably a picnic on a scenic battleground? Charles Bronson can come too and hold the picnic basket in those big strong arms of his while Lee Marvin cooks on the barbecue and cracks wise.
6. Scarlett Johanssen- Not sure when it became cool to dis on her but I couldn’t take my eyes off the girl in Lost in Translation, and she was cute in Ghost World too. We’d go riding roller coasters somewhere.
5. Shannyn Sossamon- She has the perfect face! We’d hit up the pub before going to a punk rock show.
4. Claudia Cardinale- Flawless. Italian’s a plus too. Patio dinner at sunset for Ms. Cardinale. I’d cook.
3.Christine Hendricks- I don’t watch Mad Men (I know, I know) but her acting was pretty good in Drive, and from what I’ve seen of her in pictures, she wears a dress better than an air hostess in the 60s. Bike ride through the park! Bonus if it’s a tandem and we can pull the Kermit/Miss Piggy routine (not that I’m calling Ms. Hendricks a farm animal!)
2. Monica Belucci- Sultry doesn’t begin to describe this woman. We’d probably never leave the house, just sit in bed and feed each other delicate french pastries.
1. Pamela Grier- The baddest one chick hit-squad that ever hit town! Grier circa 1970s is my ultimate crush. Every time I watch Coffy it’s like hair starts growing all over me from the sudden boost of testosterone… and she’s still got it! For our date I’d help her look after the drug-addled adolescents of her community during the day, and by night we’d fight crime! On roller skates!

Yes those are all thespians…

..because if I listed all my favorite musician crushes too the list would be ginormous. Sorry Stevie Nicks, Karen O and Chan Marshall!

Riley: Those are some fine choices, I must say!

FunkyGreenJerusalem

April 27, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Eeew Greg, you’re being really gross. I know you don’t mean to be, but when you are talking about Moore/Kirby and Brothers post, you come across as a typical entitled fanboy, lashing out at those taking a stand because you don’t want to take one yourself.
It made me… it made me really wish you hadn’t written it. I think you are raising non-points throughout.
I’ve gone through and tried to show where I think you got it wrong – sorry if I get a bit too harsh, but I really, truly feel you have missed the point on a lot of the things you say, and it honestly reads to me that this was all about making you feel better, than it was in engaging in a meaningful dialogue on the subject.
(I know it’s wrong to supply a motivation for why you wrote it, and that you’re a good guy and I’m probably assuming the worst, but reading this really irked me).

So now that I’ve got you totally relaxed and not feeling defensive at all…

I know I’m being extreme, and this certainly doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t call out DC and Marvel for being shitty companies, but where does it end?

Shouldn’t we worry about righting the wrongs we can possibly effect, you know, get something started, before we worry about where it ends?

This sounds a bit like a business arguing about having to spend more money to be sustainable for the environment “Sure, we could give up dumping toxic waste in the rivers, but where does it end? Everyone living in grass huts growing their own food?”

And the thing is – companies that make computers have to smarten up their act once the public finds out about their practices. Apple are having to take action, as are other companies – consumers getting angry, and the threat of them spending their money elsewhere motivates them to change. Companies aren’t going organic and free-range for the fun of it – consumers are spending money, and willing to pay a premium, to companies that behave ethically. Capitalism in action.
The industry where that doesn’t seem to happen? Comics.
With comics, we aren’t finding out the guys who print the things aren’t making that much (in our eyes), we’re finding out the guys who created the IP are getting fucked over. It’d be like the creators of the iPad getting screwed over and lied to in their contracts.
DC lied to Moore – they even breached the contract at times. Moore began to play nice with ABC, and they started dicking him again.
Marvel lied to Kirby – repeatedly – and breached signed agreements with him. (Capt America accounting in the 40’s, broken promises all through the 60’s, CA money in the 60’s/70’s, artwork and ownership agreements/payments in the 70’s/80’s. Remember – they still have some of his original artwork!).

We know they did wrong, and screwed over the guy who gave us these great creations, and whose work they still strip mine today – asking those willing to take a stand ‘But where does it end’ is moral midgetry. It’s a nice big rug to sweep the problem under.

Well, if Brothers wants another Parker novel (as I do) and doesn’t want Cooke to fuck off into the dark bowels of animation, Cooke needs to take gigs like this every once in a while. Again, that doesn’t make it right. But it does make it a reality.

You don’t think Darwyn Cooke has made a fair bit of cash already? You don’t think he could take other projects to make some money?
The rumour is it’s $450K. I mean, I’d probably fuck Alan Moore over for $450K, but I’m sure Darwyn Cooke can make more than me from any number of projects. And y’know, if I fucked Alan Moore over for money, or anyone else I once looked up to, I wouldn’t expect everyone to think I was a swell guy either.
Darwyn Cooke has also been quite vocal about this sort of thing being not only bad comics, but bad for the industry as well – http://watchmen2creatordarwyncooke.tumblr.com/ .
Everyone goes on about ‘Alan Moore is a hypocrite’ but how about all of that? It’s the reason he’s the real lightning rod for all the criticism’s of BW – he’s the one people feel have betrayed them the most.

Part of the reason Alan Moore comes across as holding the moral high ground in this debate is because he’s already made his money (I suppose he “renounced” some movie money, most notably for Watchmen, but did he for LoEG or From Hell, because it doesn’t seem like he did).

Yup, what a fucking hypocrite – he took money on the films that came out before he decided he wasn’t going to take money on films! That bastard!
It was a combo of the LoEG trial/settlement and using his name to sell V For Vendetta that made Moore renounce payment on the movies. I believe he took no money from V, Constantine or Watchmen.
Calling him out for not taking money on films that came out two and four years before he did that, is silly and lazy – it took me a minute with google to find out when he made that statement (wikipedia) and the year the films came out (IMDB).

He does take money from DC/WB when it’s royalties/payments for printed work he did, as he thinks it’s right he gets paid for work he did (just in case anyone wants to call him out on that, like Rob Liefeld did when Moore got angry at him for non-payment).

(Why does everyone who isn’t fully on board feel the need to try and make Alan Moore into a hypocrite? Is someone taking a principled stand and not giving a shit about money that scary to people these days?)

). If this came out right after he wrote Violator vs. Badrock, I doubt if he would have as many supporters as he does now.

