Alan Moore, the ‘Watchmen’ Film’s Biggest Fan

hurmI have got as much confidence as it is possible to have in the people who are handling the Watchmen film…. I’ve got complete faith in [the screenwriter]. I believe that he will try his best to make the film as faithful to the experience of reading Watchmen as he can. I believe he’s got a lot of respect for the material, and that’s all that I can ask for, really, and I’m prepared to sort of stand by what he does.”

As I read the account of Alan Moore speaking these words, I got up and wandered the house in search of a taller chair. I wanted to fall out of the chair I was already in, but I felt that quotes like these called for more of an impact. Was this the same twiggy-bearded grumpus who would be spitting venom about the film for months to come? The man who, for someone who famously didn’t want his name associated with Zack Snyder’s movie, sure did seem to be extensively quoted in 45% of all the articles I read about it? Had the writer in fact interviewed Alan T. Moore, an air conditioning repairman out of Pahrump, NV?

No, it wasn’t the HVAC guy. It was the real Alan Moore, enthusiastically cheerleading the Watchmen movie. It’s just that the article was written in 1987.

Television Without Pity this week reprinted portions of an article from an old issue of Comics Interview magazine in which Moore could not be happier about the scriptwriter Sam Hamm working on his masterpiece. Needless to say, this is a far cry from what we hear from Mr. Moore these days.

What on earth could have happened to harden his heart so in the intervening years? We may need to look no further than the Hamm script itself, which the TWoP article goes on to quote at embarrassing length. In fact, the script he cheers for in the original piece may have been the very thing that had him convinced his book was “unfilmable” by the time Terry Gilliam came sniffing around.

Are we simply seeing in these quotes the capriciousness of youth (or the capriciousness of less-old, anyway)? Was Moore just still blissfully ignorant of the way The Man crushes your art to squeeze it through the machine?

I have to confess to a deep and unpopular ambivalence when it comes to Alan Moore’s kvetching. On the one hand, if someone so much as edits the punctuation on one of my little pieces on this site, I’m on edge for the rest of the day; in one sense, my heart is with him. On the other hand, sometimes when I’m reading his work it seems like he spends half his time railing against Hollywood for violating his characters without even asking him and the other half of his time literally violating other people’s characters. “Wow… so, Dr. Jekyll rapes him to death, then? Well, I… imagine Robert Louis Stevenson would have loved that.” Any gamblers out there want to give me odds on how okay L. Frank Baum would have been with what happened to Dorothy? I mean, hell; the only reason Watchmen has his original characters in it is DC’s managing editor stopped him from using old Charlton characters after reading the proposal. Sometimes, I think the poor guy can’t catch a break; other times, I imagine Lewis Carroll looking down and laughing, “Yeah! How’s that feel?”

What do you make of all this, iFaithful?

 

Comments

  1. I just listened to a Dave Gibbons interview on Word Balloon that touches on that subject a little.  I found it numbing to see Alan Moore turning down so much money that could have been easily his on several different film projects.  I think Moore could have easily stopped these projects from happening through a lengthy court battle, somehow I think he has a fear of failure with these films.  He believes in his craft, yet he doesn’t want credit for what might or might not fail.  So he sticks to the medium he intended it for.  And for him that’s enough.  If people can’t enjoy his work by reading it, then why make it into a film.  On the other hand,  having tried to read Lord of the Rings and almost going into a coma doing so,  I think the films opened up the possibility for me to enjoy Tokien’s work more.  The same might be for the average six pack Joe that would never pick up a thing called a comic.  It will always be a catch 22, of which I never read that book either!

  2. A big part of what I love about comic books is the sense of shared ownership — that any writer could come along and do new and interesting things with characters that readers already care about.  I feel the same way about stories that use famous literary characters (though I’ve never actually read Moore’s works of that type).  Comic book movies, to me, are just one more way that creative people are given the chance to put their own stamp on characters they already love.

    I think there’s a big difference between, say, someone editing and publishing a story that’s a bastardized version of your intent (like your punctuation example), and someone creating a new adaptation of a story based on what’s already been published.    In the first case, your own words are never shared; you’ve lost your ability to make your mark.  But in the second case, you’ve had your chance.  No one is taking that away from you, or from your readers.  The original still exists.  Someone is just making a new, additional product.

    In other words, I pretty much think Alan Moore is being ridiculous.  If the movie is bad, fans can just go back to the graphic novel and pretend it never existed.  It’s not hurting anything — in fact, if the current sales are any indication, it’s actually helping new readers to find the original story.  Everybody wins.

  3. Your next-to-last paragraph is pretty much how I feel about his diva-like behavior.  It would be different if this was an isolated case, but he pretty much fights with every company he works with.  Next up:  Avatar!

    Samm Hamm.  Wow, there’s a blast from the past.  Whatever happened to that guy?  I remember after the first Batman movie came out he wrote a heavily-hyped arc on Batman.  I don’t think it was well recieved, but my memory is fuzzy on it.

  4. it’s a very good observation but i think he’s more annoyed about the contents of the story as a whole and less about the characters themselves. on the other hand i like the fact that he might be saying one thing and doing another, seems very natural like what a lot of people do (i’ve borrowed characters from friends, hell even whole storylines then got annoyed when they even try to touch mine!) i can’t say i really like watchmen but i’m excited for the movie now after seeing the trailer and the interviews with snyder. seems like someone focused on delivering the spirit of the book.

    and catch 22 is bloody awesome.

  5. I can understand Moore’s suspicion of Hollywood (From Hell and LXG, anyone?), but when he doesn’t seem to see that what he claims the film industry does to comics is actually the exact same thing he does to Victorian lit., his argument loses credibility. Mr. Moore, just admit you’re bitter about not owning the rights to Watchmen. It’s OK, we don’t blame you! But I’m betting most of us are still going to go see the Watchmen movie, too.

  6. I agree that Moore is seeing the benifit of sales as @throughthebrush pointed out. I’m all for anything that exposes more people to good comics. If I was moore, I’d just offer a "No Comment" answer or something. I can certianly understand where he’s coming from given the Hollywood Track record with his material.

     

    I try to put mysekf in his shoes. Here’s the best analogy I can come up with. You can date my daughter, but I  don’t have to be enthusaistic at the prospect of you sleeping with her.

     

    Also, Bonus Jimski! Very nice, thanks fir taking the time.

  7. i do not like the argument that since moore uses classic lit characters  in works  such as "lost girls" and "league of extraordinary gentlemen" that hes a hypocrite. most of those authors have been dead for over a hundred years and their characters have been in the public domain for years as well (at least since ive been alive) plus i think these authors would be shocked and proud that their work is still being read and expended upon long after their death

  8. Moore has carte blanche to complain as far as I’m concerned.

    And it’s not about the use of characters, it’s about not wanting to see an adaptation of his work, which is completely within his rights.

  9. I agree, he has every right to complain..  I wonder if he would ever agree to adapt one of his works to film if he was given 100% creative control.

     Probably not, as comics are a unique medium.  The most I can hope from such movies is that it will increase or open up an interest in experiencing the work in the original medium. 

     But I do feel that there have been examples where the adaptations/movies excel over the original works, such as The Godfather II and Kubrick’s Shining. 

  10. If it were me, if I were Alan Moore, everything I wrote for five years would be about evil, cold-blooded executives at Dorner Brothers and their witless lackey, Jack Shnyder.

  11. @conor Oh, I didn’t mean to imply he doesn’t have the right to complain.  Everyone has the right to complain about anything.  I wouldn’t be on the internet if I didn’t believe that.

    But I don’t, personally, see how an adaptation can be such an affront.  He’s free to dislike the result, but I don’t understand being so against adaptation in general, which Moore seems to have become.

    Maybe I’m just too much of a hippie about these things.

  12. I think he has all the right in the world to complain, but he is a hypocrite, as Jim has pointed out.  Dude has literally f-ed around with other people’s works and characters and made them something completely different, tried to imply new meaning to their stories, etc.  The time/deadness of the authors doesn’t matter.  He took their characters and then went the way he, as the artist, wanted to go.  Same with the movies.  He can either take the royalties or not (is he paying royalties to the families of those authors, no), and he can complain, but I have no problem with DC exercising its rights and making the movies.

    To be honest, the characters in Lost Girls and LXG all have way more fans than anything he has yet written.  He doesn’t care, he writes what he wants about those ‘sacred’ characters.  Seems like Snyder or anyone else should be able to do the same. Doesn’t mean he can’t complain, I just don’t have to agree with him.

