December 3rd, 2011

RatReading

Watchmen 2 -- Need I Say Moore?

Let's start at the very beginning...a very good place to start....

DC Comics is changing how comics are perceived, with titles like The Dark Knight Returns paving the way.  DC wants to do a series with the Charlton characters they have the rights to.  Since, as Jim Valentino pointed out, almost any comic written by a guy who is 1) bald and 2) British usually translates into gold, DC hires Alan Moore, who isn't bald but most definitely is British.

Moore proceeds to write his outline, and DC thinks it is too much for the Charlton characters.  Moore has done the old indie standby of deconstructing the superhero (I liked Watchmen, but I didn't read it until long after I started reading comics.  By that point, deconstruction of superheroes was old hat to me.  Just saying it didn't have the impact on me that it had on fanboys who almost exclusively read Marvel and DC).  Moore is told to create new characters to tell the story.  He does so, and Watchmen is born.

Moore, whose stock in trade is fantastic figures confined by the real world and what they do about it (Marvelman/Miracleman, V For Vendetta), wrote a story that played against a contemporary backdrop and reasonable limitations.  He interspersed the story with asides and flashbacks, hinting at a much broader story than he had room to tell there.  Indeed, Moore was telling people for a while he was looking forward to telling more stories with the characters, either filling in the gaps he left or continuing from where he left off.  Moore signed a deal with DC where, once the books were out of print, the rights to the Watchmen would revert back to Moore.  Everyone figured a year, maybe two, and it would happen.

But during that time, the graphic novel market exploded.  Watchmen did fine as a miniseries, but when collected in a trade, it just wouldn't stop selling as people learned of it and bought it for friends to introduce them into the newly maturing comic book medium.  DC kept the book in print to this day.

Would Moore have refused the deal if he'd known what was going to happen?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Moore was still excited about working on more Watchmen stuff until DC got slick.  They started making T-shirts and buttons and other merchandise of Watchmen.  Moore's deal was to give him a royalty.  But DC classified the T-shirts and such as "promotional material" instead of actual merch, which under the terms of the deal, meant Moore got nothing.  Not getting the characters back plus getting jobbed out of his cut turned Moore bitter, who, as far as I'm aware, has never worked for a mainstream publisher since.

(Yes, he worked for ABC, which was published by DC, but they weren't owned by DC at the time he signed up, and when they bought ABC, Moore finished his contract, told them to fuck themselves, and jumped.  Not quite the same thing.)

There has been back and forth since then, with Moore more or less accepting he will never get the characters and just wanting to distance himself from Watchmen (recent interviews make him sound rather tired of the whole thing), comparing it to a messy divorce.  Since then, DC has been subtle but put out feelers for a possible continuation of Watchmen.  After all, it's one of their biggest selling properties ever.  Talk began when the movie was coming out and interest was high.  Then the movie bombed at the box office and talk quieted.

The quiet has ceased.

Although not officially confirmed, DC is moving forward with four Watchmen prequel miniseries.  They were apparently planning to do the Big Reveal at Reed's NYCC, but word has exploded across the Twitterverse, so they'll likely bump up the announcement.  Smart money says January, because they are apparently still getting their ducks in a row.  One name is confirmed -- Andy Kubert is definitely drawing one of them.  Darwyn Cooke is rumored to be the line editor, and is running pretty quick.  The Canadian Fan Expo recently went down, and Cooke was spotted there incognito, and he took Joe Kubert out to lunch.  Prying ears claim the discussion was a Nite Owl miniseries with his son Andy, pitting to original Nite Owl and his successor against some threat (I have to admit, that is some nice symmetry there).  Cooke himself is supposedly writing a Comedian miniseries, and Dave Gibbons is involved.  He apparently isn't actually working on the books, he's there more as a creative consultant "for this wave".  Read into that what you will.

Other names that were rumored last time to be connected to this whole scheme are John Higgins, JG Jones, and J. Michael Straczynski.  Oh, God, not JMS.  Since he started becoming a big name with Marvel thanks to his run on Spider-Man, he's developed a reputation and has become terrible at making deadlines and walking away from series in the middle of storylines.  He's like a Mark Millar who actually knows how to write.  Well, sort of.  The arc where Superman just walks across the country without using his powers to help anyone was hilariously narcissistic of JMS.  Please, DC, if you're really going to do this, pick someone actually focused on telling a story, not showing off how smart and philosophical he is (if he was still alive, although I doubt he would do it because of the circumstances, Steve Gerber would be perfect).

I won't be buying just because Watchmen isn't that big a deal for me.  But the Internet has pretty much broken in half.  DC is not gambling much, as the 52 relaunch is focused on new readers, not the same old group that probably wouldn't by it anyway.  How big a hit will it be?

