J. Michael Straczynski: ‘I Would Have Absolutely Zero Right To Complain’ About Unauthorized ‘Babylon 5’ Prequels
By Andy Khouri
J. Michael Straczynski was the most outspoken participant in yesterday’s press tour of DC Comics’controversial new initiative, Before Watchmen, whereby JMS and a host of other high profile talents will createnew prequel miniseries based on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen. Owned completely by DC, the classic 1987 graphic novel about outlaw superheroes in an alternate American history is considered by many to be unimpeachable. The dominant discussion in the media and among many pros and fans is that its characters and settings are being exploited by the publisher against the wishes of Moore (but with the blessings of Gibbons). As such, Straczynski offered his own rationalization for proceeding with the work, saying, “A lot of folks feel that these characters shouldn’t be touched by anyone other than Alan, and while that’s absolutely understandable on an emotional level, it’s deeply flawed on a logical level.”
In response to Straczynski’s remarks, ComicsAlliance readers as well as practically everyone else on the Internet wondered whether JMS would feel aggrieved if the tables were turned and Warner Bros. created unauthorized prequels to his own fan-favorite television saga, Babylon 5, which is owned by WB. Taking to his Facebook page (and establishing a number of caveats), Straczynski ultimately concluded that if he were in Moore’s position with respect to Babylon 5, he “would have absolutely zero right to complain about it.”
‘Watchmen’ Prequel Announced by DC Comics: ‘Before Watchmen’
By David Uzumeri
This morning, DC Comics announced its long-rumored new Watchmen project, a prequel titled Before Watchmen that expands on the characters and world of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s seminal 1986 comic book, which was adapted into a 2009 movie. Featuring a variety of top-tier writers and artists across the comics industry, it will expand on the history of the world of Watchmen and of many of the book’s most popular characters.
Seven miniseries have been announced on DC’s Source blog:
RORSCHACH (4 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: Lee Bermejo
MINUTEMEN (6 issues) – Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke
COMEDIAN (6 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: J.G. Jones
DR. MANHATTAN (4 issues) – Writer: J. Michael Straczynski. Artist: Adam Hughes
NITE OWL (4 issues) – Writer: J. Michael Straczynski. Artists: Andy and Joe Kubert
OZYMANDIAS (6 issues) – Writer: Len Wein. Artist: Jae Lee
SILK SPECTRE (4 issues) – Writer: Darwyn Cooke. Artist: Amanda Conner
An open letter to Washington from Artists and Creators
We, the undersigned, are musicians, actors, directors, authors, and producers. We make our livelihoods with the artistic works we create. We are also Internet users.
We are writing to express our serious concerns regarding the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
As creative professionals, we experience copyright infringement on a very personal level. Commercial piracy is deeply unfair and pervasive leaks of unreleased films and music regularly interfere with the integrity of our creations. We are grateful for the measures policymakers have enacted to protect our works.
We, along with the rest of society, have benefited immensely from a free and open Internet. It allows us to connect with our fans and reach new audiences. Using social media services like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, we can communicate directly with millions of fans and interact with them in ways that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.
We fear that the broad new enforcement powers provided under SOPA and PIPA could be easily abused against legitimate services like those upon which we depend. These bills would allow entire websites to be blocked without due process, causing collateral damage to the legitimate users of the same services - artists and creators like us who would be censored as a result.
We are deeply concerned that PIPA and SOPA’s impact on piracy will be negligible compared to the potential damage that would be caused to legitimate Internet services. Online piracy is harmful and it needs to be addressed, but not at the expense of censoring creativity, stifling innovation or preventing the creation of new, lawful digital distribution methods.
We urge Congress to exercise extreme caution and ensure that the free and open Internet, upon which so many artists rely to promote and distribute their work, does not become collateral damage in the process.
- Aziz Ansari
- Kevin Devine, Musician
- Barry Eisler, Author
- Neil Gaiman, Author
- Lloyd Kaufman, Filmmaker
- Zoë Keating, Musician
- The Lonely Island
- Daniel Lorca, Musician (Nada Surf)
- Erin McKeown, Musician
- Samantha Murphy, Musician
- OK Go
- Amanda Palmer, Musician (The Dresden Dolls)
- Quiet Company
- Trent Reznor
- Adam Savage, Special Effects Artist (MythBusters)
- Hank Shocklee, Music Producer (Public Enemy, The Bomb Squad)
- Johnny Stimson, Musician
The Trippy 1960s ‘The Hobbit’ Animatic [Video]
By Caleb Goellner
If you got tingly watching the trailer for Peter Jackson’s first of two live action films based on J.R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, just wait until you get a load of Gene Dietch’s recently uncovered animatic from ‘66 featuring the artwork of Adolf Born. At around 12 minutes long, it’s certainly not as beefy as the 1977 Rankin/Bass animated Hobbit feature, but it packs a psychedelic punch worthy of Led Zeppelin’s references.
Neil Gaiman’s Chilling Christmas Card Story as a Pop-Up Book
By Laura Hudson
In 1989, comics author and novelist Neil Gaiman sent a Christmas card to friends and family that included a very dark take on the story of Santa titled “Nicholas Was…” In the years since it has not only become something of an expensive collector’s item, but also inspiration for fan-made works, including a rather inventive pop-up book pointed out by The Mary Sue. Gaiman challenged readers to create new interpretations of the story last year as well, and you can see the results — which included a puppet version — in a holiday blog post.
By Laura Hudson
By Laura Hudson
Noted comics illustrator and video game enthusiast Bill Mudron illustrated an absolutely gorgeous Game of Thrones poster inspired by Celtic illuminated manuscripts like The Book of Kells. Click through for more detail on Mudron’s Flickr, where you can tiny skeletal, scenes from the epic novel series playing out in the borders. A great holiday gift for the Game of Thrones fan on your list? We think so.
Conan the Barbarian’s New Job: Teaching English at Trinity College
For college students heading back to class this fall, the start of a new semester of classes generally comes along with the opportunity to learn some of the surprising facts about your teachers before you dig right into the material. For instance, I had a Philosophy prof who had been a champion boxer in the Army during the Vietnam War, and a History teacher who kept his hair long because he did Civil War re-enactments on the weekends. Meanwhile, at the University of Dublin’s Trinity College, there’s an English professor probably better known for his previous career: Stabbing evil wizards in the face.
That’s right: Conan the Barbarian is teaching English at Trinity College.
Read more at ComicsAlliance.