  13. I haven’t read Lost Girls but it says in that article that Moore claims he isn’t violating the source material and that its "safe on the bookshelf"  doesn’t that seem a bit hypocritical?

  14. Moore no doubt had right to have pure hatred for Hollywood for his adaptations. From Hell, LXG, and V for Vendetta are some of the worst comic book films you’ll see. Not only that, but they all have totally ignore the entire idea of the original source and try and make a completely different film of there own. Bad acting, bad script, bad everything: the copies of those films should be buried next to the E.T. Atari games in the desert.

    But it is a double standard when he complains about one thing, and do the exact same thing on his own work. He doesnt like it Synder is working on Watchmen, but yet he has no problem being the random guy writing the 19th century literary characters for his League books. That’s condradiction at it’s finest.

  15. The characters he uses are public domain hence legal for usage. Watchmen characters are not, unless licenced.

    Just saying…

  16. @Jupiter: I understand that, it’s not about legal problems here. The problem is, is that Moore doesnt like it when people are using his characters outside the norm from their original intent.

    Yet he’s using older characters to make a huge action epic in his League books. I wonder how Bram Stroker, H. Rider Haggard, H.G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jules Verne, and many many other authors would think about how Moore uses their characters in his books. That was my point.

  17. Heh.  Sam Hamm’s script was funny.

  18. It’s his work he has the right to moan if he feels it is being bastardised  in another media

    I know I would

  19. To counter some of the arguments about long dead authors’ potential feelings about Moore’s use of their characters, Moore is using old characters with entirely new plots/themes/settings. Yes, it’s a bit of a rip-off by him in an attempt to make his stories more ‘epic’ and carry a lot of weight by using already established characters, rather than creating his own, but it seems completely excusable for two reasons. First, the entire medium of comic books is based upon using characters that somebody else has created in new stories. I mean, Siegel and Shuster only wrote Superman for what? Ten years? And I don’t think anyone considers any of those tales in the "Greatest Superman Stories of All-Time" list. (Oddly enough, they’d probably throw in "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow" by Alan Moore.)

    And secondly, using his LXG books as an example, if he had really wanted to Moore could have created straight-up "repaints" of all the characters in there, as he did with "Campion Bond": aging big-game hunter, invisible man, a schizophrenic scientist, Middle Eastern pirate with a submarine, etc… He basically did that with Watchmen, since they’re all pretty much analogous to Charleston characters, but when they characters you’re modeling your new characters after are available to use, why not use them? It seems to be carrying on the tradition of "new stories with familiar faces" that comics seem to exemplify.

    So, (and I’m totally guessing here, by the way) I’m guessing it’s not the use of the characters that bothers him, but the blatant ripping off of his ideas/plots/themes to make a buck. The movie executives aren’t "creating" anything, they’re hiring someone to "adapt" Moore’s work into a different format. Now, I could understand people saying Moore has no right to complain if he was just, say, making a comic book that is a straight up adaptation of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, but LXG (and the Jekyll/Hyde character in it) is entirely Moore’s original idea.

    I have a feeling he’d more easily accept a studio coming to him and saying, "we’re going to use your work as jumping off point and develop our own themes and plots based off of that into an entirely new, original, two hour film" rather than "we want to take what you’ve done, mangle it into something else in order to make some more money, and that’s that."

    Now, it’s a shame Moore hasn’t taken a crack at adapting one of those books into films, but there’s no guarantee they wouldn’t have been just as awful. If he had wanted to tell those stories in film format, I imagine he would’ve the first time around.

    Basically I guess that big rambling speech comes down to: "Are you creating? Or are you adapting?" Because one is totally worth everyone’s time, and the other is a shameless attempt to grab some extra cash. 

  20. Huh.  I never thought of it this way.  Alan Moore hates what people do to his characters and stories… and he has made a very significant portion of his career about drastically altering  the characters and stories of others.  This is what we call "irony", ladies and gentlemen.  If he hates people adapting his work so much, isn’t there anything he can do to stop it?  Do other companies own all the rights to "League", "Watchmen", "From Hell", "V for Vendetta", etc., etc.  

    Oh, and this article is the first time I ever heard about "Lost Girls".  Alan Moore is a sick bastard.  Potentially a literary genius, true.  But a sick bastard indeed.  I do not respect what he did with those three little girl characters, no matter how creative and daring his new interpretation was.  Sorry.  Just another reason for me to not like the work of Alan Moore.  Still, he’s probably a genius. 

  21. @lmiller – Did you end your thought with the idea that adaptations are shameless cash grabs?  Many adaptations are more successful, both commercially and artistically, than the original source material.  Not all adaptations, but many.  Example: Almost every one of William Shakespeare’s plays is an adaptation of earlier source material.  You don’t really need to say much more after that.  Adaptations can be very legitimate artistic endeavors in their own right.

     Also, I hate to battle semantics, but you can’t say the studio is "ripping off" Alan Moore’s themes/ideas/etc. in a film adaptation of "Watchmen" because at no time are they trying to hide the fact that this is based on Moore’s graphic novel.  The only person trying to hide that fact is Alan Moore himself.  I have to assume that if the studio could not legally make the film, if all the proper agreements hadn’t been signed off on, they wouldn’t be doing it.  And if you’re adapting an individual’s work with full legality and full acknowledgement of the achievements of said individual (and perhaps providing this individual with appropriate monetary compensation) then you are not "ripping" anyone off.

  22. @stevem – Agree completely.  The man can complain all he wants; that’s his right.  I don’t feel for him.  I’m sure he’s shaking one fist in anger and taking their money with the other.  He’s spent so much time bastardizing the characters of so many others (I’m sorry, that "Lost Girls" nonsense is particularly disgusting), it’s almost a case of what goes around, comes around.  

    Still, he can complain all he wants, and demand his name be taken off the film, and go on and on about how much he doesn’t like the films (and there have been some pretty bad films based on his books, *koff lxg koff*).  He is perfectly free to do all of that.  Just as the movie studios are perfectly free (presumably freed up by his early, quiet, more subdued agreement) to go ahead and make their films. 

  23. @racemccloud – Whether or not an adaptation is more successful than its original source material is irrelevant to my point. I don’t care how much money either one of them makes, the original could be a huge success and the adaptation a flop, are they could be equal, or the adaptation could win out on the money end, and it doesn’t change the fact that one person created something from nothing, while the other just tweaked around his ideas. As far as it being more "artistically" successful, I’m not really sure how you’d judge that. I suppose that’s up to whoever is looking at the work, but I find more art in originality.

    (I know you’re probably going to say that Moore isn’t being original because he uses characters created by others, but those characters are basically just archetypes, albeit famous ones. I think this pretty safe to say since I read none of the books the original Victorian heroes from LXG appeared in, and I followed along just fine. Not to mention that he could have named those characters anything and the story wouldn’t have read any differently.) 

    I don’t think you can quite count Shakespearean play ‘adaptations’ the same way as I’m thinking of ‘adaptations’ today. I mean, sure, they’re written as books, but they’re really just scripts. They’re intended to be performed and acted out by living people. In all actuality, those plays aren’t meant to be read to be enjoyed, they’re meant to be seen. True, comic books are written as scripts too, but they’re scripts meant to be drawn, not acted. The reader can see the characters and settings, but all the action takes place in the reader’s mind. So, they’re not quite the same as a play where every action and movement is written with the intent that it be spelled out for the viewer by the actors.

    But you’re right, some adaptations (usually books to movies) are artistic, but they really have to kind of do their own thing and work to make it art. In order for a movie adaptation to be a genuine artistic endeavor, it would have to take full advantage of every aspect of the medium that the source couldn’t have. That was basically my argument before about the movie using the source material as a jumping off point to tell its own story, by adding things that take advantage of being a movie, rather than just taking things away from the story because it’s not in comic book format. I’m thinking of the "Wizard of Oz" here, where the book and movie are the same basic story, but a lot of the details and the way they’re told are wildly different.  I mean, they have to make a decision to have ruby slippers instead of silver like in the book because they want to take advantage of the vibrant colorful images they can use on film. That’s artistic. Cutting out a scene so the movie doesn’t end up 10 minutes too long isn’t an artistic decision. I guess we’ll have to see if the Watchmen movie succeeds in this, and I really hope it does, but judging by the last few movie adaptations of Moore’s work, I’d say he has reason to be pessimistic.

    (And no, I don’t think updating ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to the modern age has as much artistic value as creating your own play/book/movie.) 

