What Are Comic Books Worth?

Roberson, in happier times.

In These Tough Economic Times™, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about putting food on the table. I have a pretty specialized set of skills (I’m a demolitions expert and a master of the throwing knife) so when it’s time to look for a new job, that search can take quite a while. That’s the thing about filling a niche: the people who need me want me desperately, but those people are few, far between, and harder to track down than Waldo in a mall the day after Thanksgiving.

This is probably the only thing I have in common with a comic book creator. According to a recent study, I am one of only six people who reads comics but would not want to work in the industry. The indie route sounds like a merciless, pitiless slog up a jagged mountain, and the corporate route sounds like a great way to spend your sixties in court, heartbroken and begging for health insurance. I love the medium, and I start checking comiXology and Graphicly at 12:01 every Wednesday for the new releases, but I can’t imagine the passion and dedication it takes to be on the other end of that monthly grind.
How Parents Can Stay Energized?

Like me, though, comic book creators are in a very specific niche. They’ve actually got it much worse than I do: if you draw or write comics, how many companies are there to employ you? Realistically speaking? Are there even ten in the country? In terms of making a living wage, aren’t there about five? At best? Are they still putting out Richie Rich?

Your entire industry has two main employers. Imagine burning a bridge at one of them. Imagine turning your back on both of them. I hope you have a lot to say about Jughead.

Last week, iZombie and Fairest writer Chris Roberson announced he was ending his relationship with DC Comics for ethical reasons. Before Watchmen and the Siegel & Shuster lawsuit left a bad taste in his mouth, to say the least, and he decided he could not wear a brave face with a closed mouth any longer. One can only imagine that if he dislikes Before Watchmen, he can’t be wild about Marvel’s track record, either. (I have a candle burning for Steve Gerber in my closet, and I’m not even in the biz.)

Of course, Roberson is also a successful novelist. He’ll be just fine. Very few people are in his position. How does everyone else navigate these waters?

Look what comics did to Steve Gerber.

Three decades on the planet have left me resigned to this sort of thing, although I freely admit I may be letting myself off the hook too easily. Saying “I’m not going to involve myself with any company whose practices I disagree with” is another way of saying “I’m off to spend the rest of my life in the woods, foraging for berries to sustain me and wearing leaves.” (As one would expect, The Daily Show illustrated this much more succinctly than I ever could years ago in a segment about the futility of boycotts.) I watched plenty of NBC while they were owned by a military contractor. I’ve eaten a homophobic chicken sandwich or two. The less said about where my phone came from, the better.

That doesn’t make me feel any better about the state of things. What are we to do, though? How do you vote with your wallet in a situation like this? “I will only buy creator-owned comics, although the stories I’m interested in are in other books, thus essentially removing myself from the medium entirely”? “Sorry, I don’t read Superman comics; I only read the obvious Superman rip-offs with fetishes and drinking problems that indie creators try to pass off as original”?

At C2E2 last weekend, I was awestruck by how cheaply some of the original art was being sold. Pages from one time iFanboy Book of the Month Tale of Sand were going for $150. Skottie Young was selling Oz pages for eighty bucks a piece. Eighty bucks! Even as I marveled at those bargains, though, I thought about bringing one of those pages home and telling my wife how much they cost, only to have her look at me like I bought some magic beans. “Worth” is a fluid concept, and I certainly don’t have any answers. People can’t even agree on what “making a living” means. If someone dreams his entire life of writing Spider-Man and then gets to do it, do you dare call him a “sell-out”? Is toiling away in obscurity worth what you lose as a result? In These Tough Economic Times™, I have no idea what the solutions are. Seeing the major companies throw precedent to the wind and admit that their predecessors were guilty of some wrongdoing might be a start. I’m not holding my breath.


Jim Mroczkowski has never created anything anyone would pay money for, so what the hell does he know?


  1. This is a great summation, feeling torn between wanting to support your beliefs while also consuming the products that are created by what are perceived as immoral businesses.

    I have to admit to not feeling this tension, as I really don’t care what Alan Moore’s contract was. He signed it, didn’t like it after the fact and is upset about it. That’s his problem. Creators, like athletes in any major sport, are not under an obligation to rewrite their contract if they underperform. I live in New England, if this policy existed the entire Red Sox roster would be making $1 right now.

    I guess my point is that you can enjoy your different media without getting into the business side of it. Unless people are being killed or truly hurt, sometimes its best not to care how the sausage is made.

  2. If it is Action Comics #1, Superman #1 & Batman #1 & Detective Comics #27 (all Pre-Flashpoint from the 1930s & 40s NOT from 2011) & Captain America #1 w/ Cap hitting Hitler then it is worth something. Because moms got nosy & threw comics away or was donating the paper to support the war effort during WWII.


    • Did… you… actually… read the article?

    • Those comics became more rare to have in great condition because of these events.


    • You’re right, but that’s not the “worth” the article is about.

    • I did. Modern comics have two main employers from Mickey inc. & the other Superman inc. Creators have opportunities to get jobs from them otherwise they can go to Image, IDW, Dark Horse & very small press for the opportunity to hit it bit. Look at Mr. Mouseguard from Arachia. Quality work all done by him & shipped from the company. Same for Terry Moore. I wish Chris Roberson the best & I preordered his second tpb of Cinderella arc to support him.

      Comics are both art & a business.


    • Now that’s funny.

    • Well. That answers that question.

    • Beautiful article, well put. “Sorry, I don’t read Superman comics; I only read the obvious Superman rip-offs with fetishes and drinking problems that indie creators try to pass off as original”? That line is all to sad but true and hilarious at the same time. A few excellent points brought up seldom expressed so vividly. And yes, “did…you.. actually read the article?”LOL. One of six, hmmm, when I was a kid all I did was draw and the only thing I ever actually knew I wanted to be when I grew up was a comic book artist.That didn’t happen, I still draw, not as often and love the medium as whole and have tremendous respect for the folks on the other side of the fence but after years of seeing how tough it is I still ask myself : would I be happy just to being doing what I love? And I’m sure I would but if your’e not one of the rock star status talent its a tough living and they didn’t get to that level by not being extremely dedicated and passionate, so I admire artists,writers colorists,inkers and letterers all the same for fighting the uphill battle to get where they are and love seeing anyone get they’re works published. Would I want to start that arduous task in this economic climate knowing what I know now, definitely not. i would love to be involved in the industry somehow more than just a reader/collector but I love that I enjoy that so much, so in the end its where I’m supposed to be with it I guess and thats fine. I love the current Avengers variants that ran over several Marvel titles that all seemed to mimic high art or say look, we can do that too, and to me and i know I’m not alone on this, comix are high art. Now, the Chris Roberson matter, I wasn’t too familiar with all the details but being established in the industry with one of the big two and like Jim said “Imagine burning a bridge at one of them” and “how does anyone else navigate these waters?” I’d say with complete passion and dedication just like it took in the beginning and everyday. I for one fall on the side of loving the Before Watchmen idea as I love these characters and am extremely pleased with who’s on which titles. They’re great characters, its been a long time, they’re collecting dust and as much as I love the WATCHMEN, this will most likely only add to that love and for those who don’t like it, it can’t take anything away from the original story you hold so dear. I totally get the taking a stand as I’ve always been counter culture and in my teenage years pretty much an anarchist. Liberation is important, standing up for what you believe in is important and sticking your guns as well but sometimes the extremists go to far and bring the tension where its unnecessary. We all know these creators have been stiffed but I’m excited as a comix fan to see new Watchmen material by a bunch of talent I like and The Avengers on the big screen, all of em coming to life on the big screen, my LCS bought me a midnight showing ticket and thought that was really cool of well my buddy Gary who runs the joint to text me and ask if I wanted a ticket out of all the customers they have. We’re at the shop friends, text and used to go to the same gym and talk about getting a beer but never have. Anyway, getting off the subject……all lawsuits and hard feelings aside, I owe it to myself for loving these characters and wanting to see them brought to life and then enjoying it on the big screen as I know I will. This isn’t Ghost Rider or Punisher (which make great B flicks) its the F’n Avengers! And I loved the Watchmen movie, so shoot me. Its psychology and special effects were what they should’ve been, the pessimistic nit pickers need to read between the lines start watching with your heart and turn off your programmed brains and enjoy something. Comic book movies don’t set out to win Oscars but if they do, recognition is a bonus.

