Alan Moore Curses Watchmen Movie

Watchmen Graphic Novel

Watchmen Graphic Novel

I caught a student reading Watchmen at the back of my class.  Don’t worry, I didn’t bust him for it.  After all, it is an English class, and I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from reading one of the greatest graphic novels of all time, even if they choose to do so while I’m trying to explain sentence fragments.  I used to do the same thing myself in high school.  (I may even have done it with Watchmen.)  I just wasn’t smart enough to hide in the back of the room.  Whether because of my poor eyesight or my extreme nerdiness, I always sat right up front, in plain view of my teachers.  Luckily, I’ve always been capable of focusing on more than one thing at a time.  I remember astounding my Spanish teacher, a retired Colombian bodybuilder who was clearly not a man to be fucked with, by answering his rather pointed questions in passable Español, my head still firmly buried in a John Varley novel.  But I digress.

I talked a bit with my student during the break, eyeing his shiny new edition with the slick paper and restored colors.  A friend of his, presumably a comix geek, had insisted that he read the original before seeing movie.

I too am excited about the upcoming Watchmen movie in large part because director Zach Snyder (who also brought Frank Miller’s 300 to the screen) has promised as faithful an adaptation as the 150-minute running time allows.  There are also a couple of genius bits of casting.  Jeffrey Dean Morgan (John Winchester on TV’s Supernatural) has already demonstrated that he can dredge up the tortured cynicism necessary to play The Comedian.  And anyone who has seen Jackie Earle Haley as a paroled sex offender in Little Children (a film recommended by no less an authority than Stephen King) cannot doubt his ability to portray the fascist vigilante Rorschach.  His line reading in the trailer alone is enough to give me chills.

The Watchmen Cast

The Watchmen Cast

The only thing marring my anticipation is the sadly predicable behavior of the notoriously misanthropic Alan Moore, the snake-worshiping Englishmen who wrote and co-created Watchmen along with artist Dave Gibbons.  Every time I read an interview with Moore (usually in the back pages of Jess Nevins’ annotations to Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) he cannot refrain from slagging Hollywood moviemakers, the American comix industry, and (by implication) anyone who enjoys their products.  Granted, Moore does have legitimate grievances against certain people and publishers here in the U.S., but his tedious ire never seems to wane.  Moore has refused to have anything to do with the Watchmen movie, even to the point of turning his residuals over to Gibbons, who has been on set with Snyder as a consultant.  Laughing about the film’s legal troubles in a recent interview with L.A. Times blogger-in-residence, Geoff Boucher, Moore jokingly claimed to have cursed the movie with his wizard powers.  I find his childish attitude disappointing, especially as both Snyder and Gibbons are trying to stay true to the spirit of the original.

Regardless, I took my boys to ComicKaze the other day.  (We were seeking Ben Templesmith’s Doctor Who one-shot, The Whispering Gallery.)  I saw the Watchmen action figures, and had to fight off the almost irresistible urge to open several packages and twist a bunch of Ozymandius figures into contorted poses.  A pile of Watchmen reissues sat on a table like a load of colorful bricks.  I remembered the last time I saw stack like that, in a cramped comic shop on El Cajon Boulevard, in 1987.  I still have my first edition compilation.  It sits on my shelf even now, battered and faded, alongside Moore’s recent work.  I’ve carried it from place to place since before my boys were born, before I got married, before I graduated high school or learned to drive.  I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve read it over all those years.  Yes, I will see the Watchmen movie.  But like it or hate it, it will not diminish my admiration for the graphic novel.

Alan Moore

Alan Moore

And then there’s my student.  If it weren’t for the upcoming film, he might never have read Watchmen at all.  Maybe Alan Moore should bear that in mind.

Dave Hurwitz

Strap on your cardboard party hat and get ready for cupcakes.  The Weekly Rot is officially one year old.  So take a swing at the Cthulhu piñata.  Pin the butcher knife on Janet Leigh.  Try the punch.  I’m pretty sure the eyeballs in there are rubber.  If you’re feeling nostalgic, take a stroll through the archives, and check out some of our early posts.  Just try not to wake Mad Mary.

