I'm a writer and artist, working mainly in comic books, and living in the South East of England (although I'm technically half Scottish and half English).
I'm the managing editor of Orang Utan Comics, group editor of AAM/Markosia, writer of Alpha Gods, Hypergirl and Hero: 9-5, and also do freelance inking and lettering work for the likes of AAM/Markosia, Slave Labour, Top Shelf, Image, Marvel/Panini and I letter the official Doctor Who graphic novels for BBC Books.
Orang Utan Comics - Alpha Gods - Hero: 9 to 5
Plot doesn’t matter. Seriously. This isn’t a trick. This isn’t a hoax or an imaginary story. Plot doesn’t matter, and I think the emphasis on plot in reviews, in online discussions, and in many examples, in writing and promoting a work itself makes for bad stories. It doesn’t matter what medium you’re working in or enjoying – film, television, books, comics, whatever – plot is one of the least important elements of a good story.
This is an excellent article! And it pretty much sums up my thoughts on plot. You’ve kinda’ gotta have one, but it’s not where the magic happens. Go read Hero: 9 to 5…what even is the plot to that? It doesn’t matter…it’s all about the characters and the themes. The second book has more of a structured plot, but it’s still not what matters, what matters is how the characters react to what’s going on, and the things that the plot gets used to say.
…the moral indignation regarding Before Watchmen is really starting to make me feel a little sick.
Because if any of these people actually felt that strongly about the issues involved they a) wouldn’t read any of Moore’s work because he’s pretty much guilty of all the things people take issue with before watchmen over himself; and b) wouldn’t read any mainstream books at all and would only read creator owned books and nothing else.
That leaves aside the whole point that this is in no way a black and white issue and the fact that people act like it is really winds me up.
I’ve never seen any compelling evidence as to point A)-everyone who brings this up also curiously fails to provide links every time-, and as to point B) Tom Spurgeon sums it up best:
In cases like More Watchmen, I think the companies involved are very much insulated from even an unlikely significant drop in profits and bad publicity. If profits are five percent less than what they should be at a comics company, everything we know about the last two decades indicates it’s much more likely more people will be fired and page rates reduced than policy changed. I think if you’re going to promote a response in terms of its bottom-line efficacy, you need to really grapple with what that is and why that is. Otherwise, if you don’t pull it off, your failure to do so becomes a tacit endorsement of the virtues that you’re trying to foil.
90% of what I buy and read these days is in fact creator-owned work; I do still pick up Daredevil and The Flash; I am aware of Gene Colan’s horrendous treatment at the hands of Marvel; I do not believe that cutting royalties from Mark Waid and his artistic collaborators will cause any practical change towards Marvel policy and so, instead, I choose to reward good work when I see it. I’m not going to read Before Watchmen because it’s scab-work, created at the behest of editorial and corporate entities who value profit over art. If I see a new argument for the legitimacy of Before Watchmen I will grapple with it, but every argument/fallacy that has been ginned up in order to apologize for DC’s outrageous behavior has been rebuked by parties more eloquent than myself.
This is important, this is not people just “looking for something to be upset about.” I personally want a comic book industry where creator’s rights are honored, and where luminaries like Alan Moore and Jack Kirby are treated with, if not reverence, at the very least respect from the people who have enjoyed the fruits of their labors for years and years and years. Before Watchmen is a step in the precise opposite direction, an indictment of a culture where the men and women who make these things are considered tertiary in importance to the “IP” and I, personally, will have no part of it.
I’m sorry if that “sickens” you.
Yeah, I’m sorry if I can’t provide links to conversations I’ve had with people who’ve actually worked with Moore and been shafted by him…I’m afraid I don’t post all of my conversations on the internet.
Really, I’m done with arguing about this. The idea that “owning all the rights to your creation” is the only morally justifiable business model in any creative industry is simply absurd. Sometimes it is entirely okay to do work for hire, get paid for that work and then, you know, actually be able to put food on your table and pay your rent each month. There’s nothing morally wrong, IMHO, with paying people to create IPs for you…that’s a job…that’s how paid employment works.
Also, your response to point b) utterly missed my point.
We need comics. We don’t need the comic mainstream – certainly not as much as it needs us. And we wouldn’t even be having this argument about Watchmen if that book wasn’t part of that industry. It couldn’t have existed without it, it wouldn’t have been relevant without it, and most of us wouldn’t have even had the chance to read it without it.
We don’t have to give a shit about Watchmen, or Before Watchmen. We choose to.
We don’t have to fight about issues that we really have no skin in. We choose to.
We should really grow out of it.
Last Friday I wrote a really long post over at my site about Before Watchmen. It was probably too long, fence-sitting and unstructured to get as much widespread attention as some of the more aggressive pieces out there, but I still feel everything in it.
This is the tiniest part of it - a sentiment that I feel is pretty important - you can read the whole thing here.
I’ve just read the whole thing, and it is most definitely worth reading.
…it’s funny how Alan Moore was “perfectly happy,” his words not mine, with the deal on Watchmen until it became the most successful graphic novel of all time. Something which neither he nor DC could have anticipated. He and they both foresaw a time when the book would be out of print for over a year, that didn’t happen because it has been the most successful graphic novel of all time. In his own words he and Dave Gibbons were paid “a substantial amount of money” for the rights, were completely aware of the terms under which those rights would revert to them, and were, again, in Mr Moore’s own words, “perfectly happy” with that.
DC didn’t pull a fast one. DC didn’t con them. DC didn’t hide from them the terms of the contract they were signing. DC haven’t kept the book in print at a financial loss to themselves out of spite, it has consistently made them money.
What should DC have done? Should they, on discovering that they had, in fact, acquired the rights to the most successful graphic novel of all time, ripped up the contract and handed the rights over to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons? What kind of business sense would that make?
I honestly don’t get this…I don’t understand how a deal that everyone involved with and Alan Moore specifically was “perfectly happy” with is now a “dirty deal”…purely because the project ended up being the most successful graphic novel of all time. Something which no-one involved…not Moore, not Gibbons and certainly not DC could have foreseen at the time.