    • I’m not going to stop purchasing comicbooks from a particular company because of an employee/employer dispute being aired online.

      It’s none of my business what goes down between a comic book creator and their employer or any other combination of company v. company or creator v. creator in civil court. I don’t know these people and their problems, at the most, don’t affect me directly. Maybe indirectly, if a creator is no in the publishing world of comicbooks and I happen to enjoy their works.

      One of the best things I’ve ever done is to ignore comicbook creator disputes (minus the ones with possible legal ramifications — I have dabbled in self-publishing) as well as news spoiling upcoming storylines. I thank the iFanboy podcasts demostrating one can enjoy a comicbook based on its merits and not outside influences.

      I’m one of the 5 of 6 who would love to work in comics, but reality as it is, has way too much to lose quitting my day job to take that chance. So, some years I’m a fan. Some years, I self-publish. It’s always cool to have an audience, but, creatively, if a story needs to come out, it’s coming out whether anybody is there to read it.

    • Reading this thread was like reading “Everything Is Illuminated” P.S. Kinda sad when people say “I don’t care how employers treat their employees if it doesn’t affect me.”

  3. I feel conflicted as well. I read the excellent piece by David Brothers over at ComicsAlliance (http://www.comicsalliance.com/2012/04/18/creator-rights-before-watchmen-avengers-moore-kirby/) and his arguments have confinced me enough to decide to overlook some of the amazing creative teams associated with this Before Watchmen initiative and not buy a single issue. Now if you read the article, Brothers also mentions the Kirby/Avengers situation and how he’s refusing to see the upcoming movie. Personally, i agree with his arguments again, but I’m extremely excited to see this movie and I’ll be seeing this opening night. Does this make me a hypocrite? ya, i guess so. But in the end, morals can only get you so far and while i wish i could stand up that strongly for something i believe in, i just really really want to see that movie (Before Watchmen on the other hand, i could’ve taken or left, i didn’t care too much going into the whole thing). Im going to try and buy less Marvel and DC on moral grounds, but in the end, it’s quality thats stopped me from buying a large number of their books. Maybe one day my morals will end up trumping all this and I’ll swear off corporate comics entirely, but in the end, every company probably does SOMETHING that would piss me off, its just a matter of weighing whether or not it’s worth giving up something you love in order to make point, even if it’s a small as a 3.99 comic here or there.

    • I can’t believe I spelt convince with an “f” 😛

    • I’m with you there. I probably won’t read Before Watchmen because of a lack of interest compounded with the moral argument against it laid out by Brothers. But the same should apply for the Watchmen movie. If I could go back, knowing what I know now, I would probably still see it. (I know everyone else hated it but I liked it.)

    • Brothers can have all the righteous indignation he wants.

      But I am NOT missing Avengers!

  4. These articles always have this scary feeling to them…shudder…. Sad too.
    I wanted Chris Roberson to revisit the Superman book(s), he had the potential imo to write Superman.
    Guess that wont be happening…..

  5. Can’t say I have too much sympathy with Roberson, in actual fact he strikes me as a bit egotistical to say the least. Will DC honestly notice that he’s gone? Outside of iZombie which has just been cancelled, a mediocre run on Superman which did nothing to improve on JMS’s misfire and an arc on Fairest what are they missing out on?

    As for getting sniffy over Before Watchmen because of the ethics involved, give me a break. Moore and Gibbons signed stupid contracts, DC are hardly going to shoot themselves in the foot commercially because two creators were too naive to realise the potential of the characters they were writing. Can you see any big cooperation forgoing profits because a employee made a mistake 20-30 years ago? I can’t

    Personally I’m really looking forward to Before Watchmen because although the original is clearly very good it’s not sacrosanct and the story itself reads rather dated now. DC are being respectful by only allowing the best creators to work on the characters and the characters clearly deserve more quality stories told about them.

    • I don’t think he’s looking for your sympathy, he’s just following his principals. Not sure why that is such a bad thing. It’s his decision.

      as far as this goes: “because although the original is clearly very good it’s not sacrosanct and the story itself reads rather dated now. ”
      — I don’t even know how to respond to that. Watchmen “reads rather dated now”. i really don’t think it does, but ok.

    • He’s not looking for sympathy, he’s looking for admiration. Saying your quitting work with a company based off their ethics after you were working for the company for years with prior knowledge of their “ethics’….give me a break. Self-rightous bull if I’ve ever seen it.

      I bet if IZombie wasn’t being cancelled or he had a new 52 title it’d be an entire different story.

    • I find the whole “Well Chris Roberson is a NOBODY!” mentality that has been permeating itself though the web lately pretty preposterous. What does it matter if he’s a an A-grade person in the industry? It has nothing to do with his mission, which was to get his feelings off his chest and raise an increased awareness to the issue at hand. And he was successful! If you have a voice and want to use that voice to make a statement, you better do it. It’s one of the best rights that we have.

      And the whole “He’s doing this because his title was cancelled” thing is equally preposterous…not to mention incredibly speculative. 1) We’ll never know how these events will transpire in other parallel universes where factors are different, so speculating on them is a bit of a waste of time, and 2) Again, what does this matter? If Roberson didn’t have his book cancelled, would that have made his statements any more true?

    • I gotta side with SmoMan on this one. I met Roberson at a signing when his Superman run kicked if, and he seemed like a nice guy. But then I heard him on a podcast (think it was Word Ballon) a month or so ago where he came off as kind of a douche. I doubt that if DC was giving him the type of work that he feels he deserves that he would have been so public about “his principals.”

      I wish him the best on his future endeavors; I did really enjoy the little I read of iZombie and Cinderella. But something about his attitude really irks me.

    • I’m not saying he is nobody. I never said that. I’m just saying it’s one thing to quit a company and make a statement and quite another to make the statement “after I get paid for this, I’m out.”

      I’m equally offended by the constant bashing of a company by fans and websites who continue to buy and promote the company they have a problem with.

