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.
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.
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.