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Comic Book Legends Revealed #441

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COMIC LEGEND: Chris Claremont had to get legal permission from DC Comics before he used Neal Conan in Sovereign Seven.

STATUS: True

Longtime X-Men fans might recall how Chris Claremont used real-life National Public Radio personalities Neal Conan and Manoli Wetherell in X-Men comics.

He first used Conan in Uncanny X-Men #200 as a means of exposition…

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But eventually both Conan and Wetherell appeared in the X-Men comics proper…

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Claremont was good friends with both Conan and Wetherell in real life, hence their appearances in his comics. Reader John, though, wrote in with a great story he heard from Conan about a LATER appearance of the pair. Here’s John…

Since Sovereign Seven was a DC book, Conan said there was some controversy about him being used in that book. According to Conan, they had a room full of lawyers discussing whether or not he was a Marvel Comic book character. Conan said he was relieved when the lawyers finally decided that yes, he was in fact a real person. That allowed Claremont to use him in Sovereign Seven.

Here they are in Sovereign Seven #10…

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Awesome story, John!
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed involving real life people appearing in comics!

Did Woody Allen show up in an issue of Showcase?

What famous comic book writer is featured on the cover of Swamp Thing’s first appearance?

What famous TV reporter met Count Duckula in the pages of Duckula’s comic book??

What famed writer let one of his non fiction stories be parodied (with him included) in an issue of Hulk?
________________________________________________________________________________________________________

On the next page, what’s the U.S. Military’s problem with Mjolnir?

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90 Comments

It says a lot about the bias against witchcraft that atheist got their symbol (hydrogen atom, IIRC) before wiccan soldiers did.
Good discussion on Moore about how we distort things. I think of it as “Moore quit over Watchmen” even though I remember (well, as soon as you pointed it out) the huge controversy over the ratings system and how he said at the time that was driving him off.
That said, “moral terrorism” sounds absurd. “If you want me to work for you give me X and Y or I go find an employer/publisher who will” is basic career negotiations. It’s not blackmail.

This week, just WHY did Alan Moore split from DC Comics in the first place?
(because hes a whiner)

Odinists/followers of Asatru don’t “worship Odinism” any more than Christians worship Christianity. :) Just a wee correction there, more grammatical than anything else…

The Neal Conan thing is absolutely insane. It’s not like he was a part-time cub reporter for some tiny station in the middle of nowhere. He was a well-known NPR correspondent and host for over thirty years (about twenty years at the time Sovereign Seven came out)!

Shouldn’t it have been as simple as just calling the local NPR station?

So Alan Moore is a man of his word (honoring a contract he signed) but no additional work because of his belief that a rating system was wrong.. Aside from Dc (or Warners) buying Wildstorm he has stayed true. I don’t know the man at all but I thought he would have caved by now. Good for him. Bad for DC fans like myself.

Odinists/followers of Asatru don’t “worship Odinism” any more than Christians worship Christianity. :) Just a wee correction there, more grammatical than anything else…

Oh yeah, I just plain used the wrong word there by accident. I meant “practice” instead of “worship.” But would Odinism be the correct term otherwise?

The Neal Conan thing is absolutely insane. It’s not like he was a part-time cub reporter for some tiny station in the middle of nowhere. He was a well-known NPR correspondent and host for over thirty years (about twenty years at the time Sovereign Seven came out)!

Shouldn’t it have been as simple as just calling the local NPR station?

I don’t think it was so much that they didn’t know he was a real person, but rather a case of them debating whether his appearances in Marvel Comics had succeeded in making “Neal Conan” a copyright-able character for Marvel Comics and would DC be violating that copyright if they used him. It’s just hilarious because it involves a real person.

Most followers of Norse traditions i know refer to the practice as Heathenry, although I doubt they would object to Odinism.

So Alan Moore is a man of his word (honoring a contract he signed) but no additional work because of his belief that a rating system was wrong.. Aside from Dc (or Warners) buying Wildstorm he has stayed true. I don’t know the man at all but I thought he would have caved by now. Good for him. Bad for DC fans like myself.

Yeah, I don’t see how the guy sticking to a principle for this many years constitutes him whining.

Because some commenters just want to be the proverbial turd in the punch bowl?

Whoa John Romita Jr Excellent, beautiful artwork on trial of Magneto ***** just finished reading the latest Captain America What Happened? are my eyes going funny?? :(

I recall at least one other magazine (maybe Comics Feature) featuring him and other writers complaining about the ratings system. I don’t necessarily agree with Moore’s stance on ratings, particularly since even to this day some people think that all comics are kid friendly by definition. That being said, he’s someone I would accept a verbal contract from because I’m sure he’d keep it.

anj2099, your eyes are not going funny. JRJR’s art has gotten so stylized in recent years that it’s barely recognizable as the same X-Men artist from the mid-80s. His art also lends itself better to simple coloring, thus modern coloring techniques make it look even more absurd.

The Neal Conan thing is absolutely insane. It’s not like he was a part-time cub reporter for some tiny station in the middle of nowhere.

