Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

November 9, 2005

Alan Moore Asks for an Alan Smithee

Publisher's Weekly Comics Weekly, the free e-mail based news report from the book industry's magazine of record, had in its issue yesterday an interesting interview with Alan Moore in which the best mainstream comics writer of all time says he's asking his name be removed from comics outside of his ownership. This includes a great many DC Comics' trade paperback perennials like V For Vendetta. It's a smart request because it throws the spotlight on the fundamental exploitation of artists through various crappy deals by underlining the assumption that a long-ago contract engenders perennial support of said effort. One hopes that DC and what other companies to which this would apply will honor his request, but I'm not waiting up.

I was also struck by this in the piece.
"After the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen film turned out to be less than stellar, Moore demanded to have his name taken off all the films based on his work and refused to take any money for them."

This seems to me a gross oversimplification of what really happened, or, if it came from Moore, a severe change in orientation. The best information we had before -- an earlier interview with Rich Johnston -- is that while Moore is unhappy with modern cinema generally, the films based on his work included, the writer decided to have his name taken off projects in great part if not solely because he was subjected to a debilitating legal process where a scriptwriter challenged the originality of Moore's authorship of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen through a lawsuit against 20th Century Fox, an experience I believe he compared to what would have been afforded as punishment to someone who murdered chiildren. By withdrawing his name and refusing to take money, Moore seemed to be saying that he was at least morally absolved from that kind of attack. This seems to me a more complicated and perhaps even more laudatory stance than realizing how badly the LOEG movie betrayed its authors' intent, and something that should at least be kept in mind when trying to wrap one's mind around Moore's latest position.
posted 3:58 am PST | Permalink

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