I am a pretty easy going guy, things rarely irk me. However there is one thing I hate more than anything else in the world.
I am one of those people that arrives at movie 30 minutes early, If I am going to a place that’s unfamiliar to me, I leave 2 hours early to give myself leeway to get lost, and still make sure I arrive at my meeting early.
I hate being late more than Michael Davis hates the GOP.
I hate being late more than Mitt Romney hates poor people.
I hate being late more than Fox News hates being honest.
You get the picture. Now when I am late due to my own problems, (which currently there are many with an upcoming move, my family in poor health, over committing to projects to pay for all this, etc) it’s frustrating.
But there is nothing more maddening if someone makes me late because THEY just don’t give a shit. I’m not taking about the usual thing, your significant other saying “I’ll be ready in five minutes” and proceeding to take another 45 before you leave the house.
I am talking about when you are working with someone, and they try to dominate all of your time, despite knowing you have other commitments. And if you are trying to maintain a polite working relationship you can’t just say “Back the fuck off man, I have other customers.”
(Which I had to do recently, because the amount of time the person was taking from me was far and away less than I was making on this project, and it caused me to lose out on a far more lucrative project, both professionally and financially.)
I understand getting so into the weeds with your own project you lose track of little things like ‘other people’ but it really comes down to respect. And that’s one of the reasons I hate being late, because I feel it’s a sign of disrespect.
So I offer this to the fine folks of MDW, Mea Culpa. My life has been a rather unpleasant place recently, my mother’s MRSA has worsened, and my wife’s medical problems have gotten a little out of control. Add that to a coming move (I have to be out of this fire trap by May 1st!) and well, the fact I am not curled up in a corner sucking my thumb and weeping uncontrollably is a testament to my resilience.
That said, lets move onto this weeks screed. Originally I wanted to do another follow up to the current issue of race, that seemed to get started with our first column but with the Treyvon case heating up, that is owed a much longer column than time presently allows.
However, this week there was a bit of comic book news that struck me as important. The dismissal of Chris Roberson from DC Comics.
In the past I have been accused cronyism in a way when these things come up, but hear me out on this for a moment. It wasn’t the fact that Chris Robertson was fired, but the reason he was fired. Chris came out and called the people who sign his paychecks criminals essentially over something that really is just a matter of poor decisions.
It really came down to the “Watchmen 2” malarkey. You have a very split audience over this, on one hand you have the legion of Alan Moore fans that think he was ‘screwed’ for these books coming out despite the fact he doesn’t want them to, and those people who think it might be worth reading. Fact is Alan Moore signed a bad contract, we all have in the past.
Is it DC’s fault? Maybe, they did after all draft the contract. But it is up to a creator to scan through any deal, hell, take it to a lawyer and make sure the language is mutually beneficial. If anything it’s a great cautionary tale for young creators out there looking to get into the business.
I may be in the minority but I will always argue that V For Vendetta was the superior Moore work, both are great books, but for some reason V just resonates with me more. One thing about Watchmen that was sort of lost in the annals of history, is that originally Moore wanted to use DC’s characters, but DC wasn’t keen on that idea, so Moore used allegories to DC’s characters.
Rorschach was The Question, Dr. Manhattan was Captain Atom, etc. Most hardcore fans know this, but a lot of people on this Watchmen 2 divide probably don’t or would rather ignore the fact because it makes a better argument for the “Moore got screwed!” set.
Fact was, he did a work for hire project, he was paid, he received credit and payment for the movie, (although he asked his name to be taken off most if not all of the film adaptations) He received a royalty from the new deal, and even if he refused it, that would be on him. Refusal of money does not preclude someone who has ownership of a property to produce a product.
And what of Dave Gibbons. Co-creator of Watchmen. Dave’s character designs are what gave the characters their uniqueness. Should he be denied a payday because of another person’s poor feelings? People tend to credit Watchmen as when “comics grew up.”
This is a misnomer.
Comics have been subversive, and adult for as long as the medium existed. What they mean is when “Mainstream comics grew up.
Roberson wants to make it a big David v Goliath issue but the end of the day, most creators understand that the only way your work is going to receive any kind of recognition is by doing work with one of the bigger guns. You could ask, would Alan Moore be as big of a creator without his work at DC? If he was still writing for Dez Skinn’s weekly newsagent publications?
Jeff Lemire is a great example of this. His work on Animal Man has lead audiences to seek out his indie work, and give him the boost he deserves.
Comics, are a business plain and simply.
Now because we don’t make as much as other portions of the entertainment industry, such as films, music, and television, its easy to write it off as a fairy wonderland where people just do whatever they want and get paid for it.
That is not the case.
(especially the part about getting paid. Most creators are lucky to work for a ham sandwich.)
What Chris Roberson did was foolish and unprofessional. He probably burned a bridge with a company that could help make his career. If he’s lucky he will learn from this and move forward. But few people will want to partner with someone who will trash them in the press whenever they get a wild hair up their ass.
It’s good to stand your ground, to stand up for what you believe in, but it’s important to also know all the facts, and consider all the moving parts before shooting your mouth off.