    • No you didn’t, but the “Will DC honestly notice that he’s gone? Outside of iZombie which has just been cancelled, a mediocre run on Superman which did nothing to improve on JMS’s misfire and an arc on Fairest what are they missing out on?” comment someone else made is indicative of the general gross attitude that people are having towards Roberson’s departure. It’s a highly debatable topic, but the fame level of Roberson shouldn’t and doesn’t factor into this at all.

    • ah, got ya. Forgot I was just responding to someone else as well lol.

    • Of course he’s doing this because his title is cancelled. It’s not speculation, it’s a quote from Roberson himself…

      “I decided quite some time ago, but waited until after the cancellation of my book was announced to discuss it.”

      It sounds to me that if DC had decided to continue with iZombie, he’d still be cashing DC checks.

      And honestly, more power to Chris Roberson for doing what he wants to do, but it just looks a little petulant and self-serving to me. If anyone looks honorable in this whole mess, it’s DC who have granted Chris his wishes to longer be associated with a company as unethical as DC.

    • But he’s saying that he decided awhile ago, and that he waited until the end to discuss it. So the cancellation of IZombie wasn’t so much the catalyst for him leaving, but instead a presented “out” of a bad relationship.

    • He should be grateful to DC then, for helping his ethical stance become a reality.

    • @comicBOOKchris

      The reason the ‘he’s a nobody’ argument keeps coming up is because he’s tried to make himself in a martyr with all this nonsense, as someone else said he clearly came out and proclaimed he was leaving on twitter because he was looking for admiration which as I’ve said previously is rather egotistical.

      He’s got his principles, good for him, but don’t come out and announce you’re no longer working for DC because they’re not ethical. Who’s he to try and define whether DC are ethical or not?

    • Who would be the proper person to define that?

  6. Being independent in any market these days is pretty much a failure before even getting started & whether you can last is a trial in its self!

    I folded my own record store about a year ago due to poor placement, high rent & little to bugger all turn-over, unless you’re part of a major or steady chain then you have some possible guarantee of a future, but in the comic sense you’re constantly looking over your shoulder on a number of possible events & that’s even at the big two.

    I guess the main conclusion is unless you’re truly passionate about what you do regardless of success then you’ll be prosperous

  7. If someone dreams his entire life of writing Spider-Man and then gets to do it, do you dare call him a “sell-out”?

    No, since the term “Sell Out” implies the severe comprimising of once held beliefs or values for the sake of personal gain . If your dream was always to write Spider-Man, than you are not selling out once you get the oppertunity.

    • Totally agreed. Why has “sell out” come to equal “mainstream?” They are NOT the same thing. Not even close.

  8. Every time I hear someone complain about DC using Alan Moore characters I always think back to an Alan Moore comic where he had a Robert Louise Stephenson character rape an H.G. Wells character to death. I guess that’s ok because both of those writers are dead though. Fair is fair after all.

    • Amen.

    • While I agree with your point, technically all the works by RLS and most of the works by HG Wells are in the public domain.

    • And your point is?

      I’m not arguing that Moore got screwed out of money I’m arguing that he complains about his ideas or stories being used and people not being original. Most of his best stories (Swamp Thing, League, Watchmen) are him using past creators characters to tell new stories. If that’s a thing you do a lot you shouldn’t complain when other people do it too. There’s got to be a word for that. I’m almost positive we have one

    • My point is anyone can use those characters and even if their creators were still alive they would have no legal right to dispute their use. Now technically neither does Alan Moore based on his signing a contract with DC and I’m not saying he should have any right. My only point was your comparison, while seeming to be accurate on the surface, is actually not a comparable situation. I’m not disputing that Moore is a hypocrite, I’m just saying the situations you sighted are not the same.

    • Cited, not “sighted”. Sorry about that…

    • Hi. I understand the differences but my point still remains that Moore shouldn’t complain about people being unoriginal when his most well remembered stories are based around other people characters.

      Once again, not talking about legal rights or money issues but simply being original

    • Yeah that’s true. And while Moore used existing characters in League, he used them to create a completely new world and in some cases changed the characters to fit the needs of his story. They are in many ways different from the originals. I don’t see Beyond Watchmen as being the same thing. DC is taking the original characters and the world created by Moore and giving them to other creators.

    • by original characters you of course mean the characters based on Ditko’s Charleston characters that Moore originally wanted use but DC wouldn’t let him because they didn’t want the Question to be turned into a psycho. So he turned the question into Rorschach.

    • Exactly! Alan Moore isn’t a saint when it comes to this argument either. He’s guilty of the same thing DC is doing and yet DC is the one who are the evil ones.

      Moore is still doing this with the Neonomicon series he wrote with Antony Johnson. He took Lovecraft ideas and turn it into a weird, very hard to read story….which was also pretty bad but that’s aside the point.

    • @TNC We shall form an alliance. Moore will go unpunished no longer!

    • Okay fine. I’ll stipulate all that. But by the logic you are using here to define originality then no comic writer that has written any DC or Marvel character is original?

    • I like how this argument is brought up every time despite being patently wrong. Moore made a pastiche out of existing characters, he has admitted to do so. Even if it was copyrighted, it could come under transformative work, legally protected speech in the United States. It’s the same as Jimmy Fallon doing a Neil Young impression. What DC is doing with Watchmen is what they have been doing with other characters; milking them to death. It’s a cheap IP farm, to get more movies out of them.

      Also, it has never been confirmed who came up with the idea to discard the Charlton characters, but Moore, Gibbons and Wein have all said that it was from the creatives, not DC brass.

  9. This is all just silly stuff.

    If Chris Roberson wants to disassociate himself from doing business with a company for whatever reason, that’s his right. The fact that he did it in such a public fashion, while still working on DC properties, makes it hard for me to have sympathy for him and the fact that DC decided to end their relationship together earlier than planned. Gee, no one could have foreseen that happening. In my opinion, there’s not a very fine line between leaving for creative differences and burning one’s bridges.

    DC’s a company, and their business is to make money. They’ve done nothing illegal, and are using all of their properties in ways that are perfectly legal. It’s hard for me to get all worked up in support of someone’s sudden realization when the facts of the Watchmen situation concerning the contracts signed with Moore and Gibbons have been common knowledge for over two decades! Gibbons was able to “get over it” and move on, and even continue to work for DC. I’d be more inclined to support his decision, than someone’s who has no skin in the game concerning things that happened 25 years ago.

    That’s not to say that I don’t have sympathy for creators out there trying to make a living, as I do, and I support them by buying their books. It’s not my job, however, to vet their legal counsel and business acumen before deciding to make the purchase.

    • BOOM. Totally agree.

    • Almost all of their properties in a way that is totally legal (allegedly): http://www.comicsalliance.com/2012/04/13/smallville-lawsuit-producers-profits/

    • Making money absolves you of shady ethical practices, correct?

    • I never said that, as it’s up to each individual to define what’s ethical to them and their worldview. If money is all that matters to you, then what DC is doing is completely ethical.

      What DC is doing, however, is completely legal. Everyone signed the same contract. What are you going to do, except learn from your mistakes and move on.

      Alan Moore obviously went the “I don’t like what you’re doing and I’m not going to work for you anymore” model, while Dave Gibbons took a different tack.

      It just seems a little disingenuous to claim ethical standards after you’ve suckled up to the DC teet for a couple of years and your book has just been cancelled.