Actually, unless you grew up in a generally urban and/or liberal area, it’s entirely possible you could grow up listening to no NPR and have no idea who Neal Conan was. I grew up in the South, loved all these X-men books, and didn’t find out Neal Conan was a real person until I was an adult.

or you know, he could have just accepted a ratings system, like any sane person, who doesnt want their kids to accidently read a comic including sexual assault and murder. (killing joke, or any other Moore work)

I like that DC’s lawyers were concerned with Sovereign Seven, and yet the very obvious cameos by Kitty, Illyana, and Wolverine still made it through.

mcracken – it doesn’t sound like you know much about the ratings system proposal from the ’80′s that Moore was responding to. For one thing, it was because an adult was arrested for selling a comic book to another adult. But, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter; Moore took a job, and then the company wanted to change the parameters of the job in a way which he felt would impact his ability to do the job, so he left the job. You can keep trying to spin that as unreasonable or insane or whiny, but you aren’t going to find many people who would say that deciding not to keep a job after they completely change the job is an unreasonable stance for somebody who can afford to do so.

I think quitting over the ratings system is even sillier than the other reasons. What’s wrong with a ratings system? Have these guys never been to a movie theatre before? Even in publishing some material is clearly not meant for children. Alan Moore is a whiner. Over and over again he can’t seem to understand that there are other considerations and people to take into account beyond his own. He is not a team player and his “my way or the highway” approach has no place in a collaborative medium, especially when he is producing work for hire. He’s basically trying to dictate to a large publishing company how it should run its business. Who made him President?

Moore’s opposition to the rating system was juvenile. I’m sure he would have outgrown it eventually, but by that time he had been genuinely screwed over in an unconscionable way over by Watchmen, so he had plenty of reason not to come back.

What was unconscionable about how he was treated over Watchmen? He got paid the going rate for his efforts and made a $hitpile, so much so that he could afford to turn down any residuals from the film adaptation. If you read the history of anytime DC/Warners approached Alan about their subsequent plans for the property the picture that emerges is DC/Warners going above and beyond what they would do for any other creator and still getting the back of the hand. Remember the action figures that were supposed to come out than Moore objected to in a last minute change of heart? They took his name off the film as he requested and he still lost his $hit because some exec erroneously said he had endorsed the movie. He’s more fragile than a carton of eggs. David Lloyd seems to have had no problem with the treatment he received, and that goes for pretty much anyone else Moore has ever collaborated with. It’s always Moore who is the problem.

“genuinely screwed over in an unconscionable way over by Watchmen”

or you know, he could have read the contract before signing it. or given it to a lawyer before signing it.
but hey, hes a genius right? they can whine afterwards, right?

Oh, I’ve heard plenty of arguments why the movie rating system is a bad idea, many of them pretty valid. For example that small producers get “No way is this PG-13!” (or R) where the major studios get “Here’s what you can do to fix it” or just waived through (because the MPAA is voluntary and nobody wants to piss off a major studio by killing the big summer blockbuster). And that graphic violence and torture get softer ratings than graphic consensual sex.
As I recall (if I’m wrong I’m sure someone will correct me), Moore’s objections were largely that the proposed rating system was way too restrictive, and imposed top-down with very little input from the people actually making the writers.
Jeff, I think you’re confusing “collaborative medium” with ‘Legal obligation to do whatever DC dictates.” Moore didn’t like the system, he left DC and went on to do lots of work elsewhere. That’s hardly dictating or whining.

If DC used the “promotional” dodge to avoid paying Moore for merchandising, then yes, he’s got a valid complaint. I have more sympathy for DC about never letting Moore get the rights back: I’m sure nobody at the time expected it to stay in print perpetually.

I do rather agree with Steven Grant (in one of his old Masters of the Obvious) that there was no reason for Moore not to take his creator’s cut from the film. It’s not hush money or a payment in return for endorsing it, it’s what he’s entitled to for his work.
As for his making a pile of money, that’s irrelevant. The right or wrong of the case aren’t dependent on how much he made. If we use that logic, then presumably DC’s years of profits of Watchmen undercut their position.

If DC used the “promotional” dodge to avoid paying Moore for merchandising, then yes, he’s got a valid complaint. I have more sympathy for DC about never letting Moore get the rights back: I’m sure nobody at the time expected it to stay in print perpetually.

I do believe that Moore’s concern about the rights not coming back to him likely did not occur back in 1987 (this is something Paul Levitz has noted, as well). They likely came about years later. At the time, I think he was more irked at merchandising and other stuff about DC wanting to do more with the Watchmen brand than anything else, Watchmen-wise.

at least time warner (read DC) made it their top graphic novel of the century. (which is pretty ludicrous so it must be based on sales, hehe)

Moore also objected to how the corporate culture at D.C. responded to some of the creators who signed the petition against the rating system, as seen in the same 1987 TCJ interview with Groth:

I was very upset about the firing of Marv Wolfman. And I remember that before Marv had been fired, when he was worried that he might be, I said to him that certainly anybody who fired somebody for standing up for a moral position, could not really count on my services in the future. And that’s something that I still feel. I don’t really want to work for a company that fires people over mailers like that. And there was various other things that I don’t want to go into too deeply, but certain other attempts at coercion and things like that, and perhaps things that would have been better left unsaid, things that I found a little bit unseemly in a major comics company.