I know that’s meant to be snarky, but it’s rather stupid, so I’ll get into it – at the time of Violator Vs Badrock, (It’s funny, everyone else you cover with ‘hey, they should be able to cash a paycheck, but with Moore, you give him snark for doing it), the internet wasn’t what it is today, and so we weren’t all as informed of his predicament.
Also, Moore himself didn’t feel this way about it then – he’s been a lot more dicked around by media corporations in the 21st century than he was in the 90’s.
Remember, in 2000 he was ready to play ball with DC again, until they started breaking their word to him regarding ABC almost the second gave it to him.
And if you need another – his work wasn’t as readily available at the time of Violator Vs Badrock as it is now, and so he wasn’t necessarily in such high regard – now you can get Watchmen, V, From Hell, all the ABC stuff, all the DC stuff, Lost Girls and everything else in trades. Back then, it was just Watchmen.

But, I think it’s the first point that’s the biggest one – we are all informed these days. We know Moore (and Kirby etc) were lied to, mistreated etc and we know how much is being made off of their work and how little cash and respect is paid back to them in kind.
Ignorance is bliss, but we aren’t ignorant anymore.

Maybe if you were a woman, you’d actually be able to think about these things with a clear head!
(Just wanted to make you feel closer to Kelly and Sonia there!)

Again, that doesn’t mean he’s wrong, just that it’s fairly easy to make moral pronouncements when you don’t have to worry about a paycheck.

Do we know that Darwyn Cooke, or any of the others have to worry about paychecks? JMS doesn’t, and the others all seem to get regular work when they need it.
They are just taking a big payment, and spitting in the face of creators rights in exchange for it.

Moore got his money by doing his own work, a paycheck at a time – where’s the hypocrisy in expecting others to do the same?

My point is, if you’re going to boycott things for moral and ethical reasons, shouldn’t you support things for the same reasons? nd if they do, shouldn’t Brothers be buying this comic and talking it up at every opportunity? You might see where this is going – what if Brothers thinks this is a shitty comic? Does his moral and ethical fiber that makes him want to support Kirby and his heirs override his taste? If he’s serious about supporting Kirby, doesn’t he have an obligation to at least buy this comic and at most blog about it so others buy it too? This is all moot if Dynamite isn’t paying Kirby’s heirs anything, but this is the conundrum, isn’t it?

That’s not the point of the previous paragraph at all – it seemed much more about making you feel less guilty for not taking a stand. Seriously – nothing in that last paragraph was leading to that.

It’s ok for you not to join Brothers in his stand – as you say, we all turn a blind eye to a lot of wrongs – but there’s no need to raise questions about him for it, or try and paint the person who has been wronged, Moore, as…human.

How do you know Brothers doesn’t read Genesis? And I’m not sure that if he isn’t, he has a responsibility to.
Just because he is willing to overlook personal taste in order not to give money to those he believes in the wrong, doesn’t mean he has to buy a book that may or may not be to his taste just because it isn’t in the wrong.
Just because I don’t want to buy a stereo that’s been stolen and sold off the back of the truck, doesn’t mean I’m then obligated to go buy a stereo from a store. Sometimes you just don’t want a new stereo. (Sometimes you do wish for a better analogy though!)
Again, this feels a bit smarmy – a bit “I get this book that does support creators, do you get it ‘Mr. I boycott people who are terrible to creators. If you don’t, how come you get to act all better than me’?”

Abhay made a good point in a Savage Critics comments section – he can’t envision himself ever reading work by Before Watchmen creators again, not out of a sense of boycott, but because reading it would remind him they worked on this, and this book makes him unhappy, so why spend money on something that will make you unhappy?

Ahh, I feel a bit better now.
As I say Greg, sorry if I got a bit strong/harsh, but your views expressed in the section really sat wrong with me.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

April 27, 2012 at 11:11 pm

And, as for my own actions, which I wanted to separate from my defense of Brothers/Moore, I’m not boycotting, but I’m cutting back on both Marvel and DC.
I boycotted Marvel before when they said books with gay characters/themes would require mature reader warning labels, until they announced they’d never said that and it wasn’t a policy (the secret origin of my preference for DC over Marvel, couple with a distaste for Bendis being the dominant MU voice), but that was in response to a policy being brought in, not one that had existed forever.

With both Marvel and DC, I’d been relying on them both for a superhero fix – something kicked in around ’09 that made me hungry for superheroes again, getting in sight of 30 I think – but the books of both have been going downhill for the most part, and both companies keep disgusting me with their actions.
This last month, the two best superhero books I’ve read are from Image – Danger Club and America’s Got Powers.
That coupled with distaste for their corporate shenanigans – not just of the past, but of the present – and I’m cutting back. Anything that I’ve been considering dropping, or is just ok, is gone.
I was going to slowly switch, but then Jim Lee and Dan Didio decided to totally miss the point of the issue raised with their response to Roberson quitting that I’d decided to drop four DC books by the time I finished the article. I was sorting out storage the other night, and think a few more could be going the way of the dodo.
Both companies, with their policies of regular fill-in art teams and cross over after cross over, are making it particularly easy to pick books to get rid of.

I’ll get my comics fix mostly from Dark Horse and Image, with some love going to the other smaller companies as well. Marvel and DC will still get coinage out of me from a few ongoings, as well as their dollar sales on Comixology, but I’ll no longer wait and see with their books.

Somewhat like funky, I try to take these on a case by case basis, but have been favoring the big 2 much less than sometimes. I think I won’t deny myself certain books if I want them (Batman Inc, f’r instance), but specific things where I’m quite on one side rather than another (the whole Before Watchmen stuff will [probably] not be bought by me), I’ll avoid.

Another thing to consider is that the way the direct market works, once a comic shop buys a book, they’re stuck with it. I vaguely thought I heard something about BW being (semi)returnable, but if it’s not, and one of my local shops gets a lot and can’t move it, and then sells it for cheap, I might cave and buy it. From that point of view, I’m supporting a retailer, with whom I have a (semi)personal relationship with — if they go under, I won’t be able to find comics as easily, and I also LIKE most of these people. Yes, I shouldn’t reward them for having bought morally suspect items, but again, it’s an ethical compromise, necessary to navigate the world we live in, and from my point of view, if an LCS is selling BW issues for extremely cheap (a buck or less, say), my view is that it’s better to keep the comic shop in business.

Alright, rambling now. Brain can’t keep thoughts together.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

April 28, 2012 at 5:04 am

Alright, rambling now. Brain can’t keep thoughts together.

I wish I had the self control to let that stop me!

FGJ: Don’t fret – I didn’t think it was harsh at all.

Most of the points you raise are perfectly reasonable, and I agree with them. I don’t denigrate Brothers’ stand at all, and I’m glad he’s doing it. I don’t really feel guilty about buying comics from DC and Marvel, and I’m sorry I didn’t engage in any meaningful dialogue about it, in your eyes.