      (And for the record, and not that anyone really cares, but what I think DC is doing is completely ethical. They’ve compensated Alan Moore every step of the way as laid out in the contract that he signed.)

    • @mudi900-Seriously, why does one need absolution for ‘shady’ business practices?? You only need that for unethical business practices. DC is following the contract that both parties agreed to. This gray area that you are referring to consists of ethical practices that you, personally and subjectively, do not agree with. There is nothing wrong being done. You just don’t like it, so you label it with bad connotations.

  10. I don’t know if its really possible to vote with your wallet over every unscrupulous thing that happens in whatever pop sub culture you’re involved with and still be a part of it. Music, Movies, gaming, books, comics….lots of shady things happen behind the scenes and in public view, that if you really start to look into all of it, your head will spin. Some controversies are more popular for nerd rage than others.

    that being said, i do think that boycotts work extremely well in smaller niche circles…local businesses…comics. I don’t think it would take too many “boycotters” to take a comics event like “Before Watchmen” and make it a financial flop if they collectively stood behind their bitching.

    Great article…really great thoughts and really candid points of view.

    BQ: Jim are you really a demolitions expert?….cause that would be super rad

  11. “I watched plenty of NBC while they were owned by a military contractor. I’ve eaten a homophobic chicken sandwich or two. The less said about where my phone came from, the better.”

    Seems all the time I find out that the CEO of some company I like is a raging bastard with insane political views. I think “I don’t want to put money in his pocket! But… the shirts fit me so well….”

    But then I figure that even though I don’t want to support the head of this company, he’s just one guy on top of scores and scores of working class stiffs just like me, and my, say, t-shirt purchase goes to support them as well.

    Um… anyway, that’s how I reconcile that kind of thing.

    • I had this problem with shoes for a long time. I wouldn’t buy Nike or Reebok because they use what amounts to slave labor in Asia. The problem came when everyone who wasn’t doing this got run out of business (I rocked a pretty fashionable pair of Ocean Pacific shoes for a while for that reason). So, it was either grudgingly accept it or go barefoot.

      As far as comics are concerned, I rationalize it this way – what’s done is done. Yes, Kirby got seriously hosed, and the original art market is poorer for what Marvel did with his pages, but that isn’t Joe Q.’s or Axel Alonso’s fault. To opt not to buy Marvel product is to potentially not have the chance to appreciate what came before from Kirby or Ditko or so many others, as well as to not enjoy the modern works of a Hickman or Remender or Martin. And, to take this out further, one could argue that buying any work from a creator who works for Marvel, even if it’s creator-owned, is selling out because he’s a sell out. So I could choose not to read Pax Romana or Nightly News until Hickman punches Axel in the face and burns down Cinderella’s Castle. Or, I could appreciate the art and accept that Hickman did not go back in time and force Jack Kirby to sign a bad contract.

      Though considering his obsession with time travel, maybe he did…

  12. “Like me, though, comic book creators are in a very specific niche. They’ve actually got it much worse than I do: if you draw or write comics, how many companies are there to employ you?”

    Thing is, Jim, a comic book creator doesn’t have to Only be a comic book creator.

    My guess is those that do aren’t simply doing it for the money and can appreciate the compromise they made when they accepted the job (ex. “I could make more money doing ___ but it’s always been my dream to write ___).

  13. This is such a silly attention grab it’s hilarious. The classic, “you can’t fire me! I quit!”. As was said above, nothing is different now then when he started writing iZombie, except iZombie is (deservedly) canceled. If he had a new 52 book, he would still be there writing a mediocre book every month. I’d also bet all my $8.67 that had he been offered a before watchmen book, he would have written it. So self serving to make a blanket statement like this.

    “All the people I worked with are great people, but I’m gonna piss on them as I leave.” If there are no before watchmen cash grabs to bring in money, there would be a lot less iZombie risk taking. Simple matter of $. “I thought I was working for a company that was out to hold creators hands and make sure they get the best deal possible, I never dreamed I was ‘secretly’ working for a company that wants to make more money then it spends, what is this world coming to when a man can’t get a job with a company that thinks exactly like I do and is only interested in the needs of a semi talented writer who’s comics sell just enough to survive until they don’t, OUTRAGE I say!”

    • The even bigger problem is that the things he’s angry about (the Moore/Gibbons Watchmen contract, the Siegel/Schuster lawsuit) were all problems before he began working there. If he was so indignant about these things, why did he agree to work there in the first place? Is it because he was “technically” not working for DC proper but for Vertigo? Because that’s like the old days when people would say, “I won’t give a dime to Disney, but supporting Miramax is stickin’ it to the man!”

    • Agree with both. Jim Lee and Dan Didio’s comments on this over at Bleeding Cool made my day.

    • Also, he had no damn problem writing SUPERMAN…the very character that he was so offended was stolen!!!

    • People grow and have epiphanies. I used to call things I considered lame “gay” when I was 12, but then I grew up.

    • Yeah when you were 12. I’m sure your ethical views shift dramatically from 35 to 35 and six months…

    • I mean, who’s to say how long this has postulated in Roberson’s mind? For all we know, this feeling of his could’ve gone back to while he was writing Superman.

      It’s hard to turn down work when you’re not only a dude working for some comic jobs, but also have a team of people who’s livelihood also somewhat kind of depended on him. If that wasn’t the case anymore and the stars aligned and whatnot, this seemed like the perfect time for him to get his feelings off his chest. Less collateral damage.

    • personally speaking, when this whole Before Watchmen thing was announced months ago i didn’t really care one way or another. I didn’t know the entire story behind the contract, DC and Moore’s history, etc… So if you would’ve asked me back then whether i’d buy a BW comic, i’d probably say that i’d check out one or two. But in the build up to their release, there has been a weath of commentary on the web both for and against BW and after reading this coverage, my mind had been changed. I decided in the end not to support it after i had a more informed opinion. Maybe that’s what happened to Roberson too. People are allowed to change their mind. I have more respect for people who will listen to others opinions, both for and against, weigh both sides and make up their own minds after thinking about if for a time. I have no patience for people who are closed minded, make up their mind on something after immediately hearing about it without considering it from all sides. There’s too much reactionary commentary on the web already, we don’t need more of it. We’re all imperfect beings and we should be able to change our minds over time. nothing is written in stone.

    • ‘Who’s to say’ anything? I don’t think that is a valid argument. The only evidence we have is that he wrote some supermans and other comics for DC and never said boo about it publicly. (Did he make any kind of statement at all when DC announced the new Watchmen’s in the first place?) Then when his book is canceled he is suddenly appalled by the actions of the company writing his paychecks. Having been alive in the world for awhile, and dealing with humans, I’ve seen basically the same thing play out many times. “My feelings are hurt and my ego is bruised, quick, I need to explain how this is what I wanted and I am in control here.”

      If it happened in an office, everyone just shrugs and goes back to their cubicle. When it happens in the entertainment industry or politics, people draw a line and take sides based on their personal feelings of the subject at hand.

    • Why didn’t he quit while he was writing “some supermans and other comics for DC”? You answered your own question, there. If he would have quit while he was writing those, the collateral damage would have been greater since there would be more people affected by his actions. It was a very adult and wise decision of his to wait until the opportunity presented itself instead of impulsively lashing out when he felt like.

