Don Murphy is a movie producer, with films such as Natural Born Killers, Apt Pupil, From Hell, LXG and Transformers under his belt, with Deadman, Grant Morrison's WE3, Splice and Neil Gaiman's directoral debut on Death on the way.
I first encountered Don Murphy after a blazing flame war between us on the Newsarama boards regarding DC's Watchmen and V For Vendetta contracts, something we still occasionally kick off against each other to this day. Nevertheless, after the earlier piece on The Black Dossier where I identified him as the unnamed producer that Kevin O'Neill talked to the Comics Journal about, Don asked for a right to reply.
I would like to point out that the following letter expresses the opinions of one Don Murphy and should not be seen as necessarily reflective of my opinions, or of other Bleeding Cool writers or especially Avatar as a whole.
I have been a successful film producer because of my genuine love of comics and my support for their creators. As in your previous mention, I count among my close friends some of the TOP names in the comic business.
I appreciate the chance to set the record straight which is more than the Journal provided me. The story of Kevin O'Neill is a truly sad one. He is what the English call a "false fop", someone who tries very hard to be perceived as a "gentleman" when he is anything but.
During the process of making the League film Alan was a good friend of mine and someone who was assiduously apathetic. He was happy to get his check, and wished us well on the film. He consistently showed that he didn't care. He never wanted to come to set, despite invitations. In fact, on both League and From Hell I think the most he accepted was an invitation for his daughter to come to a London screening of From Hell.
O'Neill on the other hand was the exact opposite. It's laughable to read his continued attacks. He was invited to the movie set. We flew him in. Airfare. Hotel. Food. And this wasn't for a weekend. It was for weeks, plural. He hung with the actors. He made friends with them. He went to the huge premiere in Las Vegas. He did a huge promotional event at my local comic store- poster signings and original drawings! He did interviews supporting the film. I even recall that he became friends with pals of mine and met a new girlfriend through them.
It was only when Alan went off his trolley because of the bullshit lawsuit filed in LA that his bitch Kevin jumped in line and started hating on me and the film. It's sad that because of his short stature he now spends time rewriting the past as if he was some sort of tough guy. He even told a top creator at Alan's wedding that he would kick my ass if he saw me again. This anecdote was told to me in between laughter, as if Kevin could kick anyone's ass.
As far as what happened between him and DC, the facts involving me are one hundred percent wrong. It is simply Messers O'Neil and Moore's attempt to blame anyone but themselves. It is Don Murphy's fault. It is poor Scott Dunbier's fault ( you know, the Scott Dunbier who took their shit for years). No wait it is Paul Levitz's.
The fault is simply THEIRS. Because they want to use people's property for free anyway they want to. And the law says no to that. It's telling that Kevin states twice "You can do anything you want to" as if that meant they could rob and pillage at will.
The simple fact is Don Murphy is not that important to DC nor am I that powerful. They didn't owe me anything. What kind of pressure could I give them to force them to show me the comic? Cut a fart at them in public? Several years ago their so called head of Entertainment kept me and my wife and Grant Morrison and his wife out of a DC party at Comicon because I showed the guy the lack of respect he thought he deserved. It is laughable that Kevin suggests I could pressure anyone at DC.
Now the game of "telephone" is a confusing one, and yes I did get to see the book early. John Nee let me read it in a galley that he took away after I finished. He didn't fly in for little ole me. He simply did me a solid, I assumed with DC's permission. I was wondering if there might be a film sequel in the book. Because Fox and I control film sequel rights. And there wasn't. I did say to John Nee that I was surprised by the book because it seemed to me that Eon Productions would have a hands down case against the obvious use of James Bond. That's all I said.
I am not a lawyer. Eon still hasn't sued that I know of. But the idea that somebody woke up and said "Holy shit Don Murphy said!" and then they started looking- well if true that's crazy. But even if true, so what? I didn't make them steal copyrighted characters. I didn't make them do anything.
If DC waited a longass time and then noticed that they were violating copyright- hey pal THAT'S YOUR FUCKING FAULT. I don't know anything about Billy Bunter and Wodehouse, I didn't grow up on that. So Time Warner lawyers noticed that you stole people's copyrighted work – and you think you have the right to bitch and blame? Shame on you Kevin.
And listen to his self righteousness. He thinks that because Time Warner owns Bunter, they should be allowed to use him. The self-entitlement shown by this little man is off the charts.
Yes I went to a book fair. I read. I saw John Nee and said did you ever fix the James Bond problem. If THAT led to more research into the legalities of what Kevin and Alan were doing, BOO FUCKING HOO. They either had the rights or they didn't, nothing that I said or anyone said could make a difference. And the idea that DC did anything BECAUSE of me is laughable.
Kevin is full of sturm and nonsense signifying nothing. He talks about the "problem" with the V FOR VENDETTA film. He of course means that Warners was making a film based on Alan's book the rights for which he legally sold years and years before. And the great Snake God worshipper cried when that happened. This is the "problem"- somebody DARED do something that Alan and Kevin disliked.
DC is a great place. Chris Staros is a gentleman and a good man. I hope he doesn't end up bankrupted by a future suit as Alan and Kevin use copyrighted characters from the 20th Century as their presumed playthings.
And yes Rich, irony indeed. If not for the League movie the two hypocrites diss regurlarly, they wouldn't own the property because ALAN wanted to get a $10/page higher page rate on the ABC titles. Mister Moore sold out the rest of it for money and would have with League too if I hadn't come along when I did. So piss off Kevin, you are a liar and a phony. I know the truth and so do those that were there.
[Permission granted to Rich Johnston to reprint the above statement in total only]
You may now unleash the hounds.