Page 3 of 4 < 1 2 3 4 >
Topic Options
#602112 - 05/10/13 02:09 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
Why didn't DC let WATCHMEN go out of print?

Because it sells.


Because it sells? Or because sometimes a low seller will keep the rights so it can be sold again later in higher numbers?

Every few years, Marvel will release (for instance) a Dr. Strange miniseries. Not because they expect huge sales, but because if they don't, a few key trademarks will expire, and in the long run, it's worth it. I would bet hard money that the same is true for Watchmen.

But the reason I say it's neither here nor there is:

1) Because I'm not in a DC boardroom; this is conjecture on my part, and I don't like to base an argument on conjecture.

2) Because I really don't think it matters. "We promised you something, but then we realized we could make more money if we didn't do that, so... y'know. Go fuck yourself" is enough reason for me to say "that's shitty."

Quote:
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.


Jack Kirby was 44 when he did Fantastic Four #1, and had drawn his first professional superhero comic 21 years earlier. Was he wrong to be pissed off?
_________________________
"When one says 'Africa,' it refers to Africa in the Euro-colonized sense, not the damn bush country or whatever."
- Ed Gauthier, DCP

Top
#602113 - 05/10/13 02:31 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
Because it sells? Or because sometimes a low seller will keep the rights so it can be sold again later in higher numbers?


The former, I think.

For as long as I've participated at Comicon, the last decade or so, I've also kept an eye on the sales charts for comics and trades/graphic novels. And throughout that time, WATCHMEN has been a regular presence in the Top 50 trades/graphic novels. It's not No. 1, mind you, but it's a modestly, consistently strong seller. This is true even when there are no movies or sequel projects coming out.

That's why comics shops and bookstores (who could give a damn about DC's corporate agenda) keep stocking it.

The lame projects that Marvel and DC publish just to hang onto a trademark, you don't see those on display five, 10, 15 years later at stores.

I don't think it's a nefarious scheme to deny Alan Moore his rights. WATCHMEN is a legitimately good seller. Under the contract that Moore signed, DC can keep publishing it.

I do understand Moore's frustration. In 1986, with the direct market still relatively new, who could imagine a comic book would be collected and kept in print for a quarter-century?


Originally Posted By: Ceci n'est pas une chaussette
Jack Kirby was 44 when he did Fantastic Four #1, and had drawn his first professional superhero comic 21 years earlier. Was he wrong to be pissed off?


Depends on what pissed him off.

The Kirby/Moore analogy isn't a great parallel - and neither would be a Siegel and Shuster/Moore analogy - because the only thing they all have in common is they created something and then they sold it to a publisher.

I don't think Kirby wanted to own the Hulk or prevent others from drawing him. Kirby's main gripe, as I understand it, was that everyone got rich off his comics other than him, and that included his partner, Stan Lee.

I sympathize. As with Siegel and Shuster over at DC, at some point, the moral thing for a company to do - as the millions of dollars poured in - is share some of that with the guys who created the money-making properties, whether or not you are legally required to. That's a moral issue, not a legal issue.

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe Moore claims to be inadequately paid for his work. In fact, he seems uninterested in money. What he wants is legally recognized control of what he wrote for DC, which I can respect, but ... that's not the contract he signed.

Given the track record of the comic book industry in general - and DC Comics Inc. in particular - and given Moore's fierce intelligence, I'm puzzled as to why he accepted some company manager's verbal assurance that he would get this one thing most dear to him, creative ownership of his stories. This would have been a relatively unique deal for DC in 1986. Why not get that in writing?

Top
#602115 - 05/10/13 02:50 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
For as long as I've participated at Comicon, the last decade or so, I've also kept an eye on the sales charts for comics and trades/graphic novels. And throughout that time, WATCHMEN has been a regular presence in the Top 50 trades/graphic novels. It's not No. 1, mind you, but it's a modestly, consistently strong seller. This is true even when there are no movies or sequel projects coming out.


Again, I think this is (at best) tangential to my objection, so I don't want to flog it into the ground. But bookstores have only taken an eye towards graphic novels in the last decade or so... and Diamond's Top 50 TPBs isn't exactly a chart-burner, especially during some of comics' more lean years.