     

  24. @lmiller31–The thing is with Lost Girls, he didn’t just grab the characters and throw them into to a new story: he took three very important and loved children’s books and warped them around into a porno.  He wasn’t just taking Dorothy and putting her into a brand new adventure; he was saying the tale that Baum sweat and bled over to create was just a euphemism for her being boned by a bunch of guys, including her own dad.  Does anyone think Baum would be accepting of Moore twisting his kids story into something that perverted?  I don’t think that’s likely.  It’s taking somebody else’s work and turning it into something they would never want for it.  It’s precisely what Moore is kvetching about.  I mean, if you’re so concerned about your work becoming a movie, you probably should hold off on making another’s a glorified Tijuana Bible.

    Now, personally, I’m still of the mind that Moore is halfway being hyperbolic about his feelings towards his work being movies and really is more apathetic than antagonistic.  Otherwise, he really is incredibly hypocritical. 

  25. And Moore clearly doesn’t want any adaptation of any of his stories into film no matter how close or far they from the text.  If they were making a film that was supposed to be a sequel to Watchmen or a prequel to V for Vendetta, I’d think he’d feel just the same.  In fact, I think that tends to be one of his biggest gripes, that Hollywood/DC/his neighbor/whoever takes what he’s made and turns it into something different than what he made it for.

  26. @lmiller31 – You’re clearly ignoring the adaptations that refute your point, and embracing the ones that support it.  And saying that "The Wizard of Oz" doesn’t count because it’s a GOOD adaptation… well, that’s still an adaptation.  There are good and bad adaptations, just as their are good and bad original works.  And you say you KNOW that comics are scripts too, just like plays (although many comics never appear in scripted form; see: "Marvel style".)  So why is it so different that an artist (illustrator) completes the artistic vision of the comic book for the audience, and artists (actors, directors, set designers, costumers, SFX coordinators, musicians, etc.) complete the artistic vision of plays for the audience?  There are CLEEEARLY differences in the medium, yes, but not so many as I think you think.  They are both vehicles for storytelling for which the written word acts a blueprint for the final vision as a whole.  

    As for LXG… the story might make sense with stand-ins for the "name" characters (like in Watchmen), but the CONCEIT of the series would be completely different if it wasn’t "famous characters of literature band together and fight evil and whatnot."  It seems you’re picking and choosing along the lines of what fits your own personal taste.  There is no denying that Moore often co-opts an adapts the characters of others to fit his own story.  The stories are original; the characters are not.  I’m not a huge LXG fan, but I certainly respect what Moore did with the series, even if he did take the characters of others and make them do things their creators would never have them do.  (Don’t care so much for "Lost Girls", if you couldn’t tell.  That’s one step removed from a literary crime.)  

    And I do agree that adaptations generally have to "make the story their own" in order to really earn merit; take advantage of the new medium into which the story is being adapted and such.  But your original point, that adaptations are shameless cash grabs with no artistic merit, I couldn’t disagree with more.  Some adaptations surely are.  Many are great works of art in and of themselves.  (And you can ignore Shakespeare all you want, but adaptations are adaptations, and that’s probably the greatest example of the adaptation exceeding the artistic merit of the original in the history of story.)

    Hey, a bad movie is a bad movie, and if they turned something I wrote into the "LXG" movie I’d be pretty annoyed to.  Moore may be of the mind that his stories can’t be translated into the medium of film, and that’s fine.  But kill the individual example, and not the entire practice of the story adaptation.  I mean, come on, I’m sure there’s more than a few incredible films that were adapted from earlier source material.  "Gone With the Wind".  "The Godfather".  "A Clockwork Orange."  "Goodfellas."  "Fight Club."  "LA Confidential."  "Jaws."  "Doctor Zhivago".  "Sin City."  "Schindler’s List."  "Goldfinger."  "Breakfast at Tiffany’s."  

    Now that I look at the list I just typed, I’m wondering if this conversation has to be over… 

  27. Except when Moore reuses other authors’ characters he doesn’t call his work "The Wizard of Oz", "Dracula" or "Alice in Wonderland". Big difference. I can’t imagine that Moore would have any problem if 80 years from now an as-yet-unborn author includes Rorschach as a side-character in a work with a mostly original plot. That’s not even remotely the same as someone producing a movie called "Watchmen" in 2008.

  28. "I think Moore could have easily stopped these projects from happening through a lengthy court battle"

    It’s a good thing I was sitting down when I read this. "Easily"? Really. I can’t think of even one example where a lone artist has EVER won a case against a huge film corporation that seeks to make hundreds of millions of dollars from his art. But to do so "easily"? Hm, let’s see, which set of resources is better suited to persuading an American court: the sleeziest army of laywers that money can buy, or a wildly esoteric long-haired man from England who has an ego larger than Earth and says he believes in magic?

  29. @RaceMcC:Exactly.

    Let me add to that list of good adaptations: Lord of the Rings, The Pelican Brief, the Client, Band of Brothers, Jurrassic Park, The Original Star Wars (based on a Japanese Film), The Ten Commndments (based on the Book of Exodus), Ben Hur, Some of the Harry Potter movies, most every Disney cartoon, To Kill a Mockingbird (and Harper Lee is another weird one–don’t even get started on Truman Capote) and the Tv show The Office…the list of things that are adapted from one from or another is pretty long, and Moore has done it, too.  I think most of his complaints are just part of ‘the Alan Moore’ schtick of being the kooky, bearded, weird genius that turns out great comic books.  I won’t be surprised to find out in a few years that the studios are in on it and pay him on the side (though he claims not to take the royalties).

    Great, Moore, complain and bitch all you want and it is your right…just keep turning out great comics like Watchmen, less like Lost Girls, and when you’re gone we’ll make a movie of the whole thing like Ray or Walk the Line!

  30. @flapjaxx – I’ll admit I have no idea what Moore’s royalty situation is, so I won’t even speculate on that.  But artist’s rights are pretty clear: if I created it, you can’t profit off of it without my permission.  That’s pretty standard.  Does it happen?  Of course; this is not a perfect world.  Would the illegal nature of an unauthorized film version of "Watchmen" be pretty easy to argue?  Yes, provided Moore never signed anything that inadvertently gave up his rights to the characters.  

    And I want to clarify that I agree, he doesn’t do straight-up adaptations of "Jekyll and Hyde" or "The Wizard of Oz", but there are certainly adapted elements from those works that he has used, and clearly he does character adaptations.  That having been said, the only thing I’m really arguing against is the theory that adaptations in general have little or no artistic merit.  And open for argument:  What’s worse, a lame "LXG" movie, or sexually brutalizing the "Dorothy" character from "The Wizard of Oz"?  I say the latter.  It’s a matter of opinion, of course.

    @SteveM – Was just going to mention classic Disney animation.  Some is better than others, but isn’t that always the case?

  31. I would love to see a movie, book or even a comic based on the life of Alan Moore, it could be the comics world equivalent of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" 

  32. @WinTheWonderboy – You could just watch "Fear and Loathing" with a big fake costume beard taped onto your television over Johnny Depp’s face…

  33. Johnny Depp would make an awesome Alan Moore!

  34. Didn’t he sign a deal with Disney? Alan Moore with makeup…hmm

    The Watchmen Ride is right around the corner. 

  35. LOST GIRLS is absolutely brilliant.

  36. @ Conor, I think the world of your opinion in most cases, but only a man without children (especially little girls) and/or has not spent time with the victims of sexual brutality to children (I do a good bit of counseling in my job) could think Lost Girls is absolutely brilliant.  After hearing you all talk about it on a podcast a year or so ago, and not fully understanding what it was about, I flipped through a copy in my LCS. That was sick, twisted bullcrap.  And, it needlessly tried to destoy 3 icons of modern literature.

    Like Moore, we are all entitled to our opinions, so i respect that yours and others is clearly different to mine.

    On a lighter note, his bio movie (which I have just started to write–adapting it form his life and wikipedia page) is going to be called, "The Watch-Dude: the life, art, mind, and complaints of one weird mofo"…another possible title is "V is for Vendetta, but C is for Cranky".

  37. @Conor – It might be brilliant, this is true.  And I fully support the opinion that Alan Moore is a literary genius.  But "Lost Girls" is also twisted, sick and unnecessary.  I’d be mighty PO’d if I was L. Frank Baum.  Or Lewis Carroll.  Or whoever it is who wrote Peter Pan.  Or J.K. Rowling for that matter.  I don’t know how that future bending madman knew to name a character "Harold Potter" before his time.

  38. @SteveM – I strongly disagree.  LOST GIRLS is a brilliant examination of sexual repression in Victrorian England.  No one is brutalized in the book as far as I can see.