I agree that DC screwed Moore and Marvel screwed Kirby, and as you point out, they both did it repeatedly. Again, I don’t mean to be a dick, but the “fool me once” principle ought to come into play here. If, as you say, Moore is making a stand and money isn’t involved, the minute DC came in and bought Wildstorm, he should have gotten a better contract with them or walked away. By that time, it had to be obvious to him that they had dicked him over with Watchmen, and by that time, he had to know what kind of scumbags he was dealing with. I can forgive the Watchmen contract, because who knows what he believed about it, and maybe he was a bit naive. But if DC comes in and says, “Trust us, we won’t screw with your ABC line,” why would you believe it if you’re Alan Moore? The same thing applies to Kirby. You even use the word “repeatedly” with regard to them screwing him over – why did he keep falling for it? He got reamed pretty good in the 1940s, yet he kept coming back. If he was so principled that money didn’t matter to him, he wouldn’t have. He needed the work, and yes, Marvel absolutely screwed him over, but he didn’t go in with his eyes closed, I should think. Bob Kane might have been a horrible human being for dicking over Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson, but he played hardball with DC and got what he wanted. It wasn’t impossible.

I know, I’m sounding like a douchebag again. Absolutely none of this excuses Marvel and DC. But again, this is why moral stances are very, very rarely black and white. I can’t remember where I saw this, but Moore wants Mick Anglo to get some Marvelman money … even though it was a direct rip-off of Captain Marvel. Who’s right in that situation?

I don’t know how much money Cooke has made (or any of the other creators). And yes, I saw those statements he’s made. Yes, it cracks me up, and I know that’s probably why Brothers is more disappointed in him, but I doubt if he’s the only one who’s ever made statements and then acted in a contradictory manner. And if Brothers is so disappointed in Cooke (and he has every right to be), will he stop buying Cooke’s work? He’s already said he won’t, but he’ll have a “complicated relationship” with it, like he does with Frank Miller’s work. Well, Cooke and Miller don’t care about his relationship with his work. They just care that he bought it. If Brothers is taking a moral stance against the companies, should he take a moral stance against the creators? Again, it gets back to moral stances being complicated.

I never called Moore a hypocrite. He’s free to take money from movies if he so chooses, or reject the money from movies. I’m just pointing out that it’s easier to take moral stances if you don’t have to worry about feeding your family. I’m sorry if that sounds horribly cynical to you, but that’s how I see people. Arizona just passed a law denying abortions after 20 weeks. Whether you agree or disagree with the law, the legislators could afford to make that moral stand because it won’t cost the state any money. SB 1070, which is our famous anti-illegal immigrant law, has fewer supporters today than it did two years ago because a lot of businesses don’t want to do business here, so it’s hitting the state in the wallet. Suddenly, people aren’t quite as enthusiastic about the law as they used to be. I’m not saying that Moore isn’t sincere about his objections, I just wonder if he would be as strident if he still had to work for DC or Marvel. There are very few Gandhis in this world, and you’ll forgive me if I don’t believe Moore is one of them.

As for Brothers reading or not reading Genesis, I don’t know if he does. As far as I know (and I read 4thletter fairly often, and CA a bit less), he’s never mentioned it, so that’s all I have to go on. But it seems, that if you’re angry about Marvel for the way they treated Kirby, doing something negative like boycotting their product seems somehow easier than doing something positive like actually supporting Kirby’s heirs. Everyone can moan about Gary Friedrich’s situation and not buy Ghost Rider, because that doesn’t involve spending any money. How many of those people have given money to Steve Niles’ fund for Friedrich? I’m certainly not putting myself on a pedestal – I buy Genesis because I like it, not because Kirby’s heirs get any money – and I don’t contribute to all those causes that would make the world a better place. But if Brothers is going to be so public about his disdain for the way Marvel treated Kirby, I’m honestly surprised if he’s not buying Genesis. It seems like he would want to read it and write about it. Obviously, if he doesn’t like it, that’s fine, but I don’t know if he’s ever tried it. Even if he doesn’t like it, wouldn’t he use his platform at CA to promote it? “Hey, I don’t like this comic, but if you want to support Kirby, here’s a way to do it!” I do apologize if it came off as holier-than-thou, because I didn’t mean it that way. The correlation between doing something negative (not buying Marvel books) and doing something positive (buying a book that helps Kirby’s heirs) was too obvious, though.

I really don’t mean to come off as someone who doesn’t support Moore and Kirby, because I totally agree with you that they got the shaft when it came to their dealings with DC and Marvel. Again, maybe I’m horribly cynical, but I am always a bit leery of moral stands (except when people are standing up to, you know, Hitler or Stalin) because usually it’s more complicated than it seems on the surface. I mean, Gibbons doesn’t seem to have a problem with the Watchmen contract he signed or Before Watchmen. Is he a lesser authority than Moore because he doesn’t have a problem with it? I don’t know.

Phew. Thanks for the comment; I do appreciate it. I’m often very bad at articulating my points (which is why I’d be lousy at debating) because I always think of far too many ancillary things coming in. If you want to jump back in and rip this comment to shreds, maybe I’ll be able to focus a bit more!

Well, I agree with you that these are messy ethical issues, and they’re not all black and white. As I said, I think the best we can do is try to make the best choices we can, live with what we do, and if we feel strongly enough, try to get others to do what we do. I also agree that doing something positive (like buying Genesis, f’r instance) is as laudable (or more so) as a boycott or other “negative”. Let’s build up the creator owned market by showing there is one, and that we’re willing to support it.

As to whether or not Gibbons doesn’t have a problem with BW, well, as you say about Moore and if he’d be as strident if he was still needing to work for the big 2, well, Gibbons still does work for DC, so is he really going to (necessarily) say don’t do this? Not that it’s not likely that he doesn’t have a problem with it, but if he does, would he necessarily say so?

While it wasn’t impossible to get a decent deal back in the day, it certainly was harder, and while it does seem that Kirby kept putting his hand on the hot stove, did he have THAT much of another choice? Plus, iirc, when he did run things (with Joe Simon, and the early ’70s magazines he put together), he wasn’t the best businessman, from what I understand. (Contrast with Will Eisner, who had both the artistic skills and the business acumen to succeed on his own terms, in part from creating his own terms.)