Quote:
I don't think Kirby wanted to own the Hulk or prevent others from drawing him. Kirby's main gripe, as I understand it, was that everyone got rich off his comics other than him, and that included his partner, Stan Lee.


He was pretty pissed off that someone other than him drew the Silver Surfer, although I take your point.

Quote:
Given the track record of the comic book industry in general - and DC Comics Inc. in particular - and given Moore's fierce intelligence, I'm puzzled as to why he accepted some company manager's verbal assurance that he would get this one thing most dear to him, creative ownership of his stories. This would have been a relatively unique deal for DC in 1986. Why not get that in writing?


I would think it would be fairly easy to assume DC would treat him well. Swamp Thing was a hit, Watchmen was a high-profile project, and every indication was that Moore was their new golden boy. Why wouldn't they want to keep him happy?

Hell, years later DC bought an entire comic company (Wildstorm) pretty much entirely to get hold of the reprint rights to Alan Moore comics. So it's not unreasonable to assume they want (and have always wanted) more from him.

We've said in other threads that, all moral and legal implications aside, DC was stupid in how they treated Moore. Even if he's being a total prima donna (which I don't believe he is, but let's assume for the sake of argument), keeping him happy means you get a second seller like Watchmen. Driving him away means you don't.
_________________________
"When one says 'Africa,' it refers to Africa in the Euro-colonized sense, not the damn bush country or whatever."
- Ed Gauthier, DCP

Top
#602116 - 05/10/13 03:38 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
We've said in other threads that, all moral and legal implications aside, DC was stupid in how they treated Moore. Even if he's being a total prima donna (which I don't believe he is, but let's assume for the sake of argument), keeping him happy means you get a second seller like Watchmen. Driving him away means you don't.


I agree with you completely here.

And I don't think Moore's being a prima donna. I do understand his desires and frustrations. I understand why he wouldn't ever want to write for DC again.

Given the lackluster sales on BEFORE WATCHMEN, I think it's fair to say that DC could have made more money had it stroked Moore like a pet cat and gotten another half-dozen projects out of him. You get writers like Moore once a generation. Why not keep the man happy?

Top
#602117 - 05/10/13 07:06 PM Re: BEFORE WATCHMEN Scabs List [COMPLETE] [Re: Lawson]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
Member

Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7089
Originally Posted By: Lawson
Why boycott everyone connected to BEFORE WATCHMEN?

"Purely intended for educational purposes." Do with the list what you will.


Originally Posted By: Lawson
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.

Like I said when this was brought up before: if it is still true that the Kirby estate receives compensation for Jack's creations, please provide another source than a remark at a convention made by a kid who may or may not have been in the room when the deal was struck, who then went on to become the company president twenty years later, relating the story at the beginning of his time as president in an effort to generate good will for his company. Also, some details as to how much that compensation is would be nice (that is to say, is it more than the price of a Happy Meal).


Originally Posted By: Lawson
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.

Ask Bungee. He seems to know all about it.


Originally Posted By: Lawson
Why didn't DC let WATCHMEN go out of print?

Because it sells.

True, but that's only part of the full answer. It was also to maintain the copyright. After DC flooded the market with the ten dollar edition just prior to the movie, they offered to give the copyrights back to Moore and Gibbons in exchange for a guarantee of no legal challenges to the ongoing trademarks.


Originally Posted By: Lawson
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.

Never mind that Moore is British, where certain conventions (like reversion of rights back to the creators) are common practice. Never mind that the book market for comics collections was almost non-existent at the time.


Originally Posted By: Lawson
I understand that Moore didn't want a sequel (and let's face it, Gibbons didn't, either).

I'd like a citation for that, as well.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
— Bob Kane

Top
#602119 - 05/13/13 10:22 AM Re: BEFORE WATCHMEN Scabs List [COMPLETE] [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Lawson Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery
Like I said when this was brought up before: if it is still true that the Kirby estate receives compensation for Jack's creations, please provide another source than a remark at a convention made by a kid who may or may not have been in the room when the deal was struck, who then went on to become the company president twenty years later, relating the story at the beginning of his time as president in an effort to generate good will for his company. Also, some details as to how much that compensation is would be nice (that is to say, is it more than the price of a Happy Meal).


