Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Alan Moore & The Watchmen Curse

First it was the original movie plans.

Then there were the action figures.

Now it's a legal battle with Fox over the new movie.

Alan Moore has made his feelings about a Watchmen movie known...

Could it be that the sheer will of his soul is keeping DC from making any more profit off his creation?

Or will Watchmen eventually be made, as V for Vendetta and Constantine before it?


  1. It'll be made; hell, principal photography has pretty much already wrapped.

    Fox are just filing suit to pressure WarnerBros into paying now they have a lot of money invested; if it was really about protecting their 'rights' they would have filed when the movie was in pre-production. It seems to be a money grab more than anything else.

    As for Alan Moore, I respect the man's creative output for the most part but I do think that he's batshit crazy. He doesn't like seeing his stuff as anything more than comics for the most part but still signs everything away. I respect that he passes up money from the movies but I really couldn't care less that he doesn't want them made.

  2. Anonymous5:21 PM

    "He doesn't like seeing his stuff as anything more than comics for the most part but still signs everything away."

    You really should sorta kinda know what you're talking about before you make statements like that.

    Point 1: I'm not sure how much control Moore had over FROM HELL or LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN before they were optioned for the movies. I *do* know that he did not begin to make critical statements about those films until *after* they were released (and proved to each suck like a Hoover upright).

    Point 2: Alan Moore does not own the rights to either V FOR VENDETTA or THE WATCHMEN, so the decision to "sign them away" was never up to him.

  3. I'm not sure about when Moore's remarks about From Hell started but I'm willing to take your point on them. As for League, I could swear blind that he started talking about his dissatisfaction with it it prior to it coming out; perhaps not. I agree that both these movies were complete rubbish (From Hell less so).

    Not sure about the situation with V, which was a marginally better film.

    As for Watchmen, as I understand it one of Moore's main areas of dispute with DC started because they kept Watchmen in print and as such prevented the rights reverting back to himself and Dave Gibbons. That would seem to suggest that the rights originated with them in the first place and they were signed over in order to work on the book. Could be a work for hire, but why would would the rights revert if it was?

    Regardless, he doesn't like movies being made out of his works - whatever happened to the rights. While I can respect his decision to sign away his profit share to Dave Gibbons for Watchmen, I do find that pretty ironic given that Watchmen, League and Lost Girls to a large extent involve using characters he didn't create in ways that I can only imagine their original creators probably would not have appreciated (esp in regards to League and Lost Girls).

  4. rich,

    I think you're just very confused all around. Moore was never upset with singing his rights over for From Hell, he just thought the movie sucked.

    With LoEG, his problem wasn't with the movie itself. He started complaining after he had to give 10 hours of deposition when the studio was sued for plagarism over the core concept of LoEG. His main gripe was the script by the people suing the studio wasn't written until after the comic came out. After that experience, he decided it wasn't worth the headache and announced all money from any future movies would go straight to the artist in exchange for his name not being involved.

    BTW - I don't know how much you know about Victorian era literature, but most of the authors of the characters he used were only writing to sell books, they weren't trying to create literary classics. There's no reason to believe they wouldn't enjoy the concept of LoEG and a few, Stevenson in particular, would have probably been pleased as punch.

    With V and Watchmen, Moore and the respective artists were under the impression they were signing only the rights away for the material to have one publishing of both the mini-series and the collected editions. Movie rights were never even considered at the time. They expected to get the rights back after DC stopped publishing the collected editions, which at the time was reasonably foreseen as about 12 months. Neither V nor Watchmem were ever creator owned works, DC has essentially stolen both works by keeping them in print ever since the contract was signed.

    I've been out of law school for a few years and never practiced as a lawyer, instead opting for engineering, but I believe when one party tries to weasel out of a contract by virtue of a reasonable unforeseeable event, then it's called an adhesion contract (but I could be wrong). The contracts should be invalid by this time, but Moore will never be able to survive the legal fight with Warner Brothers.

    Long story short, Moore is truly being screwed.

  5. Kenny, I’m not all that confused, thanks – although I had forgotten about the circumstances of his dispute over the LoEG movie – thanks for clearing that up.

    Its been a while since I studied law too, but – without knowing the full details of the contract, obviously – this doesn’t sound like an adhesion contract which I think is where one side unduly holds more power than the other; if it was, virtually all work to hire agreements could be ruled the same way. I think you might be thinking of some kind of frustration of contract brought on but I’m not sure how that would apply.

    I know a bit about literature in general – and I wasn’t implying that they were out to create great literature; I think most writers don’t go out of their way to do that. It happens as a by-product in very few cases.

    But, like I said I think that he’s standing in the middle of a big glass house when it comes to complaining at how his own stories and characters are used. That’s all.

    I think that your opinion of DC ‘stealing’ Moore’s work and my opinion of that situation are pretty different and we won’t reach any agreement here: I don’t feel a lot of sympathy for Moore and you do, so I’m just going to leave it there.

    Although I still think he’s batshit crazy. :)

  6. Rich,

    It looks like *I'm* the one who's confused! You're probably right about adhesion contracts, that stuff gets fuzzier and fuzzier to me all the time. The shame is I took a whole class just on adhesion contracts and now I'm all like, "Ummm...adhesion = glue, right?" lol

    Anyway, yes, I think you're right. You're all, "Alan Moore did this to himself!" and I'm all, "Poor Alan Moore! He needs a hug!" I mean, look at the poor guy. He can't even afford a haircut! He *needs* the money! lol