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#602102 - 05/10/13 11:31 AM Re: BEFORE WATCHMEN Scabs List [COMPLETE] [Re: Ceci n'est pas une chaussette]
Lawson Offline
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Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
I can see the logic in your approach, Ceci. The answer boils down to, "It didn't bother me enough before, but now it does. This was the final straw. No more."

Fair enough.

For my part, as irksome as I found BEFORE WATCHMEN to be, as much as I wish these people would go and create something new rather than flog a 26-year-old Moore story, I don't know that I share your level of moral outrage over it.

I was outraged by BP's calamitous actions in the Gulf of Mexico a few years ago. DC just makes me roll my eyes. To the extent that I don't buy much from DC anymore, it's simply because DC doesn't publish much that interests me.

Muddying the waters: You mention the finances of Jack Kirby's heirs. As it happens, DC went out of its way in the 1980s, through the munificence of its top executives at the time, to give Kirby retroactive ownership rights on his Fourth World characters, so that he (or his estate) would get paid when those characters are used. DC since has used those characters a lot, particularly in animated and live-action shows. It's a safe bet that Kirby's heirs today get more money from Darkseid & Co. than they do from Captain America, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four and Thor.

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#602103 - 05/10/13 11:52 AM Re: BEFORE WATCHMEN Scabs List [COMPLETE] [Re: Ceci n'est pas une chaussette]
Ceci n'est pas une chaussette Offline
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Registered: 12/19/05
Posts: 2840
(EDIT: Whoops, as I was typing this, you posted again. This isn't meant as a response to that second post, just as more musing from me.)

I might add though, even if someone was still buying DC I would still take issue with the premise: "Unless you can solve all problems in one swoop, you should ignore one that's right in front of your face."

Around the time the Chick-Fil-A mess was all over the news, I kept hearing things like, "Oh, you wanna boycott Chick-Fil-A? Well, are you going to boycott every company that's ever done anything wrong? No? Then this is stupid." And it struck me as bullshit.

Untangling the horrid mess that is "American Companies Who Do Awful Things" is more than one can expect of a single person. For instance, Bank of America is pretty much a thoroughly reprehensible company, but for a while there I had to do business with them; they bought my mortgage off the original lender. It was either give them money, or lose my house.

But not cramming a chicken sandwich down my gullet? Yeah, that's easy. So easy that it's almost ridiculous not to, even though no, it does not solve every single problem in America.

Before Watchmen is similar. Despite the post above, I'm sure there are ways in which I continue to do business with Time Warner, either knowingly or unknowingly. Completely disentangling myself from that company... the world's second largest media conglomerate, which has fingers in more pies than I could probably count in a lifetime... would be a much bigger task than one can expect from a single person.

That doesn't mean I should cram J. Michael Straczynski's next show down my gullet. In fact, not doing so is so easy, it's almost ridiculous not to.
_________________________
"When one says 'Africa,' it refers to Africa in the Euro-colonized sense, not the damn bush country or whatever."
- Ed Gauthier, DCP

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#602104 - 05/10/13 11:59 AM Re: BEFORE WATCHMEN Scabs List [COMPLETE] [Re: Lawson]
Ceci n'est pas une chaussette Offline
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Registered: 12/19/05
Posts: 2840
Originally Posted By: Lawson
I can see the logic in your approach, Ceci. The answer boils down to, "It didn't bother me enough before, but now it does. This was the final straw. No more."


Not exactly. More like, "I began reading comics when I was very young, and these things seemed just like, y'know, how things are. I was able to rationalize it. But this happened when I was an adult, and as a result, it was the catalyst that made me stop rationalizing."

Quote:
I was outraged by BP's calamitous actions in the Gulf of Mexico a few years ago. DC just makes me roll my eyes.


Why choose? You can be outraged by BP, and not buy DC Comics.

Quote:
As it happens, DC went out of its way in the 1980s, through the munificence of its top executives at the time, to give Kirby retroactive ownership rights on his Fourth World characters, so that he (or his estate) would get paid when those characters are used. DC since has used those characters a lot, particularly in animated and live-action shows. It's a safe bet that Kirby's heirs today get more money from Darkseid & Co. than they do from Captain America, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four and Thor.


They did indeed. And how much of that was a PR poke at Marvel, timed to coincide with fan boycotts over Kirby's Marvel artwork? DC also gave Siegel and Shuster a pension... because of threatened boycotts of the Superman movie.

When enough people get behind them, boycotts do good things.
_________________________
"When one says 'Africa,' it refers to Africa in the Euro-colonized sense, not the damn bush country or whatever."
- Ed Gauthier, DCP

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#602105 - 05/10/13 12:31 PM Re: BEFORE WATCHMEN Scabs List [COMPLETE] [Re: Ceci n'est pas une chaussette]
Lawson Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
Originally Posted By: Ceci n'est pas une chaussette
Why choose? You can be outraged by BP, and not buy DC Comics.


Absolutely.