    @RaceMcCloud – I disagree with you on all of that.

  39. Also, these are not new opinions, we talked about LOST GIRLS way back in episode 11.

  40. Alan Moore is very thankful to Dick Giordano for convincing him to use his own characters instead of the Charlton ones.  Giordano wanted to use original characters to maintain the power and impact of the Watchmen story itself as well as the ability to use the Charlton heroes later on.  Saying Giordano ‘stopped’ Moore from using the Charlton characters makes it sound like there was some sort of conflict or a resistance to the Watchmen idea when there really wasn’t.  I doubt the poster was tyring to make it seem like that, but it could read that way to some people.

    Alan Moore:

    "I remember that at some point, we heard from Dick that yes, he liked the proposal, but he didn’t really want to use the Charlton characters, because the proposal would’ve left a lot of them in bad shape, and DC couldn’t have really used them again after what we were going to do to them without detracting from the power of what it was that we were planning.

    If we had used the Charlton characters in Watchmen, after #12, even though the Captain Atom character would’ve still been alive, DC couldn’t really have done a comic book about that character without taking away from what became Watchmen. So, at first, I didn’t think we could do the book with simply characters that were made-up, because I thought that would lose all of the emotional resonance those characters had for the reader, which I thought was an important part of the book. Eventually, I realized that if I wrote the substitute characters well enough, so that they seemed familiar in certain ways, certain aspects of them brought back a kind of generic super-hero resonance or familiarity to the reader, then it might work.

    So, we started to reshape the concept—using the Charlton characters as the jumping-off point, because those were the ones we submitted to Dick—and that’s what the plot involved. We started to mutate the characters, and I began to realize the changes allowed me so much more freedom. The only idea of Captain Atom as a nuclear super-hero—that had the shadow of the atom bomb hung around him—had been part of the original proposal, but with Dr. Manhattan, by making him kind of a quantum super-hero, it took it into a whole new dimension, it wasn’t just the shadow of the nuclear threat around him. The things that we could do with Dr. Manhattan’s consciousness and the way he saw time wouldn’t have been appropriate for Captain Atom. So, it was the best decision, though it just took me a while to realize that."

  41. I think the Lost Girls point in this discourse is slipping a bit.  The point isn’t whether Lost Girls was well made or not.  The point is Alan Moore took the magnum opuses of three beloved children’s authors and warped and twisted them into something none of these authors intended their works to be.  It’s taking the works that these talented men spent years creating into wonderful tales that spark the child’s imagination and turning them all into allegories for promiscuous (sometimes deviant) sexual behavior.  Whether or not it was "well-made" or "brilliant" is somewhat irrelevant.  The fact is Moore is seemingly pissed off because his work is being used to create something he didn’t intend which is exactly what he did to Barrie, Baum, and Carrol with Lost Girls.

    I understand he’s Alan Moore so there’s a certain need to maintain some loyalty to the guy in a fight between him and big bad Time Warner but he’s honestly being a bit of a hypocrite here.  Maybe it’s because I’m that big of a fan of his work, but I think there’s such a hero worship around Alan Moore that even when he’s being an arrogant jerk or a flaming hypocrite, about half the comic book community will still defend him to a fault.  I just think if you look without the prism of "It’s Alan Moore" at Lost Girls and then look at his comments about Hollywood, I think it’s very hard not to see the great irony (or hypocrisy) in it.

  42. I disagree that Alan Moore is a hypocrite.  He doesn’t want to see his work adapted into movie form.

    Again, as I said earlier in the comments, it’s not about the CHARACTERS, it’s about ADAPTATION.

    I’m surprised people completely miss this.

  43. I’m fairly certain Carrol, Baum, and Barrie didn’t want their stories adapted into pornos but it happened nonetheless and it was Alan that did the adapting.  He didn’t just take Alice and stick her into another story completely and tell you this was a completely removed scenario; he’s telling the audience "Oh, remember when you were a little kid and you read about how Dorothy met the Wizard of Oz, she didn’t meet the Wizard; she was really getting boned by her dad."  He didn’t just take the characters, he took the entire crux of the stories and told you they were now something none of these authors had meant it to be and would most likely be horrified by if you could tell them.  It’d be one thing to say "This is what happened to Wendy after Neverland" but he instead had to go that extra step and say "This is REALLY what happened when you thought these lovely imaginitive tales were going on."  That’s an (albeit very loose) adaptation, in my opinion, and a very invasive one at that.  You could maybe argue it’s a reinterpretation, but I feel the crux of his supposed anger (again, I’m going asert that he’s less antipathic than he lets on) is that his work is being made into something he doesn’t want it to be, which is exactly what he did to Carrol and co. with Lost Girls. Honestly, when you pervert an author’s vision and intent like that, let alone three much beloved children’s authors, and then you get pissed because someone’s putting your story into a medium you didn’t intend, I really have no sympathy for you.

  44. LOST GIRLS isnt an adpatation, it’s a new story.

  45. But it’s taking the stories and telling you they’re now something totally different than what any of those authors intended for their stories to be.  I really think that’s the big thing here, he doesn’t want his story being turned into something he didn’t intend it to be.  Alan is telling you the Wizard of Oz, all those wonderful adventures are now being recast into a girl’s opening sexual experiences.  Oxford states "to adapt" is to 1.) make suitable for a new use or purpose (Moore does that by taking those stories and stating they’re now meant to convey Moore’s thoughts on sexuality and its relation to art) and 2.) being adjusted to new conditions (Moore taking those stories and now using them as euphemisms for young women’s sexual awakenings).  In that sense, Moore adapted Peter Pan, The Wizard of Oz, and Alice in Wonderland into Lost Girls even if it isn’t completely whole-cloth adaptations.  He’s taking their stories and reinterpreting them into new purposes with new conditions that none of these guys wanted.  So, yes, in that sense, I say if Moore is really being so pissy about a movie being made, I really don’t feel sorry for him at all.

    Plus, if "adaptation" is really what this is about, do you think Alan would perfectly okay if Warner was instead making Watchmen II as a movie or even Watchmen Babies?  Because I highly doubt he’d be yelling any less if that was the case.

  46. @Conor – What do you disagree with me on, exactly?  The fact (FACT) that adaptations have artistic merit on their own?  Or the opinion that "Lost Girls" is sick, twisted and unnecessary?  One you can disagree with, one you can not disagree with.  My opinion: "Lost Girls" is sick, twisted and unnecessary.  Fact:  Adaptations have artistic merit (unless you think the Godfather films are without artistic merit.)  Fact: Alan Moore adapts the creations of others, their characters, to suit his purposes.  I do not begrudge him this; in fact, I applaud it.  I love adaptation.  But to say there is no element of adaptation in what Alan Moore does… well, I don’t know what to tell you, because there most certainly, undeniably is.  They are not straight up adaptations, to be sure.  But they are adaptations.  Think of it this way: "Batman and Robin" is not an adaptation of any one Batman story, but it’s certainly an adaptation of a character and his world.  Did Joel Schumaker betray the trust of Batman’s creators in your opinion with that movie?  Well, that’s how some people fell about Alan Moore’s work on things like "The League" and "Lost Girls".

    But if you disagree with my opinion of "Lost Girls" (I am of the opinion that it is brilliantly done but completely grotesque)… well, please, go right ahead.  That’s why it’s an opinion.  It’s there to be agreed or disagreed with.  But you can’t disagree with the statement that adaptations can have artistic element, and that Moore uses elements of adaptation (character adaptation) in a lot of his work, because those two statements are absolutely true.  They are facts, not opinions.

  47. @RaceMcCloud – I love adaptations.  They have as much artistic merit as anything else does.  I disagree that LOST GIRLS is sick, twisted and unnecessary.

  48. I don’t think that Joel Schumacher betrayed anyone’s trust, he just made some horrible movies.  BATMAN AND ROBIN isin no way an adaptation of anything, unless you can point me to an issue of a Batman comic with the same plot.  it’s a new and original story using pre-existing charac ters.

    And no, Alan Moore doesn’t write adaptations, he takes public domain characters and puts them into new stories.  You can claim those to be adaptations all you want, but that doesn’t make it true.

  49. @Conor – Oh.  Well.  That’s fine, then.

    I’m a little confused about something.  If Alan Moore didn’t ever want his stuff being made into films, at what point did he lost any control he may have had in making that decision?  I guess a lot of his stuff was done for hire under the Warner/DC banner (which would presumably give them the film rights), but I would think that he at least controlled the rights to LXG.