Agree with Moore’s position or not, this was not a trivial matter at the time.

Jeff, did you even read the article? There was no “my way or the highway” involved in Moore’s decision to quit DC because at no time did Moore demand anything from DC, and at no time did he attempt to “dictate” anything to them. He quit because he disagreed with the company’s editorial philosophy, period – just a professional making a personal decision that affected nobody but himself. It’s clear from the article that Moore understood perfectly well that there are other considerations that people take into account; he just decided that he personally didn’t want to work there anymore. How on Earth does a professional refusing to work at a given company PERIOD qualify as “trying to impose” anything? The man made his choice and didn’t care what DC decided to do afterwards. He didn’t demand at any point that DC change their decision, and he respected the previously-signed contracts he had with the company, he simply didn’t want to work with them any more – it simply doesn’t get more professional than that. Trying to frame that as “not being a team player” is just ridiculous. What, doesn’t he have the right to choose who he works for?

But some people are obviously so invested in defending their favorite corporations that they feel obliged to bash anyone who doesn’t share their mindless loyalty. So they whine “oh, that guy who refuses to work for the company I like isn’t a team player.”

So Neal and Manoli were real people? You just broke my mind.

Les,

“Favourite corporations”? Did you even read my post, or anything Moore has said over the decades? I don’t have any favourite corporations. I hate drama queens and whiners who think that everyone else should do what they think. That’s what Moore is. He frequently criticizes DC for not doing what he thinks is best and thinks his way is best. It never seems to even strike him that maybe he could be wrong. Getting upset about DC profiting from merchandise? That’s pretty standard business in that and most industries. The Siegels and Shsuters had already been through that with Superman for decades. This was not something new and unexpected. There was a deal and Moore couldn’t live with it. End of story.

I would be far more sympathetic to something like what Ian described where he quit because he plainly didn’t like the way DC was treating its employees generally. But that does not seem to be the case. He didn’t like the deal he made after he made it and then went bananas over it. And continues to do so. His latest criticism over the Before Watchmen books is telling. He objects to them using “his” characters in a way he didn’t approve. Are you kidding me? “His” characters are knockoffs of characters DC had just bought from Charlton. Moreover, almost every work is celebrated for is a knockoff or use of someone else’s characters, from the DC heroes to most famously LXG where he shamelessly used Victorian characters invented by others in ways their creators never contemplated. His later ABC works are almost all riffs on DC characters from Supreme to Promethea. What a hypocritical windbag.

Marvel has a long history of using real newsmen for exposition, including Chet Huntley and David Brinkley.

It really is disheartening how many people think being highly principled is a character trait that ought to be held against Moore. Les Fontenelle explains it well, and the full interview is there for reference. What mccracken doesn’t understand is that the contracts Moore signed regarding Watchmen might not have even been vetted differently by major contract attorneys, because at the time, I’m pretty sure no comic/trade paperback/graphic novel had ever stayed in print indefinitely. Essentially DC changed the basic practices of the entire industry just for the sake of not letting Moore have Watchmen back. And sure, legally they were allowed to do that. But it was a morally shitty move and certainly an unprecedented one in terms of what Big Two printing policies had always been up to that point.

And @fraser-

I disagree that Moore had no reason not to take the money from the Watchmen film. Again, it’s about principle. He simply didn’t want to take money from a corporation that he thought had a history of treating him in a morally reprehensible way. Not because it would be for keeping his mouth shut or seen as an implicit endorsement, but simply as a way of saying “I don’t want your money.” And it’s also important in terms of thinking about what the consequences of the opposite action might have been. Had Moore taken the money from the movie, he would have lost credibility and moral high-ground in the eyes of a lot of people, and maintaining that status might have mattered to him (though it also might not). At the very least, he would have looked semi-hypocritical taking the money from the movie and then still trying to protest the Before Watchmen comics two years later.

Jeff, I think it’s perfectly valid to debate Moore’s use of other people’s work vs. his views on the use of his own, but that’s a separate issue.
But “Getting upset about DC profiting from merchandise? That’s pretty standard business in that and most industries. The Siegels and Shsuters had already been through that with Superman for decades. This was not something new and unexpected. There was a deal and Moore couldn’t live with it. End of story.” is an absurd argument. It makes no sense, zero, nada, none to argue that because other people have been ripped off in the same way, therefore it’s no big deal if someone else gets the treatment. Moore made a deal, DC arguably didn’t honor it in the spirit–I’d say not doing business with them was the sensible option for him.
If Moore had gone postal and shot up the DC offices, we could use the same argument you’re making: Workers snapping and shooting people happens all the time, DC should probably have expected it, etc. Just as logical as anything you’ve said.