As to Moore and ABC, from what I understand, Moore had made the deal with Jim Lee to do the ABC line through Wildstorm and Image, and then DC bought Wildstorm. Lee supposedly promised Moore that DC would be hands off, and that the money would come from him directly. Was Moore naive to believe this? Probably, since that Jim Lee money was obviously coming from DC. I also find it EXTREMELY hard to believe that DC wasn’t aware that Lee was negotiating with Moore, and that it DIDN’T play a role in DC wanting Wildstorm in the first place. I’d say also, though, that perhaps Lee was overly optimistic that even though he’d sold the company to DC, he’d still have some say, and that Moore wouldn’t get screwed over. Moore also wanted to not screw over his artists, so that’s why he didn’t just walk away. Then the LOEG Marvel douche ad, and the Cobweb L Ron Hubbard story…

To cast Lee as the villain a bit more, though, apparently, according to Steve Bissette a while back, in talking about 1963 and how the negotiations to reprint that broke down completely (which Moore IS being a dick about, and it’s apparently past fixing), when Moore, Bissette, Veitch and so on came to Image for 1963, Jim Valentino (the unsung hero of Image, really) was the one that got them there. But at whatever convention this was going to be announced, Todd upstaged it by announcing some of the Moore on Spawn work. So Jim Lee apparently upstaged all that with his announcement that he’d pencil the 1963 Annual, with apparently very little intention of actually doing anything with it. (As I said, this is according to Bissette, or at least what I remember reading on his site.) If Lee was willing to do a bit of a dick move like that just to hitch his star to Moore, would it be that surprising that he hitched onto Moore and used that to negotiate a better deal with DC?

See, funky, I don’t always have the self control!

FunkyGreenJerusalem

April 29, 2012 at 5:26 am

I’m glad you didn’t take offense Greg! I just worry as it is an issue I can get carried away with. Comics are my escapism, my retreat from the world, my art of choice. So it really pains me that some of the most reprehensible shit is done to those who make it happen, by short sighted ninnies with terrible taste but a little bit of power. It really does make me see red, and I was just a bit worried I might have gone too far at someone who isn’t against the creators, just raising questions. I’ve definitely done it before!

I agree that DC screwed Moore and Marvel screwed Kirby, and as you point out, they both did it repeatedly. Again, I don’t mean to be a dick, but the “fool me once” principle ought to come into play here. If, as you say, Moore is making a stand and money isn’t involved, the minute DC came in and bought Wildstorm, he should have gotten a better contract with them or walked away. By that time, it had to be obvious to him that they had dicked him over with Watchmen, and by that time, he had to know what kind of scumbags he was dealing with. I can forgive the Watchmen contract, because who knows what he believed about it, and maybe he was a bit naive. But if DC comes in and says, “Trust us, we won’t screw with your ABC line,” why would you believe it if you’re Alan Moore? The same thing applies to Kirby. You even use the word “repeatedly” with regard to them screwing him over – why did he keep falling for it?

You’ve got to remember, in both cases – Moore’s return to DC, and Kirby’s initial return to Marvel – the circumstances had changed.
Moore’s contracts were with Wildstorm, then Jim Lee sold it. Apparently, there was a lot of agonizing on Moore’s part over what to do, but an agreement was reached that DC would have no influence on the books – he even made them set up a separate company just to pay him, to make sure they were dedicated to keeping DC seperate – and also, he could keep the artists in jobs, which they wouldn’t have had if he left. The reason Wildstorm owned all the ABC line except LoEG (which was optioned for film before the comic came out) was so that the artists would get a higher page rate. Moore was promised he wouldn’t be interfered with by people he did trust – Lee and Duniber (presumably) – and his co-workers stayed in jobs.
One can also guess that Levitz’s refusal to allow anything damaging be done with Watchmen also encouraged him, as he was going to contribute backmatter for the anniversary. Once they began screwing him again, he was out of there. (And from Moore’s comments, Levitz seemed to go out of his way to dick Moore about – it’s weird that the guy famed for not allowing sequels/prequels to Watchmen would then go and do that).

Similarly, Kirby left Marvel in the 40’s because Martin Goodman was cooking the books (he and Simon were fired on their way out because someone *cough* Stan*cough* told Goodman that Simon/Kirby were taking jobs with the competition). After doing his own thing – transcending genres even as he created them – the industry was in a slump so he took work where he could get it at DC. Mort Weisienger didn’t like Jack’s art, so he got desperate, and Stan, the new editor at Marvel, gave him work. Like with Moore, it was a different person than it was before.
Those two made magic happen, and Jack did alright – but the company didn’t cook the books this time, they just lied to him about raises. Goodman sold the company and promises to Jack were forgotten.
Speculating on why he went back the third time? He wasn’t a hit with the heads at DC, and he was getting towards the end of his career and needed work. He couldn’t start over, so he didn’t have much choice. We know he was soon to get work in animation – where he was treated well – and that DC would give him money to make Marvel look bad, but he didn’t know that then.

Both men seem to like people, and believe the best of them – they’re artists. Moore had the success, and the youth, to walk away. Kirby was getting on, and needed whatever he could get.

Bob Kane might have been a horrible human being for dicking over Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson, but he played hardball with DC and got what he wanted. It wasn’t impossible.

Sure, Bob Kane’s brother in law (I think) advised him on contracts or negotiations, so the story goes, and he was a bit older. Siegel and Shuster were two kids who were desperate to get published, and advantage was taken of them – and whenever they asked for a raise, they were told they were lucky to be there, and that their work was sub-par.
They reached out to Kane to get him to help them, and he told on them in exchange for a higher cut.

You can point to all the names who got screwed over as being rubes and fools for not taking more precautions, but is it right to do that without pointing out how slimy the people who took advantage of them are?
All of them seem to have been told flat out lies and had people break their word to them, and even if you want to be strictly legal (pretending that’s all that matters in life), all of them had legal agreements/contracts get breached by the publishers. The publishers weren’t just liars, they were thieves.

I know, I’m sounding like a douchebag again. Absolutely none of this excuses Marvel and DC. But again, this is why moral stances are very, very rarely black and white.

Just because someone doesn’t know their rights, doesn’t mean it’s right to take advantage of them – I’m not sure where the moral stance gets confused.

I can’t remember where I saw this, but Moore wants Mick Anglo to get some Marvelman money … even though it was a direct rip-off of Captain Marvel. Who’s right in that situation?

