Legendary comic book writer Alan Moore (Watchmen, From Hell, V for Vendetta) has never been shy about his utter disdain for movie adaptations of his work. He preemptively disowns any film version of his books, even famously removing his name from Zack Snyder’s Watchmen movie and publicly denouncing DC’s Before Watchmen prequel series.
Having once stated that his experience with DC on Watchmen was “a toxic cloud of memories,” it goes without saying that fans of Moore shouldn’t expect to see his name anywhere near the big screen, presumably ever. Recently, however, Moore has gone on the record in defense of the late comic book writer Steve Moore (no relation), Moore’s friend for forty years, whose Radical Comics series Hercules: The Thracian Wars is hitting theaters in less than a week as the Brett Ratner-directed Hercules, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the titular demigod.
Moore spoke to Bleeding Cool at length about the situation, and related how Steve Moore learned of the film adaptation of The Thracian Wars a few months before he died and was not pleased.
According to Moore:
Now, Steve had had quite a few problems with Radical Comics in producing the comic book and there were compromises that he had been assured that he would not have to make which he had, in fact, been told to make. So that relationship wasn’t an entirely happy one.
Alan Moore went on to explain how the compromises Steve Moore had to make with Radical soured him on the publishing company, and given the meticulous research which went into the writing of The Thracian Wars, Steve Moore assumed the film version would be “idiotic s**t.”
According to Moore:
So, Steve wouldn’t be getting any money from this. The only consolation was that his name wouldn’t be going on it.
In the months leading up to the film’s release, however, Moore claims that the promotional materials for Hercules have featured Steve Moore’s name as a way to exploit the interest surrounding his friend’s death as free publicity. Moore’s view of such behavior is simple:
Now I’d have to look at my thesaurus and see if there are any words other than “vile” which I could use for that. But even in the low estimation in which I hold the greater part of the comic industry, that is a new low.
After suggesting that anyone interested take a look at promotional materials for Hercules such as posters and banners before and after Steve Moore’s death, Alan Moore also flatly called for a boycott of the movie, saying:
I would also ask that anybody out there who gives a damn about Steve Moore or his legacy not go to see this wretched film. It is the last thing that Steve would’ve wanted. And I cannot un-recommend it too highly or anybody involved in it.
The earliest available official PR materials for Hercules do list Steve Moore’s name (but not that of Admira Wijaya, the artist for The Thracian Wars), but the poster and first trailer for the film appear to have been released in late March 2014, after Moore’s passing on March 16th.
When THR reached out to MGM about this issue, they released the following statement:
“MGM licensed the feature film rights from Radical Comics and fulfilled all contractual obligations. Steve Moore was a legend within the comics industry, whose work we greatly admire.”
“Contractual obligations.” This phrase is really what it all boils down to. MGM’s somewhat chilly statement appears to be the final word on the subject. The Byzantine nature of Steve Moore’s final contract with Radical apparently removed the clause which would owe Moore any money at all, much less the “paltry 15,000″ Moore angrily asked for when he learned of the impending film adaptation.
The exploitation of writers within the entertainment industry is nothing new, but while it’s unclear how much or how little Steve Moore’s name was used to promote the movie before his death, his name is very clearly included on the current poster, in as big a font size as Brett Ratner’s.
What do you think, Screen Ranters? Will this put you off of Hercules? Sound off in the comments.
Hercules opens in U.S. Theaters on July 25th. 2014.