‘Watchmen’ ski masks? Alan Moore won’t be amused

Feb. 16, 2009 | 9:39 p.m.

Watchmen_ski_maskI’m headed over to see a "Watchmen" screening Tuesday and then Wednesday it’s on to the press junket at the Four Seasons. It’s exciting to see this movie reaching the final leg of its long and tortured marathon to the silver screen and I’m eager to see what Zack Snyder has accomplished with his quest to film the unfilmable movie.

Alan Moore has made it clear that he won’t be going to see the film and if you were holding out hope (I know I was) that he might change his mind, well, I think that’s just a pipe dream now. Why? Well, this new crush of tie-in merchandise is staggering and each item — from the doomsday ball-caps and Dr. Manhattan lunch boxes to the coffee mugs, wall pennants and booze flasks — will be like a sharp jab in the eye to Moore, an iconoclast who loathes American corporate culture and its soul-sapping commercialism.

Seeing the extent of all this stuff made me groan. Anyone who read and loved "Watchmen" as a genre-challenging masterpiece in the 1980s will probably agree that this crass gear feels as tone-appropriate as "Catcher in the Rye" pop tarts. But if you do indulge in this odd retail orgy, well, you can always hide your face afterward — one of the catalog items is a Rorschach ski mask …

— Geoff Boucher


ComedianThe trailer for "Tales of the Black Freighter"

Jackie Earle Haley finds the voice of Rorschach

"Watchmen" will be the "GoodFellas" of cape movies

Zack Snyder’s son plays young Rorschach

"Watchmen" producer: Blame Fox


Photos courtesy of Warner Bros.


More in: Uncategorized, Alan Moore, Watchmen


12 Responses to ‘Watchmen’ ski masks? Alan Moore won’t be amused

  1. Haunted says:

    Well, naturally The Comedian stuff is cool. As are the lunchboxes.
    But you're right. Everything else is crap.
    The School of Jeffrey Dean Morgan

  2. Al Barger says:

    Poor Alan Moore. His Artistic Integrity is being compromised by dirty commerce. Uh, The Watchmen is a glorified comic book, which is about as crass a commercial medium as their is in the land.
    His silly pinko stuff is just nonsense, but far worse is the ingratitude. Wow, they've made a huge big budget movie based on your comic book. Everybody's digging you. You're getting a pile of money. Perhaps Mr Moore should be grateful and flattered at all the fuss being made over his comic book – and the pile of money he gets from it.
    Is he going to take a crappy attitude with anyone who buys these tchochkes? I'm definitely going to have to have me a Rohrschach mask. I would expect that if the oiginal author saw me wearing it that he should think something like "Cool, he digs me" rather than what sounds from this would be more like "What a schmuck."
    Earth to Alan Moore: You wrote a pretty interesting little story that'll probably be a pretty cool movie. Now do please do GET OVER YOURSELF.

  3. Edward Blake says:

    Al Barger:
    Although you believe Watchmen is a "glorified comic book", Time Magazine disagrees with you- they named it one of the 100 greatest NOVELS of all time. It is also the only "comic book" to win the Hugo award. And Watchmen as a graphic novel is anything but commercial, as you state. This is not Spider-man.
    Ingratitude? Pile of money? Alan Moore does not get "a pile of money" from this movie. He stands behind his beliefs. Do you want to know exactly how much money he gets from this film? $0.00. Yep- he has always refused to accept any money from films based on his works. If that isn't artistic integrity, I don't know what is.

  4. Cal Godot says:

    Moore's objection to what has been done to the things he created is not based on "artistic integrity" or any "pinko" notions, but rather the moral and rather noble concept that those who create a work ought to have some say in how that work is presented to the public. The entertainment industry is fueled by creators, but those same creators often have few rights with regard to the presentation of their work. That is the core of Moore's complaint.
    "Ton of money?" Actually, that's where ignorant blowhard Al Barger usually gets it wrong: Moore is receiving *no money* for this adaptation of his original creation. Unlike Dave Gibbons (the artist and co-creator of "The Watchmen" graphic novel), Moore opted to receive no money from this (or other) film projects based on his original work. While no one knows the details of what was offered Moore, the entire situation speaks again to his complaint: neither DC nor the film producers are under any legal or even contractual obligation to pay Moore or Gibbons for this adapatation of their work. As for profits from merchandising, most creators can tell you they rarely, if ever, see a dime of that money, even on the rare occasion that their contracts allow for it: the creative accounting of both DC and the production companies will take care of that.
    People like Barger are selfish and stupid enough to believe that Alan Moore will see Rorshach masks and be happy, rather than thinking of how their original work has been bastardized, and how potential earnings are now diluted or even stolen as a result of this production and its resulting merchandising.
    "Everybody's" clearly not "digging" Alan Moore – but its mostly loudmouth nitwits like Barger who aren't "digging" Alan Moore, which is not only revealing of their mentality but also something in which Moore no doubt takes considerable pride.
    As I've said here before: every bit of pre-release detritus I see with regard to this movie increases my trepidation that it is going to be a steaming pile of crap.

  5. Let Moore be Moore. While I don't subscribe to his politics necessarily, I would not want to change the man one iota. Might change his artistic integrity. I want output from a hungry artist like I want output from a hungry composer or musician. How many times do we see such artists' later work suffer because of a loss of fire in the belly?
    That having been said, I will indulge hugely in the release of Watchmen merchandise and will Hurm my way into a Rorschach mask at the first opportunity. I already own much of it, and my 13" Rorschach statue is on pre-order. I love America, where we are free to indulge in such activity or denounce it or both.