Well first off, Marvelman is a rip-off, but has enough changes in place to be a original creation – there’s nothing shoddy there.
Capt. Marvel stopped getting published due to low sales and the lawsuit in the US. But in the UK he sold. The person who had been publishing him wanted something to keep being published, so Mick Anglo created Marvelman. He was similar enough to appeal to the same audience, but also different enough that you wouldn’t confuse the two.
(People often cite, as part of the ‘Moore is a hypocrite’ campaign, that Moore ripped off Mick Angelo by using Marvelman. He had been advised that it was ok to use Marvelman, as the publisher was defunct and no one claimed the copyright – which it turned out had reverted to Mick Angelo, who did get paid for it by Marvel. But Angelo had give Moore verbal permission to use the character, I believe not realising he owned it).

I don’t know how much money Cooke has made (or any of the other creators). And yes, I saw those statements he’s made. Yes, it cracks me up, and I know that’s probably why Brothers is more disappointed in him, but I doubt if he’s the only one who’s ever made statements and then acted in a contradictory manner. And if Brothers is so disappointed in Cooke (and he has every right to be), will he stop buying Cooke’s work? He’s already said he won’t, but he’ll have a “complicated relationship” with it, like he does with Frank Miller’s work. Well, Cooke and Miller don’t care about his relationship with his work. They just care that he bought it. If Brothers is taking a moral stance against the companies, should he take a moral stance against the creators? Again, it gets back to moral stances being complicated.

Maybe he’s taking a ‘Hate the game, not the player’ approach?
Either way, I don’t know that Frank Miller or Darwyn Cooke would actually agree that they don’t care about a readers relationship with their work, and they are only after sales.
What makes you think both men are only in it for the sales? Just because their work is for sale, doesn’t mean that’s all they care about – although both have done jobs for the money, both have done work that’s clearly not just for the money.

I can well see an argument for why one should boycott the work of those who work on Before Watchmen, but I can also see arguments not to.
For my part, my enthusiasm for their work has certainly diminished. Luckily, there’s not a creator in there who I’d blindly follow onto any project, so I’m not too hurt by it. I am still getting Azz’s WW, and am interested in his Spaceman*. I guess the path I’m taking with it is that they are human, and they’ve made a bad judgement call in exchange for money – it’s hard to take a moral stance when no one is getting killed/tortured and you can buy house with the result. I’ve turned a blind eye to other stuff the companies have done, so I should give a few chances to actual people. JMS can piss off though, I’m done with him. He says douchey things putting down other creators in almost any interview he does, Superman walking across America was appalling.

I think we’ll see which way Brothers goes when Cooke’s next project comes out – I’m sure he’ll get it, and we’ll see in his review if he can overlook the artist to enjoy the art.

*(Of course, according to Azz, we aren’t having this conversation, as there is no controversy about Before Watchmen, so there’s no article for us to be discussing. It is interesting to see how the different BW ‘creators’ are dealing with it in interviews!)

I never called Moore a hypocrite. He’s free to take money from movies if he so chooses, or reject the money from movies. I’m just pointing out that it’s easier to take moral stances if you don’t have to worry about feeding your family. I’m sorry if that sounds horribly cynical to you, but that’s how I see people.

There’s a growing movement in interviews, opinion pieces and message board posts to call Moore a hypocrite. Be it because of people not understanding the difference between writing a prequel and re-appropriating public domain characters into a new context (as part of cultural revaluation of said characters and their place in our lives), because he wrote Swamp Thing which was created by someone else, or for any other misunderstanding based upon things he has said.
Google the phrase and it will bring up articles. Read the comments in other articles and you will see it. It’s around as much as people saying they are sick of him complaining in every interview, being so sad and he should just get over it, despite the fact in the majority of interviews he does, he doesn’t mention Watchmen (and is generally quite happy).
It’s a load of shit, and unfair to Moore.
That’s why at the hint of it in your post, I threw my hands in the air and started yelling.

I will say however, that the, apparently vast, amounts of money everyone assumes he has? That’s all honest dollars, not made with someone else’s creations against their wishes.

(And if I wanted to go further, I could point out that a lot of these guys, JMS, Cooke and Azzarello especially, would have had better contracts with DC than Moore got, their entire time working there, because Moore upped and left over his bad one).

I’m not saying that Moore isn’t sincere about his objections, I just wonder if he would be as strident if he still had to work for DC or Marvel. There are very few Gandhis in this world, and you’ll forgive me if I don’t believe Moore is one of them.

He didn’t have all this money when he refused to work for Marvel or DC. He’s not Gandhi, but he wasn’t Richie Rich either – Twilight Of The Superheroes shows he was still pitching work to them.
The money he did make from films being made, From Hell and LoEG, were created once he upped and left DC over Watchmen. Money from films prior to Watchmen are the one’s he gave to the artist.
I’m honestly not trying to deify him (I save that for Kirby), but he’s very hard to sling shit at.

Even if he doesn’t like it, wouldn’t he use his platform at CA to promote it? “Hey, I don’t like this comic, but if you want to support Kirby, here’s a way to do it!” I do apologize if it came off as holier-than-thou, because I didn’t mean it that way. The correlation between doing something negative (not buying Marvel books) and doing something positive (buying a book that helps Kirby’s heirs) was too obvious, though.

You’d have to ask him – personally, I’m loving Kirby Genesis. Kirby characters, Bueisk and Ross – YES PLEASE! (And hey, Jack Herbert isn’t a bad find at all). I think people should be reading it because it’s a fun book, money going to the Kirby’s…
That’s just an extra bit of cool, I guess – actually, I think it’s really fucking sad that it should be celebrated in anyway. That should be standard. It’s not like Dynamite are doing it from the goodness of their heart – they are leasing these characters to make a book that will make money! (At least I hope that’s how it’s going down – everyone paid their rate, and the book making a profit. Is there a point to doing it if it isn’t?).

I mean, Gibbons doesn’t seem to have a problem with the Watchmen contract he signed or Before Watchmen. Is he a lesser authority than Moore because he doesn’t have a problem with it? I don’t know.

Now that is a good question. I’d argue Gibbons does have a problem with it, he’s just happy to take money in exchange for it all – he’s done quite alright financially out of all this. I mean, he’s getting money for BW, presumably more than Moore, and in the initial press release he gave one of the weakest endorsements I’ve ever seen. It pretty much amounted to “This is something that is happening, and I am aware of it”.

Phew. Thanks for the comment; I do appreciate it. I’m often very bad at articulating my points (which is why I’d be lousy at debating) because I always think of far too many ancillary things coming in. If you want to jump back in and rip this comment to shreds, maybe I’ll be able to focus a bit more!

Cheers for the response!
I don’t know if I’ve focused it though – more like splintered it into twenty other pieces!

