Wednesday, March 22, 2006

V for Value Judgment....

Curse my fanboy hide, it’s stopping me from enjoying a decent movie. When I first heard about V for Vendetta I was informed by snippets like the first announcement from Variety that it was to be set in an alternative history where ‘Hilter Won World War II’ the starting point of much lacklustre sci-fi. Thankfully, this was not the case and a world where Britain could easily slip into fascism by its own accord, not by some parallel dimension ploy, is portrayed. Then I read a Web report that it included a character talking about ‘eggy in a basket’ and I freaked out, thinking it would include some sort of Jack the Ripper view of olde Laaawdaan town where huddled masses would eat some sort of concoction that actually involved eating scrambled eggs and chips in a basket and say things like “aaaw I luv a bit ole eggy in the basket when I’s wotchin’ the queen on the telly, I ‘ope saaam terrooorist character don’t displace ‘er….”

Thankfully this is not the case ( I’ve just been to see it with the great HH where we discussed the 'eggy in a basket' conundrum, yes we have both had a situation where cutting a circular hole in a slice of bread, I normally use a highball glass, and breaking a egg into in and then frying the thing is quite common, but calling it 'eggy in a basket' is you can fry the little remaining circle for the craic and have a little tiny round bit of French bread as well, how cool is that?).

Whatever Alan Moore’s problems with the film, I’m so glad David Lloyd got his moment of celluloid glory. I agree with Alan Moore’s problems, but he is in a relatively more comfortable position in comparison with most comic creators. He’s had his name up there twice on the screen (with From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) and has refused to have it up there for this one, where folks were practically begging for his approval.

It seems ironic that Siegel and Shuster had so many problems regaining creative control over Superman and just getting their names attached to a creative property, yet, churlishly, Moore wants his name taken off a creative work. He sold the rights, I can’t believe that Moore even in the 1980s was naïve about what that entailed. Although I did enjoy a 1988 ‘puplishorial’ from Jenatte Kahn on the back cover of Doom Patrol 9, yes kids the ole patrol did exist before Grant Morrison, where see gushes over Joel Silver’s credentials for making Watchmen as a movie, a meeting with Moore and the fact that she had pitched Watchmen as a movie when it was only three issues in!

As Moore himself said, and Stephen King has quoted this many times: "Apparently, someone asked Raymond Chandler once what he thought of Hollywood ruining all of his books. And he took them into his study and pointed up to the shelf where they all were, and he said, "Look, they're there. They're fine. They're okay."

As Warren Ellis recently noticed, about half of the hipsters in San Francisco now have a copy of V under their arms. This can’t be a bad thing. The movie reminded me of starting Media Studies for the first time and getting all hot and bothered about how news is put together, how the chaos of daily existence of the world is packaged into manageable stories. I hoped that V will get some current undergrads creaming themselves with geeky excitement over the possibilities of this area rather than trying to get the best mark with the least work. Ahh whatever, I'm a bitter geek but I think that whatever burgeoning comic intelligensia there is seems to treat Alan Moore like some mystic magical wizard from neverwhere, forgetting that he's the guy who burped Skizz onto this world. His word is not gospel, the introduction to the original V for Vendetta DC reprints implied he was so scared of living under Thatcher he was going to leave Britain, now he is going to stay in England forever and ever. The mystical treatment of his work belies that the simple fact that, when it comes down to it, he's a guy from Northampton that writes amazing stories.


clamnuts said...

Yeah, it can't be a bad thing ever when the uninititated start reading comics.But you know .02% of them will ever read anything more than V. I have no great hard-on for Moore, I love The Killing Joke but other than that I'm not
crazy about him.He definitely has cultivated a sizeable following through his non comic work, his magic stuff and gripes with the comic industry. I met his daughter a couple of weeks ago, did I mention that? Yeah, well i did

laura said...

why exactly is moore annoyed with the movie? i've read the comic (and it was great), but what was wrong with the movie? i haven't seen it, but i heard great things about it.

maybe he's upset he wasn't consulted enough for creative suggestions. some artists get really mad when you don't ask their permission for every little thing. ronald doahl was mad when the producers and directors added a few things to the movie "willie wonka"--he thought that it was an accusation that he is a bad writer. maybe that's moore's beef.

badbrute said...

Ronald Doahl? Adding a few things..? Extra consonanats and vowels perhaps? Clamille Spanglia?

laura said...

doahl was upset by the musical numbers and the changes to the oompa loompas, from what i here. he wanted to the movie to reflect his book exactly, and didn't like the liberties that the director, producers, and the actors would take in their "interpretation".

Lorcy said...

I think one of Moore's understandable gripes was that DC Comics got subsumed into the Time Warner media empire and that any decision or opinion of a top comic writer would be overruled by some dink of a film producer in a ponytail (well, he did sell most of these rights in the 1980s)

The rights to Watchmen was meant to revert to Moore and Gibbons (and we presume oft-forgotten colorist John Higgins) when it went out of print, but DC never stopped printing it and even when it wasn't in print used the fact that it had made promotional Watchmen badges as counting for it stil being in print.

America's Best Comics, Moore's label which published Tom Strong, League of Extraordinary Gentlmen and Top Ten was an imprint of independent label Image/Wildstorm which eventually also got subsumed into DC Comics/ Time Warner.

It's in some like the Pixar/Disney deal, you can do independent stuff that is well received but would it get such a huge audience if it did not have the distribution structure of the more established company?

Moore's traditional stance was to take the option money and be quite vocal about not seeing the movie and having nothing to do with it. Then he was taking flack for taking the money and running so he decided to not take the money and be more vocal about why. This seems to be his greatest protest what someone who doesn't want money! someone who doesn't want to be a celebrity! this is the most refreshing aspect someone who refuses to go along with these games, but again it comes down to the fact that he is financially in a position to do so when other comic writers and artists are drinking their own ink and no doubt piss to survive. On the other hand he has worked damn hard to get in that position and as far as I'm concerned can do what he wants becuase he has written some of the best stories ever written: Watchmen makes be blub uncontrollabily every time, which is not bad for a book about guys and gays in funny masks.

Ernesto said...

Great post, mate.