    • @comicbookchris: Perfectly said.

  14. Add to me the list of people who have no desire to work in the comic industry, not because of money but to extreme lack of any artistic talent!

  15. lol, homophobic chicken sandwich.
    i just found out that chick-fil-a gives money to anti-gay groups. might as well put a kkk sticker on your window or maybe even a german swastika.

  16. A lot of creators work for corporate comics so they can afford to do their own thing with the independents. In a sense, one often subsidizes the other. People should think twice before they advocate a boycott of the Big Two.

  17. The smallness of the comics industry really is kind of frightening. It definitely seems like creators have little power and must either do what the are told or risk having to find a new line of work entirely.

  18. filippod (@filippodee) says:

    It seems to me that today’s creators have the possibility to make an informed decision about their career path – much more than most of their forefathers ever had, even in a shrunken market.

    Plus, there is hope for the future. Video games faced the same situation a while ago and look what happened: indie gaming exploded and small companies and indie creators thrive.

    Hopefully the same will happen with comics.

    • The gaming industry is a really gerat comparison. I’m not sure it was ever quite as small as comics seem, but the explosion of indie gaming has truly changed the industry and where the power lies.

  19. I was following this story last week as it developed and was hoping Ifanboy would have something to say.

    It’s a very interesting topic to me, and it’s coming up more and more. I imagine the same sort of ethical issues arise in the music industry and Hollywood, and no one ever really makes a fuse about how much a song writer makes… least I’ve never heard of it. So how come we want comic companies to be ethical. Is it because they publish stories about moral paragons we expect them to be too.

    Society buys cloths made from slave labour (practically), foods with additives and who knows what Coco Cola are up to these days, but we can’t buy Before Watchmen because Alan Moore doesn’t like his contract? Like Hollywood comics is a business, I want it to follow the spirit of the law, but I can’t blame them if profit is their focus because I want the industry to survive. Before Watchman might get readers into stores (or on to apps) and that is good.

  20. Here’s some nightmare juice for you: Y’know all the awful things about CEO’s and companies? Every time you hear about some corporate scandal or some companies beliefs think about this; these are only the scandalous things we know about. Imagine the stuff we don’t know about.

    Sleep tight sweetie!

  21. If you don’t want to read Before Watchmen for ‘ethical’ reasons then go for it. I personally can’t buy the issues because I can’t afford them with my shitty job. But here’s my ultimate problem with this:

    To lose your job or to want to quit your job because of this, and other personal issues, is just plain stupid. DC is not shitting on Roberson nor are they taking away HIS rights. (More importantly they aren’t taking ANYONE’S rights since Alan Moore agreed to a friggin contract when writing Watchmen) This Before Watchmen story has nothing to do with Roberson and yet he felt a need to outright quit his job. That is just so fucking stupid. I’m sorry for the language but it is! Okay so your book got cancelled, but I’m sure DC is willing to give you another title to create and/or write. But no, you gotta leave because suddenly you have this code?

    I call B.S. on this code he suddenly has. Before Watchmen must have been an idea for YEARS at DC and I’m sure Roberson, like any other writer at DC, knew ahead about it beforehand. So he just NOW decides to quit? Last time I checked the Siegel’s and Shuster’s have been fighting for their rights for Superman for decades…..and Roberson just NOW decides to quit? I think Roberson is just pissed because DC (whether right or wrong) cancelled his book and he was going on a series he didn’t want to write.

    And you know what? That’s perfectly fine! If Roberson wanted to leave DC then he has every right to do so. But to give an opinion that has nothing to do with you what so ever as an excuse is what I have a problem with. He certainly isn’t going to get a job at Marvel cause if he doesn’t like what DC has done to Alan Moore then he’ll HATE when he hears what Marvel did to Jack Kirby. In the end, Roberson probably hurt his chances at finding another job by going so ‘vocal’ on an opinion he just ‘suddenly’ got outraged by instead of leaving quietly.

    • Roberson is a very successful novelist outside of comics, so I don’t think he’s worried about finding extra work (which I’m sure was a weighing factor in his decision).

    • Holy balls, I agree with everything you said here.

      I… I am at a loss for words

    • @comicbookchris: Well people on twitter have said he has indie work coming out so we’ll see what happens there. I’m sure Image is THRILLED they can get another writer on their side.

      @Roi: Yes!

    • And here I thought this was America and we had the right to speak our minds. Oops…maybe I shouldn’t be “going so vocal.” I think its pretty funny that no one here, at least I am assuming no one, actually knows Roberson but somehow a bunch of people seem to know that he “just suddenly” formed this opinion. Really, you know that for a fact? Or are you putting your own words into his statement? Because if you actually bother to read his statement you’ll see he says it has been bothering him for a long time. This might have been festering for a long time, we don’t know. Ever heard the phrase “the straw that broke the camel’s back?” Now while I personally think he handled the situation poorly, I’m not going to go around acting like I know precisely how or when he came to this decision, or what exactly his thought process was. Funny how if a musician or film director decides to take a stand and create work outside the major label or studio system we applaud them, but a comics creator wants to speak out against one of the Big Two and “fans” shit on him. Just sad.

    • See my reply to Burritoclock above for my response to your post 😉

    • @USPUNX: Alright well answer me this…..Why would Roberson take the Superman job if he is so against DC for taking a dump on Siegel and Shuster. Shouldn’t his ‘outrage’ cause him to not want to write for the character?

      Why did Roberson work for an entity who’s parent company made a film on the same topic he is so suddenly against seeing a prequel? Shouldn’t he have raised concerns about turning Moore’s vision in a multi-million dollar movie? (That would certainly cut around Moore’s entire work into a 2hr fight fest)

      You didn’t seem to read my comment when I said I have no problem with Chris Roberson having these opinions. You can be against Before Watchmen (and I get the criticism), you can be for creators rights (which I certainly am), and you can hate the very idea of working for a company that may or may not screw with creators. But to put them all together AND work with said company for 4 years before finally raising any concerns…..just doesn’t add up.

      (I meant to reply in the same thread but I accidentally put it as a new post. Could someone delete the duplicate below this comment? Thanks!)

    • @mikegraham6: A well reasoned and thought out response! What a breath of fresh air! That was pretty much what I was trying to say but I think you said it better. People grow and change their minds! Roberson worked at DC for what, four years? I’m sure a lot of what he said has been building for quite sometime. People act like because he hasn’t been speaking out for four years running he just “all the sudden” developed these feelings. What a crock. Have these feelings been developing for a long time? Probably. Did Before Watchmen help to crystalize these feelings? It sure seems that way. Did his book getting canceled give him the final push? Almost certainly. And none of these things in anyway lessens or adds to the validity of his feelings or the content of his statement. In all honest his statement was not at all inflammatory. It seems like a lot of people are putting a whole lot more into it than was actually there. I don’t think he blasted DC at all. He just spoke his mind and it wasn’t all glowing toward DC Comics.

    • @TNC: Here is my response, it was posted below as well.

      Look I’m just saying is I think you should actually read his statement because it sounds like you haven’t. He directly address a lot of the things you bring up here and his statement is really not inflammatory or overly negative toward DC. A lot of the response in this thread just seem like people looking for controversy where none exists.