My take is – there are lots of other points and ‘but then shouldn’t this also count?’ but at the end of the day, you’ve got to get Ditko with it, and realise that one side is right, and one side is wrong.

In Kirby’s case, Marvel misled, lied to, and stole from him in several different ways (even if you believe they own the characters), and yet with the exception of Spider-Man, he created (possibly co-created) the entire foundation of their company, which they are still indebted to today (the Marvel architects all write books he created, and use story concepts he created).
Alan Moore is a great comics artist who has made lots of fine work, and Before Watchmen is entirely motivated by a greedy companies bottom line, and it was against his wishes and due to his misleading that they can even do it.
The books will not equal Watchmen, and AT BEST won’t damage the originals reputation. By doing it, DC are finally announcing beyond the shadow of doubt, that they don’t care about, or have an interest in art, or in the interests of any of their creators (if they are willing to ignore one of their most successful) – they are only interested in quarterly profits.
You can ask question after question, but one side is right, and one side is wrong.

We don’t have to boycott like Brothers is doing, but we shouldn’t question him for doing it. We know wrongs were done, and although mentally we aren’t endorsing it or encouraging it, we are giving money to those profiting from it. It’s something we should all think about from time to time, and not make excuses to ourselves about it.

(I’ll leave the soapbox in the corner now that I’m done with it!)

FunkyGreenJerusalem

April 29, 2012 at 5:42 am

Well, I agree with you that these are messy ethical issues, and they’re not all black and white. As I said, I think the best we can do is try to make the best choices we can, live with what we do, and if we feel strongly enough, try to get others to do what we do. I also agree that doing something positive (like buying Genesis, f’r instance) is as laudable (or more so) as a boycott or other “negative”.

As I think I probably just bored you all to death rambling about, I think it’s much more black and white than people want to admit.
Buying Genesis is cool and all, but a boycott is better for your soul. As I said, I boycotted Marvel when they decided to chase the anti-gay dollar, and I felt great about it. I didn’t feel dirty giving them my money, I didn’t even have to think about it.
Trust me, Brothers feels better doing this than he would wrestling with these issues and buying Genesis.

Let’s build up the creator owned market by showing there is one, and that we’re willing to support it.

Image are doing a better job than Marvel or DC with quality books. Try Danger Club and America’s Got Powers – they are better superhero books than anything the big two have done this month. Hitch’s art even looks better than it did when he was at Marvel.

Gibbons still does work for DC, so is he really going to (necessarily) say don’t do this? Not that it’s not likely that he doesn’t have a problem with it, but if he does, would he necessarily say so?

He does the odd job for DC, but has he in the past few years? I think he’s taken the Watchmen money and run – last I remember is him on GLC a few years back.
Currently he’s doing The Secret Service with Mark Millar for Marvel’s Icon imprint. It’s co-created by Matthew Vaughn, so I’d say the three of them are trying to make a movie pitch ‘From the writer of Wanted and Kick Ass, and the artist of Watchmen’.
I’ve never seen Gibbons say he is a-ok with DC, just that he’s willing to take their money rather than stand on principle.

To cast Lee as the villain a bit more, though, apparently, according to Steve Bissette a while back, in talking about 1963 and how the negotiations to reprint that broke down completely (which Moore IS being a dick about, and it’s apparently past fixing),

We only have Bissette’s side to that story – same with he and Alan not talking anymore. He does make Moore sound like a dick in both stories, but again, we only have his side to it.
Moore sure sounded like a dick when we first heard of he and Gibbons no longer talking, but when we got Moore’s side of the story explained, whilst quite harsh, it certainly made the falling out more understandable.

If Lee was willing to do a bit of a dick move like that just to hitch his star to Moore, would it be that surprising that he hitched onto Moore and used that to negotiate a better deal with DC?

If that story is true, it’s very out of character for Lee (at least up until recently). It also ignores that after 1963, and before ABC, Moore did work for Wildcats, and other of Lee’s characters, as well as other Image partners. Wildstorm was bit of a creative force to be reckoned with in the late 90’s – Lee, or Scott Duniber, had an eye for talent and was good at keeping them happy. For that theory to be true, Lee was planing the DC sale from… 1995, 1996? I doubt it.

See, funky, I don’t always have the self control!

I bet my last post left you feeling in charge of yourself!
I need to hire an editor!

I never watched WKRP (I think I’m just a few years too young for it… I knew it was on, but I didn’t get any of the jokes), but every time I see clips, I’m astonished at how hot Jan Smithers was.

FGJ: I’ll try to be a bit more succinct this time, because I do agree with almost everything you say. As I’ve said, Marvel and DC are the bad guys, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore the gray areas when it comes to the people involved. That’s all.

I agree that circumstances had changed when the two gentlemen went back to Marvel and DC, but again, even in changed circumstances, they should have gotten something in writing. I’m far too trusting a person (as my wife enjoys pointing out!) and even I would have been suspicious. Maybe if I’m Kirby, I’m not as much, because it was earlier in time and perhaps he didn’t know about some of the precedents, but when Moore found out that ABC was getting bought, shouldn’t he have gotten something in writing from Lee or Levitz? You say he reached an agreement, which is fine, but if it wasn’t in writing, what’s the point? And if it was in writing, why didn’t he do anything about it? He probably didn’t have enough money to sue, but he could have launched a token lawsuit. DC still prints trades of the ABC stuff – why didn’t he take them all and go home? I don’t know.

In that same article about Marvelman, the person claims that the original stories were almost exact rip-offs of Captain Marvel. I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s one person’s opinion.

I try very hard not to call anyone a hypocrite, I think it’s stupid for people to call Moore one. People in glass houses and all that. You mean someone might have said something in public and then later changed his or her mind? Stop the presses!

I’m not saying that what Dynamite is doing is so wonderful, but I can’t imagine Marvel execs saying, “Hey, Kirby created a bunch of other characters – let’s pay his heirs to use them in a comic book.” Dynamite sees a potential to make money, sure, but I wonder how much goodwill Marvel would have accrued if they had ponied up the dough, called Busiek and Ross, and done the book in the 616. The fact that they didn’t shows, once again, how skeevy they are. “Pay? For Kirby creations? But … we own all the good ones!”

As for mentioning that we only have Bissette’s side of the story … for some things, we only have Moore’s side. I still have not seen anything that says DC broke the letter of the contract they signed with him about Watchmen. Doesn’t Moore even admit that the contract says what it does? Back in 1985, no one could anticipate that the book would be an evergreen product, so Moore didn’t blink when he signed the contract. Stuff like that happens all the time – people sign contracts based on present conditions, and then conditions change beyond what they could have anticipated. It’s not Moore’s fault and it’s not DC’s fault, either. Unless DC specifically promised they would let the book go out of print (and I’ve never seen that the contract states that), then it’s not their fault that people keep buying it so it doesn’t. Have you seen a different version of the contract?

