Controversial! Fun And Also Games! First Comic Book related blog to be featured in the Australian National Library's Pandora archive. Pop culture, music, film and comic book expert. Available to hire for public speaking, lectures, writing and almost anything else.
Four time Rondo Award nominee. Author of several books and hundreds of articles.
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Before Watchmen...Why? Why Not?
I rarely comment on
newly released comic books because, to be perfectly honest, virtually nothing
that’s out there these days moves me enough to even bother to read it,
let alone waste my time thinking and writing about it - there's only so many minutes in a day, and why bother wasting time reading stuff that's disposable (which makes me wonder why you're reading this - comment below Willy May). However the current
fuss over the Alan Moore versus a pile of people at DC Comics over the Before
Watchmen line has seen more than one person ask me for my opinion –
although I’ll be jiggered if I know why, after all I'm not even a voice of reason and I doubt that anyone would care enough to either buy, or not buy, anything based on my own opinions - after all I don't buy anything based on anyone else's opinions. So, for what it’s worth
here goes my thoughts, and do not let them guide you on either purchasing, or not, the comic books - make your own mind up.
for the day – I won’t be buying these comics. It’s not that
they’re not well drawn – anything that features talent like the
Kuberts and Hughes will look good. Hell, either of those guys could draw lumps
of crap and make it look good. The fact that Hughes has created a cover for Dr
Manhattan that several dozen people have sent into Viz Comics’ ‘Up
The Arse Corner’ (myself included) and yet it still looks good is
irrelevant. The art is most likely worth the price of the comic alone, but no,
I still won’t be buying them. And it’s not down to the fuss about
DC Comics once again screwing Alan Moore, or not screwing Alan Moore –
that’s between Moore and DC really. Both sides have their version of
events and both sides will live and die with their own conscience over events that
happened in the mid 1980s. The fact that both Moore and Dave Gibbons have both stated, consistently,
since that time that their original contract with DC had a clause that allowed
for the Watchmen property to revert back to them once it was out of print makes
me lean more towards Moore’s view on the company. Personally I think
that Moore was very naive to believe anything that DC told him, both for
Watchmen and V For Vendetta, but that’s his issue. He knew enough about
the history of comic books at that period, the Jack Kirby and Steve Gerber
situations were in bloom, plus Moore himself had been an innocent, but
suspecting, party to Mick Anglo being defrauded over Marvelman in the UK. Moore can’t claim
ignorance over what DC told, or didn’t tell, him. He signed, he got
screwed, welcome to dealing with a major comic book company – it’s
in their nature.
So why won’t
I be buying the comics?
Well I was never that enamoured by Darwyn Cooke to start
with, so I have no desire to buy them on his name alone. I soured on JMS after
his comments about the Spider-Man: One More Day saga; that being that he didn’t
agree with the story line, protested it and then sat back as editors and Joe
Quesada ‘rewrote’ his work. Yet he still put his name on the books
and cashed the cheques. I suppose he needed the money, and there’s a
word for writers like that, you can guess it. No, there’s another reason
why I won’t be buying the books.
At the end of the
day it comes down to this - everyone has a price.
Clearly Alan Moore's price is
far higher than JSM, Cooke and company and it always will be. DC found they
couldn't buy Moore
twice. They bought him when they allegedly bought Jim Lee's Wildstorm solely because he had Moore signed to a contract, but I suspect
that DC also wanted to dilute their competition somewhat – Image Comics
suffered when Lee left – and they wanted to buy Jim Lee. That they made
a swing forn Rob Liefeld when Awesome had Moore
speaks volumes. So, no, DC can’t buy Alan Moore anymore, they can’t
afford him, no matter how much they throw at him, so they did the next best
thing – they bought Darwyn Cooke, who the fans love as much as Moore, and
JMS who sells comics based on his work on a second tier sci-fi show, and let’s
be honest, that’s all Babylon 5 is – second tier. The public know
what Star Wars and Star Trek is, hell, most even know Lost In Space, but B5?
It’s not got that much public appeal really, it’s a fan run series
at best (start slinging those arrows kids!) That JMS proved himself to be more
about the money than the art of writing at Marvel aside, the current situation
shows that these people will be writing characters created and developed by Alan
However I doubt we'll ever see Alan Moore writing
any character created or developed by any of the people working at DC on this
project. And therein lays the reason why I won’t buy these comics.
like the Watchmen story a bit too much, I wish everyone well with their series,
and I wish Alan Moore well. I admire Moore
for standing on his principals and refusing to back down from what he believes
in. I wish I could say the same about the people connected with this series,
but, frankly, nothing I’ve seen or read so far has endeared me enough to
change my own mind. I do wonder though, would the outrage be as high if we
were talking about characters created by John Byrne, Frank Miller or Rob
Liefeld though? Probably not.
At least DC bought him a cake. What? They didn't? Damn!
The final judgement has been handed down in the long running Gary Friedrich vs Marvel (Ghost Rider) case, and now we know the full amount that Friedrich owes Marvel. That's right, Marvel, a company that stands to make millions of dollars from the upcoming Ghost Rider II movie, and is paying Nicholas Cage millions to portray a character that Friedrich created, now wants money from Friedrich - in specific $17,000. And they'd like that $17,000 now, please. In full.
This stipulation has been agreed upon and so ordered by the court, with the final judgement reflecting all that contained within. This now means that Gary Friedrich has the right to appeal, and appeal he shall, but it also means that he now owes Marvel Comics, a multi-million dollar making machine, backed by the multi-billion dollar Disney company, $17,000 and cannot ever sell anything related to Ghost Rider, nor can he even say that he created Ghost Rider for any form of gain or advertising. Well done Marvel!! …
Was Yogi Bear gay or not? It's this kind of thing that keeps me wide awake in the middle of the night, clutching at the quilt, drowning in sweat and wishing that the ghosts inside of my head would just flee and leave me be. But they don't, so I instantly turn my thoughts into other realms.
Now, Yogi. On the surface of things he appears to be a normal bear. In the historical context of things he's just a cheap copy of Art Carney's Ed Norton (actually the Honeymooners was stolen better by Warner Brothers for their cartoon series featuring mice - Ralphy boy and his neighbour Martin).
Yogi used to hang around a place called Jellystone National Park and was, for the most part, obsessed by picnic baskets. Like a demented homeless person he relentlessly stalked people, slept on park benches, probably urinated in public, harassed people and stole whatever food and anything else that he could reach. All the time he was pursued by two people, the first being the anal retentive Ra…
Be warned - read this, take note and learn the easy way - we've learnt this lesson the hard way.
As people who read this stuff on some form of a regular basis might be aware we're off to New York in just over a month. Three weeks in New York, one week in San Fransisco. The key, for us anyway, is booking some decent accommodation, so we decided that, as we're going to be in New York for three weeks solid, that we'd go for a serviced apartment over a hotel room. So we started looking on the proper web-sites for places until we found one. Great location, it does exist, great photos - the lot. Perfect for our needs. The other half made contact with the 'owner' via the web-site and made arrangements to pay. We were asked to pay via MoneyGram, no biggie and no alarm bells started to ring - we've not done this before and all seemed normal. We made the first payment and got an email back from the 'owner' saying he'd gotten the payment and could we fix th…