Alan Moore, whose tumultuous relationship with DC Comics is legendary, claims the publisher offered this week to return the rights to his most famous creation — in exchange for a concession.
“They offered me the rights to Watchmen back, if I would agree to some dopey prequels and sequels,” Moore told Underwire today. “So I just told them that if they said that 10 years ago, when I asked them for that, then yeah it might have worked. But these days I don’t want Watchmen back. Certainly, I don’t want it back under those kinds of terms.”
Rumors circulated earlier this year that the departure of Paul Levitz as president and publisher of DC cleared any in-house obstacles to further use of the Watchmen characters. However, Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee tell Underwire the company “would only revisit these iconic characters if the creative vision of any proposed new stories matched the quality set by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons nearly 25 years ago, and our first discussion on any of this would naturally be with the creators themselves.”
Moore, who created the groundbreaking 1986 miniseries with Gibbons, stopped working for DC in 1989 following disputes about Watchmen royalties and a proposed age-rating system. When WildStorm, which published Moore’s America’s Best Comics line, was sold to DC in 1998, the writer was assured of an editorial firewall protecting him from the parent company’s interference. However, there were still conflicts, most infamously the pulping of The Legion of Extraordinary Gentlemen #5, which contained an authentic vintage advertisement for the Marvel-brand douche.
Moore, who has refused royalties from film adaptations of his work, says he no longer even has a copy of Watchmen in his house. “The comics world has lots of unpleasant connections,” he tells Underwire, “when I think back over it, many of them to do with Watchmen.”