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

September 19, 2008

I Will Be Spitting Venom All Over It


That headline is a quote from Alan Moore on the forthcoming Watchmen movie. It kills because it's so funny as a stand-alone, but the article is actually quite interesting the way most Alan Moore articles can be compelling. In case you missed it, the famed comics writer in no way supports the Hollywood treatments of his work, or, to be honest, much in the way of modern, blockbuster film.

Although it's never going to be a popular stance, I think something Moore's strong views provide is an opportunity for self-examination when it comes to comics' self-image as a business and comics' ability to build its own ethical, workable industry away from Hollywood profits and, to a much lesser extent, away from strategies that depend on, rather than make use of, book publishing avenues. I think this is really important, because I firmly believe the trend over the years is for fewer people to make decent money in traditional comics than used to, even though in some ways there's more money than ever. By concentrating on ethical growth within the comics industry, including an equitable return to creators and a fair chance at all marketplaces, you can also help deter potential exploitation that may come when someone from another medium walks in the room carrying one of those Beagle Boys-style bags of money. Although I severely distrust the hype and boosterism and mix of projection and reality that frequently comes with the discussion that's been engendered in that part of comics, I sometimes wonder if our collective inability to discuss, say, webcomics models in a rational way is because it's potentially upsetting to practices that might take it right in the kidneys from the possibilities those avenues may provide some creators.

God bless Alan Moore for taking an unpopular stand that depends on an ethical position regarding certain deals and types of art. Let us all fight for an industry where more people are encouraged when they take similar stands, and have the standing and position to do so without feeling like they're risking house and home.
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink

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