There has always been one thing that kinda bugged me about the adaptation thing: If Moore's so convinced that his work does not translate well to other mediums, why does he keep allowing them to translate it to other mediums? I know that in some cases it would be out of his hands (I can't say for which books, not knowing DC's policy on creator ownership and all), but shouldn't he have at least been able to draw the line with his independently published stuff?
DC owns pretty much everything he's done. They published V For Vendetta and Watchmen, so they own those. They also bought America's Best Comics (Publishers of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen).
V and Watchmen were published under a contract that would revert the rights to the creators if they went out of print (both have been steadily reprinted since their initial serializations.) Moore retains the rights to the ABC titles - he's since taken League to indie publisher Top Shelf
League is the only ABC title he owns. The rest all belong to DC (which is why they've recently published new issues of Top Ten and Tom Strong).
It bugs me that he has this opinion. Graphic novels are the closest possible medium to film while still consisting of still images. Additionally, when I was reading Watchmen, what struck me about it was how cinematic it was, and consequentially, how simple it would be to convert it into an effective film.
Granting that film storyboards look very much like comic books, your average graphic novel is about twice as long as an average film script. Moore noted this in a Wired Magazine interview saying The things I was trying to instill in those books were generally things that were only appropriate to the comics medium ... They were only about the comics medium, in a certain sense. To transplant them to the screen is going to chop off a good 30 or 40 percent of the reason why I wanted to do the work in the first place.
"Graphic novels are the closest possible medium to film while still consisting of still images." That's a good argument not to adapt comics to film as they're so close already.
''It's also sorta like saying "Books are the closest possible medium to plays while still consisting of words on paper" Being close does not mean that it'll work when adapted. Part of what makes a comic a comic is that panel transition and compression of time - ie the character spouting a monologue when walking across a small room (or even worse, the jump-kick soliloquy) - that sorta thing just doesn't work in a movie without looking incredibly stupid.
But the thing is they managed to pull it off in the films without making it look stupid. So...
Just because they don't look stupid, doesn't make them good adaptations. Obviously, YMMV in terms of if you like the movies, etc. But Moore is perfectly entitled to feel that scriptwriters/directors have ignored or completely missed the point of his work, or elements of his work. Just look at the discussion above about what people are saying V for Vendetta was changed to in its film version. Do I like it as a film in itself? Yeah, it's alright. Do I think it's an accurate, or even fair, adaptation of Alan Moore's V for Vendetta? No. Moore's looking at them as adaptations of his story/themes/characterisations/imagery, etc. And if the best we can say about these adaptations is, essentially, "well, they're not awful movies" then it's probably a fair point for him to make.
Have you taken a look at his picture on the back of Watchmen? Has Alan Moore not shaved ever since he began work on it?
I've seen a picture of him from even earlier then that, and he had the beard.
He looks like the unabomber. Or possibly Rasputin. Knowing him, he was going for the "Rasputin" look for some inscrutable reason or other.
From one interview I've read with him, the basic reason for the huge beard and hair is that he's too lazy to shave. So he keeps putting off.
Now that Before Watchmen is confirmed, Moore's reaction is exactly what we expected: "I don't want money, what I want is for this to not happen". Why does he consistantly try to play the victim when it comes to Watchmen & his other DC work, which he pretty much already divorced after his big ego got bigger, when the man has put out what is glorified fan-fiction of famous literary characters (Lost Girls & League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) and has make tons of money off them? It's hard to call out DC for whoring out "his" characters for money when he does the same damn thing to other authors' works.
