An Executive Summary for the tl;dr crowd:
- DC offered Alan Moore a huge sum of money to sign over the rights to Watchmen
- Moore thinks DC are basically thieves, crooks and hacks, and told them to go fuck themselves. (I’m paraphrasing a bit here…)
I’m not a true comics geek, but I had gotten the impression the DC almost always worked on a “work for hire” basis, which is why they were able to get the Watchmen movie done without Moore’s approval. However, this interview indicates that’s not necessarily so.
I would imagine that given our understanding of the industry standards during that time, and given the fact that, as I say, DC’s contractual stuff sometimes seems to be a bit shaky. So there may be… I mean, it’s occurred to me that I could possibly get a lawyer to look into this. There may be some problem with the contract, or some potential problem that may require my actual signature saying it’s okay to go ahead with these prequels and sequels. It might be that they can’t just do this. It may be that… it would seem that if they had gone out of their way to try and tempt me with worn-out rights to a property that was mine anyway, or sums of money… they’re offering me a million or two million, then I would imagine that what was potentially on offer to them would be higher by a couple of factors, maybe two or three factors, who knows? It could be a huge amount. So this would seem to explain their apparent desperate need to get me to put my signature upon something, which I’m not inclined to do.
If DC were to stop publishing WATCHMEN so it went out of print and then the rights automatically reverted to me and to Dave Gibbons, then you know, fair enough.
So: The rights to Watchmen are encumbered, and Moore isn’t going to be tricked or steamrolled into selling or giving them back.
Good for him.
(For more Watchmen-related goodness, take a look at Awesomely Wrong Watchmen.)