To me, though, BEFORE WATCHMEN was less than an outrage. It was just another depressing example of DC having no new ideas to offer. I don't know enough about the contract Alan Moore signed in the 1980s to tell you if DC committed a true act of fraud there. As a reader, I'd like to see a creator's wishes respected when he asks for his groundbreaking work to be left alone. But - that takes us back to DC having no new ideas.

BP, on the other hand, was guilty of some demonstratively illegal and deadly behavior.

As for Chik-Fil-A, I'm a vegetarian, so I wasn't going there, anyway. But the problem with that boycott is that Chik-Fil-A's CEO was the dude who took the gay marriage stand, and a lot of the individual restaurants are owned by franchisees, some of whom disagreed with the CEO. So I withhold my money from a local owner and his local employees because the man who runs the Chik-Fil-A company has a reprehensible opinion?


Quote:
And how much of that was a PR poke at Marvel, timed to coincide with fan boycotts over Kirby's Marvel artwork? DC also gave Siegel and Shuster a pension... because of threatened boycotts of the Superman movie.

When enough people get behind them, boycotts do good things.


I don't dispute that boycotts can be effective, for good and for ill. There are groups I don't like who boycott businesses for doing things I admire. They, too, inflict pain.

I'm not sure that Jenette Kahn and Paul Levitz at DC helped Kirby with the Fourth World characters as a direct result of the public shaming campaign against Marvel. DC gave Kirby his retroactive rights in 1982. I recall the "What about Jack?" shame campaign against Marvel, being a young fanboy at the time, and it didn't gear up until a few years later. Those wonderful back-cover ads on the indie comics ran in 1986, to coincide with Marvel's 25th anniversary.

I could be wrong on that one. Generally, though, I admired Kahn, and I think she tried to act decently because she was a decent person.

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#602106 - 05/10/13 12:47 PM Re: BEFORE WATCHMEN Scabs List [COMPLETE] [Re: Lawson]
Ceci n'est pas une chaussette Offline
Member

Registered: 12/19/05
Posts: 2840
Originally Posted By: Lawson
But the problem with that boycott is that Chik-Fil-A's CEO was the dude who took the gay marriage stand, and a lot of the individual restaurants are owned by franchisees, some of whom disagreed with the CEO. So I withhold my money from a local owner and his local employees because the man who runs the Chik-Fil-A company has a reprehensible opinion?


I hate to relitigate something months down the road, but this wasn't what happened (although that was how it was frequently reported on the news).

The head of Chik-Fil-A was donating massive amounts of money to ex-gay organizations that essentially torture gay teens. When you buy a Chik-Fil-A sandwich, at whatever franchise, you're sending money to those groups. This was the reason for the boycott. His opinion on gay marriage also sucks, and isn't surprising, considering where he sends his money. But it wasn't the cause.

Quote:
Generally, though, I admired Kahn, and I think she tried to act decently because she was a decent person.


I'm sure she was. I also don't think it was a coincidence that Before Watchmen was announced pretty much the day after Levitz left.

I would never make the argument that no good person has ever worked at DC or Marvel. Or BP, for that matter. The fun of a corporation is that they can do incredibly horrible things while still having nice individual people, so really nobody's to blame, right?
_________________________
"When one says 'Africa,' it refers to Africa in the Euro-colonized sense, not the damn bush country or whatever."
- Ed Gauthier, DCP

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#602107 - 05/10/13 12:58 PM Re: BEFORE WATCHMEN Scabs List [COMPLETE] [Re: Ceci n'est pas une chaussette]
Lawson Offline
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Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
Well, Ceci, because I respect your judgment, what is the moral argument against BEFORE WATCHMEN?

In terms of it being a creatively bankrupt turd, I'm already sold. That's why I didn't touch it. I'm with you there.

But - and I'm asking sincerely - didn't Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons essentially sell WATCHMEN to DC when they signed those contracts in the 1980s?

I understand that Moore didn't want a sequel (and let's face it, Gibbons didn't, either). I respect that. But they didn't publish WATCHMEN on their own in 1986-87, in the model of Dave Sim, they sold it to and published it through DC Comics Inc., a subsidiary of Time Warner, a company both of them were familiar with.

From a moral viewpoint, why should I be upset about BEFORE WATCHMEN? DC evidently owns the rights to Nite Owl, Dr. Manhattan and all the rest.

This jazz about DC never letting the WATCHMEN trade go out of print, thereby keeping the rights from reverting to Moore and Gibbons - I've never really sympathized with that. WATCHMEN, a great comic, has been a strong seller in trade format for decades now. DC isn't inventing that market demand. Why would DC take the book out of publication when, according to Amazon, it's currently the no. 40 best-selling comic and trade?

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#602108 - 05/10/13 01:19 PM Re: BEFORE WATCHMEN Scabs List [COMPLETE] [Re: Ceci n'est pas une chaussette]
Lawson Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
Originally Posted By: Ceci n'est pas une chaussette
I hate to relitigate something months down the road, but this wasn't what happened (although that was how it was frequently reported on the news).

