Jim Campbell on Unauthorized Watchmen Sequel: "F*** Tom King"

Comic book letterer Jim Campbell let loose on DC Comics, Tom King, and anyone involved in producing the Rorschach comic at DC. Naturally, it was a lettering SNAFU that first set him off, but it soon became clear that it's the concept of the book itself that gets under Campbell's skin, just like many comic book readers who recognize that DC's continued exploitation of the property is contrary to both the wishes of Watchmen's creators and to the spirit of the contract under which it was originally produced.

"Two words and they still manage to fuck up the lettering," Campbell tweeted of the Forbidden Planet EX-X-XCLUSIVE variant to Rorschach #1 by Brian Bolland, which features the titular Rorschach saying the words "a smile." The "i" in "smile" uses the "crossbar I," an I with the crossbar at the top and bottom, which should only be used when lettering the word "I," as in "oneself." Otherwise, a regular I, with no crossbars, should be used.

Brian Bolland Remakes Killing Joke For Rorschach Forbidden Planet Cover
Brian Bolland Redraws Killing Joke as Rorschach Forbidden Planet Cover

 

But that was just the opening salvo. Next, Jim Campbell let loose on DC's production of an unauthorized sequel to Watchmen and everyone involved, tweeting, "Also: fuck Tom King. Fuck Jorge Fornes and Dave Stewart. Fuck anyone who participates in this blatant IP theft by DC. If your pay check is so important that you'll sanction this absolute robbery, fuck you."

"To be clear: you sell your work on work-for-hire, you know what to expect," Campbell continued. "But Watchmen *wasn't* work for hire. The reversion clause *clearly* implies that the work remained Moore & Gibbons' copyright, and that DC licensed it under specific circumstances. THIS. IS. THEFT."

Campbell went on to explain the well-known contractual dispute over Watchmen between DC and creators Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.

"The fanboy in me would *kill* to get a DC gig on any number of titles that I love, but they could offer me fifty bucks a page and I wouldn't touch this shit," he tweeted, adding, "The thing is: I don't think WFH contracts are inherently evil — creators trade off risk for reward. But THIS isn't THAT. If the rights were supposed to revert to Moore & Gibbons after the work went out of print, then clearly the rights RESIDED with them and were LICENSED to DC."

"The fact that DC has now folded Watchmen into their wholly-owned universe is unquestionably an IP grab, which may be legal but which is *morally* reprehensible," Campbell said. He added, "I'm certain Moore has taken legal advice on this, and I'm sure that advice was: 'Whatever the merits of your case, DC/Warner have such deep pockets that they will bankrupt you long before you get anywhere near a court.'"

"And that, sadly, is the state of the world. But if other creators didn't line up to help massive corporations fuck over other creators… well, that would be nice. Wouldn't it?" he tweeted. He concluded, "(And, again, WFH stuff is fair game, but that's NOT what this is.)"

Fanboy Rampage was a blog by Graeme "Graham" McMillan dedicated to most ludicrous and most inappropriate comic book-related back-and-forths online. McMillan has moved on now, becoming a proper journalist for the likes of The Hollywood Reporter and Wired but he gave permission to Bleeding Cool to occasionally revive his creation.

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