Monday, April 2, 2012
THE BUMPS ON MY HEAD
Screen Gems cartoons that appeared from 1941 to 1949. DC picked up
the comic-book license for the characters and the characters could
be found in Real Screen Comics, Comic Cavalcade, and their very own
title. The Fox and the Crow ran for over a hundred issues before
it was renamed Stanley and His Monster with issue #109 [May 1968].
The Fox and the Crow #2 [February-March 1952] featured three comics
stories of the duo, who also appeared in the issue’s text story.
There were other features as well. The Grand Comics Database index
for this issue is incomplete and doesn’t list credits for the cover
or any of the interior features. The stories were probably drawn
by Jim (not the Garfield creator) Davis with writer possibilities
including Cal Howard and Hubie Karp.
While I read several issues of The Fox and the Crow as a kid, most
likely while waiting for haircuts, I don’t recall ever seeing one
of their cartoons. I wonder if any of them are available on DVD.
I’ll have to look into that.
I’m anxious to get back to reviewing actual comic books and other
things here, but I also want to check off the items on the list of
comics topics I posted a few weeks back. So...
Before and After Watchmen
I remain somewhat torn about the Watchmen prequels because it does
appear artist Dave Gibbons is okay with them. Writer Alan Moore is
not and that weighs more heavily on me. I don’t buy any DC comics,
so my boycotting these prequels would be an empty gesture. If the
friend I borrow comics from buys them, I’ll likely read his copies
of them. If he doesn’t and they are collected in books, I’ll get
them from my library system...though I won’t be requesting that my
library purchase them. Clearly I’m not offering any moral support
for Moore here and I should, not that I believe said support will
change matters as they stand.
DC may have a legal right to publish these comics. However, DC is
not honoring the spirit of its Watchmen contract. From what I can
gather and based on my own experience with DC contracts, Moore and
Gibbons had a more than reasonable expectation that they would be
compensated for all Watchmen merchandise - and they weren’t - and
that the books would go out of print with the copyrights returning
to them. DC has circumvented that by keeping the books in print.
Further, with DC management desperate to attract attention to the
company’s largely moribund comics, they have chosen to exploit the
Watchmen property further. Which isn’t in keeping with the spirit
of the original Watchmen agreement.
I’ve no doubt that DC management and the creators who are working
on these prequels have convinced themselves that they are honoring
the work of Moore and Gibbons. I can’t speak for either of those
gentlemen, but I can tell you that, were I the creator of Watchmen,
I wouldn’t feel the least bit honored by these prequels. In this,
I side with Moore.
The problem is that while DC Comics occasionally - others might say
often - honors the letter of its agreements - it rarely honors the
spirit of those agreements. The company doesn’t seem to care for
the lingering ghosts of still-living creators. We’re inconvenient.
If we’re not working for them, they have no control over whatever
we might do or say. Inconvenient.
One can’t go into court and easily prove a violation of the spirit
of an agreement. It would be an expensive proceeding for a comics
creator while barely putting a dent in DC’s petty cash. While the
furious uninvolved can bray that creators should have the courage
of their convictions and sue DC anyway - all the time hoping that
DC wins because, hey, they must have their weekly batch of new DC
comics - creators have to consider such actions in a more careful
Which I suppose is the answer to the question of why I’ve not sued
DC over Black Lightning. I have more important financial concerns,
the kind of concerns that come with raising children, taking care
of their needs, putting them through college, etc. While it’s not
the only answer to the question of why I don’t sue DC Comics, it’s
at the top of the answer list.
I applaud Alan Moore for sticking to his guns. I wish there were
more comics creators with his gumption. Alas, after working in the
industry for four decades, I often wonder if the majority of comics
creators even have spines.
There are two more items on my list of comics topics and I’ll try
to cover them both this week.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2012 Tony Isabella
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I've gotta say, while I agree with your underlying issues with DC Comics and comics publishers in general failing to honor and properly recompense their creators, Alan Moore's stand on Watchmen is a very poor example.ReplyDelete
When Moore isn't issuing bellicose statements about the creative bankruptcy of the people doing Before Watchmen, he's rolling in dough he's pulled in writing comics featuring original-to-Moore characters like Dorothy Gale and Alice of Wonderland and Captain Nemo and Alan Quatermain.
And his "Original" characters whose re-use is so offensive to him are all very thinly disguised versions of the Charlton heroes, none of whose creators, I'll wager, approved of Moore's admittedly brilliant story for them.
If I'm going to come out in support of a creator's rights, it's not going to be a creator who thinks it's all right unless it's done to him.
Fox and Crow cartoons can be found on YouTube. Pretty formulaic, but here's one i remember enjoying:ReplyDelete
I respect and admire Alan Moore and will happily read almost anything he writes. But many of his best creations are founded on the work of giants who existed before him. The Watchmen owe a great deal of their force to the fact that they are (in some cases, thinly) disguised versions of the creations of others. Do Steve Ditko and the other Charlton creators get royalties from the Watchmen? Probably not, almost surely not, and I've not read anywhere Alan Moore suggesting that they should.ReplyDelete
My moral outrage at DC treating Moore and Gibbons as they have (and make no mistake, Moore and Gibbons should be treated better by the corporati) is dampened by the historical context. That Moore could have told his story with other characters (his original thought was to use the Radio Comics heroes DC was licensing) doesn't really change things.
Moore is one of the finest writers ever to work in comics but if Moore can take the corpses of the dead and play re-animator, then probably others should be allowed to do so as well.