  6. Craig Ranapia says:

    Al Barger wrote:
    I'm definitely going to have to have me a Rohrschach mask. I would expect that if the oiginal author saw me wearing it that he should think something like "Cool, he digs me" rather than what sounds from this would be more like "What a schmuck."
    I reply:
    If I came across someone in the street dressed as a misogynistic, homicidal far-right wing thug straight from the more scary reaches of my imagination, I'd think something exactly like "OMG OMG OMG… DON'T MAKE EYE CONTACT…RUN!!!"

  7. Brains says:

    Actually, Alan Moore stated that he was happy to see kids wearing V masks to protest Scientology. I'll go ahead and wear a Rorschach mask to protest moral relativism in much the same way :D Sure he won't mind.

  8. Richard Vigor says:

    Simply put, it was incredible. I came into the movie almost completely ignorant of the story line. I knew the basics, but that was it. I knew the story was complicated, especially for a "graphic novel", but not that complicated. The characters were actual people. They were both good and bad, yet leaning to one side or the other. It kept me guessing until the end. The difficulties within the characters were as with all of us manifestations of the traumas and joys we all experience through our lives.
    I do disagree with what one critic said on a morning show–that I shall not name here–that only Dr Manhattan had any super powers. It is true that he had the most power, but several had power of their own. For example: Adrian was super quick and could catch a bullet with minimal damage, not to mention he was the smartest human ever; the Comedian was arguably super strong; the others were just glorified versions of Batman in that they were just people with a lot of guts and training.
    The Watchmen's impact on world events was staggering. And it made me think, is loosing really a loss, or is it merely an exchange of one trial for another in which the same energetic devastation is felt? Now I sound like Manhattan. The alternate time line both frightened and awed me. To think that it is actually plausible.
    As for the film as a piece of cinematography, it was graphic art turned to moving art with a bit of blood and sex and cursing for spice. It definitely should be R, but it's not what I would call a hard R. It's up there but not that bad. There is very stylized blood and violence. There is a sex scene, which given the genre I thought was well done. At first I was disturbed by the male nudity of Manhattan, but I got used to it after a while. I will say that is not a movie for the kids. You should be at least 17 to see this film. This does make all superhero movies, many action, and some horror movies look very tame by comparison. This is a very grown up film not only in form but content as well
    I do give this 5 out of 5 stars, and urge anyone to go see it. It will make you think, or as the Comedian said, "It's all a big joke!"

  9. Al Barger says:

    Ah, ya got me on one point. Moore is not taking his money for the film – though he obviously at some point signed a contract giving people the right to make a movie. It's nice that he's rich enough to be able to indulge himself.
    But a millionaire refusing to take his payday still does not disprove the charges of being a highly self-important schmuck – albeit a talented one. OOOOH, no one could make a movie worthy of the genius of my "graphic novel."
    But protecting that inflated sense of self-importance is one more reason for him to avoid seeing the movie, because the movie is clearly better than the book. This is true in a number of little ways, but especially that little tweak about who was supposedly blowing up the cities at the end. That's a minimal difference in the basic plot, but a big improvement in the general logic and psychology of the story and the characters.
    And folks what have themselves convinced that The Watchmen is one of the top novels of the century need to hit the library more. It's really good, for a comic book, but y'all could obviously use the influence of some real, serious literature.

  10. Digital says:

    As much as I respect Alan Moore's work, and talent he can still be very stubborn. However, I think these BS merchandising items are rather insulting to him, and Watchmen fans. Regardless it is not the fault of Snyder so I hope Moore realizes that. Dr. Manhattan lunch boxes, and Rorschach ski masks? Whoever signed off on those should be rewarded with a swift kick to the nuts by a person in steel-toe boots. I mean seriously, that Rorschach ski mask is one of the most unattractive, and cheap looking products I have ever seen. I can confidently say that every single fan/amateur made mask makes that one look like something a pre-schooler made during arts and crafts..

  11. I'm rather torn here as I'm a fan of both Alan Moore and Al Barger and have an admittedly tenuous Discordian connections to them both.
    Moore and Dave Gibbons did what I consider a great graphic novel, Watchmen, which was rated in Time Magazine's top 100. But as great as I think it is, I prefer Moore and Melinda Gebbie's Lost Girls. That porno-graphic novel deals with the subjugation of women and girls, societal changes and war, and the sometimes subtle sexual symbolism of Alice of Wonderland, Dorothy of Oz and Wendy of Neverland (who was possibly based on the real-life preteen prostitute and Discordian Saint Minnie Rae).
    And Al Barger was kind enough to write an insightful commentary on my Discordian piece Five Blind Men and an Elephant at http://www.morethings.com/god_and_country/five_bl… . One of the things Al brought out in the commentary was the appropriateness of a creative person making a living through creativity, so Al sincerely believes in the right to be paid for your work.
    Whether you like the Watchmen book or the movie better is, of course, a matter of personal choice. It's true that Alan Moore has the economic luxury of refusing to be paid, and, like me, has an enormous ego. But why not? Alan's ego is backed up by creative and economic success.
    And Al, let's hope wise heads at Wikipedia restore your article, and good luck in your next political campaign.

  12. Mychael Darklighter says:

    he doesn't have to sign a contract, dc owns the work you schmuck.
    there are hardly ANY millionaire comic writers. a few over-rated artists from the spec boom in the 90s, but that's it.

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