I guess I’m much more cynical than you are. When you wrote that DC proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they don’t care about art, I thought, “Yeah? So what?” They’ve always been a business, and the fate of Siegel and Shuster was common knowledge for years. The reason a lot of this doesn’t happen in other businesses is because of unionization. Comics creators don’t want unions, so when one of them stands up to Marvel or DC, they do it alone and have to hope that others are as pissed off as they are. I would LOVE it if creators stopped working for them, because that might hit them harder than consumer boycotts, but I doubt that will ever happen. It really beats me how anyone can make them change, unless it’s a top-down change from someone who really believes in creators’ rights. The fact that it would take that depresses me.

See? Now you’ve depressed me. Damn you, you Aussie bastard!

Mecha-Shiva: WKRP was a great show, and I think people didn’t think of Smithers as hot because she wore glasses. She was a hipster 30 years before it was cool!

FunkyGreenJerusalem

April 30, 2012 at 4:00 am

Succinct? Who has time for it!

As I’ve said, Marvel and DC are the bad guys, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore the gray areas when it comes to the people involved. That’s all.

I think it’s a bit like… cheering for a murderer to get out of jail, because the cop who caught him cheated on his wife.
There’s some grey on one side, but not nearly enough to cancel out the other.

Not to imply that Marvel or DC are muderers! Hell no. They are just thieves and greedy pricks, not murderers. I’m just terrible with analogies!

You say he reached an agreement, which is fine, but if it wasn’t in writing, what’s the point?

Why would he need it in writing? They dicked him, he upped and left.
With the exception of LoEG, the ABC characters were all owned by Wildstorm. Moore and the artists did that so that the artists could have a higher page rate. So when DC bought Wildstorm, they owned the characters.
Moore said he’d keep writing them if he had no contact with DC, and they left him and the books alone. It all went well, Moore began to agree to doing stuff with DC for the Watchmen anniversary. Then, for no reason known to man, Levitz scrapped a Cobweb story about L Ron Hubbard (even though WB lawyers had given it the all clear), pulped a LoEG issue because it reprinted an actual ad that had the word Marvel in it, and kept screwing about with Black Dossier (Not just the record planned to go with it – Moore wanted Ray Zone 3D, they said no, delayed the project trying to do it, failed and hired Ray Zone).
True to his word, Moore finished up the books and left.
DC kept the characters, but to date has had no success on any project with them without Moore’s involvement. Their decisions, which I can’t see a motivation for except trying to show Moore who is boss, just lost them any new money from ABC, any future projects Moore may have done, and his blessing/help with maximizing profits on Watchmen (they not only had to pull back on plans for the anniversary edition due to lack of new backmatter and Moore helping publicize it, they also scrapped a planned a toy line).
Moore gets the same amount of money from the reprints as if he’d stayed, but he doesn’t have to deal with people he doesn’t like or respect.

So, no need for written agreements. I guess Moore fgured he wouldn’t want to work with someone who needed a signed document to make them not dick him. DC didn’t HAVE to dick him, they chose to.

He probably didn’t have enough money to sue, but he could have launched a token lawsuit.

Moore not only isn’t that interested in money – he’s a non-materialistic dirty hippie – but he’s pointed out he could probably sue for other things as well, but all that would guarantee is months of misery sitting in a room with people he doesn’t like.
Also, I;ve got some quotes further down – he likes being able to say whatever he wants, whenever he wants. He can’t do that if there’s litigation.

I’m not saying that what Dynamite is doing is so wonderful, but I can’t imagine Marvel execs saying, “Hey, Kirby created a bunch of other characters – let’s pay his heirs to use them in a comic book.” Dynamite sees a potential to make money, sure, but I wonder how much goodwill Marvel would have accrued if they had ponied up the dough, called Busiek and Ross, and done the book in the 616. The fact that they didn’t shows, once again, how skeevy they are. “Pay? For Kirby creations? But … we own all the good ones!”

There’s a Marvel trade I often see on the shelves at shops called ‘Galactic Bounty Hunters’, apparently based on a Kirby concept, and written by Jack’s daughter, Lisa Kirby. I wonder if that’s an older, similar deal?
I could be snarky, and say that Marvel probably wouldn’t because they show very little interest in new IP, but I doubt Marvel will ever show goodwill again after the lawsuit – which I kind of understand, as you don’t want to hep someone who sued you… but on the other hand, fuck’em. They won it with two retroactive agreements Jack signed at times in his life when he really needed money – as there was no contract from the 60’s – one of which for money they had already agreed to pay a few years early for Captain America, but then refused to give him until he signed – they know they won it on shonky ground, so why not give the guys heirs a break?

Would it have given them good will, or just opened them up to ‘How come you’ll pay for these characters, but won’t pay for the others?’.
I’m shooting in the dark here, but I’d say Kirby Genesis could be a success/profitable for Dynamite in a way it wouldn’t be for Marvel – and Marvel only care about their bottom line. Ike likes money, not feeling good about himself!

As for mentioning that we only have Bissette’s side of the story … for some things, we only have Moore’s side. I still have not seen anything that says DC broke the letter of the contract they signed with him about Watchmen. Doesn’t Moore even admit that the contract says what it does? Back in 1985, no one could anticipate that the book would be an evergreen product, so Moore didn’t blink when he signed the contract. Stuff like that happens all the time – people sign contracts based on present conditions, and then conditions change beyond what they could have anticipated. It’s not Moore’s fault and it’s not DC’s fault, either. Unless DC specifically promised they would let the book go out of print (and I’ve never seen that the contract states that), then it’s not their fault that people keep buying it so it doesn’t. Have you seen a different version of the contract?

Gibbons agrees with what Moore says, up until the point they stopped talking (Gibbons claims it was because he didn’t ring Moore quick enough to say thanks, Moore says it’s because Gibbons kept playing middleman for DC even after he asked him to stop).
What I think is interesting – DC have never challenged what Moore says, nor has Gibbons since he took the money. That’s 25 years of someone bad mouthing them over it, publicly, and they’ve not done a thing.
Is it just a PR move to not be seen that much of a villain, or is there no actual defense?