The head of Chik-Fil-A was donating massive amounts of money to ex-gay organizations that essentially torture gay teens. When you buy a Chik-Fil-A sandwich, at whatever franchise, you're sending money to those groups. This was the reason for the boycott. His opinion on gay marriage also sucks, and isn't surprising, considering where he sends his money. But it wasn't the cause.


No, you're right, forgive me, I wasn't remembering the full scope of the CEO's actions. He gave money, which is more than just holding an opinion, and his money came from the chicken restaurants, including the franchises.

Still, my concern remains much the same.

There are people who own a Chik-Fil-A franchise who do not share the CEO's view and who do not give money to oppose gay marriage. Some of them, in fact, were horrified by what he did and were vocal about it. But their life's savings are tied up in this chicken restaurant employing a couple dozen people, so - now what should they do? And why should I punish them?

Again, that one is a hypothetical. To my knowledge, I've never set foot in a Chik-Fil-A in the first place.

I'm not saying boycotts are necessarily wrong - now might be a good time to reconsider buying clothes made in Bangladesh, to cite an example - but it's a complicated thing.

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#602109 - 05/10/13 01:22 PM Re: BEFORE WATCHMEN Scabs List [COMPLETE] [Re: Lawson]
Ceci n'est pas une chaussette Offline
Member

Registered: 12/19/05
Posts: 2840
Originally Posted By: Lawson
This jazz about DC never letting the WATCHMEN trade go out of print, keeping the rights from reverting to Moore and Gibbons - I've never really sympathized with that.


Ha ha, whoops. Typed out a whole thing about that, then got to this part. TIME WELL SPENT.

But y'know, either you sympathize with it or you don't. Interviews with Moore suggest that this provision was specifically pitched to him in such way as to say that DC cared about creators, and would be returning the rights to him. All indications are that DC suggested, "this is how you'll eventually own the rights."

That, frankly, is enough for me. It's not the worst thing DC's ever done. It's not even the most recent, considering that it's been ongoing since 1986. But to me, it's bad enough (and as you say, artistically bankrupt enough) that it makes me say, "oh, fuck those guys."

(I also don't believe for a second that Watchmen has been brought back into print every 364 days for 27 years only because the market happened to keep dictating new printings once a year like clockwork. But that's neither here nor there.)
_________________________
"When one says 'Africa,' it refers to Africa in the Euro-colonized sense, not the damn bush country or whatever."
- Ed Gauthier, DCP

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#602110 - 05/10/13 01:29 PM Re: BEFORE WATCHMEN Scabs List [COMPLETE] [Re: Lawson]
Ceci n'est pas une chaussette Offline
Member

Registered: 12/19/05
Posts: 2840
Originally Posted By: Lawson
But their life's savings are tied up in this chicken restaurant employing a couple dozen people, so - now what should they do? And why should I punish them?


It's not punishing someone to not buy their chicken sandwich. You don't owe them your business; you're not doing anything unfair by withholding it.

As mentioned above, there will always be good people who work at the worst companies. That doesn't make the companies less awful, or more deserving of our business.
_________________________
"When one says 'Africa,' it refers to Africa in the Euro-colonized sense, not the damn bush country or whatever."
- Ed Gauthier, DCP

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#602111 - 05/10/13 01:38 PM Re: BEFORE WATCHMEN Scabs List [COMPLETE] [Re: Ceci n'est pas une chaussette]
Lawson Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
Originally Posted By: Ceci n'est pas une chaussette
(I also don't believe for a second that Watchmen has been brought back into print every 364 days for 27 years only because it's the market happened to keep dictating new printings once a year like clockwork. But that's neither here nor there.)


But I think this is an important point, based on your chief complaint.

I've visited comics shops for the entire trade lifespan of WATCHMEN. I've always found it sitting on a prominent shelf; it's always a reasonably popular item on the sales charts. (For good reason, it's a great comic.) In fact, it's one of the few trades you can be certain of finding in nearly any bookstore, big box or otherwise.

I have fanboy friends who own several different versions of WATCHMEN - the original comics, the original trade, the fancy Absolute Omnibus box set with a lock of Alan Moore's hair, and so on.

Why didn't DC let WATCHMEN go out of print?

Because it sells.

DC is a publisher. That's the business it's in. If it has a trade that people want to keep buying year after year, it's going to keep reissuing it.

So as cynical as I am, I can't be upset about DC keeping WATCHMEN in print.

I don't know what someone at DC told Moore in a conversation back in 1986. If Moore says he was privately assured that WATCHMEN would go out of print eventually, then I'll take his word for it. But it's possible that nobody realized what a hit they had on their hands.

In 1986, Moore was 33 years old, and he already had written a number of projects for DC. I hate to say it, but if that point was so important to him - "WATCHMEN will revert to me and Dave by XX date" - he should have gotten it in writing.

I can understand his frustration now. But I don't know that I'll boycott Steve Rude because someone allegedly told Alan Moore something that didn't come true.

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