    • @USPUNX: Well this is STILL my opinion after reading his comments so we’ll have to agree to disagree.

      (Although I thought my response was thought out….sniff)

    • Haha. It was well thought out!! I wasn’t actually referring to you with that particular part. Agree to disagree agreed upon!

  22. As a wise man once told me:

    It is what it is. Learn. Prepare. Protect yourself, if you can. Buy what you like. Support what you love.

    BW is not of major interest to me, but I can honestly tell you I’ve been waiting forty years for an Avengers movie.

  23. While I would like to applaud Roberson for his “stand,” as others have pointed out, the issues with Moore, etc. were there before. After you’ve made your money and your series is getting cancelled, taking a stand certainly becomes easier.

    • Exactly! Taking a stand when there is nothing at risk seems like grandstanding or something. If it’s that big a problem, why wait? You may have to bite the hand that feeds you, and thereby risk not being fed by that hand anymore. It’s EASY to protest when there’s nothing at stake, or to remain silent when there is something at stake. When there are people in the world risking their lives to protest against oppressive governments and corruption, this all seems petty.

  24. @USPUNX: Alright well answer me this…..Why would Roberson take the Superman job if he is so against DC for taking a dump on Siegel and Shuster. Shouldn’t his ‘outrage’ cause him to not want to write for the character?

    Why did Roberson work for an entity who’s parent company made a film on the same topic he is so suddenly against seeing a prequel? Shouldn’t he have raised concerns about turning Moore’s vision in a multi-million dollar movie? (That would certainly cut around Moore’s entire work into a 2hr fight fest)

    You didn’t seem to read my comment when I said I have no problem with Chris Roberson having these opinions. You can be against Before Watchmen (and I get the criticism), you can be for creators rights (which I certainly am), and you can hate the very idea of working for a company that may or may not screw with creators. But to put them all together AND work with said company for 4 years before finally raising any concerns…..just doesn’t add up.

    • Look I’m just saying you should actually read his statement because it sounds like you haven’t. He directly address a lot of the things you bring up here.

  25. I don’t think everything has to be an extreme “all or nothing” decision. Boycotts often fail to exact massive, instant overhauls of policy, but that doesn’t mean we should just cast all morality to the wind and fall back on an attitude of “I can’t change it, so I may as well go along with everything.” The issue here isn’t even mass boycotts, it’s individual people making individual decisions.

    It isn’t even so much about people’s budgets. I don’t know why this article leans so heavy on that side of the argument. The question of “Big Two vs. Indie” doesn’t even make sense to spin in terms of budget, because indie comics tend to be $3.99 anyway.

    I don’t think that Roberson or any of those who support him actually expect to topple DC Comics. I generally support Roberson’s decision, but I don’t want DC to go out of business. Nor am I viewing the matter in terms of a hypothetical game in which we only “win” once DC admits wrong and changes their ways. It isn’t about “winning”; it’s about having the integrity and willpower to not be a mindless consumer. I simply hold DC in less high regard now, and that influences my buying habits. I don’t hate them, but they (and Marvel) keep giving me reasons not to love them.

    The effect I see ALL of these sorts of things having is simply that consumers buy FEWER Big Two comics, not that they cut them out of their budget completely. It isn’t all or nothing, and I don’t think many people are viewing things that way. But what I am seeing is that people just have a disenchantment with the Big Two in general, which causes them to give fewer of their Big Projects the benefit of the doubt.

    It’s not just Before Watchmen, either. It’s everything. It’s things like Tom Breevort being a jerk (to DC!) on Twitter, which HAS caused me to put back comics on the shelf once I saw that Breevort was the editor on such-and-such a book. Have I still bought other books that Breevort edits? Yes. I like FF. But when it’s a borderline, spur-of-the-moment potential buy, often things like the appearance of Breevort’s name do cause me to think “You know what? I don’t need this.” And it’s starting to seem that way with EVERY borderline buy from the Big Two. It’s getting harder and harder to just put on a happy face and go along with things. Will I spend $4 twice a month on Wolverine & The X-Men? Yes. Will I buy every issue of Batman Incorporated? Yes. But do I still have a default setting of “I like Marvel and DC”? NO.

    I see the point about Roberson being able to make this decision because he’s had enough success to make a living elsewhere. But, really, I think that kind of an argument only makes sense within an “all or nothing” mentality, which (as I’ve said) isn’t the case for very many of us. Very few creators have even said “I won’t work for Marvel OR DC.” It seems like Jim is just trying to say “This is an icky situation, but we may as well grit our teeth and bear it — and continue to buy the heck out of AvX — because there are some creators who couldn’t do without DC or Marvel.”

    But it isn’t all or nothing. This is all about degrees, especially from the point of view of the audience. Do I think less of the creators working on Before Watchmen? Yeah, I do. I’m not 100% in opposition to Before Watchmen, but I absolutely think less of them. I think less of them as artists and writers. Doesn’t mean I won’t buy a comic from Darwyn Cooke again three years from now. Doesn’t mean I might not pick up an issue of Before Watchmen if I see it in the bargain bin sometime. But this is all a system of degrees, not absolutes. Certain creators are doing LESS Big Two work. Many readers are buying FEWER Big Two comics. And it isn’t all about budgets. Or morality, really. It’s about artistic integrity and goodwill, or lack thereof.

    Personally, I think it’s getting pretty apparent that the people and the comics websites who are just “going along to get along” are trying to turn this into an extreme “all or nothing” issue, as if to diffuse people’s disenchantment with the Big Two. I’m sure iFanboy isn’t actually planning this tactic — there is no conspiracy — but it seems like this is what you guys are talking yourselves into. The argument seems to be “You liked Spider-Man with you were a kid, right? So how can you EVER let that nostalgia go? You remember liking Spidey when you were five, right? That was cute, huh! Therefore you should accept and get hyped for whatever Marvel is doing. Otherwise you’re a negative nelly.”

    Personally, I think the problem IS that we’re so tied to our childhoods. Ironically, Alan Moore touched on all this via the “nostalgia” theme of Watchmen. But people didn’t seem get the message, or take it seriously. I’m not saying it’s wrong for someone to want to write a Big Two property. But if someone’s DREAM or GOAL in life is to write Spider-Man, I think that’s an awfully sad dream to have — for someone’s soul to be that tied to a corporate, childhood character who never seems to grow up. It’s like a mass Peter Pan syndrome.

    • A lot of good points in here.

      For some reason that I can’t articulate, which is rare for me, I’ve gone from being interested in Before Watchmen to not wanting to support it.

      I know an Alan Moore sparked my disinterest but not sure why.

      I just feel that the whole thing smacks of fucking with a creator that I have huge amounts of respect for.

      I’m not even sure it is going to sell well. Not sure why it would.

      I could be wrong.

    • “but if someone’s dream or goal in life is to write spider-man, i think that’s an awfully sad dream to have”
      well fuck anyone who has ever written or read a spider-man, superman, batman or even aquaman comic. you obviously look down on anyone who has ever written or dreamed to write a comic book, so why do you even bother to read comics if it’s only for pathetic people. if it’s pathetic to write them then what does that say about people who read them?