  50. LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN was first done under ABC which at the time was owned by DC COMICS so it’s possible that the rights weren’t his entirely.  I don’t know though, that’s a good question.

  51. I have to assume that he wasn’t controlling the film rights to a lot of these projects, or if he’s to believed he would have gone all Bill Watterson on them (the Calvin and Hobbes guy who wouldn’t let anyone license his characters for anything) and held all his stuff back.

  52. But it wasn’t just using the characters, it’s using the story itself and saying THAT is now something none of these guys ever made it to be.  It’s telling you the Wizard of Oz wasn’t the Wizard of Oz, it’s Dorothy’s sexual awakening.  Even if that isn’t an "adaptation" by your definition (Oxford Dictionary didn’t do for ya, huh?), it’s clear Moore is upset because his work is being used as a launchpad for something he didn’t intend. 

    Besides, like I said before, I really think this "adaptation" argument is really not the reality of the situation.  If they were instead making Watchmen II or Watchmen Babies or even throwing some of the characters into a Justice League movie, do you really really think then Moore would be like "Oh… well, that’s fine then, you have my blessings on that"?  Because I sincerely doubt a great deal.

  53. It’s using the device of "the true story behind these famous tales" to tell a completely new story.  It’s not an adpatation, dude.  I don’t know how else to say it. 

  54. So is it okay to have Watchmen Babies where we take the characters of Watchmen and make a prequel to that? let’s say in a comicbook form?

  55. @chlop – I was thinking the same thing.  I’d love to see a "Watchmen Babies" Saturday Morning TV show.  On CBS.

  56. I suppose you and I differ on the term "adaptation."  I guess I have a more broad definition while you a more focused.   For instance, even though Throne of Blood is set in Japan and involves samurais, it’s still an adaptation of MacBeth to me, same with Ran and King Lear.  To me, if it’s consciously borrowing the plot elements of another person’s work even if not in whole, it’s adapting them, thus my beef with Moore’s vitrol.  But I suppose that’s just me.

  57. I directed that at Conor if any was wondering… heh…

  58. For me, an adaptation is taking one story and doing it in another medium.  A remake is something different (i.e. MAGNIFICENT SEVEN or STRANGE BREW).  And what Moore does (taking public domain characters and using them in new and different stories) is something else entirely.

  59. I suppose. I don’t agree, but I see.  Still, I can’t see Moore being any happier about Snyder doing Watchmen II than Snyder doing Watchmen.

  60. I think it all boils down to something that Tad Stones mentioned here the last time this whole thing flared up – a lot of fans are just mad that the creator isn’t as excited about the movie as the fans are.  They want everyone to be excited and to share in the experience.  And for some reason Alan Moore not wanting his work adapted sullys their experience.  Honestly, is it going to effect your experience in the theater knowing Alan Moore doesn’t want anything to do with the movie? 

    And, really, the bigger thing that everyone should be worried about is the lawsuit that currently has WATCHMEN on hold.  Now THAT is something that will actually effect you.

  61. Tromeo & Juliet was a fun adptation.

    Juliet being experimental with her sister was a great plot twist, and the fact that the potion she bought turns her into a cow was amusing, and her dad having sex with her in said state was an interesting choice.

    Let’s make the Dr. with an accent "Oy vey, dis clucks are drivin’ me mad"

    Inky face can have a fetish for women’s clothing and he’ll prownce around in the corridor of his house while wearing them.

    Night Owl – the first one was racist and he beat up Rodney King when he was a cop.

    The second one shop lifted porcelain owls from novelty shops.

    Adrians’ parents were an expensive hooker and her pimp and that is where all the money came from.

    The Comedian and Hooded Justice had a love affair when they were younger.

    Just write all the dialogue, send one copy to snider and one to Alan Moore, and we’re good to go! Prequels are fun. 

  62. ……

  63. Sorry. I meant half cow – she turns to a half cow but not the kind of split you’d think – not like a centaur.

     

  64. I should probably note at this point I really don’t care one way or the other about the movie itself.  I just like poking holes in Alan Moore’s pedestal.  *looks at the ground sheepishly*

  65. You can make the argument that Lost Girls has adaptations of pre-existing characters in it, but Lost Girls is by no means an adaptation itself.

  66. I think that’s it’s taken movie makers a long time to figure out how to successfully adapt even mainstream comic stories to the big screen. Why? Who knows? It’s not like they’re so disassociated from each other. Most (?) movies are storyboarded before they’re made. Having a ready made storyboard for you movie should work to your advantage. But it sure didn’t for a lot of comic book movies I could mention. Maybe it’s the scope and length of some of the better stories. And the pacing. Comic books after all aren’t paced out as storyboards.

    I think Moore has a legitimate right to be skeptical. But to disown adaptations of his work to the point that he won’t even let his name be on it is pretty extreme. It fails to respect the efforts, even failed efforts, of lots of creative people that are trying their best even if they ultimately fall short. It’s like, take a breath. You’re not the only one on this planet.

    I never read League of Ex. Gent. and I knew going in that the movie wasn’t supposed to be that great. But I enjoyed it in a B-movie sort of way. V for Vendetta seemed to be kind of a mess. Strange because its content SHOULD have been so applicable to these times (warrant-less phone tapping, surveillance cameras on every corner, a manufactured war, so very Orwellian). But it managed to fail both in working as a modern analogy, AND in successfully adapting the source material. Go figure.

    Watchmen’s challenge is going to be that its setting and the big conflict really seem like a story of yesteryear. Yes, it was a fictional world even then, but it was one that shared a lot of the same angsts that we had back then. Is the impending nuclear showdown that motivates Ozymandias going to have the same impact to modern viewers? Will it translate to the screen? This would seem to be the place for a good interpretation rather than a faithful adaptation. But I seem to be in the minority opinion here. 

    Regardless, Moore has fallen out of love with the idea of seeing comics, at least his comics, on the big screen. I, for one, admire his stick-to-it-tiveness on that point.

  67. @esophagus  Sure, that works, but I think the fact that he takes the narrative of the stories themselves and plays around them in ways the authors would probably not have intended is what sticks with me when I hear Moore rant against how his book should never be a movie because he doesn’t want a movie about it.  I’m pretty sure Carrol wouldn’t have wanted his story to be reintrerpreted into a deviant sex tale but that’s what Alan did and he didn’t seem all that concerned on what Lewis probably would have wanted.

  68. Am I the only one who isn’t getting into the Watchmen hype? I couldn’t care less about a movie. How can you ever compare the book to a movie. It’s like Beloved the book to Beloved the movie. Who cares about a movie based on the greatest graph. novel of all time? Alot. Okay. Alot of people care… but how many of them never read the end texts or couldn’t "underSHTand" the book? I don’t need a "cliff notes" version of Watchmen and I am under protest of seeing the movie.

    I also am a huge Batman fan and didn’t see Dark Knight in the theater. My TV doesn’t have annoying people sitting behind me eating popcorn loudly. Movies are so 90s.

  69. I nominate this thread for the "Attracts long-ass posts" award.

  70. @Conor, I am at a lose for how you don’t see Lost Girls as an adaptation–seriously, look the term up in the dictionary–I just did, it fits perfectly.  Saying, "It’s not, and I can’t make it any plainer", doesn’t make it true.  He took the three stories, adapted them to another medium (comics) and twisted them to have new meaning–and yes, with lots of new plot and story elements.  I have no problem with him doing it (though personally find the product disgusting).  I really like Mary Reilly, an adaptation of the Jeckyll and Hyde story to first a new novel and then a film, but it is an adaptation.

    Also, I am not sure why you are trying to set up a false dichotomy between character and story adaptation.  I am wondering if your love of him and his work is not tainting your ability to see this–there is great irony to him bitching about these movies when he has done so much of it himself. 

  71. @SteveM – Reread all my posts in this thread.  If you’re still at a loss after that I can’t help you.

  72. Here is how it’s not an adaptation, plain and simple:

    The plot of Lost Girls is not the same as the plot of anything else from any other medium. 

  73. Bingo.

  74. @Conor The question is, even if Lost Girls isn’t an adaptation – and I don’t necessarily think it fits the definition of adaptation – how is adapting a comic book into a film somehow WORSE than what Moore does?  That’s what’s at stake.  Moore takes other people’s characters – and plots – and, in making them his own, turns them into things that don’t at all match the original intent of the authors.  All Snyder is doing is moving Moore’s story to another medium.  If anything, what Snyder is doing is less offensive, and less destructive, than what Moore has done to those other works.  Why is it ok for Moore to do what he does, but also ok for him to hate this much less radical act?

