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Rodrigo castellanos
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 11:03am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

He no longer speaks to Alan Davis, Stephen Bissette, David Lloyd, and Dave Gibbons due to perceived slights. Without those guys it's doubtful he'd even had a career in comics.

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With all due respect to those enormously talented artists, that's just not true (and also, I don't think he has any problems with Lloyd to my knowledge). 

Moore wrote hit books also with Kevin O' Neill, Chris Sprouse, Eddie Campbell, Gene Ha, Curt Swan... I could go on and on. He proved this beyond any doubt by working with Rob Liefeld (!) and his studio on art chores and the book was incredibly good (Supreme). It also kind of had an in-story explanation for the bad art that made sense.

And he gives away all his Hollywood money to these same artists, in an unprecedented move. So it's definitely good business to be the artist in an Alan Moore story.

Again, with all due respect to a tremendous artist, what are some of the other Dave Gibbons hit books? Bissette said once that the Swamp Thing origin revamp was his idea. Really? I've seen Moore doing that kind of stuff with tremendous success for over 30 years. Bissette? Not so much.

You can think whatever you want about Moore as a writer, but that his success is because of his artists is just not true, however good or bad they may be. And also, he gives his money away to them. So I kinda agree with him when he says a "Thank You" would be nice.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 12:15pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I stand on the sidelines, saddened. But also curious. WATCHMEN was based on the Charlton Comics superhero line. (YES it was.) Has Moore ever thanked the creators of those characters?

Genuine question, not being snarky.

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Rodrigo castellanos
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 12:30pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

It definitely was, but Moore's original idea was to use any defunct superhero line. His first pitch was using Archie Comics' Mighty Crusaders I think.

Then Dick Giordano suggested using the Charlton characters DC had acquired, Moore agreed and started to work but then DC backed off because they had other plans with those characters.

So they told Moore to "mask" them slightly since he had already done a lot of work and they didn't want having him start over from scratch.

So, yes, but it was more complex than that. 

I obviously enjoy Moore's work a lot for the most part and I don't want to sound like an unconditional fanboy (like I said, the Super-Folks accusation has a lot of legs IMHO), but I do think he gets a lot of unjustified criticism. 

The "Thank me" stuff is a little much yes, and nobody said the man doesn't have ego issues but under a certain light I can understand his frustration.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 12:38pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Moore started with the Charlton characters but "masked" them?

That must be SOME yummy Kool-Aide y'got there!

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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 12:46pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Being upset because someone is ungrateful or doesn't acknowledge you did something for them is understable, but requesting a formalized thank you when the check arrives strikes me as a bit weird.


 QUOTE:
I said to Dave, "The only thing that ever would cause a problem in our relationship is if, when you get the money--that is, my share of the production money--I would ask that you just give me a quick phone call and say 'I've got the money, Alan.  Thanks a lot.'  Just thank me--or, write me a letter or something like that just saying thank-you.  Just the words 'thank you' will be more than adequate."

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Rodrigo castellanos
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 12:59pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Yeah, by most accounts I read that's kinda what happened and it makes sense to me. Moore had no problem using the Charlton characters directly, it was DC that didn't want them to turn up dead or unusable by the end of the story. And since DC weren't going to sue themselves, plagiarism was not an issue. The WATCHMEN characters are a pretty direct riff on the Charlton ones, it's not like Moore was trying to hide it or anything.

Anyways, I know it may sound strange but I don't think the heroes the WATCHMEN characters are based on are THAT important, either. If Moore and Gibbons had used the Archie characters, or Atlas characters or whatever, it would have worked the same IMHO.



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Rodrigo castellanos
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 1:02pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Being upset because someone is ungrateful or doesn't acknowledge you did something for them is understable, but requesting a formalized thank you when the check arrives strikes me as a bit weird.