Now as for why he signed the contract… I’ll just quote Moore…
“That was the understanding upon which we did Watchmen–that they understood that we wanted to actually own the work that we’d done, and that they were a “new DC Comics,” who were going to be more responsive to creators. And, they’d got this new contract worked out which meant that when the work went out of print, then the rights to it would revert to us–which sounded like a really good deal. I’d got no reason not to trust these people. They’d all been very, very friendly. They seemed to be delighted with the amount of extra comics they were selling. Even on that level, I thought, “Well, they can see that I’m getting them an awful lot of good publicity, and I’m bringing them a great deal of money. So, if they are even competent business people, they surely won’t be going out of their way to screw us in any way.” Now, I’ve since seen the Watchmen contract, which obviously we didn’t read very closely at the time. It was the first contract that I’d ever seen–and I believe that it was a relatively rare event for a contract to actually exist in the comics business.” – Alan Moore

Silly not to do it, but as he points out – he was their star. He didn’t think they would do the dirty on him. He was getting an actual contract, not something on the back of his cheque (that’s how we spell ‘check’ in the Commonwealth!)
Heidi MacDonald has a piece on a bunch of Moore stuff, and one of her points is that Diane Nelson made her name dealing with JK Rowling, who also had a bunch of demands and is a prickly peach, but they played ball with her to keep her happy because she’s a money machine – DC lost out on Twilight Of The Heroes, From Hell, LoEG and whatever else Moore might have done.
http://www.comicsbeat.com/2012/04/25/the-creators-position-viewed-through-the-lens-of-alan-moore/

“I still get a royalty–not a very big royalty, but the kind that the comic industry was offering in the 1980s. Yes, I still get a little bit of the money that I consider myself to be owed for these things. But, it’s not really the money that’s the principle. It’s the fact that I was lied to.” – Alan Moore

I’m quoting Moore from the following interview that did the rounds a few months back. http://www.seraphemera.org/seraphemera_books/AlanMoore_Page1.html I think what Moore says, and the defense DC offer, tell you all you need to know about who to cheer for.

“For everything that’s been done for Watchmen from the books to the movie, money has gone his way. The right amount that he deserves based on the contract. So we have honored that part of the agreement. It is something that can definitely be debated but to say that there is clearly one side that is right, I will dispute that.” – Jim Lee

That’s a hell of a quote defending their side, don’t you think? “We have honored that part of the agreement” – says to me there are parts they haven’t honoured. (That’s right, I put the U back in!)
He also doesn’t seem to think DC is clearly in the right.
Are they taking a punt that Moore won’t sue them, or are they just so bad in a public relations sense that this is why DC never tried to speak out against Moore until now?

“I thought about it for a while–I could perhaps sue, although I suspect DC would be very comfortable with that. They have a whole battery of lawyers who could continue to fight this case for decades. And it’s not like I’m after money. It’s always been about the dignity and integrity of the work. I just want them not to do something. There’s no point in wasting resources for decades, when effectively, if there’s a legal case, I’d be prohibited from speaking about it, which DC is more worried about.” – Alan Moore.

What shocks me about this one, beyond as you say, the fate of Siegel and Shuster (and hey, even back in the day, who ever thought that if they ever managed to scrape back any rights, DC would then sue their lawyer), is that Watchmen was originally touted as the new step forward – Marvel were the bad guys who fucked Kirby, DC was going to be the go-to guys for creators, they had learned from their past mistakes. They looked after Siegel and Shuster, they came up with payment systems so that Kirby made more off of Darkseid than he did anything at Marvel, and with Watchmen they were starting a new dawn for the comics industry. Then they lied to Moore and went back on their intent to earn a few thousand at a time.
Before Watchmen is just really a sign of how far gone they are, and how low down they are willing to go, for short term sales (No one truly expects this to be anything other than a flash in the pan do they? They aren’t going to get Watchmen level sales from it, and why would anyone ever give them a Watchmen again?).

See? Now you’ve depressed me. Damn you, you Aussie bastard!

Sorry about that! That’s what pisses me off with it all so much – comics bring me joy, yet I get depressed if I start to think about how some of my favourite creators were treated, and that in life, the bad guy not only won, he owns and profits off of the heroes.
It was a good chat though – I’m glad you weren’t actually being a gross entitled fanboy! I didn’t honestly think you were, but it’s good to nut it out and find out how close our views on it are.

Oh, and on ‘Brothers should buy Kirby Genesis’, if you go for that line of thinking, everyone should buy Memorial from IDW to support Chris Roberson for standing up to DC!

Cheers,
Ben

FunkyGreenJerusalem

April 30, 2012 at 4:06 am

I just thought of the perfect analogy!
It’s like the scene in The Big Lebowski where Walter (John Goodman), who has just pulled a gun on someone in an argument over ten-pin bowling rules, keeps asking ‘Am I wrong” and The Dude responds “You’re not wrong, you’re just an asshole”.
Even if you think DC aren’t wrong, they are an asshole.

(Imagine a world with better fans, where every time Dan Didio and Jim Lee gave a silly defense, every time Azzarello denied there’s a controversy, or JMS called Moore a hypocrite, people stood up and said ‘Yeah, but you’re an asshole’. What a beautiful world that would be.)

FGJ: I would love that. That would totally fluster them, I think. Now I wish I had been at one of those panels just so I could have said that all innocently. Knowing fandom, I would have been dragged down by the fans themselves and given the boot.

FGJ: I think I’m out, but thanks for clarifying the ABC thing. I didn’t know that everything was owned by Wildstorm except LoEG – it makes more sense now that he wouldn’t get things in writing and wouldn’t simply walk away. I thought he owned them all, so it didn’t make sense to me why he wouldn’t raise more of a stink when DC bought Wildstorm.

I read Heidi’s piece – Hatcher linked to it way up the thread – and I mentioned that it’s one of the reasons why I don’t consider DC and Marvel actual companies. Real publishing companies understand that if you have talent that is making money for you, you indulge the talent, no matter how wacky the talent might be. DC and Marvel think their cash cows are the IPs, and sadly, they’re right (for now). But as you said, they haven’t done anything with Moore’s ABC stuff because it’s not Moore. I do wish more creators would achieve his status, because then maybe DC and Marvel would see that creators have a lot to do with the success of a book. Right now, that idea is moving glacially through the minds of readers and publishers, but maybe by the time you and I are old, old people, someone might have figured it out!

Sorry about that! That’s what pisses me off with it all so much – comics bring me joy, yet I get depressed if I start to think about how some of my favourite creators were treated, and that in life, the bad guy not only won, he owns and profits off of the heroes.

Easy answer.

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