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This is the most alarming post I have read all day long! How dare you!


I do relate to your admission of being a late bloomer on appreciating fine literature – I have had similar blind spots in the past – and I trust that with your inevitable progression of maturity and taste you will come to appreciate the brilliance of Alan Moore, which stands tall on its own without the sanction of fanboys or movie adaptations.

I’ve read Watchmen at least 3 times, but Moore has other modes of writing, and it’s a bummer to be too hung up on how he’s supposed to be a genius at the cost of enjoying a good story. So, other Moore works that aren’t typically trotted out as examples of his “genius” should be considered for the sheer pleasure of good comics: Tom Strong and The Spirit (the first issue, based on Eisner’s character, you must read this!) are my picks.

I’d add Supreme except for the Liefeld art.

Also, you are spot on about Midtown Comics


I don’t know enough to jump into the discussion of adaptations and story rights and creator personality and whatever, but I would like to say that I agree with the others above about digesting Watchmen a little bit at a time.

I read it about two-to-three pages at a time and eventually sloughed my way through it.

Here’ the thing, though: the last third of the book, I didn’t have to slough through it. Everything starts coming together so beautifully and intricately that it became a full reversal of enjoyment. I went from forcing myself to read it to not being able to put it down.

Maybe that’s too much to ask of the reader, but I recommend you give it another chance.


“Just because something is intelligent and you don’t “get it” doesn’t mean that it’s bad. Sorry man, but there it is. ”
Who said anything about “bad”? No one here said anything about “bad”. It’s simply a matter of taste and not being able to get through the thing. I can hardly get through Shakespeare or anything by Dickens. That doesn’t make them “bad” it just makes them a little more highbrow (or whatever adjective you want to place there) than I care to read with my free time for entertainment purposes, and that’s kind of how Moore’s work is for me as I’m sure it is for the rest of us with similar views on the subject in this thread. Plus, I feel the need to point out, just because it’s “intelligent” (or seems so) doesn’t mean it’s good either.

@Prankster: Well, you just can’t please everyone. You take a popular piece of work and make changes to “advance it” or give it a ” new spin” for the medium and the fanboys, original creators, etc. freak. You try to make a faithful adaptation you get criticized for not taking a “new spin” on the material. Perhaps sometimes the point of adapting the material is to bring it a living representation of the work, more accessible to the masses. Not everyone is going to sit down and read the novel, graphic novel, whatever and in rare cases the movie adaptations end up being arguably more entertaining than the stories they’re based on. LOTR- I LOVE the books and have undying respect for Tolkien, but if given the choice between watching the extended edition of the movies or reading the books I’d rather watch the movies. Why? Because it takes the essence of the story and presents it in an entertaining way and cuts out all the extra stuff that I could care less about. (The singing, for instance.) Harry Potter- good god is this a prime example. Rowlings is a (marginally) decent writer, but she’s become the most over hyped author I’ve ever seen. A good third of each of her books are fluff that really doesn’t need to be there at all. Sure it’s interesting and sometimes fun character moments but it also drags the books out a good 100 pages or more longer than they really need to be. The movies were far more enjoyable an experience for me. I get the feeling that Watchman will be the same- faithful to the point of getting the larger essence of the graphic novel, the same feel, but cutting out some of the stuff that really isn’t needed to tell the basic story. For people who want more depth they can, and probably will, pick up the graphic novel.

As for Moore himself: it’s not that he doesn’t have valid reasons for being upset, it’s just the way he presents himself when he’s talking about the problems that he has with them that helps him to come off as a self-important “crank”. Plus the additional comments, like the ones he made about Snyder, doesn’t help. He doesn’t know the guy, he’s never seen the film, but he’s blasting the guy’s work anyway (Racist? Really?). The point is he screwed up and signed the rights away (he was young, he got a sucky deal, and I really do feel for him, but he still made the decision to sign the contract), the company that owns the property can do whatever they want with it. But on the flip side they did offer to let him have some say in how things went when they didn’t have to do that at all. He chose to not be involved. He has his principles & I respect that, but it seems to me they’ve done what they could to at least make the best of the situation for him and he’s turned them down, repeatedly.


@itbox: “Just because something is intelligent and you don’t ‘get’ it doesn’t meant that it’s bad.”