Slight possible correction: are you *certain* Moore and Gibbons weren’t cut into the profits on the watch and button set? My recollection is that Moore’s complaint was over the initial “smiley face” buttons, which were sold for only a buck and were more justifiably “only promotion” IMO.

@jeff

You really should read the full interview with Moore before you say anything else, because he explicitly says the opposite of what you’re accusing him of. You’re suggesting that Moore thinks everyone else should do what he thinks, and he explicitly says how this is not the case. He lists several examples of how he has no interest in telling others what to think, only to present contrary opinions. He believes telling others what to think is a form of censorship, which was his whole beef with DC in the first place.

Here’s the problem with reading this or any interview with Moore. His story changes all the time. He has no credibility. If he were a witness in a trial a judge would discount all his shifting stories immediately. Judge him by what he does and how he deals with others. DC lived up to the letter of the agreement by most accounts I’ve read. Alan decided that wasn’t enough and left. If that’s all it was then fine. Good for you Alan for doing what you want. But it doesn’t end there. The hypocritical statements begin. DC tries to placate Moore in what most people would think is a “more than reasonable” way. Yet that’s not good enough for Moore. Then he backs out of deals like the action figure one which was definitely a breach of the understanding in letter and spirit.

Fraser, did you really just analogize standard business practices with a gun massacre? That’s logical to you but I am not? You just lost this one by a longshot (pun intended).

now people who practice Odinism (I believe that’s the term, right?)

That’s actually a tricky thing, but, no, Odinism is not really the best term to use here, for several reasons – firstly, whether it’s a valid term for all worship of the Norse deities, or just for those traditions specifically called ‘Odinism’ is up for debate, second, certain individuals and organizations under the Odinist banner have managed to give the word an unfortunate stink of racism about it. Germanic/Norse Paganism/Heathenism is safer.

Slight possible correction: are you *certain* Moore and Gibbons weren’t cut into the profits on the watch and button set? My recollection is that Moore’s complaint was over the initial “smiley face” buttons, which were sold for only a buck and were more justifiably “only promotion” IMO.

The watch they were cut in on, but not the badge set.

Now if only DC’s lawyers would have REALLY done their jobs and blocked the appearance of Sovereign Seven altogether.

“What mccracken doesn’t understand is that the contracts Moore signed regarding Watchmen might not have even been vetted differently by major contract attorneys, because at the time, I’m pretty sure no comic/trade paperback/graphic novel had ever stayed in print indefinitely”.

BS. was it in the contract or not? yes it was. so please excuse them for even daring to print something that people still wanna buy…Granted they are pretty shitty (the new 52 proves that) but they would be the worst company in the world if they would have stopped printing watchmen.

hahaha. man you guys are cracking me up…

Am I the only one around here who doesn’t get the hooplah surrounding the ratings system? I mean, doesn’t it sound like a good idea to put on the cover of a comic that it has some adult shit, if there’s, you know, things like decapitation, nudity, profanity, etc. I’m not saying that people should be censored, it’s just to let people know from the cover that, “hey, this probably shouldn’t be stocked on shelves around kids; that’s probably bad, yo.”

Once again, this just makes Alan seem like a mega-douche to me. First you have him saying that he’s different from other writers who use characters they didn’t create because he “genuinely loves the characters” (and don’t split hairs with me, that’s essentially what he said, in da final analysis), and now I find this out. Guy’s a talented writer, but as a person, he’s fucking bearded mountain-man, hermit-style nut – this is the first time in history when you can actually judge a book by it’s cover.

Moore trying to turn “moral terrorist” into a recognizable term is kind of hilarious.

“Actually, unless you grew up in a generally urban and/or liberal area, it’s entirely possible you could grow up listening to no NPR and have no idea who Neal Conan was. I grew up in the South, loved all these X-men books, and didn’t find out Neal Conan was a real person until I was an adult.”

Or it could just be that in the ’80s we were KIDS reading comics, and KIDS reading comics tend not to pay attention to names of newsmen (aside from famous TV anchors). I grew up in a fairly conservative, very rural area, with fairly conservative parents. They had NPR on all the time but none of the names of the personnel made an impression on me.

Alan Moore's Beard

October 18, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Hey, fuck you.

Morrison's bald head

October 18, 2013 at 2:00 pm

i did chaos magic, like, way before you!

Awesome. I just posted a link to this page on Neal Conan’s Facebook page- with luck, he’ll come here and comment.

As much as I love Moore’s works, but he clearly likes to go apeshit over anything.

Example 1:
The whole Marvelman / Miracleman thing. Please google for details, because I am a little tired today.
As a result, Marvel have made an agreement with Alan Moore to not use his name in conjunction with their reprinting of the Marvelman/Miracleman comic book, at *his* request.

Example 2:
When Claremont used Jim Jaspers in X-Men #200 (you can even see this character in today’s legend)
Moore became very furious about it, because he thought that Marvel was doing it on purpose.
This and Miracleman resulted in Moore vowing to never ever work for Marvel.