  75. In regards to Alan Moore, I can say only "Blah. Blah blah blah blah blah." Watchmen was a great and important graphic novel, and may very well be a good movie. Perhaps Moore quit bitching so he can spend more time writing. Does Stephen King complain about what happens to movies based on his books? Not at all (except for The Shining, but I can’t remember why).

    So Moore should perhaps take a few tips from King

    1) Create original characters 2) Write good stories 3) Don’t care about the movies. If you comics are great, thats all that really matters.

  76. @throughthebrush – Because one is an ADAPTATION of his STORIES, and the other his him taking PUBLIC DOMAIN CHARACTERS and using them in NEW STORIES.  It’s not even in the same realm as to be comparable.

  77. @J4K3 – What’s funny is that the comic fan community seems to care about this much more than Moore does.

  78. @conor Ok, it’s obvious we aren’t going to understand each other’s points, so I’m just going to step out, because I respect your (and others’) opinions too much to keep arguing in circles.  To each his own.

  79. @Everybody – "Lost Girls" and "League of XG" are not adaptations.  They contain character adaptations, but they are not straight adaptations because the plots are not the same as the would-be source material.  

    For a look at all the different possible iterations that adaptation and it’s cousins can take, let’s travel to the land of Oz:

    1.) The novel "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" was adapted into the film "The Wizard of Oz" (which was further adapted into a Broadway musical).  

    2.) The Disney film "Return to Oz" contains elements that were adapted from the Oz sequel novels "The Marvelous Land of Oz" and "Ozma of Oz", but is a straight adaptation of neither story.  

    3.) The novel "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" was also adapted into the Broadway musical "The Wiz", which was then adapted into a film itself.  

    4.) Gregory Maguire took his inspiration from "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" for his novel "Wicked", which is not an adaptation of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" but an "Behind-the-Scenes" story of other characters.  The Broadway musical "Wicked" was then adapted from this novel.  

    5.) I don’t know what the hell the Sci-Fi movie "Tin Man" was.

    So while some of these things are straight-up "Oz" adaptations, all of them do owe their existence in some way, shape or form to "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz".  Just wait until the public domain laws run out on "Harry Potter"…

    So what the hell does all of this have to do with Alan Moore?  In the words of Dark Helmet… "Absolutely nothing!"

    Thanks for playing! 

  80. It’s like the red/blue divide in here.  Everyone is diametrically opposed and entirely steadfast in their opinions.  Has anyone changed their minds at all?

    (Alan Moore is my god.)

  81. Wow, lotta posts to come into, but… Conor and Co. are definitely right on the difference between Moore’s work on public domain characters and a screen adaptation of Moore’s work. Translating a comic into a film is nothing like Moore’s stuff, which takes characters from multiple works of the public domain and molds them into something new, something with a new theme, new message, new truth.

    A screen adaptation by its very nature is trying to capitalize on something that was successful in one medium and make a successful film from it. The idea is to reach a broader audience and make money with it. And generally speaking, there’s nothing wrong with that — a good story is a good story, and if people are more likely to pay to see it on film than in a graphic novel, then there’s a demand for the supply.

    A better analogy might be: Moore once wrote Swamp Thing, but he holds no owership of the character. He no longer writes the character. Many other people have since written Swamp Thing and done various things with the character. New things. New permutations. Were he to get mad at THOSE people, then he’d be a hypocrite, because its no different than his manipulation of the characters in Lost Girls and LXG.  But we never hear a word about that. 

    Yes, I realize this is not a perfect analogy because he didn’t "create" Swamp Thing, but since he’s using Public Doman characters, the question of ownership is the closest we come to an analogy. 

    Or hey, maybe: he created John Constantine, but you never hear him complain about anything they’ve done with John, right (in the comics, not in a screen adaptation)? That might even be a tad closer.

     

     

     

  82. @Josh – You know, you’re not really allowed to talk about politics here.  If you’re not careful, you might get banned.

  83. @daccampo – Nicely said, as per usual.

  84. Someone needs to make a Watchmen movie that has nothing to do with the plot of Watchmen, then we can see who is right here.

     In my opinion, I am. =p 

  85. @eso – I believe that was what Sam Hamm’s script was…  🙂

  86. Maybe they should just re-release "Bio-Dome", CGI a giant blue naked dude into it, and call it "Watchmen".  It’s not like they could make "Bio-Dome" any worse.

    (What are the odds I just offended somebody whose absolute favorite movie is "Bio-Dome"?) 

  87. @Race: Don’t you dare besmirch Bio-Dome or it is on like a pot o’ neckbones!!!!

  88. that was a joke, btw…

  89. Good Lord, I hope so. 😉

  90. @Conor: That script…..

    My god, what a terrible, terrible, terrible script….

    ‘Then I’ve Been a very bad boy and you’ll have to spank me. Chris!’-Ozymadias

    What the hell is that!?

  91. @Race.  Oh my god…someone else watched Tin Man other than me and my director.  I actually can’t believe this!

  92. I’m taking this whole thread and adapting it into a broadway musical.

  93. I want no part of it.  All my royalties can go to Josh and Ron.

  94. As long as Nolan’s involved, I’m good.

  95. @Hawkboy – It’ll never work.  No love interest.  Besides, the "Conor" character is COMPLETELY unlikable.

  96. @Race – I think if we swap out Conor with Gordon the audience might find the show more palatable.

  97. @conor: but conor, i bet you have a lovely singing voice. i take you as a soprano, no?

  98. @winthewonderboy

    Conor is also an expert in the art of interpretive dance. He’s destined to star in the show, whether he likes it or not. 

  99. Haha – I actually directed an interpretive dance video in college in TV Directing class.

  100. @racemccloud

    I’m not trying to say that adaptations CAN’T be artistic. I’m sure some people genuinely want to improve upon another person’s art by adapting it to a different medium for a different audience. And I should have clarified that I think MOST movie adaptations of books or comics or whatever are just shameless cash grabs, especially in the last 10-20 years, but they don’t necessarily have to be. Adaptations and art are not mutually exclusive anyway, and there are also a lot of original works that are shameless cash grabs (I’m looking at you, John Grisham.) It’s just very, very rare that both the original and the adaptation truly excel as art.

     I guess my point was that Moore believes the adaptations of his works are shameless cash grabs, and I can’t blame him for thinking that after seeing the movies that were made based on his work.

    I also find it a little odd that nobody here took this the other way yet. Has anyone ever read a ‘novelization’ of a movie? Does anyone consider that to be art? And if you don’t think a movie that’s straight up edited into book form is a legitimate piece of art, how can you think a book turned into a movie is anything different. And if you do think those books are art, I think we’re just going to have to agree to disagree here.

    Although I am still interested in your point about Shakespearean play adaptations. I still don’t understand how you can consider a play to be an adaptation of his work, since it’s intended to be acted out. To me that’s like calling a published issue of, say, I don’t know, ‘Powers’ or whatever, an adaptation because it takes the script Bendis wrote and adds pictures to it. It’s not written to be read as a script, it’s written to be read as a fully illustrated comic book.

    I’m also curious about one other thing, if ‘Fables’ were to be made into a TV show or movie, and it was just absolutely butchered, would you say Bill Willingham has no right to complain simply because he didn’t invent those characters? I would argue that Willingham MADE those characters his own. There’s a HUGE difference between Willingham’s ‘Prince Charming’ and the ‘Prince Charming’ of the Brothers Grimm (or whoever first wrote him.) Those two characters in my mind are two very different and distinct characters. Just like I view Moore’s ‘Captain Nemo’ to be an entirely different character than Verne’s ‘Captain Nemo.’

    And I still say the plot, not the characters, is what determines whether or not something is an adaptation. There’s a lot less effort involved in using someone else’s plot and cutting it down to fit a new format than completely reworking it to fit the new format. THOSE adaptations, which cut away instead of reworking things, are the ones that I view to be the ones made just to earn money.

  101. @lmiller31

    " I guess my point was that Moore believes the adaptations of his works are shameless cash grabs, and I can’t blame him for thinking that after seeing the movies that were made based on his work."

    Moore dislikes adaptations that are cash grabs and the ones that are artistic genius. He just hates that it is his own work in a form other than the one he put it into.

  102. Have there been any adaptations of Moore’s works that can be considered artistic genius? I’m not trying to be a smartass… I just really haven’t seen any 

  103. No, not really, but Moore hasn’t seen any so how would he know? It’s irrelevant really, my point is just that he seems tovhate the idea of an adaptation, not the money it makes.