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We're not talking about a simple man here, yeah it's definitely weird. But on the other side, a simple "Thank you" for getting MILLIONS OF DOLLARS that the writer is giving you on top of your own already considerable share doesn't seem like a terrible annoyance, to me.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 1:06pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Anyways, I know it may sound strange but I don't think the heroes the WATCHMEN characters are based on are THAT important, either. If Moore and Gibbons had used the Archie characters, or Atlas characters or whatever, it would have worked the same IMHO.

It might have worked, and it might have worked well -- maybe even better. But not "the same". The story Moore tells in WATCHMEN is too dependent on the particular characters to imagine them as easily swapped out for others.

(Mark this date! That is probably the closest I will ever get to complimenting Alan Moore!)

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Rodrigo castellanos
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 1:31pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

It might have worked, and it might have worked well -- maybe even better. But not "the same". The story Moore tells in WATCHMEN is too dependent on the particular characters to imagine them as easily swapped out for others.

(Mark this date! That is probably the closest I will ever get to complimenting Alan Moore!)

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You're correct. The Charlton characters are also richer in my opinion to the other supehero lines that were discussed, so Moore and Gibbons had a lot more to "work with", so to speak and that deserves mentioning.

Out of curiosity, have you ever met Moore, JB?

Or was there ever a prospect of you two working together?

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John Byrne
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 3:11pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Out of curiosity, have you ever met Moore, JB?

Or was there ever a prospect of you two working together?

No, and no.

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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 5:14pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Rodrigo, I did acknowledge that Moore gives his half of the movie money to the artists which is quite generous indeed. But all of the artists you mentioned that he's worked with (most of which I've enjoyed as I am a fan of all of those artists) were after he'd already built his career with Bissette and Gibbons and Alan Davis. (Apologies if I was mistaken about Lloyd, but I do seem to recall there being some sort of contention there as well.) Would he have gotten to do the "last" Superman story with Swan if he hadn't already gained fame doing Swamp Thing with Bissette and the initial gig on Captain Britain (also Marvelman) with Alan Davis that got him the job on Swamp Thing? It's hard to say but definitely the art of Bissette and Davis and Gibbons furthered his career quite a bit.

He obviously hasn't had a falling out with every artist from that initial era that he worked with. To my knowledge, he's still on good terms with Rick Veitch at least. He's also quite close to Neil Gaiman (who likely owes Moore his career in comics) and Eddie Campbell.

Since you asked though, Gibbons has Give Me Liberty (with Frank Miller) and a great run on Green Lantern that predated his work on Watchmen. As well as a lengthy list of British comics before that. His bibliography is quite long. 

Bissette really hasn't done anything that's equaled his success on Swamp Thing but the Taboo horror comic anthology he put out was quite good and the art on his short-lived Tyrant series (which he's starting back up) was as good as anything can be without the aid of John Totleben on inks.

I haven't read Bissette saying the idea for the revamp was his but I have read where some of the ideas used in the comic came from him or Totleben and Moore has corroborated that.

I never said his success was completely the result of his artists, but it was a crucial part. Comics are a visual medium. Yes, you need both good writing and art for a comic to work well. But you're not generally picking a book up off the stands because of the text blurb on the front cover, are you?

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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 5:25pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I stand on the sidelines, saddened. But also curious. WATCHMEN was based on the Charlton Comics superhero line. (YES it was.) Has Moore ever thanked the creators of those characters?

Genuine question, not being snarky.


*******

I guess it was too late to ever thank CC Beck for creating Captain Marvel and giving Mick Anglo something to blatantly rip off with Marvelman, the revamp of which likely got Moore his job working in American superhero comics.

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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 5:35pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

On a side note, one of the funnier Moore anecdotes of the last ten years or so comes in the credits of the Miracleman/Marvelman collection that Marvel put out where they were contractually obligated to list his name in the credits as "The Original Writer" due to his oath never to work for Marvel comics again after his falling out with Marvel UK very early in his career.

