Saturday, January 10, 2009

New York Times Watchmen article just makes stuff up (for fun?).

Here is a brief article by Michael Ciepley detailing the possibility of a settlement with Fox and Warner Bros. over the rights issues of Watchmen (and, because I'm nice, here's the new Watchmen Japanese trailer). The final paragraph of said article is littered with conjecture and falsehoods.

"Given that Warner Brothers’ big comic-book release of 2008, The Dark Knight, is getting lots of Oscar buzz, a movie with a similar pedigree in the world of comic books like Watchmen could be in the running next year."

Nowhere on Earth does there exist any human that thinks that Watchmen is going to be an Oscar contender in 2009. Could it happen? Sure, it COULD (and Star Trek could get nominated for Best Picture alongside The Hannah Montana Movie and Night At The Museum 2), but simply tossing out such a statement is not only inexplicable (since there is nothing to back it up) but downright dangerous for the ongoing legal process. "Gee," thinks Fox, "if The New York Times thinks Watchmen could be an Oscar contender as well as a blockbuster, we should squeeze Warner Bros. even more!"

As for the other issue... well, if you've read me long enough, you know exactly what's coming.

"The visual flair of The Dark Knight was inspired by the Frank Miller graphic novel, The Dark Knight Returns..."

Aside from being completely irrelevant to the issue at hand (Watchmen has nothing to do with The Dark Knight Returns on any artistic level except for the medium and publishing house), it is false. The Dark Knight shared as much of a visual look as Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns as it did with the 1960s Batman TV show. But since Frank Miller has been crowned the creator of all things interesting in the realm of Batman, then Frank Miller must again get all the credit.

As I've said over and over again; say it with me now: Despite what writers seem to keep saying, Batman comics were dark, introspective, and violent again by 1969, a full seventeen years before Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. Yes, it was a groundbreaking piece of social satire, but crediting Miller with single-handedly saving Batman from the camp of the 1950s and 1960s is a slap in the face to Neal Adams, Denny O'Neil, Steve Englehart, Marshall Rogers, and all of the other writers that did so much good, truly groundbreaking work in the 1970s and 1980s.

Scott Mendelson

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