I dunno how much money the Kirby estate gets.

I was as skeptical as you initially, but among the sources confirming that the Kirby estate gets something from the continued use of the Fourth World characters under that 1982 deal is Mark Evanier, Kirby's friend and biographer.

Evanier has confirmed that in his writings and public comments. He has gotta be considered a credible Kirby source.


Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery
Originally Posted By: Lawson
I understand that Moore didn't want a sequel (and let's face it, Gibbons didn't, either).

I'd like a citation for that, as well.


For Dave Gibbons, you mean?

I don't have one. I just thought that Gibbons' expression of support for BEFORE WATCHMEN, as published by DC in advance of the project, sounded extremely lukewarm.

I admit it's my own interpretation, but it sounded like Gibbons would rather the damn thing be left alone. However, he also wanted to continue working for DC, and he concluded that doing so required him to make some conciliatory noises about the sequel.

Top
#602120 - 05/13/13 02:57 PM Re: BEFORE WATCHMEN Scabs List [COMPLETE] [Re: Lawson]
shjonescrk Offline
Member

Registered: 10/31/03
Posts: 1351
Loc: Airdrie, Scotland
It's a pity DC didn't treat Moore a bit better. He's probably the best comic book writer of his generation and if they'd have kept him happy, they'd have made a lot more money and we'd have a lot more great comics. If DC had been nicer and Moore/Gibbons owned the rights to Watchmen, they'd have probably let DC publish it anyway.

Big corporations are naturally greedy. They want it all. Every damn bit of it. It doesn't matter that they would have more if they were a little less greedy.

Top
#602121 - 05/13/13 04:04 PM Re: BEFORE WATCHMEN Scabs List [COMPLETE] [Re: Lawson]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
Member

Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7089
Originally Posted By: Lawson
among the sources confirming that the Kirby estate gets something from the continued use of the Fourth World characters under that 1982 deal is Mark Evanier

I read Evanier's blog every day and I don't recall this ever being brought up.


Originally Posted By: Lawson
I admit it's my own interpretation, but it sounded like Gibbons would rather the damn thing be left alone.

I admit it's my interpretation, but it sounded to me like Gibbons would have signed up to actually contribute something to BW if he wasn't concerned he'd never be able to find work in comics again after that.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
— Bob Kane

Top
#602122 - 05/13/13 04:35 PM Re: BEFORE WATCHMEN Scabs List [COMPLETE] [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Lawson Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery
I read Evanier's blog every day and I don't recall this ever being brought up.


Mark Evanier: "DC does pay the Kirby estate...very nice, fair amounts. Marvel does not. And it always bothers me when a creator's work is reused without compensation to them or their heirs."

Top
#602123 - 05/13/13 04:42 PM Re: BEFORE WATCHMEN Scabs List [COMPLETE] [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Lawson Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery
I admit it's my interpretation, but it sounded to me like Gibbons would have signed up to actually contribute something to BW if he wasn't concerned he'd never be able to find work in comics again after that.


I dunno. I just don't get that sense from his comments, but I could be wrong.

Dave Gibbons, formal statement issued through DC Comics: "The original series of Watchmen is the complete story that Alan Moore and I wanted to tell. However, I appreciate DC's reasons for this initiative and the wish of the artists and writers involved to pay tribute to our work. May these new additions have the success they desire."

Gibbons, informal remark to Bleeding Cool: "I didn’t have a lot of input in it. To me anything to do with the movies – as far as I’m concerned, what Alan and I did was the Watchmen graphic novel and a couple of illustrations that came out at the same time. Everything else – the movie, the game, the prequels – are really not canon. They’re subsidiary. They’re not really Watchmen. They’re just something different.”

Top
Page 3 of 4 < 1 2 3 4 >


Moderator:  Rick Veitch, Steve Conley