Well, yes, I know. I never claimed it was. And, in fact, I noted the moment I ‘got’ Shakespeare to bear out your point re: Europeans v. Americans; when I ‘got’ Shakespeare, it was like a discovery. And I continue to hope I’ll make a similar discovery re: Moore. I continue to come up short, but I continue to hope it may, one day, come.

@essrog: love the handle, and yes, Midtown ftw!


Keep in mind, people, that a big part of Moore’s ire at Hollywood stems from the lawsuit filed by Larry Cohen and Martin Poll, in which they claimed that DC had gotten some corporate shill to take their unproduced screenplay, ‘Cast of Characters’, turn it into a comic book, and then adapt that comic back into a movie so that it wouldn’t look so much like plagarism. Fox settled the suit instead of taking it to court, meaning that Moore never got a chance to respond to those allegations. It’s something that would darken your opinion of Hollywood too, I think. 🙂

And personally…no, sorry. I can’t even comprehend a mindset that wouldn’t immediately find ‘Watchmen’ a compelling, gripping read. I devoured the whole thing within hours, text pieces and all, it’s magnificent (and I’m sorry, but it’s not “crammed with references to literature and popular culture”–if you can’t figure out who Nixon and Kennedy are supposed to be, you really don’t have any business reading books for grown-ups 🙂 )…honestly, if you can’t get into ‘Watchmen’, I pity you. (Unless the reason is that you’re blind, in which case you don’t want my pity, dammit! 🙂 )


@John: I’d wager DC saved a lot of money just handing Cohen and Poll some money rather than letting it go to court, and Moore should, I think, on some level at least, understand that. I mean, how much do Hollywood entertainment lawyers earn on the basis of retainment alone, never mind the cadre a studio would use to argue a case like that?


Wow theres a lot of posts, one of which might have written what I am about to say.
(i wouldn’t know cause I couldn’t get through all them comments and skimmed instead)

but here’s my suggestion for being able to stay engrossed in watchmen, and reading the whole thing.
(if you did this I apologize)

Be sure to read all the notes in the back (with the possible exception of some of the pirate stories, but in theend you’ll want to read the pirate stories if you skip)

I got bored when I was a kid reading watchmen, and I couldnt wait for the next issue to come out, so I started reading the “Under the Hood””excerpts” and it really feeds you back into caring about the story. It adds so much depth and interest. (if any of you haven’t) give that a try.


Randy, it’s a little more extensive than “he signed the rights away, he should have known better.” When he signed the contract, he was supposed to get all those rights after Watchmen had been out of print for a while. Back in ’86, comics inevitably went out of print after a few years, if not sooner, so assuming that he would get the rights back before too long was hardly naive of him. DC then proceeded to keep Watchmen in print forever–which is their right, of course, and I don’t think they were trying to screw him, as it’s been a consistent seller, but there’s no way Moore could have reasonably known that that was going to happen. There are also supposedly some issues about Watchmen merchandise that DC jerked him around about, but that’s not the point. The point is that all this is precisely what LED to Moore souring on the process of corporate publishing and legal rights. He was OK with people adapting his work for a while, then he had several bad experiences and decided he didn’t want it anymore, especially since, as noted, he had no say in deciding what would get adapted.

And Moore has said pretty clearly he thinks adaptations should make changes. But it’s reductive to say “Oh, you can’t win, you can’t please everyone.” It’s not about changes, it’s about STUPID changes. Moore says, and I agree with him, that a lot of adaptations are pointless–they seem to be born out of the idea that movies somehow validate other media, that we haven’t REALLY seen Watchmen until we’ve seen a movie version of it. Since Moore wrote the comic as an attempt to really analyze the comics form and show off some of the cool stuff you could do with it that you can’t do in other media, it’s not surprising that he doesn’t see the point of a movie adaptation. (In fact, the very assumption that “paring something down to tell the story” is going to improve it is a very “movie” way of thinking. Movies need to be fairly tight and focused; books and comics can ramble, just as LOTR and Watchmen do. That’s one of the differences between the two media–it’s not something that makes one “better” than the other. If you don’t like the extraneous stuff, fine, but some of us do, and that’s one of the things that I feel makes print a better medium for world-building.)


