CBR: Where The Hell Am I - Jan 5, 2011
Jason Aaron rings in the new year with good wishes for friends and fans and a message for Alan Moore in response to the legendary writer's comments last year about the state of comics and talent level of modern creators.
Full article here.
I'm pretty much with the 'squirrely old man' argument here. The dude hasn't read your work or that of your peers, he's being intellectually lazy but I think it would be hard to take offense at a broad insult at the genre by someone who doesn't participate in it any more. Everyone complains about Hollywood these days, but good filmmakers keep doing their thing and fans continue to appreciate. I mean, feel free to take offense, but if Moore actually read Scalped his disposition would change I'm sure. I prefer the industry insider type articles, so keep those coming Jason!
One thing about that particular excerpt that strikes me is that it's basically saying why won't Marvel & DC let the creators go make something new instead of recycling old stuff. Ok that middle flight / bottom flight thing is pretty harsh but this bit makes me think it's really the point;
"They must have one creator, surely, in the entire American industry that could do equivalent work to something I did 25 years ago. It would be insulting to think that there weren't."
I like Aaron as a writer and all, but maybe he actually needs to go through the same amount of shit Moore has with Marvel and DC to understand why the old man is so jaded about the two companies and a good deal of the people working for them. Moore does come across as the old man up on the mountain, refusing to come down because he's had enough, but maybe there's good reason for that.
As it is, I think Moore is particularly right that DC and Marvel should be doing more to develop newer properties (although he certainly puts it a little more bluntly than some), and it's a keen observation at a time when DC is becoming increasingly insular. The closure of Wildstorm and the cancellation of Vertigo books means that DC now has more talent to apply to it's standard formula; superhero books. Where's DC's equivalent of Love and Rockets? Of Phonogram? They certainly aren't going to appear in the rapidly dwindling titles of Vertigo.
I do think that Watchmen is perhaps a raw spot for him, but I also think he's right, there; Why should he sit by and say nothing when they've secretly tried to pawn him off with the rights, at the expense of paltry sequels and prequels? Writing a Watchmen sequel is the same as writing a V for Vendetta sequel or prequel; Unnecessary. I also don't think he means to target writers who do have original ideas, like Aaron and Scalped, or someone like Brian Wood and DMZ, but he just wants people to try something new, maybe. I think it's frustrating that someone like Geoff Johns, who can be an amazing writer, just works with company-owned properties, myself. Same for Bendis, who was a lot better when his workload was just Powers and Ultimate Spider-Man.
Moore's just a little too blunt, I guess, but somehow, it feels childish of Aaron to reply with the 'I used to love your work but fuck you' response, just because Moore said something he didn't want to hear.
Moore's bashing work he's never read. He's bashing people. He's saying these people aren't good creators, but he's not read the work they've created.
Yeah, fuck him is right.
Fuck you, Alan Moore.
Also, Scalped is amazing.
Who cares what the psychotic burnout Moore has got to say about anything. To off handedly dismiss work you've never seen is the pinnacle of arrogance and close-minded stupidity.
Too DC I say ignore Alan Moore and do what you want with Watchmen; sequals, prequals, whatever, just do it. If it doesn't work fine, at least you gave it a shot and move on.
Same thing goes for Marvel with Marvelman just do it.
Savior of the Universe
They say to never meet your heroes, perhaps this is a case of that?
While I think there are a lot of great writers in the industry, I don't think they create a lot of great stuff. Now, that might come across as harsh, but let me explain.
Take Bendis for example, he's done some grand stuff and some awful crap. Look at Torso compared to Avengers, there's no comparison! Then you have his newest book Scarlett, which is pretty great, and New Avengers. One is generic and old hat, and one is a creator working to put on something creative.
Think about all Geoff Johns could do if he didn't just rehash older material with a new spin? There is no denying that, that man is a talented writer. I like Flash a lot, but his endless need to work continuity around his story instead of working his story around continuity is tiresome. The Big Two are just going through the motions right now. I buy a LOT of Vertigo comics, and now that we are on the brink of the end of that imprint, it feels as if DC is losing a huge asset.
Alan Moore has been dicked around so much, that he has become bitter. He is not without reason. Plus, the statement was not really a slight towards creators, but more of a jab at the companies that house them. He's saying that there is not enough new air at the Big Two, and therefore they have to jerk around his stories from yesteryear. Although, as a fellow writer, I can totally see why Aaron is taking the blow. It is hurtful to see that your hero has been let down by the work of you and your peers. It is not personal though. He probably, in all honesty, has never read the great Scalped series or any of the other stuff Aaron has done. Therefore, he has no real concrete opinion on that said work, just on the downward spiral that the comic book industry is in. You cannot deny that the comic book industry isn't sliding backwards down a slope. It's true.
If JD Salinger, gods rest his soul, were to come out and say that my prose was weak, I'd probably consider tossing in my pen. I can't say if it would affect my enjoyment of Franny and Zooey but it would still be a staggering blow. Alan Moore has more than a point though; I think it's far too easy to dismiss the man as a crazy old man on a mountaintop and that's really unfair.
Last edited by Flash Gordon; 01-05-2011 at 04:27 PM.
I must agree with Alan Moore.
Its just crass commercialism, its just like Hollywood at the moment with its constant sequels and remakes - going with a known property rather than coming up with something new.
Its creatively empty, going back over something because its already known and understood rather than putting in the effort on something else.
Shouldn't Mr. Aron understand Moores sensitivity about his work? If he's had original work that is. Why does both DC and Marvel need to reach back and use Moores' reputation to create interest if there is 'top flight talent' capable of creating original works?