There is even comic book legend revealed about how Captain Britain reprints came to reality., because obviously, Moore didn’t want it to be reprinted at first, that’s how much he was furious at marvel. And what is weird about him is that he was treated by DC much much worse, yet he criticizes marvel a lot more due to this Miracleman thing.

Yes, he has principles and attitude. He has a honor, and his own code of conduct. And yes, he looks/looked like he could play in a Death Metal band (shame he didn’t). But sometimes his anger and cynicism is difficult to understand. Man, I feel very tired today.

It should be “on purpose of pissing him off”

Because they used his character without his consent.

Brian from Canada

October 18, 2013 at 3:04 pm

@Saul: You need to view ratings in context.

Parents and critics reacted angrily in the early 80s at the level of gore kids could encounter in movies like Indiana Jones and Gremlins. The MPAA responded by splitting PG into PG and PG-13, with specific content markers to identify what comes in which. Moore, as writer of Swamp Thing and Watchmen, would have no doubt seen editors either try to limit the depictions in his work (to get a lower rating) or seen reduction in audiences due to sales limitations (because general market sales aimed at all ages books). Bottom line: it didn’t take into account context — and that might have killed certain stories.

Today, it’s different. Ratings mean little when content is much more accessible and kids are bombarded/easily accessing content that would before be just adult-oriented. And what’s there for the movies is coming under fire: you go up one rating if you have a homosexual kiss but tearing someone apart with minimum gore barely gets a blink of the eye. (In comics, it’s worse because there’s little difference between PG and PG-13 comics.)

Brian from Canada

October 18, 2013 at 3:09 pm

@chakal: with DC it’s a moral stance. With Marvel, it’s bad business. Marvelman is a complicated rights issue, Marvel owned Jasper, and when it comes to Captain Britain trades… Quesada got those back on the promise of full credit only to fail to make sure the credit was actually on the trades.

Moore has his principles, some of which we readers don’t agree on, but the man should be praised for holding his principles without making it a big public spat to disparage the publishers and discourage others from working there. He says what’s good for HIM and him alone.

Bringing up Alan Moore always does this, doesn’t it? How dare he have opinions and beliefs anyway??

LouReedRichards

October 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm

I know, it’s like he thinks somebody made him the President!

While I personally consider Alan Moore’s attitudes about the use of his characters/works to be indefensibly hypocritical, that really has nothing at all to do with the issues here. I don’t agree with his take on the ratings system, but he stuck to his guns on it, so I’d say that’s fair enough.

Since Kamino brought it up — was this particular symbol delayed, as opposed to others, due to its appropriation by decidedly un-American groups? I could understand the military wanting to avoid any connection with that, for certain.

Anyone know where I can find that Invaders story? It sounds pretty remarkable.

I wonder if the Comics Journal transcribed that interview correctly. Wouldn’t Moore quitting “full stop” make more sense than him quitting “full stuff”? Is “full stuff” a Britishism that I’m not aware of?

“As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

Well… Actually, no. But I could have sworn that Neal Conan was a fictional character. All these years, I thought his name was a reference to Neal Adams and Conan the Barbarian.

You learn something new every day.

I dig that Moore has actually stuck with his principles when it probably cost him millions of dollars. Even if I didn’t agree with him on anything, I’d respect that he actually took a stand on what he believed. That’s certainly much less “whiny” than the people bitching about him on the internet, which costs them nothing and is cheap in more ways than one.

Another thing to remember about Moore and the ratings system is that Moore wrote the Swamp Thing story that led DC to DROP the Comics Code for that book. To go to a more restrictive ratings system after that would undoubtedly have been a step backward for him.

Thanks to WatchmenComicMove.com for the images of the watch and the badge set. I love their take on how expensive the watch was at the time, “To add insult to injury, this hunk of plastic cost a whopping $25. Think about that for a minute — this was in 1986. A Toyota Celica cost $25 in 1986.”
- – - – - – - – - – - – -
The above comment should’ve been left out. It was totally uncalled for and completely WRONG. Maybe the person who wrote that might “think” that $25 would buy a Celica in 1986, but whoever wrote it is, for lack of a better phrase, out of his ever-loving mind. The only way you could pay $25 for ANY car in 1986 would’ve been if it was sitting on a scrap heap somewhere. Apparently whoever wrote the comment isn’t aware that a lot of memorabilia is overpriced for what it is. Just visit any Disney theme park if you don’t believe it.

Of course, I have huge respect for Moore, and his works. It’s just that he sounds like a difficult person to work with. The two things that make me wonder are:
1) The Big Two are bad, yet he agrees to do work for Image, who were at the time a wannabe Marvel and were far from being saints. Sure at first it seemed like an utopia for creators, but it quickly turned out to be seven wannabe “stan lees”, who launched the series, then abandoned them, so someone else would do the hard work for them. It’s unbelievable that Moore didn’t notice it and agreed to do all the hard work with 1963, Violator, Wildcats, Supreme. It does look foolish, and very ironic, especially when Wildstorm was bought out by DC.