Prankster, let me be clear on a few things:
First, I know it was more than “he signed the rights away, he should have known better.” I was simply trying to make the point that while he got a raw deal there were still people on the other side that was trying to make the best of the situation for him when they really didn’t have to. I’m not saying he’s wrong for feeling the way he does. Hell, I’d probably feel the same way. I do, however, disagree with the way he tends to handle his public relations, which is what this whole part of the discussion is really about. He has a right to feel how he feels about the situation, his work, adaptations, whatever, but making comments like he has about some of these film makers, etc. who have been going out of their way to show respect to him and his work- especially without any first hand experience with the people or films he’s criticizing- is just a really crappy thing to do. IMO, they’re simply fans trying to express a story that they love into their own medium- I know for a fact that that is how Snyder is approaching it. He’s said it himself.

“(In fact, the very assumption that “paring something down to tell the story” is going to improve it is a very “movie” way of thinking. Movies need to be fairly tight and focused; books and comics can ramble, just as LOTR and Watchmen do. That’s one of the differences between the two media–it’s not something that makes one “better” than the other. If you don’t like the extraneous stuff, fine, but some of us do, and that’s one of the things that I feel makes print a better medium for world-building.)”

You’ll get no argument from me that print is a better medium for world building. I’m a writer, so to think otherwise would require me to turn in my membership card. However, likewise, the assumption that “padding something up to tell the story” is going to improve it is a very literary way of thinking. (I’m kidding.)
You’re simply talking about another side of the same coin, so to speak. Not everyone has the same tastes that you, or I, or Mr. Moore has. Some people just simply cannot get into novels, graphic or otherwise, like LOTR, Watchmen, Dune, etc. Some people are more visual. Hell, some people just don’t have the time. But if the story is really something special, something that can touch people, then it doesn’t matter what medium it’s translated to. LOTR, I think, is a very good example of this. Nothing can touch Tolkien’s books. I think they’re something that everyone should read at least once. However, I think the movies, overall, did an excellent job of translating the essence of the story to the big screen. How many millions of people who might not have ever read the books have seen the movies and gotten to experience, at least to some extent, the greatness of Tolkien’s creation? And how many of those people went and picked up the books afterward because they were so taken in by the story the movies presented? It doesn’t have to be an either/or kind of thing. Yes, I’m a writer, but I’m also a huge movie buff. I’m interested in all forms of storytelling and I think they all bring something different to the table and are a means to reach people. So in that way most adaptations are most certainly not “pointless” they’re just a different way to present the story to people. It’s the QUALITY of the adaptation/presentation that’s the issue. Sure, there are some things that just have a hard time being translated to another medium and Watchmen could very well be one of those things. But from what I can tell those working on the film are doing their best to bring the best adaptation possible of the work. Dave Gibbons has given it his blessing, which I think is a good sign.


I think the point is that it doesn’t matter how respectful Snyder is being in interviews and whatnot; he’s still doing something Moore doesn’t approve of or agree with. Basically, he’s a guy who started developing a movie adaptation of Watchmen in a corporate environment, with Moore having no say in it whatsoever. It doesn’t even matter if the movie turns out to be great. The thing Moore is chapped about, I think, is that he’s not being given the same basic right that most print writers get, to have someone approach him about a film adaptation and allow him to say “yea” or “nay”. Instead, a corporation is making that decision for him, which is what he opposes on principle. He’s under no obligation to react to that positively, no matter how nice a guy Snyder is. Moore feels strongly about his work, and Snyder is part of the corporate process that’s taken it away from him. If he really respected Moore, he wouldn’t be involved in the process at all.

And I’m sorry, but the “think about how many people the movie will win over!” argument doesn’t cut a lot of ice with me, and I doubt it does with Moore, either. (It probably doesn’t help that I’m not a huge fan of LOTR in either form.) Sure, sometimes it’s cool to get a movie adaptation, but arguing like it’s necessary for people who don’t read? That’s a bit lame. People who can’t be bothered to pick up a book once in a while really ought not to be pandered to. It reminds me of this Onion article: http://www.theonion.com/content/node/31389 . I would argue, and I think this is Moore’s point as well, that a movie adaptation needs to have a reason to exist in and of itself. Whereas adaptations of his books seem to be made so far so that people can avoid the comics, and so that big corporations can make a lot of money. Understandably, he doesn’t see that as artistically valid.


@Prankster, re: LOTR–me neither, though saying I’m not a huge fan of them would be like saying, well, Moore isn’t a big fan of adaptations, in fact.