    • @scorpionmasada
      so you don’t want to support before watchmen because the big, bad corporate machine that is dc “took advantage” of a guy who wanted to write a story for them in exchange for cash and then later bitches that he got a raw deal?
      that sounds very similar to a fan paying 3.99 for a comic and then later bashing the company for overcharging.

      supporting or bashing one and not the other is inconsistant and contradictive.

  26. How is Chris Roberson is any different than DC at this point in regards to ethics or character. Trash talking a company while still employed by them (accepting money) is pretty low rent.

    If he was serious about his principles, why doesn’t he just take the money he received from DC and donate it to Alan Moore or Siegel & Shuster’s Estate?

    This just smells of cheap publicity at the expense of DC’s past/presents sins.

    • For the same reason that you don’t give your entire paycheck to a cause you believe in.

    • Were you just bludgeoning me for supposedly stamping on your free speech in the Batman thread last week? Now you’re saying he should have just kept his mouth shut? The hypocrisy astounds.

    • @comicBookchris – Exactly…more evidence as to this being a publicity stunt.

      @USPNX – Again, such poor reading comprehension..It’s not a question of whether he is allowed a viewpoint. Actions have consequences. Roberson knew what he was doing in regards to the timing of his statement. It was a publicity stunt at DC’s expense. It would be like Jim writing articles for iFanboy and then bashing them on his Twitter account or other media outlets.

      Whether you agree with DC’s past/present actions or not, Roberson’s actions do not bolster his credibility in my eyes.

    • I can’t tell if you’re joking or not…that’s like saying that someone doesn’t care about cancer because they won’t give their entire paycheck to a cancer research group.

    • it kinda sounds like roberson is saying cancer is bad, but he’s still smoking cigarettes and cashing a check from the tabacco company.

    • I don’t know when else you would have expected him to say something. Plus a publicity stunt is generally done to gain the person something. What does this gain him? As has been said on here by multiple people, it is unlikely either of the big two will ever touch him now. What does pissing off the two biggest publishers in comics gain you? Yet again all you have to offer is sarcasm and insults rather than intelligent, cogent points. Sadly, its guys like you that give comics readers a bad name and make great sites like this less fun to come to. TNC and I had a disagreement about this very topic earlier in this thread and we managed to come to an understanding through back and forth discussion without resorting to insults. Maybe you should try the same.

      I’m actually not even going to argue with you anymore on this because I just kind of feel bad for you. Are you FOR anything? Do you actually like anything or do you just spew negativity?

    • It’s always about money. The corporations want more money. The creators want more money. They scratch and claw and fight about it – what else is new?

      I am as anti-corporation as the next liberal, but without DC and Marvel we wouldn’t have their comics or TV shows or movies or action figures or pajamas or whatever has brought us joy throughout the years. Why can’t we just find a happy medium that everybody can live with? Is it just mankind’s unending greed that does us all in?

      Alan Moore is a cranky nut. Before Watchmen looks awesome (and is based on characters he created based on other characters!) He could work with DC and make money if he wasn’t such a grump. The Siegels and Shusters always want more money. What do you guys want DC to do?

      Should all comics be creator owned? Then we wouldn’t have the shared universes some fans have loved. I guess there are no easy answers – but being a mouthy crybaby and taking your ball and going home doesn’t fix anything.

    • The answers might not be easy but I think they are also kind of obvious. For one, writers and artists should be entitled to some of the profits their books generate. Peter Jackson received backend on all three of the LOTR films. He didn’t create those characters. He didn’t create the story. He just told it on film and made tens in not hundreds of millions from the theater and DVD profits. I don’t see why comic creators should be any different. Think about the success of Fantastic Four over the last couple of years under Jonathan Hickman. I think most people can agree, and sales figures will support, that FF was languishing for several years, maybe close to a decade, before Hickman took over. Big name writers like Mark Waid, Jeph Loeb, J. Michael Straczynski, Mark Millar, couldn’t return this book to its place among the top Marvel books. Whether you like the writers mentioned or not, anyone can agree they are some of the best known names in the industry. Before Hickman the book was a Marvel footnote and now it is one of their best, and best selling books. I think Hickman, and all comics creators, should be rewarded for their success. Write a great story and get a book to sell, get a nicer paycheck.

  27. What are comic books worth? $3.99 and iFanbase…… go!

  28. USPUNX stated, “…Plus a publicity stunt is generally done to gain the person something. What does this gain him?”

    Now you are asking the right question.

    USPUNX stated, “…Sadly, its guys like you that give comics readers a bad name and make great sites like this less fun to come to.”

    That’s right. Let it out. Let it all out. I’m not sure where all this displaced resentment is coming from. You responded to me…you could have just moved on. You chose to respond. Don;t put your hang-ups on me.

    USPUNX stated, “…I just kind of feel bad for you. Are you FOR anything? Do you actually like anything or do you just spew negativity?”

    Do we have to agree before you respect my point of view? You ‘feeling bad for me’ assumes I’m trying to gain your approval. Why would you accuse me of not standing for anything, just because we don’t agree?

    • I already answered this. Try rereading my post. You bring only sarcasm and insults to a discussion, no facts or cogent opinions. You say I’m “asking the right question” while faling to actually answer my question; what does he gain from this? You clearly think he’s gaining something so don’t just answer me with a pointlessly cryptic statement, try telling me what you think he has gained from this “stunt.”

      My resentment is not displaced, it is placed directly at people like you, which is what I said.

      I say you’re not for anything because you’re not. How can I respect your point of view when you don’t even seem to have one. To me a respectable opinion should be based on some kind of well reasoned argument. However, everytime you are asked to give one you simply do what you just did with your last post, you respond with sarcasm and insults while failing to either answer the questions asked of you or offer any kind of basis for your statements. As I also said in my previous post, I have no problem with a point of view with which I disagree. TNC and I had a discussion on and off today about our differing points of view. We both offered statements based on the facts as we saw them, evaluated each others arguments, tried to change each others minds, and eventually agreed to disagree. I have no problem with. Healthy debate is what makes sites like these fun to come to. Brazenly making claims that you are either unwilling or unable to substantiate is rather pointless. I would love to debate your point of view, but first you need to have one.

    • USPUNX stated, “…Now you’re saying he should have just kept his mouth shut? The hypocrisy astounds.”
      And then USPUNX stated,”……I’m actually not even going to argue with you anymore on this because I just kind of feel bad for you.”

      And yet, here you are, back again…I’m the hypocrite?

      I was chided last week by you, the iFanboy elite and others for having a viewpoint about prices and the questionable work ethics of DC and suddenly, because an insider says something, NOW it’s ok to talk about it.

      Parroting an article that gives you all the ‘facts’ is not a viewpoint. I have stated my opinion on this matter, you just happen to disagree and that bothers you.

    • Okay you got me on coming back when I said I wouldn’t, points to you there I guess.

      And I didn’t chid you for having a viewpoint, it was quite the opposite both in the Batman thread and this one. I am chiding you because you DON’T have a viewpoint. You don’t actually say anything, you just hurl insults. And I don’t mean you don’t say anything I agree with, that wouldn’t bother me, I mean you actually don’t say anything of any substance period. Yet again you deflect your lack of ability to construct a cogent, intelligent argument by lashing out with sarcasm and insults. You didn’t adress any of the points I raised in my pervious post, you didn’t answer any of the questions I asked you, you offered no support or rationale for ANY of the things you’ve said in this thread. Please try to construct a real, thought out viewpoint and then we can move on from this pointless back and forth to an actual discussion.