2) His stubbornness and anger lead him to bad decisions. If he did Watchmen for Epic (Marvel’s imprint), or Marvel Graphic Novels line, not only he wouldn’t be ripped off the way he was, but we wouldn’t see Before Watchmen. Cockrum did Futurians for marvel, but marvel didn’t own the characters, so he could take them to another publisher, and so he did. Later he regretted it, but it’s another story.
But of course, for Moore Marvel was bad, so no deals with them.

Apparently JosephW isn’t aware of what a “joke” is.

I could never get my Watchmen watch to run past 11:57.

@Dave

And of course most of Moore’s ‘whining’ is from interviewers asking Moore about what happened and his thoughts on what happened, as opposed to Moore jumping up in a public forum to attack someone/thing.

Perhaps any future piece on Moore should start with a preamble, something stating that before Watchmen there were few trade paper backs, no comic book was kept in print, and almost no story lines were merchandised. Was there any Crisis on the Infinite Earths merchandise in 1985?

@ Jake,
Thanks for the info about JRJR damn those modern coloring techniques. We have lost this great artist’s beautiful line work, SOB!

Brian from Canada

October 19, 2013 at 7:43 am

@chakal: I don’t think Moore’s working for Image is hypocritical at all.

Moore’s objections to Marvel and DC were over corporate policy. Image’s policy was to respect the creators and be very upfront with them. ONLY Neil Gaiman had a problem with that; Moore never questioned who owned characters he created for other series and characters he owned himself.

As for Wildstorm, ABC was a Wildstorm imprint under Moore’s control. When Jim Lee sold out to DC, Moore walked away, taking the rights to League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen with him. He was done with Tom Strong, Top Ten and Promethia, and DC has elected to continue two of those stories without Moore. Readers already knew — like with Before Watchmen — that they come from people with different visions and make their own choices about whether to buy or not.

Quite frankly, I think Alan Moore has a lot more respect for the readers than many creators of today. He trusts they are intelligent enough to make their own decisions while hoping they respect his own.

Actually, I had no idea that Neal Conan and Manoli Wetherell were real people! Shows what I know.

No, Moore didn’t walk away when Lee sold Wildstorm to DC. The sale happened before the work was actually released. Moore worked through an editorial cutout, so he would have no direct dealings with DC management. His contract included copyright for League, but not the other characters. When his contractual obligation was up, he took League elsewhere.

A common thread that seems to crop up into discussions of creators rights and principles is that those rights and principles shouldn’t matter if it inconveniences me, the reader/viewer. This has been thrown out by people who pirate comics and movies, because they don’t want to pay the market price for the material. I keep hearing the same thing that Moore should have accepted the ratings system, or the merchandising, or the Machiavellian publishing tactics to withhold his copyright and just keep producing more books at DC. So, by that same logic, a slave should just accept their situation because they are fed, clothed, and housed, and they wouldn’t have that without their master. Extreme comparison? Not when you are the person without the creative freedom, especially when that same freedom would hold true in similar industries, like book publishing and Hollywood.

I don’t always agree with Moore’s positions, but I respect his standing up for his beliefs. If you look at some of his fellow protesters, most caved rather quickly. It didn’t take much to get Frank Miller to return to DC, even after he demanded that Dark Horse not label Sin City.

The problem with ratings systems is they are used as de facto censorship, under the guise of “protecting the children.” The judges who impose the rating are in the position to say you can’t do this because I object to it, not because society does. This is after the editor and publisher have approved the work. It’s no different than the Comics Code, which demanded often ridiculous changes which altered the story, such as the EC story about an astronaut observer of a race war, who is revealed to be black. The Code wanted him to be recolored white. Bill Gaines refused. The MPAA has done the same thing. You don’t have this in the book publishing world. Why? Because publishers and writers have actively fought censorship imposed from outside. Who is to say that Charles Dickens should be read by this group, but not that? It should be up to the reader. Moore seems to believe that the reader should be able to make up their own mind, without some outside agency, other than parents or legal guardians saying, “No, you don’t fit into that group.” The argument that kids are exposed to this falls a bit short, because it absolves the parents of being involved in their child’s decisionmaking. Ah, but ratings help them make a choice. No, viewing the work and deciding if they think it is appropriate for their child is the best determination. The watchdogs of society always believe they know best; but, often don’t know when to stop.

I’m a bookseller and have dealt with plenty of people who have voiced objections to Harry Potter, religious books, atheist books, political books, erotica, controversial novels, etc… We hear them out, thank them for their input, and remind them that the First Amendment gives others the right to believe differently and exercise that right. We support the individual’s rights to make their own choices and will continue to make available those books that have not been deemed by a court of law to fall outside the protection of the First Amendment. Moore seemed to feel the same way and that his work should be available to anyone who wanted to see it, while he, and his collaborators, should have their contractual rights upheld as intended, and not delayed by exploiting loopholes, that even corporations have moral obligations.

