Man, this annoyed me...

While searching for reference to something on Reddit, I happened across an article with an interesting title: Jason Aaron's "The year I stopped caring about Alan Moore". If you don't feel like reading it, I'll offer a synopsis: Alan Moore hurt Jason Aaron's feelings, so Jason Aaron wants to lash out at Alan Moore in response.

The thorn in Aaron's side is an interview where Alan Moore discussed DC's brainstorming about the possibility of publishing prequels and sequels to Watchmen. According to Moore he was so unimpressed by the concept that he wouldn't even consider it, despite the remuneration possibly including getting the rights to Watchmen returned to him. His main objection, the part that so irked Jason Aaron? His assertion that there were no writers (and possibly artists) working in comics today with the talent necessary to write anything as good as Watchmen. His offer of proof? To paraphrase Aaron Sorkin, if they were talented enough to write something as good as Watchmen, they would have written something as good as Watchmen.

This is what so offended Jason Aaron. Alan Moore announcing that all of mainstream comics is made up of no-talent hacks who aren't fit to shine his shoes. Harsh and overstated - sure. Justified by the facts in evidence? I would say yes. This is the part where I stop explaining the situation, and begin angrily editorializing, so let me just crack my knuckles...

Of course he's a better writer than you are, Jason Aaron. He's probably the world's greatest living writer. Was he kind of a dick to say it? Sure - but after the abomination that was the Watchmen movie, can you really blame him for being a little sensitive about other writers and artists taking liberties with one of his best works? Jesus, look at the mess that Justice League Unlimited made out of 'For the Man Who Has Everything' - that was a great show adapting a seemingly idiot-proof story, but they still managed to get it completely wrong.

The writer on that one? J.M. DeMatteis, one of the strongest superhero writers of the 80s.

And what, exactly, are you responsible for? Scalped - haven't read it. That's not a knock on you, I'm sure it's quite good, what with all the awards, but I haven't gotten around to it. I did, however, read your Punisher Max (lifelong Steve Dillon/Punisher fan, y'see) and found it to offer serviceable action combined with the worst excesses of Garth Ennis' run with the character. Specifically his obsession with being super-impressed with the villains while insisting on depicting Frank Castle as little more than a serial killer with only the slightest attempt at moral justification for his actions. This is a road he went down with the last two pages of 'Welcome Back, Frank', and it's defined all portrayals of the character for the last decade, much to the reader's detriment. I'm aware that you' re an Eisner-winning writer, since the bio you wrote for the bottom of your article is nice enough to make that perfectly clear, but it's a little difficutl to be impressed - after all, any award Brian Bendis has isn't worth having.

Should your feelings be hurt because Alan Moore doesn't think you're up to his level of writing - or more likely hasn't ever heard of you, and is only unimpressed by the abstract concept of you? Sure. Does that entitle you to lash back out at him and boycott his writing? Of course it does.

What it doesn't entitle you to do is to suggest that he's not right in his assumptions that you and all of your contemporaries aren't skilled enough to write sequels and prequels to Watchmen. Perhaps he's a bitter old man, but he's a bitter old man who, just two years ago, turned out a story that spun together Jules Verne, Ripperology and Bertholt Brecht, creating a comic book musical that works as well or better than its source material.

He doesn't have to read your work to know it's not at the level he was writing at on his worst day.

He's Alan Moore.

You're just a comic book writer with a beard.


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Anonymous said...

Whoever said that Watchman was all that good?