  104. Alan Moore wrote the book and so has the right to feel however he wants to about them destroying his book.

    I personally think Hollywood should just take the hint and leave them.

    It is true what you say about the books and the way Alan Moore writes them. They are not written for films. They are written for comics. 

    One of the major keys to Alan’s succes as a writer is that he understands the format, and uses the pictures and symbolism etc. in ways that films cannot hope to achieve. 

    There is plenty of books out there made for movies and the writer wants it. Alan Moore isn’t one of them so I say just lay off!

  105. One damn reference to Robert Louis Stevenson and you put everything in perspective again.    How is one to retain his righteous indignation in the face of that?  Or youthful excitement?

    Not to kvetch, but it wasn’t the rapine that did him in, so to speak.  It was the cannabalistic afters.   The key was the stains showing up on the dining room table cloth, as I recall.

    At least Alan Moore had the, er, good taste,  to wait until Mr. Stevenson had shuffled off his mortal coil.   Possibly until his legacy had passed into the public domain.   Hm.  Perhaps we should all be a little more irritated with Mr. Moore, on Mr. Stevenson’s behalf and our own.

    Maybe Mr. Moore’s just hoping Hollywood will wait a half-a-mo until he dies.

     

  106. In no way does my opinion on Moore’s diva-like behavior lessen my appreciation of his work.  When he puts pen to paper he can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned.  Okay, The Black Dossier maybe, but everything else is gold.

  107. I think, if nothing else, we should all remember, Alan included, that the books are the books and that nothing’ll change that.  Dorian Gray and Tom Sawyer didn’t magically jump into Moore’s story when The Movie That Killed Connery came out.  Adam Susan didn’t spontaneously become Adam Sutler in the pages of V For Vendetta when the Wachowskis debuted their movie.  The Psychic Squid won’t instantly disappear from the book when Zack Snyder’s film rolls out in March.  The book stays the book and unless DC actually starts reprinting books as otherwise and goes into people’s homes and takes their copies, no amount of Le Femme Nikita as a vampire or shaved Padme is going to change that.  If anything, Alan Moore’s kvetching solves nothing, really.  And then I and several others then observe what he’s done with other people’s narratives and have gone "Hey, wait a minute here…"

  108. @Tork – You and several others would be wrong, though.

  109. You have a knack for stubborn, pig-headed sounding statements my dear Conor.

  110. And I’ll add "that sound funny on the podcast". In type, not so much…

  111. @lmiller – Oh, no, I see the confusion.  It’s well documented that William Shakespeare HIMSELF adapted much of what was in his plays from earlier source material.  I’m not talking about people adapting SHAKESPEARE (although that clearly happens all the time with varying success.  Kenneth Branagh has been pretty successful with those movies a couple of times, and I happen to like the Baz Luhrman Romeo and Juliet.)  My point was that since, you know, "Hamlet" (among many others) was an adaptation by Shakespeare of earlier material by different artists, then adaptation clearly has artistic merit and can indeed surpass the original upon which it was based.

  112. @JumpingJupiter – I’m not trying to be funny.  Do you have anything to add to the discussion?

  113. I don’t think the intellectual difference between adapting someone’s work to another medium and using someone else’s characters in ways unintended by their creators is so great that Moore can claim to be on morally higher ground.

  114. @ultimatehoratio – Public domain is the great equalizer.  Dave Accapo said it best, you don’t see Moore complaining about the use of Constantine, a character he created.  It’s all about adapting stories, not using characters.

  115. @Conor – I think the crux of the argument that will not be resolved is that some people believe there is very little difference between using another’s characters and adapting an entire story, and others (such as yourself) believe there is all the difference in the world between the two.

    I put myself somewhere in the middle.  I see both points, but lean towards the idea that adaptation of characters is still a form of adaptation, even if it’s not an all-out adaptation.  Either way, I don’t mind.

  116. I see that, but I still don’t see how it’s THAT big of a difference.  I think it’s about Moore being unhappy with how corporations present his work and his lack of control over how the stories are adapted rather than being some kind of comic book maverick or martyr.

    When you think about it, the Miracleman situation alone would be enough to turn him against the whole industry, much less all this other stuff.  It would be a great idea for an ifanboy episode!

    Was Moore given a "created by" credit in Constantine?  I never thought to check. 

  117. Yeah, even if Lost Girls isn’t a direct plot point-to-plot point adaptation of the books he uses, the use of the characters (as well as the content of the stories themselves) and messing around with them in ways the authors didn’t intend and most likely didnt want.  It was clear in the case of Peter Pan that Barrie intended the Children’s Hospital he gave the rights to to be the sole ones who would decide what to do with the book and its characters (and I’m sure if he could make that indefinately binding he would). That being said, that hospital seemed pretty emphatic that they didn’t want the mythos of Peter Pan to be used in such ways. Yet as soon as it was legal to do so, Alan Moore went "To hell with what the author or his work’s wished deferred estate wanted!  I’m doing what I want!" 

    I really don’t follow how it’s okay for Alan Moore to do whatever he wants with public domain characters even if it’s against the wishes or intent of the creators (public domain or not, Barrie’s creations are still Barrie’s creations– he still own them intellectually even if not legally) and still hold the moral high ground in saying Warner should listen to him and not use their right to make a movie. Now, obviously, Warner is fully capable legally to do whatever they want with Watchmen as a movie since they obviously own the rights to the movie.  So, here, I don’t think the public domain argument really works since it implies Moore can do whatever he wants to with public domain due to technical legality when it applies almost more so to Warner’s decisons regarding the Watchmen movie. 

    Thus, does Alan Moore really have a moral leg to stand on here?  I really don’t think so.  But then according to Conor, I’m wrong and so are the rest of you who agree with me, so what do I know?

  118. I shouldn’t have said that last line.  That was really snarky.  I apologize.  I’ll be quiet now… I think.

  119. "Do you have anything to add to the discussion?"

    Yes of course I do. Everybody’s wrong.

  120. But by saying everybody’s wrong, you’re saying you’re wrong about everybody being wrong thus not everybody’s wrong, thus you’re not wrong about everybody being wrong but then that means that you’re wr– and now I’ve gone cross-eyed.

  121. Forget about this very interesting discussion, with valid points on all sides. Why argue? Just aim at the bald guy…

  122. @ultimatehoratio – I’m not entirely sure, but I believe that Moore is credited as having created Constantine in the movie. And he may have a created by credit in the Vertigo book, although I’m not sure. I feel like I’ve seen it before. Honestly, it depends on what deal he made with DC. Characters like Gaiman’s Sandman and Robinson Starman were created with some kind of share of ownership (or they need permission to use, or something like that). But when Moore created Constantine, it was probably pure work-for-hire. Either way, he knows that DC owns the rights to the character, and he’s never said anything about what’s been done with the character after he created him. 

    It’s slightly different, but if you view "public domain" as being "owned by everyone," then it comes closer to being an apt analogy.

  123. "Owned by everyone" only because they had the misfortune of not being born in an era of good copyright laws.  I’m sure the spirits of the authors are pretty pissed about all that.

    I just wish Alan Moore could find at least some enjoyment in all this.  People LOVE his work and, at least in the case of Watchmen, the love the filmmakers have for his graphic novel will be up there on the screen.  A little appreciation on Moore’s part would be… refreshing.  Of course he’s entitled to feel how he wants, but I won’t shed a tear for his cause nor does he become a martyr in my eyes for giving up his royalty share.

  124. @Tork – But the argument is about whether or not Moore is hypocritical. So we weigh his work on Lost Girls and LXG against "adaptations" of his work. And the critical difference is that an adaptation is a REPRESENTATION of an author’s work. It is actively trying to be the SAME STORY in a different medium. Of those things he says "my books are fine on my bookshelf, I want nothing to do with the movies." If he’s asked a direct question about his opinion of hollywood movies, he will give it. But the only time he goes after anyone is if they try to use/capitalize on his NAME in a way he doesn’t approve. Moore’s works with p.d. characters are using those characters to create a new STORY, not a new format. It’s creating a different message, not re-creating the same message (or trying to). 

    Now, we can say that Moore is trying to capitalize on teh familarity of the p.d. characters, but again, that’s not really the issue if you think about it. Most often, Moore is ASKED directly about these movies, and if he doesn’t have the rights to them, he’ll say things like "Oh, I’m sure they’ll fuck it up." Barrie could be saying the same thing about Moore from beyond the grave. Who knows? But Moore goes ballistic when dudes like Joel Silver imply that Moore approves of the project. That’s something he doesn’t like. Now, if Moore came out saying "Aw yeah, I’m doing what JM Barrie always wanted to do but was too afraid to! This is the faithful future adventures of Peter Pan as only me and Barrie could do it!" … well, YEAH, that’d be a problem.