Yeah, based on interviews I don’t think the rating system was the only thing that caused Alan Moore to quit DC. Among the other things I recall (and it’s alluded to in that comment by Ian Thal) was DC had originally promised Moore they wouldn’t do anything more with Watchmen without his consent. When the difficulty between the two sides arose, DC began planning on doing more stuff with Watchmen without him. Alan found out and confronted them and he was told they’d stop if he’d continue to work for them. That’s when he walked away.

BTW: the rating system was proposed by a conservative retailer who did not like Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns (among other adult oriented comics). He wanted comics to be kid friendly. This was something a very large number of comic creators were against, primarily because they knew the rating system would screw with their work. They’d either have to ramp up or tone down their work to fit it into a rating box. If one rating sold better than another then there would be a push to make more stories fit into that rating. Plus proposed books that would be set in the less popular rating would likely not be approved.

Yes, it’s very delicate matter to discuss.
Obviously, each one of us have different angle to look up.
I look at it more business-wise, some of you look at it creator-wise, other look at it otherwise.
Let me remind you that I love Alan Moore. I just think that he could do some things differently, and the comic book community would profit from that. But it’s history.

I would urge Brian Cronin to start some discussion about Adams, Moore, Morrison, Byrne, Claremont, Starlin, Englehart, Gaiman. What they have in common? What they went through? What were their decision? Are they satisfied where are they now? It’s very interesting too see different stances, different attitudes.

You see, comic books are not the only business, when the worker is shat upon. It happens elsewhere too.
People who DO THE HARDEST WORK, are usually treated as crap. Only the managers profit.

Let me tell you a fable about ant.

“Once upon the time there was an ant who was working hard.
The ant was very efficient. The lion, who was the king of the animals, was very satisfied with the ant’s hard work. But he thought, “I wonder if the work can be more efficient”.
He employed secretaries, vice-directors
Nothing changed.
So he employed strategists
Nothing changed.
He employed managers
Nothing changed.
Annoyed, he employed analyst.
He asked him, why the efficiency doesn’t increase?
The analyst analyzed. After week, the analyst said:
“there are too many people employed!”
So someone should be fired.
In the end, the lion decided to fire the ant.
The End.”

Let it be the food for thought.

interesting always though the reason alan moore left dc was due to not only not getting paid for some of the early watchman merch dc made like that watch and pins but also because dc pulped one of his stories due to it being tied to a baby superman crawling into a mircrowave. plus also that alan was not going to get the rights to watchman back. and also though neil conan was actully some one doing a tribute to neil adams and conan the barbain

@chakal

I do not think it is a delicate matter to discuss. It is only the people who start the name calling (‘whiner’) and attack Moore (or Shuster, Finger, whoever…) who make it look that way.

Reading some of these comments, I think some of Moore’s critics here must have never quit a job.

As far as the comics community profiting from Moore, he still writes, and he has no obligation to support the industry. I do agree that (in my opinion) it is to bad he did not do more at Marvel and DC (but of course it would have been bad of him to participate in the “New 52″).

Also, I think it commendable that he did such a fine job on The Killing Joke even though it was done after he decided to leave. He could have really sabotaged it. Of course there is Morrison’s theory that Batman killed the Joker at the end, so maybe he kind of did…

Chad,

The baby in the microwave story was a Superbaby by Kyle Baker in Elseworlds 80-Page Giant in 1999. You can read about it here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elseworlds_80-Page_Giant

Brian,

Thanks for the well-written article! My brain wants to assert that Moore & Gibbons were paid at a special lower “promotional material” rate (~2%) for the watch and the button set rather than the 7% they were properly owed for “merchandise”. Apparently that matter was settled by a single phone call from Editorial to Promotions, along the lines of “Are you crazy, ripping off our most popular writer?”

One minor bit of the narrative about the comics ratings was that DC announced them as a fait accompli without consulting with any of the creatives. That, more even than the ratings system itself, seemed to be Moore’s biggest complaint.

The ironic thing is that I knew the person who presented the idea of Watchmen buttons to DC. A person I knew in college was a big comic collector and his brother ran a shop and they had a buttonmaker, producing their own buttons. They made a couple of Watchmen smiley-face buttons and wore them at a con, and drew the attention of the DC guys, who thought it was a great idea. He had a thank you letter from DC, on company letterhead, as proof of his story (though, to be fare, that could be forged, but this was before photoshop would make that easier) and they gave him a free set of buttons (but no payment for the idea).

“To me, that was the full stuff.”

I’m pretty sure this would be a misquote by Gary Groth. Moore probably said that was the “full stop” (the term English use, rather than “period”.) In other words, he was quitting DC, period, not unless they did x, y, and z.

“A common thread that seems to crop up into discussions of creators rights and principles is that those rights and principles shouldn’t matter if it inconveniences me, the reader/viewer. This has been thrown out by people who pirate comics and movies, because they don’t want to pay the market price for the material.”
There’s also the complaint I’ve seen in other threads, that expecting Marvel or DC to pay royalties for past work is de facto insane: “I don’t get paid any extra for work I did five years ago!”

well, kdu2814, it seems that you are a mature person. And yes,you’re right, that’s why I am careful when I post.
People prefer to nitpick one thing they disagree with you, rather than comprehend your whole post.