I don’t have anything really to add to this part, except this: “that a movie adaptation needs to have a reason to exist in and of itself.”

Does any art possess such a reason?


Well, yes? Most artists have a reason for what they’re doing, even if it’s “to make money” (which is a bad reason, but still a reason). That’s also the reason most adaptations are made. But here’s the issue: we’re not talking about an original work of art, we’re talking about doing something to an existing work. Something that the original author is against.

I’m personally not against an adaptation of Watchmen, but people are treating it as inevitable, like it HAS to happen. For a while there Paul Greengrass and David Hayter were working on a version that sounded quite good, and that I believe even Moore had some good words for. But then they were booted out, and the project seems to have gone on autopilot. Snyder said he came on board because he knew they were going to make it anyway, so he figured it would be better if it were him who made it. That’s…not inspiring. I would prefer the movie was being put into production because someone had a really great vision, not corporate inertia.

By the way, if you read that Moore interview at EW it’s pretty obvious people are exaggerating his positions in re: adaptations. All he says is that he’s had relentlessly bad experiences with adaptations and doesn’t think Hollywood generally gets it right (and then immediately admits that he’s generalizing). WHAT A JERK!!!


Will said:

“@John: I’d wager DC saved a lot of money just handing Cohen and Poll some money rather than letting it go to court, and Moore should, I think, on some level at least, understand that. I mean, how much do Hollywood entertainment lawyers earn on the basis of retainment alone, never mind the cadre a studio would use to argue a case like that?”

*boggle* Try fitting that phrase into your own mouth, about yourself. “Oh, no, I think it’s totally cool that a couple of strangers get to accuse me of plagarism and of being a corporate shill for DC, a company I’ve refused to even let sign my paychecks because they’ve screwed me over so many times, and I don’t get to refute those charges in a court of law. I mean, after all, you saved yourself some real money by doing so, right?”

Yeah, I think that 99.99999% of the populace would have a two-word, one-finger response to that. 🙂


@John: yeah, good counterpoint. I was just thinking that everyone knows Moore didn’t plagiarize, and everyone would, I think, figure that DC had settled for the reason I noted. There are always such people that come out of the woodwork for such issues (the woman who sued the Wachowski’s over The Matrix and White Wolf v. Sony spring immediately to mind), for pretty much every movie ever.

That said, you’re right on that.

@Prankster: good call on all parts.


@Prankster: You do make valid points. However:

“And I’m sorry, but the “think about how many people the movie will win over!” argument doesn’t cut a lot of ice with me, and I doubt it does with Moore, either. (It probably doesn’t help that I’m not a huge fan of LOTR in either form.) Sure, sometimes it’s cool to get a movie adaptation, but arguing like it’s necessary for people who don’t read? That’s a bit lame.”
I wasn’t arguing it was “necessary”, I was giving an example of what “point” there was to making a movie adaptation of a work in response to your general comments on the subject, not Watchmen specifically. That said, wouldn’t “sharing the story visually with a wider audience” be a valid reason? Or perhaps wanting to bring the story to life in a different medium? Those seem to be pretty valid reasons for adaptations to me, especially if you’re a film maker. Again, not speaking of Watchmen specifically.

“People who can’t be bothered to pick up a book once in a while really ought not to be pandered to.”

Yeah, well not everyone reads graphic novels or sci-fi/fantasy when they do bother to “pick up a book”. For some people their only exposure to those genres are through other mediums, specifically film adaptations; and there are times when that exposure inspires them to give those genres a look the next time they’re so inclined to pick a book up and read in their often not-so-abundant spare time. That’s not pandering, it’s knowing your audience and exposing them to something potentially new. And yes, it’s a good reason why comics, sci-fi, and fantasy have seen a surge in popularity and even further legitimacy as literature, etc. the past decade or so. Yes, they always were literature, but now they’ve gained a wider audience and a greater respect, which is in no way a negative thing for any involved; and I’d even argue it’s one of the reasons that most creators today have the ability to say “yea” or “nay” when it comes to adaptations of their work where Mr. Moore, unfortunately, didn’t.


Also, Prankster I tried to check out your site and Firefox stopped me, saying it was a potential “attack site”.
“Attack sites try to install programs that steal private information, use your computer to attack others, or damage your system.