And the funny thing is Moore was going to do a prequel series back in the '80s! But then he quit because (i) DC was keeping it in print to defer handing over copyright; (ii) calling its merchandise which Moore and Gibbons are supposed to own 'marketing' to get out of paying them; (iii) planning at the time to introduce ratings and mature content labels.
Last edited by LamontCranston; 01-05-2011 at 04:38 PM.
re: Alan Moore
I don't understand Mr Aaron's point. He's upset because Alan Moore is disappointed that Marvel & DC are recycling and producing sequels & prequels to his old work? Or is it because Moore gave a supposed insult to today's current comics creators when he was really encouraging them to out-do him with their own creations? Does Mr Aaron not understand sarcasm?
The hatred displayed by Mr Aaron in his column does not seem justified at all. There was nothing quoted by Alan Moore that personally mentioned him. He wasn't putting down the medium. His comments brings to mind some advice that Stan Lee gave Mark Millar. "Why are you playing with my creations? Why not create your own?" (Millar related this at a NY Wizard-Con.) Mr Moore just gave a much harsher version of that same idea.
So what is Jason Aaron's point? And why is he so pissed? You never make good decisions when you're angry & perhaps he can put his thoughts together in a more cohesive manner. He probably has good reasons to be critical. They just don't come across well in this column.
Man up, hombre!
Another way of looking at this is Moore's basically calling out the company for not fostering their "top-flight" talent but instead throwing them a useless bone like Watchmen that will never get made.
I agree with the crux of Moore's comment.
If comic publishers wanted more "revolutionary work" they'd use that talent wisely instead of squandering it on sequels. You might want to consider the possibility that he's got a lot more respect for creators than he does for the companies that run them into the ground.
Sad day when two of my favorite creators don't see eye to eye.
Be a man, call him, fly over and hug it out!
Napoleon of Crime
maybe Alan Moore should just break off all contact with the outside world and become a hermit.
i'm on board with you on this one Jason.
I LOVE Jason Aaron already, as his writing is so damn sexy. Freakin' love his Punisher books as well as Scalped.
That being said, I was the same way, LOVED Alan Moore for the longest time. Absolutely adored his Swamp Thing run, Watchmen, V for Vendetta, his Wildcats run was also fantastic.... but I got so tired of hearing how he refuses to watch films based on his works now.
I understand why he was so pissed with League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, I really do. That movie sucked much ass. And though I didn't think it sucked, I get why he didn't care for From Hell all that much....but to me, it's a shame he didn't give V for Vendetta a chance. Not as inspired as the comic series it's based on, but I thought it was a fun film.
But then...WATCHMEN. To me, Watchmen was an out of the park adaptation. Some people out there treat the source material like scripture, and if one single iota of story is at all different in the film, they automatically say "THIS SUCKS!". I can't stand people that are so close-minded. It's fine if you have a legitimate reason for not liking something, but to decide it sucks just because it's not exactly the same from what you know...to say it sucks because it's different and for no other reason.... that's ignorance. Like I said, if you have a legitimate reason, cool....like G.I. Joe for instance. Terrible film. They changed so much about everything, and not for the better. The source material was infinitely better than the movie. But with Watchmen...people griped because the ending is slightly different...but I don't give a shit as to who I piss off in saying this....the film ending WAS BETTER THAN THE BOOK! It made more sense, it tied the story together better, and it helped keep the story grounded more towards realism than towards way out there fantasy.
Alan Moore is an ignorant man, on one hand pretty much saying that modern creators can't be good, then admitting he doesn't read comics anymore. WTF? Ignorant, bitter, hateful old man. When you die, people will miss your talent much more than they will ever miss you.
I'm with Jason Aaron. Fuck Alan Moore.
And another thing...
For Alan Moore to imply that modern day creators want to work on his characters because they can't do anything original themselves?!? WTF, man? Are you so fucking ignorant to think that just because a creator had an interest in working on Watchmen creators that it must mean they have no original ideas on their own? Are you really so ignorant as to make that broad of a generalization?
What about you Alan Moore? Was Swamp Thing your original creation, you ignorant fuck? Was Superman? Was Supreme? Wildcats? What's the fucking difference? Some people out there are so inspired that they wanted to pay some type of homage to you and play in the sandbox you created, and rather than be gracious and say "Thanks, but no thanks", you insult them, the very people you helped inspire to become writers to begin with.
Wow. What a piece of shit.
Moore's delivery was pretty harsh (isn't it always?), but he's got a point: if there's really as much talent in the industry as everyone thinks, why don't the Big Two let one of those creators have a go instead recycling 30-year-old concepts?
My take's that Marvel and DC don't want to take the risk of anything failing. As much as no one really wants to see prequels and sequels to Watchman, we all know they'd sell. The Miracleman comics bother me less because I'd like to get the chance to read the originals. So if Marvel reprints them, great. If they create an on-going new series, boo. But if they do make a new on-going series, it'd sell. At the end of the day that's all this is about.
There are plenty of talented people who won't ever get a chance to tell stories like Watchmen because no major publisher would want to take the risk. You'd have to be an established, money-drawing name just to get the chance, and as we've seen over the years just being popular doesn't always move a book, especially an indie book.
So like it or not, Moore's dead-on. He shouldn't have insulted the current pool of talent, but we shouldn't act like the current pool is pumping out tons of original concepts. Almost every book coming out of the Big Two is a retcon or rehash or re-envisioning of something older.