I posted both about what I think about Moore and what I feel about work-for-hire.

You see, I do love Moore, it’s just that I don’t agree with everything he did.
And I guess, it’s a normal reaction, right?

Personally, I always look for a win-win situation.
And Moore, while he is right, he will never do anything neither for Marvel nor DC.
And the question is, are you guys okay with it?
Who will gain from it? Not comic book fans.

There are principles, and there is life.
And sometimes, it’s better to plant the seed deep inside the system you hate.
Rather than outside.
Just sayin’. Understand it the way you want.

And there are many super-awesome writers, better than Moore. It would be cool to
see what they think about the system, and how they tried to fight with it.

Damn, I better make myself more clear.
You see, Moore was blinded by hate so much that he supported Image, who contributed to the downfall of comic books.

Yes, There was a lot of unfairness, but like you said, Moore did the best thing for himself (which is arguable), but no one else gained from it.

The corporations just shrugged it off.
And fans were the one who lost at most.

Because, we need people like Moore, but more intelligent about doing business.
That’s all I try to say.

And the saddest thing.

Moore is right. So what?
Before Watchmen sold so good that they added Moloch and Dollar Bil to the roster.
The first question we must ask ourselves is “wtf”?

and then (my last post, I promise) is Morrison.

He was an okay-man.
and still, he was treated the way he was.
So if Morrison quits, is there really place for people like Moore?

Spurrier ends Legacy in february. No, there is no place for them in mainstream.

[...] Comic Book Legends Revealed #441 (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com) [...]

[...] Comic Book Legends Revealed #441 (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com) [...]

“Leirus
October 18, 2013 at 11:57 am
So Neal and Manoli were real people? You just broke my mind.”

Same here

How dare Alan Moore be allowed to have opinions and principals?!? I demand that he be chained to a desk and forced at gunpoint to write a whole bunch of exciting & cool new stories featuring DC’s characters for our enjoyment! :)

…starting with “Wonder Tot and Friends.”

Hey, I’d read it.

@sean

you aren’t going to find many people who would say that deciding not to keep a job after they completely change the job is an unreasonable stance for somebody who can afford to do so.

You are also going to have a hard time finding many people who think slapping a “For Mature Readers” label on a comic is “completely changing the job of writing a comic book.”

@kdu2814 No storylines were merchandised? Beyond a long history of selling Superman and Batman and Spider-man (etc) products for dozens of years, at that point they were CREATING series to be merchandised. Forget Crisis, how about Secret Wars?

ParanoidObsessive

October 24, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Actually, unless you grew up in a generally urban and/or liberal area, it’s entirely possible you could grow up listening to no NPR and have no idea who Neal Conan was. I grew up in the South, loved all these X-men books, and didn’t find out Neal Conan was a real person until I was an adult.

Ehh, I live in a fairly suburban part of New Jersey, less than 15 minutes away from NYC, and it’s hard to think of a more liberal/urban area than that… and while I’m aware that NPR exists and what it is, I’ve never actually listened to it, nor have most of the people I know. And the one friend I do know used to listen to NPR only ever used to listen to Car Talk.

So I can definitely see people not knowing who NPR “personalities” are.

What becomes more interesting, to me, is once someone points out that YES, this person is a real person, who is on the radio, and has been for quite some time, and is enough of a public figure for parody and public representation laws to kick in (ie, you can use the likeness of public figures in stories or art without necessarily having their explicit permission), there’s still significant concern over whether or not the version of them as presented in the X-Men has become iconic and distinct enough to count as a separate character entirely (and thus falling under copyright law).

Possibly even more of an issue in the case of Sovereign Seven, because Dwayne Turner’s art style makes them look almost identical to the way they looked in Marc Silvestri’s style.

But insanity involving copyright isn’t necessarily a new thing, considering we live in a world where John Fogerty was essentially sued for sounding too much like himself.

The one thing I know is that if you do a comic book legends of Alan Moore, then the other 2 legends will be almost completely ignored.

The one thing I know is that if you do a comic book legends of Alan Moore, then the other 2 legends will be almost completely ignored.

Honestly, I’m pleasantly surprised by how much attention the other two legends DID get this time around, as you’re right, typically any Moore legend takes up the whole discussion.

[...] Comic Book Legends Revealed #441 (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com) [...]

Bill Williamson

March 17, 2014 at 4:56 pm

That damn ratings system lost DC a lot of good people. Particularly Alan Moore and Frank Miller.

The reason Moore refuses residuals and royalties on movie adaptations of his work has nothing to do with thumbing his nose at DC; after all he refuses payment across the board, not just on adaptations of DC books.
It’s because once it’s being adapted to any other medium, it’s out of his hands and he no longer considers it his work, so he doesn’t feel like he should get paid for it.
I may disagree w/a lot of his principles and find him to be a bit of a surly old (loveable) curmudgeon overall, but I find this particular stance only honest and noble.

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