Edward Fuqua on Creator's Rights & Treatment
'Industry Should Support…'
Published: 06/04/2012 03:37amMark Craddock of Comic Book World on 'WSJ' Trashing") and had this to say.
I can't remember when I've read something as wildly off base as the Talk Back piece by Mark Craddock. The Wall Street Journal article makes some strong attacks on the comic book industry, particularly their egregious treatment of comic creators and their over reliance on decades old plots and characters. The article also mentions Alan Moore and Robert Kirkman as examples of two comic creators who prefer not to work for Marvel of DC. Rather than defending the comic industry Mr. Craddock choose to make ad hominem attacks on Kirkman and Moore in a tone that frankly was quite puzzling. Let me take his statements in order.
"but I wonder what Tim Marchman would say about Robert Kirkman if he realized he pitched The Walking Dead to Image Comics as Night of the Living Dead, since it is the public domain?"
Obviously I can't speak for Mr. Marchman, but I imagine he’d shrug his shoulders if you told him this since it has nothing to do with his argument. Night of the Living Dead is in public domain, a fact that the movie's director and writer have been grappling with for decades. This has nothing to do with comic books. The Walking Dead is clearly a rip off, or homage to Night of the Living Dead, as is clear to anyone who reads more than a few pages. I don't think Kirkman's ever hidden that fact or that anyone who writes about Kirkman would fail to know it.
"And how is an industry supposed to support a creator like Alan Moore who produced a work that could have gotten me arrested and my stores closed down for carrying it?"
Where to start with this sentence? The industry should support Alan Moore by giving him wheelbarrows full of money. Warners and DC have made millions of dollars off of his work and the whole story is on the internet, so I presumably won't have to go into it here. Their treatment of Alan Moore led him to leave DC comics and has caused many creators to think twice before they give any good ideas to DC. Alan Moore was responsible for arguably the single most important comic book ever printed and if they can do it to him they can do it to anyone. This is the point of the article, not the fact that Alan Moore also wrote Lost Girls.
If you honestly believe that Moore should be shunned because he produced a work that might be considered pornographic, then I find your views reprehensible. The content of Lost Girls was well advertised, and I assume that you did not carry it in your store, which is your right. Having read the book, I'm not sure that I would have had it on display in my store, but I certainly would have filled orders for it. Since you didn’t carry the book you suffered zero risk of being arrested, so I don't see what your problem is.
"Sure, artists can argue artistic expression versus pornography, but there are not the ones in court or jail."
The first half of your sentence is correct. Artists can and do argue artistic expression verses pornography, the debate has been going on throughout the history of civilization. The last half of the sentence sadly isn't completely true. Over the years artists and writers have gone to prison for their work. The most recent case I can think of is Mike Diana back in the nineties for Boiled Angel. Perhaps instead of being upset at Alan Moore for producing the comic, you should be upset at the draconian and outdated laws and the overzealous prosecutors that make you feel threatened just for running a comic book store. I still can’t see what this has to do with compensation for creators or overuse of tired plotlines.
"Maybe Marchman should look at the fact, the like it or not, Mr. Moore hasn't had the impact on our industry since Watchmen."
True. And the scientists at the Manhattan Project had very little impact on the world after creating the atomic bomb. Actually Moore has done some nice work since leaving DC, it's unfair to say that none of it has the same impact as Watchman since nothing published in the last twenty years has had the same impact. If DC hadn’t burned him so badly we might have been treated to any number of great super hero stories, but now we'll never know.
"Sure, he can use his disgust with DC Comics treatment as a reason, but Lost Girls wasn't what we needed."
Reason for what? Moore is writing quirky comics that he really wants to write. Some of them have been very successful like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and some of them haven't. I seriously doubt that Alan Moore is staying up at night worrying about his impact on the comic book industry. As a retailer you might prefer it if he had stayed at DC and turned out one Watchman after another, but you have no right to expect that and no writer is capable of it.
Oh, and you really don't like Lost Girls. I get it, moving on.
"I'm sure Tim can't be bothered to step outside of a "real bookstore" long enough to actually do enough research, so he can present a review, instead of an op-ed piece."
You're right, it is more of an editorial than a review, but that doesn't change the fact that he makes some important points. Since Tim seems to review books for a living it's unfair to criticize him for spending time in real bookstores. I can't see how doing more research would change his opinion on the main points of the article. Comic book sales are dropping while comic book movies are the hottest ticket in town. Many talented creators refuse to work for Marvel and DC because of their poor treatment of talent and the inability to control what you create. Comic book companies think Avengers fighting the X-Men is a groundbreaking, exciting idea for a comic book series. The more time I spend in a comic store the more obvious each of those facts becomes, and your opinions of Kirkman and Moore really have no bearing on that.
The opinions expressed in this Talk Back are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.