  125. @ultimatehoratio – I believe there’s still a time limit on works passing into public domain even today. But… well, I don’t really know too much about this stuff… I’m sure someone will come along that knows more about it.

  126. Just to come along and ask a dumb question. . .has Moore himself ever addressed the issue of how he reconciles his own use of public domain characters with his objections to adaptations of his own work?

    I think whether or not he’s a "hypocrite" (ie, somebody who goes against principles he professes to uphold) depends on what kind of relationship he sees between what he’s doing and what other people are doing with his work.  He’s obviously an intelligent person.  I doubt that it’s never occurred to him that Messrs. Carroll or Stevenson might disapprove.

  127. Even if we were to step back and decide that new stories and adaptations were the same… would he really even be a hypocrite? He’s not saying "don’t use my stories or my characters!" He’s saying, "take my name off of it and give all the money to the artist. Don’t use my name to promote it and don’t sell it as *my* story!" And when he uses the p.d. characters, he’s really not doing any of those things.

  128. (and to answer your question: I dont’ think I’ve seen any interviews where he’s been asked that. But it’s usually seen as such an honor to interview Moore that I don’t think he ever gets pressed with any "hardball" questions.)

  129. I should say that I’ve for a long while figured Moore’s been mostly kidding about his comments on movies and just doesn’t care one way or the other.  However, more and more, it seems he’s become more antagonistic with each movie about not only his name on the marquee but just the movie existing at all to where it appears he’s genuinely hates the simple fact that Watchmen’s going to be a movie. It’s the idea that Moore is "spitting venom" over the fact that his books are becoming movies, something he never intended for them when he’s been writing stories involving pre-existing works in ways those authors would have never approved of. 

    Normally, I’d at least have a little sympathy for the guy like I had during the V For Vendetta incident.  However, when he came out with Lost Girls, I think that’s when I stopped listening to the guy and then started ripping into Snyder and co for simply making the movie at all.  He’s bemoaning about how he never wanted his story to be a movie.  Well, I don’t think Barrie really wanted his story to become a euphemism for Wendy’s orgy with homeless kids but that’s what Alan did and to Hell with what Barrie would have wanted.  Whether Watchmen: The Movie is a direct adaptation compared to Moore’s reinterpretation of the stories he borrows from to me is moot.  The point that sticks with me is that, particularly in the Barrie situation, the Children’s Hospital Barrie gave the reins of the book to was essentially asking Moore to not include Barrie’s work into the book out of respect for what Barrie would have wanted.  Moore basically rebuffed that and did it how he wanted, anyway.  Now, Moore is lamenting how Warner is using his book for a movie when he wants them to consider how he feels his work should or shouldn’t be used.  To me, that says Moore doesn’t really care for how an author wants his work (characters, plot elements, narrative structure etc) to be used… except when that work is his own.  It’s Moore not caring about how he uses other people’s works until the shoe flips and he starts "spitting venom over it."

  130. Dave, I really agree with your assessment of the situation — to me, these things aren’t even remotely the same — but since this isn’t the first time I’ve heard the question raised, I wondered if it he had addressed it.

  131. @dacampo– I do believe they have taken his name off the movie and has been for a while.

  132. How does Dave Gibbons feel about the Watchmen movie? It appears from the trailers that his designs were used as inspiration, although the dystopian post-Silver Age look will surely not carry over into the movie.

  133. He’s all for the movie.

  134. He’s getting paid twice for it!

    I was ambivalent toward the movie until I saw the trailer.  Now I have hope.  I also love the motion comic too.

     

  135. @Tork — yeah, but that’s the point! He’s NOT asking people NOT to make the movies. He doesn’t have that right (with Watchmen), so that fact that the Children’s hospital asked him not to include Barrie’s characters in Lost Girls is a moot point. It’s not an apt analogy. If the Children’s Hospital is asked what they think of Moore’s work, they will, I suspect, tell you exactly what they think. That’s no different than Moore’s situation. If he’s asked directly if he thinks it’s gonna be good, he’ll tell you what he thinks. If he doesn’t like what’s happening, the biggest action he takes is to say "take my name off and give the money to Gibbons." That’s essentially saying, "You’ve got every right to make the movie, but don’t include my name on it because I don’t think it’ll be good."

    I see no double-standard with the Barrie example.

  136. Good point campo.

  137. He’s talking about "spitting venom all over it for months to come."  He takes up an entire article going on and on about how he’s giddy he is that the movie might get canceled in the Fox suit  and how comics are the tool of Hollywood and how movies suck and blah blah blah.  He could just as easily say, "I’m done talking about the movie" or "Go talk to Dave Gibbons" or even "No comment" and be done with it, given he signed the papers to give his cut and credit over to Gibbons before this last January.  Yet, he’s still going, "Yeah, I’ll tell ya all about the Watchmen movie!  Rabble rabble rabble!!!!" when the LA Times comes calling.  Nobody’s putting a gun to his head telling him "Just go off about how you hate the idea of a movie and the industry and all that."  To me, that just says he’s still seething and whining about how he isn’t getting his way which would make sense to me, given how EVERY business relationship this guy’s had has gone down.  To still be kvetching about them making a movie against his wishes when he hasn’t cared about what other authors would have wanted in the past is really self-indulgant and counter-productive to me.

    In his defense though, I did find an article where Alan Moore owns up to his own self-indulgance and immaturity:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/12/movies/12itzk.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

    "Mr. Moore recognizes that his senses of justice and proportion may seem overdeveloped. "It is important to me that I should be able to do whatever I want,’ he said. ‘I was kind of a selfish child, who always wanted things his way, and I’ve kind of taken that over into my relationship with the world.’"

    So, at least, he’s honest with himself to a degree.  I’ll give him that.

    Anyways, I think I’ll stop talking again since I should have probably have days ago.  I is sorry for my role in dragging this out, all.

  138. @Tork – The whole point of posting an article is to get people to talk about it.  Don’t apologize.

  139. "Rabble rabble rabble!!!!" I think Tork just depicted Alan Moore as the Hamburglar.

  140. Hamburgler isn’t self-aware.  He’s simply a force of nature.  😉

  141. @Tork – yeah, dude, don’t apologize. I enjoy the debate. Anyway — re: Moore: the thing is, it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t "have" to say anything. He’s asked and he gives his opinion. Whether it’s venomous or not is irrelevant. That children’s hospital could have also been giddy when asked what they thought about Lost Girls being banned in places. It still doesn’t make it hypocritical in my mind. The fact is that the LA Times and other media outlets seek Moore out and asks him questions about it. He’s going to offer his opinion. Why wouldn’t he?

  142. I think Alan Moore looks more like a Fry Guy, what with the beard and all.

  143. See, I was going to say Captain Crook, but then I remembered even I don’t remember who that is.

  144. Well, I’ve realized we’re debating this to the point that we’re micro-analyzing things on a ludicrous to the point that, whether I’m right or wrong, I feel silly for expending such time and energy scouring the internet for all things "Alan Moore hates Hollywood" looking for that little piece of a quote that supports or refutes my point. 

  145. Well, it was all done without getting personal or flaming.  That’s awesome.

  146. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Totally off topic, but my wildest fantasy is a chick in a Hamburglar costume.  It’s the combo of the mask and the tie I think.  

    I can’t believe I just shared that.   

  147. The librarian at my high school was nicknamed "Hamburglar".  I should introduce you…

  148. "Well, it was all done without getting personal or flaming.  That’s awesome. "

    Oh screw you!

  149. Bob Dylan as award show entry music is… odd…

  150. @JumpingJupiter – I don’t really consider it flaming until someone gets called f***face.

  151. Oh wow, they got the blood spattered smiley pin into the new Watchmen footage. Nice. Didn’t expect that (from the footage, I mean). Gave me a little chill.

  152. Where did you find this footage?

  153. icn1983 has a link about four posts up… it’s a youtube video from the Scream awards. Not great quality, but… smiley pin.

  154. Thanks a bunch DA.

  155. NO! I will not watch Watchmen trailers! I will not watch Watchmen trailers! I will not watch Watchmen trailers!

    Get behind me Satan!

  156. Which satan? the one that was in south park, or the one that was in Pick of Destiny?