  29. At the end of the day do you know who I feel sorry for the most?

    I feel sorry for the creators who are actually involved in writing and drawing Before Watchmen.

    Maybe not so much for guys like JMS, Adam Hughes, or Darwyn Cooke; because their careers are already at their peak at this point. But for people like Len Wein (who’s going back to his baby he helped create along with Moore/Gibbons), Brain Azzarello (who’s stock is finally rising to the point where he’s almost an A-lister in my book), and most of all Amanda Conner. For her this is the biggest moment of her career because she’s finally doing something major for a company. (She’s mainly just done B-list books like Power Girl or random issues such as Black Panther) But what does she have to read since joining the event? People like Erik Larsen or random internet bloggers saying she is just being greedy instead of trying to do actual work here. This is the biggest moment of her career, up to this point, and she has to have that on her shoulders. That upsets me.

    • I completely agree with everything you said here. I dislike the IDEA of Before Watchmen but taking it out on the creators is simply unfair. I haven’t read anything directly negative toward the creators but I would hope people would be smart enough to realize what an opportunity something like this is for them, and separate their dislike for the concept from the creators themselves.

    • All publicity is good publicity?

      There has been way too much self-righteousness about Before Watchmen, but it is what the internet hath wrought. I don’t like how people have made Watchmen out to be the Bible – it was a great comics story but that’s it. (Though honestly I care more about Watchmen than the Bible, which means nothing to me.) Writing more stories based on these characters (which weren’t wholly original characters in the first place) will not bring about the Armageddon.

      And how many self-righteous people have threatened to quit reading comics because of some perceived slight? Folks were up in arms about the new 52! They hated post-Crisis! They hated Heroes Reborn! They hated zero issues, holographic covers, crossovers, retcons, etc! They need to get over themselves or just move on with their lives.

    • @USPUNX: Well like I said, Erik Larsen is one of those guys who decided to tweet (the greatest form to express ANY opinion. hashtag: sarcasm) about how all of the creators are doing it for the money rather then creative purposes. Whether that is true or not, and I believe it not to be true, is unimportant when the thing I like to think is more important is: Why does anyone listen to anything Erik Larsen has to say? (And it’s another reason on a looooong list of why I refuse to buy anything with his name on it)

      @BCD: Well it’s ironic that people say they want a boycott or end to this story….and yet no one ever stops to think that yelling about it will just cause more people to pay more attention. It works with movies, tv shows, books, music, etc. Yet people never understand that. I have no problem people being against this mind you, cause it is their opinion. But the HUGE backlash that has occurred from this is just perplexing me. It’s not like DC is working on Mein Kumpf or anything; it’s just Watchmen.

    • Yeah I think you’re right. If this is a cash grab for anyone it’s DC. Given the list of great creators involved, I agree it seems unlikely they are all just doing it for the money.

  30. Reading this thread reminded me why idealism is dead; because everybody is an idiot, so nothing’s worth fighting for.

  31. Here’s something I’ve been mulling about; was Moore’s contract really bad at that time?

    Now before I get virtual stones hurled in my direction, hear me out. As I understand it, Moore (and Gibbons) were set to get the rights to the characters back when the book was no longer being produced/printed. I would have thought that sounded good myself at that time because how could anyone have guessed this maxi-series would remain in print all this time? At the time, it would likely have been considered a one-off type of project, a roll of the dice the same way that any such project would be. The fact that the possibility of the rights returning to Moore and Gibbons at all strikes me as being a bit out of the ordinary for a company.

    Don’t get me wrong; I think that DC should certainly be paying for their continued use. But then, as Jim Lee points out that Moore is indeed still being sent cheques for what DC does with Watchmen.

    Just something I’ve been thinking about and wondered if it had crossed any other minds as well.

    • It is an interesting point. A common argument is that Moore signed a bad contract but you’re right, at the time, it might have actually looked pretty good compared to the industry standard then. I actually wasn’t aware that Moore and Gibbons were to get the rights back if the book ever went out of publication, that does seem like an odd concession for DC to make.

      However, Moore has always said its not about the money. Now you can believe that or not, but his main point has always been that he does not approve of other people using his characters without his consent. It seem like its more a lack of control that pisses Moore off rather than money.

    • My great-grandfather owned a farm in Brenham, TX (home of Bluebell Ice Cream). For whatever reason, he sold the farm and moved to the city in the early 1900s. It probably looked like a decent deal, or perhaps he desperately needed the money, but either way he sold the land. Let’s say 20 years later, they decide to put a highway through that land, which would make the land around the highway much more valuable. Was he cheated?

      Also, Moore seems happy to use PLENTY of characters other people created without their permission, or their estate’s permission.

  32. This is a great article Jim, maybe one of your best! I would say more on it, but so many have said so much, and I have to admit, probably way better than I could. However, I just have to say, I face the moral quandary of the “homophobic chicken sandwich” more than I care to admit. They’re just so good. Damn!

  33. I would love to work in the comic book industry and I have since I was like around 7 or 8 when I read my first comic book. My freind and I started a small comic book company when we were in High School and we drew comics and copied them and sold them for like a quarter an issue. We sold like three to seven a month and no comic book shops would sell our crap, which really was very hurtful; yet now I looked back and some of those drawings were so bad…..UGH!! I never really thought about anything other then drawing. Finally I thought, I could write some real killer fresh comic book stories and then really never got around to it with life moving faster and faster as I have gotten older. Such a way more dramatic field then I had ever thought from back in my early days of just thinkging and dreaming of the characters and even becoming a super hero and then to wanting to be an artist to a writer. Things are not always what they seem apparently?!
    So to answer the above question, YES!! Comic books to me are still worth it even now a days in this crazy economy and people trying to hold the jobs they have just feed families. I will eventually here finish writing a comic book story and plot and figure out how to get it published as well as a movie. I think the dream is still alive and for me, I think I just try to drowned out all of the drama and lawsuits and just stick by my child-ish dreams that always take me away and keep my mind inventing and imagining new things and giving myself new ideas on how to entertain. If I ever get an offer to do some writing and of course I do mean for one of the big companies I will absolutley leave my job of 12 plus years and seek out my dream job and give it a damn good try and pray for the best.
    Now; lets just say I do try the writing thing and it goes well or even goes bad?! I can at least go to bed at night knowing I gave it a try however; I may lose the house but, the kids are just about on their own so I think I could make it.
    I think this is where this article was going at least thats what I interpruted it as! If things go well and I make a living at it permenantly I will be honest, I will not complain about some crazy ethical issue because I would not want to go back to doing something else, thats for damn sure!! Kinda like Baseball, I would play for the MLB for $75,000.00 a year and bonus incentives and be happy, unlike these big stars who get to play a game they love and get paid more then soldiers, policemen and firefighters should!! In some cases they get paid more then 80% of the people in this world. I would be happy with a job I love and have always wanted and make enough to take care of my family is all I would need. I hope I made some sense I think I started to rabble and got interupted and well you know how it is.
    Again are comic books worth it? YES!! They have been a very big part of my life and probably have saved on many occassions (literaly) growing up in the big city.