And isn't it a bit odd that Marvel ended up releasing the comic they threatened to sue over the name Marvelman (which forced the change to Miracleman), for a character that was a blatant rip off of Captain Marvel, which DC owns, after getting the rights from Fawcett after putting them out of business over lawsuits over his similarities to Superman? Hey kids, comics!

Edited by Shane Matlock on 10 July 2017 at 5:54pm
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Rodrigo castellanos
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 6:03pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply


Since you asked though, Gibbons has Give Me Liberty (with Frank Miller) and a great run on Green Lantern that predated his work on Watchmen. As well as a lengthy list of British comics before that. His bibliography is quite long. 

Bissette really hasn't done anything that's equaled his success on Swamp Thing but the Taboo horror comic anthology he put out was quite good and the art on his short-lived Tyrant series (which he's starting back up) was as good as anything can be without the aid of John Totleben on inks

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I certainly meant no disrespect to those artists, I apologize if it came off that way. You're gonna have a hard time finding a bigger Dave Gibbons fan than me.

I enjoyed Give Me Liberty as much as the next guy but I don't think of it as a "hit book". And if it was, I would say Frank Miller's name attached helped in that regard more than Gibbons'. And I have a lot of affection for that Green Lantern run, I started reading comics with those and a few others, but it wasn't especially remarkable. Not even in the top 5 Green Lantern runs.

Again, I'm not trying to diss Gibbons, he's a tremendous artist. But a vast number of the fandom changed then, they would follow Moore whatever he did, but that didn't necessarily apply to the artists that worked with him (most of them very talented).

Same goes for Bissette, and again, I have nothing against him. But if he already had the ideas that made Swamp Thing a success, why didn't he do it with Marty Pasko? It just sounds strange. If it's true and Moore was open to these suggestions, then more power to all involved of course, comics are a collaborative medium after all.

.

I never said his success was completely the result of his artists, but it was a crucial part. Comics are a visual medium. Yes, you need both good writing and art for a comic to work well. But you're not generally picking a book up off the stands because of the text blurb on the front cover, are you?

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I'm afraid that world doesn't exist anymore. 
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 6:20pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply


I'm afraid that world doesn't exist anymore. 

****

You're right about that, sir. And that's not a good thing. It definitely existed at the time those books came out though. 

There are still books that I will buy by an artist no matter what they are. (JB, Steve Epting, JP Leon). But there are also books I will buy because of the writer as well. And Alan Moore is one of those. He may be a bit of a contentious figure and while I don't agree with his treatment of Gibbons and Davis and Bissette, I don't really equate the art with the person. 
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David Miller
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 6:31pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

I'm a sucker for gossip but there's a point where it becomes unseemly. Fans taking sides over whether Dave Gibbons showed sufficient gratitude to Alan Moore for signing over extra Watchmen money is well beyond that point and Moore should never have put it out there.
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 6:46pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I'll freely admit to being a bit biased on the subject, David. I'm Facebook friends with Steve Bissette and it was his essay in The Extraordinary Work of Alan Moore that first informed me that Moore was no longer speaking to him over something he disclosed in a Comics Journal Interview. He actually had nothing bad to say about Moore (he called his scripts "love letters to the artist") and seemed genuinely upset about their friendship ending and still buys and loves all of his work and misses their friendship. The whole thing made me incredibly sad.

To be fair, Moore did not end his friendship with Gibbons over the lack of "thank you" for the considerable Watchmen money. It didn't help, but he had asked Gibbons not to contact him with questions from DC about Watchmen and after Gibbons did it one more time after that he cut him off for good, ending a thirty year friendship. Which is incredibly sad as well.

It's true we probably shouldn't be privy to these very personal things but they're all available in interviews and essays from both sides of the equation. And people are always going to take sides based on whichever creator they like the most or personally agree with.

As far as the Moore feuds go, the only one I actually enjoy is the one with Morrison which is akin to a comic book writer wrestling match. These guys were never friends. And I think their comic book rivalry has likely made them raise both of their games in an attempt to one up the other. I mean, why else would Morrison call Pax Americana "Watchmen done right"? Jab jab.