Some attack sites intentionally distribute harmful software, but many are compromised without the knowledge or permission of their owners.”

Just thought I’d give you a heads up about that.


you disgust me sir


Yeah, it’s a WebComicsNation site, and that seems to be having problems right now. Bad timing, I apologize.

Bringing something to a wider audience *can* be a noble thing to do, but a lot depends on the context. I was quite excited about V For Vendetta, because those were ideas I was excited about seeing on the screen (what’s more, I thought that there was actually room for improvement.) But the end result watered-down and oversimplified Moore’s ideas to a disappointing degree. The movie ended up being nothing more than a lecture on why Fascism is bad, which, thanks, I already knew that. And that was a movie made by the Wachowskis, who are smart guys with a certain amount of creative freedom–if they can’t get Moore right, what chance does freakin’ Zack Snyder have?

As I’ve said, I’m not opposed to a Watchmen movie…but it has to be made by the right people. There’s no point in doing it unless you’re going to do it right. And yet, there seem to be fans out there who are so determined to see Watchmen on screen that, if Moore thinks it’s a bad idea, they’ll attack him. But as Moore has said–and this is obvious from reading the book–the comic was intended very specifically to be a comic, to do things that only the comic medium can. As a result, I don’t see the point in making a movie to “bring it to a wider audience” when what that wider audience will be getting will be either something quite different, or else something that’s literally faithful but that probably doesn’t work as a movie (I’m betting on the second). There has to be more to the filmmaker’s motives than just “we had to get it on screen!”–they must have something to bring to it. Greengrass and Hayter sounded like they were going to tie it in with the post-9/11 world, which is a VERY valid reason to make the movie, IMHO…but Snyder dropped that out of literal faithfulness, and I still don’t understand why.

As for bringing attention to the medium of comics, I think it’s great that Hollywood is giving them a boost, but that works in a broad sense–once a few good comic adaptations hit the screen, people start to pay attention to the medium as a whole. They don’t literally need every comic or graphic novel brought to the screen. And indeed, as soon as someone decides to go looking for graphic novels, “Watchmen” is probably one of the first ones they’re going to pick up, so a movie adaptation isn’t strictly necessary to draw attention to it. And again–it’s not like we *need* people to read it. Like any book, there has to be some interest on the part of the reader. I would really hate it if we got a mainstream Watchmen backlash because we’re all sick of having it crammed down our throats.

There was a comics retailer who blogs…might have been Mike Sterling at Progressive Ruin…who mentioned that a movie adaptation tended to increase sales for a while…but after the movie had faded from the public eye, the sales of the comic tended to drop off to far below their original sales level. So you can argue that, in the long run, movie adaptations can hurt comics.

Frankly it comes off like a lot of fans really don’t actually like the medium of comics, and were just putting up with them until their favourite characters and stories could make the jump to film. That’s disappointing to me; in many ways, I find comics to be a far more interesting medium with a lot more potential than movies.


I finished reading this week It was alright although I just read the comic and not the letters and stuff at the end of the chapter I like the character development for all the main character and rorschach and the comedian are my favorite. and personally I didn’t like V for Vendetta the movie because it was so generic in the sense the I read too many books about totalitarianisms for me to give a damn about another one.


Having not read Watchmen all the way through I can’t comment about it specifically, though I’d be willing to bet your take on it is the more probable one. I’m willing to give Snyder the benefit of the doubt because I enjoyed 300 and Watchmen looks visually interesting. Watchmen is also on my list to read next so my opinion on the movie could drastically change afterward.

In regards to comics in general post-movie adaptations, I’m not so sure it was the adaptation that hurt them in the long run so much as the way the comics were handled. The way I see it the movies give the comic an opportunity to pick up a wider audience, but it’s up to the creators to hold onto that audience. Looking at Spider-Man and Iron Man specifically, their runs recently, around the times of the movie releases, honestly haven’t been all that stellar. Spider-Man, in it’s various incarnations, has been hit or miss story-wise for years and complete crap post OMD/BND. The only consistently good Spidey-title, IMO, has been Ultimate Spider-Man. I directed the people I knew who were interested in checking out the comics after the movies came out to that title and most have stuck with it since. I couldn’t blame them for not being interested in the mainstream titles, since I lost interest and stopped following myself.