More has indeed spoken (in my view, plausibly) to that very question: "In literature, I would say that it's different. I would say, and it might be splitting hairs, but I'm not adapting these characters. I'm not doing an adaptation of Dracula or King Solomon's Mines. What I am doing is stealing them. There is a difference between doing an adaptation, which is evil, and actually stealing the characters, which, as long as everybody's dead or you don't mention the names, is perfectly alright by me. I'm not trying to be glib here, I genuinely do feel that in literature you've got a tradition that goes back to Jason And The Argonauts of combining literary characters [...] It's just irresistible to do these fictional mash-ups. They've been going on for hundreds of years and I feel I'm a part of a proud literary tradition in doing that. With taking comic characters that have been created by cheated old men, I feel that that is different [...] And that's my take on the subject." http://www.avclub.com/articles/alan-moore-stands-up-for-stealing-other-peoples-ch,68911/
Ignoring the fact that Moore's logic is really stupid (the only thing different is that all of the original creators are dead, which makes it suddenly alright), it doesn't make what Moore does any different. How would H.G. Wells react to hearing that his Invisible Man was violently sodomized to death by Robert Louis Stevenson's Mr. Hyde? Or how would Lewis Carrol, L. Frank Baum, & J.M. Barrie take reading Lost Girls? The last part is really self-serving: "I don't mind stealing characters from others because it's from literature, but doing the same to comics characters is bad because it's happened to me and I don't like it. Hypocrisy is only wrong when other people do it. When I'm hypocritical its okay."
I don't really understand the relevance of speculating on the reactions of long-dead writers to Moore's brand of character approriation, but I think it's pretty clear that it's the institutional, corporate nature of the adaptations and things like Before Watchman that is at the heart of his objections.
I agree with the point that Moore's objections to the project overall are more about the institutional, corporate nature of the adaptations than the fact that his characters are being used per say, but to be entirely fair, in this particular instance Moore is kind of bringing this sort of speculation on himself. His point in the above quote is that there is a difference between 'adaptation' and 'stealing', which is kind of getting into semantics. After all, the writers of Before Watchmen could theoretically argue that they are also part of the same literary tradition Moore describes in that they're taking his characters and reinterpreting him just as Moore is taking the creations of other people and 'stealing' them (albeit for arguably more commercial and profit-orientated motives), or that Moore, despite his protests, is engaging in a form of adaptation — after all, Moore's Allan Quatermain is clearly supposed to be the same Quatermain who appeared in King Solomon's Mines, and Moore's Invisible Man and Mr. Hyde are supposed to be the ones who appeared in their original works. It's not entirely impossible to read the above and come away with the interpretation that Moore's engaging in a slightly long-winded way of saying "It's okay when I do it to others, but not when it's done to me." There's obviously more to Moore's objections to the project than just this, but this particular example kind of invites a rebuttal of this nature.
This is one of this occasions where somebody posts a description of a story and leaves out the part that's supposed to make it relevant to this discussion. So I add: and?
Not the poster above, but I suspect the point being made is a rebuttal to the common argument (as touched on above) that Moore's textual interventions with other's people's characters are, in part, acceptable because they've entered the public domain, while Beyond Watchmen is unacceptable because Moore is still alive and vocally objects to what he sees as the misuse of his characters. The point, I imagine, is that Moore himself has taken a character created by another living author that still exists in copyright (albeit in a rather coded fashion) and has arguably 'misused' it in a similar fashion to how he argues is being done to his characters which, if you were so inclined, could be seen as somewhat hypocritical; after all, Rowling presumably didn't and doesn't intend for Harry Potter to ever be presented as the Anti-Christ who kills people with his magical lightning-penis. Of course, we don't know what J.K Rowling's response to the above was, and there exist plenty of compelling counterarguments to this argument in itself, namely that as discussed above that Moore's objections seem to stem more from what he sees as the institutional, corporate, cheap-profit-based nature of how these adaptations and re-workings are being done rather than simply an objection to other creators reworking his characters on principle (which, if that is his position, would be rather hypocritical of him, since he's made a prominent career out of reworking the characters of other creators).
I think the primary idea of Moore's opinion is this: No one will ever unintentionally mistake his take on characters for being in-continuity. No one will read Extraordinary Gentleman and acknowledge it in the same continuity as Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde etc. It is immediately evident, from the get go, that even if they are the same characters, it is not the same continuity and isn't necessarily supposed to be an accurate writing of the characters. Before Watchmen is written to be in official continuity with Watchmen, the movie is made to represent an accurate representation of the comic etc. I certainly don't agree with all of Moore's calls on these kinds of things, but I think that is the argument he's making.