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5 Responses to “Alan Moore Curses Watchmen Movie”

  1. Although I will certainly see the movie, I don’t hold the original graphic novel in such high esteem. For me, it seems the providence of the comic intellectual elite. There’s a reason that The Watchmen pretty much vanished from the shelves for so many years. People, including Dave, claim that this is the best graphic novel ever written. I would disagree.

    For me, much of it was forgettable. I picked up a recent reprint in Borders a few weeks back (I had parted with my original copy years ago). I didn’t buy it, but rather skimmed to refresh the plot in my mind. Yes, there was the owl sex. Couldn’t forget that. The ending always intrigued me (I won’t spoil it here). It was the only part that stuck with me.

    Did I enjoy the Watchmen? Certainly. Was I transformed? No. Have I read better comics since then? Most Definitely. I’m more partial to Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the first volume), Steve Niles’ 30 Days of Night, or the truly excellent Red Son by Mark Millar.

  2. I’ve been a fan of Alan Moore’s work for longer than his books have been made into movies(remarkable, since I’m 21) and it never ceases to disappoint me how his admittedly bad experiences with Hollywood in the beginning color his perception of all later adaptations. LXG is fun to watch intoxicated, but it can’t hold a candle to the comic. I know that, but I own a copy anyway. V for Vendetta was as faithful an adaptation as could be sold to consumers, and that’s all I have any right to expect. From Hell was based on the comic in name only, and works as a movie on it’s own, just don’t think about the comic when you’re watching it.

    I keep hearing the arguments(They could have been faithful and it would have developed a cult following, Why not include the “insert overvalued scene here”) but nobody sets out to make a cult movie. Cult Movies don’t get made with the cult in mind, they happen when a film is of high quality in an area but too obscure to gain a mainstream following, and that scene is otherwise infeasible for the movie(The Vicious Cabaret is the one I always hear about, and the other problem(besides the fact that is a musical intermission and not easy to include in a non-musical movie) there is that David J(of Bauhaus), who recorded it the first time is affiliated with Moore’s occult organization and wouldn’t allow his recording to be used, and Moore wouldn’t allow a reproduction).

    If he were really interested in hurting the film, he should have cursed it with a cult following and high seed to peer ratios on BitTorrent. He’s an anarchist, that ought to appeal to him.

  3. Chalk me up as being another Watchmen fan-grrl. I bought the comics individually as they were coming out despite having been almost exclusively a Marvel-phile and Indie fan back in the day, and I would gladly put it (and other Moore works—V, LXG, Promethea, From Hell) on the same pedestal I reserve for writers like Stephenson and Varley. It unquestionably transformed the medium…albeit not always for the better as way too many of the arrested development cases writing “comix” (*cough*Leifeld*coughcough*) missed the point that the masks in Watchmen were almost universally negative examples.

    But without Moore’s work in general (and that of a few others, like Bill Willingham) and Watchmen in particular, the medium remains the sole province of adolescent boys of all ages and genders and you don’t end up with a market for titles like Sandman, Preacher, Hellblazer, Ex Machina, etc.

    I also know that it changed my relationship with comics completely. Before Watchmen, I greedily sopped up all the cape-waving, web-slinging, eye-blasting action I could get my grubby little mitts on…but after, I demanded more of my graphic novel entertainment.

    But all of that said, I doubt I would enjoy meeting Alan Moore. You’d think so advanced an “adept” of all things Magickal would have been able to make peace with his Hollywood bête noire by now, and I doubt I could keep myself from sniggering constantly at his amazing resemblance to the man on the cover art from Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung.”

    I just hope he keeps making comics and I never have to meet the man. 😛

  4. Hollis Mason Says:

    After the HORRIBLE movies for league, and V for vendetta, Moore has every right to dismiss the movie. (which by the way was okay exept for the COMPLETELY fucked up ending)

  5. Hollis,

    Glad to see you’ve recovered from that whole knot-top attack. I didn’t think the V movie was that bad. Hugo Weaving was a great casting choice, though I will admit to expecting him to say “The elves are leaving fascist Britain, Ms. Portman.”

    Dave

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