It hasn't affected me to the point where I'm not going to buy the next League of Extraordinary Gentleman comic. Just as I'm looking forward to Steve Bissette's new Tyrant comic.

Edited by Shane Matlock on 10 July 2017 at 7:09pm
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 6:50pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Back on the thread subject, what I"m not looking forward to is this Watchmen mini-series. I'm not interested in a Watchmen without Dave Gibbons art.
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David Miller
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 7:28pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Like I said, I love the gossip, I just find fanboy arguments about the disposition of intra-collaborative contract disposition unseemly.

Personally, I think Gibbons deserves a medal for maintaining a unified front with Moore for 20 years and can't bring myself to begrudge the guy for finally giving in and accepting that dump truck full of money Warner was backing up to his yard. As has been noted, he doesn't have a back catalogue of two dozen bestsellers to retire on. For all I know there were reasons specific to their contract that required someone to pester Moore; like many people I've been in business relationships with crazy people -- and to be fair, been the crazy person in a couple -- and sometimes just leaving everybody alone isn't an option with money at stake.

I actually copy edited Bissette's friendship-ending TCJ interview, which doesn't give me any special insight, but explains why I remember it so well. I've also corresponded with Steve about it, and agree with you about his sincere appreciation for Moore and his sadness over their break.

There's no telling what specific thing Steve said in the interview that was Moore's last straw, partially because he shared a number of unflattering and conceivably privileged anecdotes about Moore, but also because in that same interview Steve himself characterized their friendship as increasingly strained by their business relationship. Steve may have thought something like the 1963 comic, for example, was a closed wound in 1996, but 5 years later he and Rick Veitch were still arguing about it at the old Comicon boards, so maybe not.

Is Steve doing a new Tyrant? If so, that's good news.
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Christopher Frost
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 7:31pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

The popularity of Watchmen has always baffled me. Yes, the art is nice and the series certainly had an impact on the industry, but I find it vastly overrated. It has some interesting story beats and a few stand out moments but it's also slow and, in my opinion, dull and a slog to get through. The movie was a solid adaptation of the book but it, too, has long stretches of dullness. Having the story fleshed out to fill multiple episodes of a tv series seems like overkill to me.
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Rodrigo castellanos
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 7:53pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

I'm a sucker for gossip but there's a point where it becomes unseemly. Fans taking sides over whether Dave Gibbons showed sufficient gratitude to Alan Moore for signing over extra Watchmen money is well beyond that point and Moore should never have put it out there. 

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I agree. For being a "notorious recluse" he sure gives a lot of interviews and has an opinion on seemingly every subject. I still read them though, so I guess I'm part of the problem as well.

.

Back on the thread subject, what I"m not looking forward to is this Watchmen mini-series. I'm not interested in a Watchmen without Dave Gibbons art.

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Amen. If there is a silver lining to the awful Watchmen film that exists it's that Dave Gibbons closely collaborated with the production team. 

Although I despise Snyder's aesthetics in general, in the Watchmen film a lot of Gibbons still got to shine through.


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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 10 July 2017 at 8:09pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Is Steve doing a new Tyrant? If so, that's good news. 

******

Yes, he is. He's been taking some time off social media to work on it for the last month or so with a few breaks here and there. I couldn't locate any of my back issues of the series so I bought all four in a lot on E-bay in anticipation of the new series. I think his art is really fantastic on those and you could tell he was doing something he really loved. 

Also Rick Veitch is releasing a new Maximortal book as well and has posted a couple of pages on it on FB. 

So it's great to finally be getting a conclusion to these things.. twenty years later.

On a side note, Veitch and Bissette have been auctioning off rare and signed pieces of art and comics via Facebook and giving all proceeds to Bernie Wrightson's widow which is a fine thing indeed.

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