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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later.Support Elizabeth on Patreon.

12 Comments

  1. Jeff Heikkinen
    December 4, 2015 @ 7:22 am

    Might want to check Watchmen #7, page 5, again. Whatever else the Twilight Lady might be, she’s not a Straczynski addition.

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      December 4, 2015 @ 11:42 am

      Ah, shit. That’s one of my bigger misses in the course of this project. Edit in progress.

      Reply

      • Jeff Heikkinen
        December 4, 2015 @ 5:03 pm

        Can’t disagree with anything the newly revised entry says, at least on that topic. (Mind you, this is based on secondary accounts, chiefly your own, of what’s actually in the BW books, not on having read them myself. On the basis of which I’m glad you’re reading them so we don’t have to…)

        I still think Moore was at best naive on the creator-ownership front and tend to side with JMS on that one. You’ve gone over that in more detail elsewhere and explained why Moore believed what he did, but still, at most he had an agreement that it would become creator-owned at an unknown future date under certain conditions, conditions which of course never came to pass (Watchmen going out of print). It’s clear that he didn’t own it at the time the issues were coming out – the legal indicia in Watchmen #1 clearly states that the IP rights reside with DC, or at least the trademarks in the characters do. If Moore ever thought of his ownership of the IP as a fait accompli, that belief can’t, or at least shouldn’t, have survived the release of the first issue.

        Reply

        • Elizabeth Sandifer
          December 4, 2015 @ 11:22 pm

          I don’t think Moore was the type to meticulously go over the indicia of every issue of his comics.

          Reply

  2. Timber-Munki
    December 4, 2015 @ 4:01 pm

    If there’s one thing that grates me about the long history of of people taking the wrong message from Watchmen it’s writers thinking that watchmaking/clockwork as a metaphor for determinism is in any way, shape or form original or interesting. Straczynski does it in Squadron Supreme (Given his comments on Babylon 5 adaptations it’s ironic that the issue that this occurs in is straight up Alan Moore fanfic, but then again self-awareness is not one of JMS’s strong points…) and the decision to have Sylar in Heroes be a watchmaker is surely no coincidence either.

    Reply

    • Daru
      December 5, 2015 @ 8:17 am

      Yeah! I had forgotten about Sylar, and for some reason whilst watching heroes had forgotten about Watchmen. What an obvious connection. And wasn’t really keen on the link mad between clock workings and an understanding of the human brain.

      Reply

  3. John
    December 4, 2015 @ 10:45 pm

    I’m not sure I get the moral distinction between writing new stories about public domain characters and writing new stories about copyrighted characters with permission of the copyright holder. Both are unquestionably legal, and both might certainly involve doing injury to the intentions of the original creator.

    And, DC surely does own the Watchmen characters, doesn’t it? Presumably their own lawyers advised them as much, or else they’d have been opening themselves up to a lawsuit from Moore by publishing After Watchmen. Or am I missing something?

    The more obvious distinction, I’d think, is that J.M. Barrie is long dead and Alan Moore is still alive, not that Peter Pan is in the public domain and Rorschach is not. And also that Moore was kind of dishonorably cheated of his copyright rights to the Watchmen characters. But I don’t see any real argument that DC doesn’t own the characters or that there’s something inherently worse about writing stories for copyrighted characters than writing stories for public domain characters.

    Isn’t the real problem here that these stories aren’t very good, and that the nature of Watchmen is such that these stories were never likely to be very good?

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      December 4, 2015 @ 11:21 pm

      It’s worth noting that I haven’t covered the rights reversion issue yet. But Moore has been very clear that he doesn’t much want to sue. And notably, that’s never much been his style in any of his many disputes. One gets the strong sense he thinks being involved in a years-long lawsuit with a major corporation would be an absolutely miserable fucking experience that’s not worth the money he’d get.

      So we don’t really know. We do know that Moore alleges he was actively lied to by people at DC, and that this is at the heart of his objection to Before Watchmen’s existence. And that Straczynski’s eager attempts to accuse Moore of hypocrisy (as opposed to the route taken by Azzarello, Cooke, and Conner of politely shrugging and saying “hey, we’re not trying to upset him, we’re just taking a job that sounded cool”) and declare him the architect of his own misfortune were crass given his own propensity for such stands.

      Reply

    • Eric Gimlin
      December 5, 2015 @ 3:11 am

      “I’m not sure I get the moral distinction between writing new stories about public domain characters and writing new stories about copyrighted characters with permission of the copyright holder. Both are unquestionably legal, and both might certainly involve doing injury to the intentions of the original creator.”

      Just off the top of my head, if the character is in the public domain, in most cases the original creator would have been aware that at some point their work would pass into the public domain. At least in the US, copyright is specifically supposed to be for limited times, even if it keeps getting extended. Any creator would know that, at some point, their creation should pass into the public domain; and would know an earliest possible point that could happen.

      The key moral distinction is in one case a specific party not the creator owns the rights. In the other, everybody has the right to use the creation. To me, at least, that’s a clear difference.

      Reply

    • Daibhid C
      December 5, 2015 @ 9:40 am

      “Isn’t the real problem here that these stories aren’t very good, and that the nature of Watchmen is such that these stories were never likely to be very good?”

      At the time I was fond of saying that I didn’t really understand the rights issues, and maybe the people boycotting it had a point, but I didn’t know, so I didn’t feel I could boycott it. I just wasn’t buying it, for much the same reason as I didn’t buy any other comic I thought looked like a dreadful idea.

      Reply

  4. Daru
    December 5, 2015 @ 8:20 am

    Man, Straczynski’s seem totally awful. If not for this great series of articles I’d have no knowledge (quite happily!) of their content. Not going there.

    One of my biggest bug bears within comics are the “so-called good girl art” pieces and those not thought of as good – exploitative either way.

    Reply

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