As for Iron Man, his main post-CW run has been pretty bad. I can’t really comment on Hulk since I don’t follow that title. Batman, as well, could be pretty off-putting to any new readers, with Morrison at the helm the past couple of years and doing his RIP storyline at the moment. (Though Detective has still been pretty consistently decent). So really I think there’s a lot of factors that contribute to that initial surge then drop in sales after a movie adaptation. I don’t think it’s so much fans not liking the medium so much as fans not liking what’s being done with the medium at the time, and if new readers aren’t directed to more “entry level friendly” stuff first then I could see how it could be pretty hard to get into and stay into reading the mainstream comic titles for those characters.


I’m actually thinking mostly of non-superhero stories: Sin City, 300, V For Vendetta, From Hell, and so on. Particularly self-contained ones. In every case, the books were better than the movies; you can make an argument for the movie of Sin City as being equal to the comic, but otherwise, bleh. And yet I suspect a lot of people feel they can skip the comic because they’ve seen the movie.

And yeah, much of the coolness of Watchmen comes from its use of the comic medium. Translating it onto the screen as faithfully as possible is not going to produce a particularly good movie, IMHO. It’ll be one that some people will be able to transpose their love for the comic onto, but that’s not the same thing. And I suspect that there are a lot of details that Snyder simply won’t “get”…I mean, I don’t think he even captured the subtleties of a Frank Miller comic for God’s sake. His chances of “getting” Watchmen seem pretty low.


“I’m actually thinking mostly of non-superhero stories: Sin City, 300, V For Vendetta, From Hell, and so on. Particularly self-contained ones.”

Ah, in that case I can definitely see your point. I know personally I tend to think that way as well. I’ll intend to read the graphic novels, etc. after seeing the movie but once I see the movie the priority of reading the source material usually drops in favor for other new stuff. That doesn’t happen often because I usually end up picking up the books and reading them first before the movie hits (as I will for Watchmen) but for stuff like 300, V and so on, where I had little interest in reading them even before the movie, I still have yet to read over the books themselves.

Lunchebox said on July 30th, 2008 at 1:08 am

I love Watchmen, it is a really great book.

Mostly, I read it again and again to pick up things I didn’t notice the first time. Mainly background stuff, or little hints I didn’t pick up on before.

It’s wonderful, it’s like Waking up each morning and the tooth fairy left you 20 bucks for no real reason.

But I get what you’re saying, Moore’s writing is very dense. Not everyone is going to like/appreciate it.

I can’t tell you WHY I like his writing so much, honestly, I just do.

I have this problem with John Byrne, though.

I love Hellboy, but I have trouble reading Seed of Destruction because Mignola had Byrne do the dialogue.

It’s, frankly, kinda boring. I don’t know how many times I scream (in my head) “GET TO THE POINT, GOD” when I read something Byrne writes.

supergp: “I just read Watchmen for the first time. And people complain that BENDIS writes too much dialogue?”

Honestly, a lot of Bendis’ dialogue is superfluous, in my opinion.

Phone rings. Man picks up.
“It’s me.”
“You know…”
“I don’t.”
“Don’t even joke!”
“Really! I don’t! Who is this?”
“You know! It’s ME. Sandy.”
“Oh… Who?”
“Sandy from accounting.”
“I wore the Vampirella costume at the halloween party?”
“Oh, right, yeah, I remember.”
“Oh NOW you remember!”
“I said I was sorry!”
“I’m sure you are.”
“I really am!”
“How’re you Sandy?”
“I’m good good.”
“… Uh Good.”
“… Yeah.”
“So… Why are you calling?”
“Oh I was checking to see if you got the memo about the Thanksgiving party.”
“You mean the memo from Tuesday?”
“Yeah, that’s the one.”
“Yeah, I got it.”
“Okay, that’s all I wanted to know. See you Monday.”
“Okay, bye.”

Where as, while somewhat roundabout, I think Moore’s dialogue tends to be more… Relative to what’s going on in the story.


Sir, I am horrified.
Watchmen is my favourite comic, (controversial I know) although Alan Moore’s stuff is a little annoying in the “wow look how crazy this shit is hey?” department. Although the first LOEG is very good.
However I found Watchmen entirely accessible and awesome the whole way through.
I… I’m just not sure I can lurk for comic-scans in good taste anymore.


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