I'm keen to find out.
RatItsAPity

Redefining "Unwelcome Houseguest"

mornblade and I will periodically talk about frivolous lawsuits and what possesses people to either file them or what exactly they were doing according to the grounds of the lawsuit.

Mornblade, my brother?  This one's on me.

A man is suing the couple he took hostage because they aren't making good on their promise to give him money in exchange for releasing them.

I'm going to stop here for a moment because, if your reaction is anything like mine when I read that, you are currently staring at your monitor like a dog staring into a fan.  I'll resume once your brains have rebooted.

You're back?  Great!  So, Jesse Dimmick is from suburban Denver and, back in September 2009, was on the run from the fuzz.  He was a suspect in the killing of Michael Curtis and police wanted to bring him in for questioning.  He made it to Topeka, KS, with the law on his heel.  He broke into the house of Jared and Lindsay Rowley.  Dimmick said he was being chased by police and feared for his life.  Dimmick was armed with a knife and the couple feared he might have a gun on him (not an unreasonable assumption).  The Rowleys let Dimmick in their house, where they watched movies with him and gave him snacks.  Eventually, Dimmick fell asleep.



The Rowleys snuck out of their house and called the police.  Police arrived, and a firefight ensued.  Dimmick was arrested and convicted in May 2010 on four charges, including two for kidnapping.  Ten years, eleven months.  He's been since extradited back to Brighton, Colorado, for a preliminary hearing, originally for December 6 but now moved to April 12 of next year, on eight charges including the murder of Michael Curtis.

Now, Dimmick is filing a lawsuit against the Rowleys for breach of contract.  His hand written court documents (I wonder if they're written in crayon) read, "I, the defendant, asked the Rowleys to hide me because I feared for my life. I offered the Rowleys an unspecified amount of money which they agreed upon, therefore forging a legally binding oral contract."  Never mind that actions made under duress are not legally enforceable.  This is why people who are victims of extortion are not held accountable for their actions.  The original deal agreed on was $75,000.  Dimmick is asking for $235,000, part of it to pay for hospital bills for when he got shot during the police raid.  The Rowleys' attorney has asked the lawsuit be dismissed.

Natural selection -- don't you miss it?
What?

As The Wizard World Turns

Okay, it's not the news I was hoping for today.  Although Herman Cain still has another twelve hours.  Don't let me down, buddy.

Gareb Shamus of Wizard folded the whole publication thing and started an online blog like Josh Blaylock and others.

Not anymore.

The blog is gone, and there's this....

December 1, 2011
Board of Directors
Wizard World, Inc.
Gentlemen:
I hereby resign my positions as President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Wizard World, Inc. (the “Company”) effective immediately. The resignation is not the result of any disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices.
Sincerely,
Gareb Shamus


Another letter from Wizard itself:

Pursuant to a letter of resignation dated December 1, 2011 (the “Resignation Letter”), Mr. Gareb Shamus resigned his positions as President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Company. Mr. Michael Mathews, Chairman, will serve as the Company’s Interim Executive Chairman and oversee the Company’s day to day operations until the Board of Directors (the “Board”) has identified a new Chief Executive Officer. The Board will immediately commence the search for a new Chief Executive Officer and anticipates completing its search no later than January 15, 2012. Mr. Shamus’ resignation is not the result of any disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices.

Anyone else notice the last sentences are almost identical?  I can't wait to hear what the grapevine has to say about this.

What's going to happen next?  The Wizard World cons are pretty much all that is left.  Although, with Shamus gone, maaaaaaaybe people will be willing to work with Wizard now.  I mean, for a comic convention, publishers avoided Wizard the way Kim Kardashian avoids dignity.  Maybe Wizard realizes they need Marvel and the others to survive, and the only way to get that co-operation was to convince Shamus to move on.

Some people love Shamus.  A lot more mortally hate him.

And the world turns on.
Rat Celebrates

Hermain Cain't

It's a hap hap happy day!

It's official!

Herman Cain, at what was supposed to be the opening of his new campaign headquarters, has dropped out of the Presidential race.



"As of today, with a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign.  I am disappointed that it came to this point that we had to make this decision."

But rest assured, the noble narcissist hasn't given up being a beacon of hope.  "Before you get discouraged, today I want to describe Plan B. . . . I am not going away. I will continue to be a voice for the people."  He is starting a web site, The Cain Solutions, for those want his particular brand of truthiness, and that he "will not be silenced."  Which just shows you that every silver lining has its cloud.

Still, that's one less dipshit running for President.  We got a few more to go, though....