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Cry Babies: Jason Aaron Blasts Alan Moore

Comic Booked Guest Writer 01/08/2011 Features

Aside from the idea that preference has any part of this, let’s just dissect the two-fold problem here:  Moore is disappointed with the lack of quality stories, and Aaron is offended by Moore’s disappointment.  The rest of the squabbles, in my opinion, are merely symptoms of these two primary facts.

Taking them one at a time, the idea that Moore doesn’t want to have his stuff messed with is respectable.  It may not be realistic, but it is at least understandable.  If I (miraculously) created some of the most thought-provoking social commentary of my time that still had application today, I would be a fool to think that it would not be tapped for a money-making project.  It’s ludicrous to think that the creative integrity of such a piece of literature would remain unscathed by the ebb and flow of the balance between appreciation and marketability.

Second, the fact that Aaron is offended by Moore’s disgust of the exploitation of literature for capital gain means that he flat-out misunderstood Moore’s position (according to the excerpt that Aaron cited).  But let’s assume for a moment that Moore really doesn’t like Aaron or his work.  Aaron’s reaction then would mean that 1. He cares what people think of his writing, especially Alan Moore and 2. He actually wants people to approve of his work.

These two facts may seem obvious, but they really can be taken for granted.  True craftsmen create their work for themselves and then publish at the urging of others or as a courtesy.  While others like the idea of “writing comics for Marvel.”  Others write for shock value.  I would have put Aaron in this camp with his bent toward violent content and the sadistic Bullseye character seen in PunisherMAX, but apparently this is not the case.  Shock value has no value if everyone approves of it.  Therefore, the idea that Aaron needs that approval (or else he doesn’t like you back) flies in the face of artistic creation.

Alan Moore Looks Tired

Alan Moore Looks Tired

To quote Joaquin Phoenix, “Love me or hate me, just don’t misunderstand me.”  Whether Phoenix was serious or not, the statement has merit.  Applying the principle to any creative work should give the writer some comfort.  Still, when the writer is crafting for the audience’s approval instead of telling the audience what they need to know…the concept is no longer valid.

Now leaving the realm of theory (and attempting not to BLAST Jason Aaron like he BLASTED Alan Moore):  What is this guy’s problem?

Reading his column leaves me with one statement, “Shame on him.”  That’s all I have to say.  Shame on him.  What he did was unprofessional and weak.  It is obvious that this has been festering within him for quite some time, and that he feels justified in is thoughts, opinions, and actions…so justified in fact that he feels the need to air this industry’s dirty laundry to the fan base.

Lastly, the situation is sad because it paints him, his comics, his column, and his employers in a bad light.  Companies tend to want people that are easy to work with, display adaptability to difficult or tense situations, and have enough logic and creativity to overcome professional or personal differences.

I’m sad to say that if he couldn’t write a better way to resolve this story’s conflict, how can we expect him to write a decent ending to Wolverine Goes to Hell?  I hope Wolverine doesn’t tell Satan to screw himself and that he won’t be sending any more souls his way.  That would be a big let down.

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  1. Red 9 01/08/2011 at 12:50 pm

    Well written piece my friend. Tough piece to tackle. Lovely little spat they're having. Too much fun in comics for all the bickering. So says me anyways.

  2. Lacee Jeans 01/08/2011 at 1:12 pm

    Can't we all just get along? …Ah, nevermind…SNIKT!

  3. PickleLover 01/08/2011 at 4:42 pm

    Good point. It seems like this guy just doesn't seem to get the point of creativity. Not that you don't care if people like your work but if that's all it's about then, there is nothing left to say.

  4. Skott of Fables 01/08/2011 at 6:47 pm

    I have to agree with Aaron on this, I understand where he's coming from. In my opinion Moore has become comics' equivalent of George Romero, meaning a guy who's started to believe his own hype, that he isn't part of something but rather he IS that something.

    Moore's remarks about the comics industry was a cheap shot at everyone working to make it more than it was. Aaron was the only one, that I'm aware of, that not only took exception to that attack but stood up and said something about it.

    I respect that.

    I don't think this makes anyone look bad, for me, and as I've said, I respect Aaron for standing up for himself and his chosen field of work in the face of an attack by someone who hasn't been relevant in a very long time. I also respect Aaron for defending his creative abilities, it takes a lot of guts to stand up for yourself against someone who some think of as a legend or comics god, Aaron did it and I applaud him for it.

    To me it just seems like Moore says stuff like this from time to time to make sure we haven't forgotten him. For him to say these things, in my mind, shows how huge his ego has gotten over the years.

    Just my opinion though and how I'm seeing this situation. It is interesting when this happens in the comics industry though.

    • Andy Kirby 01/09/2011 at 10:45 am

      Skott,

      Good points. I disagree with Aaron (obviously), but at the same time understand that when you take pride in something you do, it can be very hurtful when someone doesn't recognize either the effort or the quality of it.

      However, I believe a letter to Moore (either private or public) may have been more effective to the end of Moore recognizing the talent that is out there. Furthermore, it would have made Aaron look like a cool, collected individual which would go a lot further with fans. If you look at some of the other creators' comments about this story, it is easy to pick out the respectful ones from the ones that "don't take nothin' from nobody."

      I say, for the sake of the industry altogether, that we should come across as respectful, respectable, and noble as can be. The public works on two levels: 1. group think and 2. through a meritocracy. The quality individuals and work will come to the surface and rise above eventually…and then eventually those that can't see it for what it is latch on anyway because of group think.

      Take the Beatles for example. Many people had negative opinions about their music because it was different at first, but now look at their legacy and how they changed the world.

      And then in contrast look at Marylin Manson. He had to put out an album title "Lest We Forget" because he, just like Alan Moore, is fading and is scared to be forgotten.

  5. Skott of Fables 01/09/2011 at 6:40 pm

    I understand and agree. But, what Aaron did and how he did it is why I respect him more. It's what I would do. If someone makes remarks like Moore did about what I do for a living, and made them publicly, I would be just as apt to defend my chosen field in just as public a way. He stood his ground and defended his livelihood.

    I think it's the use of language that people are objecting to in Aaron's response more than anything. I probably wouldn't have done that.

    Granted, Moore is a part of the past and is largely irrelevant these days (mostly due to not being a consistent contributor to the industry other than complaining about how bad he has it) but if he's going to make such remarks this way then neither he nor anyone else should be surprised when someone stands up and defends the modern Comics Industry.

    The problem is someone like Moore thinks he can pretty much say or do anything he wants because he did something big over 2 decades ago, this includes basically saying no one has any talent these days, and he feels no one will disagree with him. Aaron was one who did and voiced his disappointment in what Moore said.

    I'm not saying I fully agree with how it started or ended but I respect anyone willing to defend themselves and their industry, especially when it's the comics industry.

    …I had completely forgotten about Marilyn Manson, lol

    • Andy Kirby 01/09/2011 at 7:38 pm

      LOL yeah, Manson…a true giant among men.

      I suppose my point is that Moore's comments alienate people and everyone knows it except possibly him.

      Unfortunately, now a lot more people will think that same thing about Aaron too. And that's a sad thing, because he has talent that is good but surely still needs refinement. But whether he knows and acknowledges that or not, he comes across as too big for his britches.

      I do agree with you that standing up for yourself, your friends, and what you do is important. But I don't think it needed defending when Moore's comments are obviously self-centered and egotistical.

  6. RobbOrr 01/12/2011 at 4:00 pm

    Liked this story as I read books from both those guys. There is no problem with having opinions on comics. The problem is when it turns to petty public mudslinging. A little discussion about the state of the industry is always healthy, but this is just ugly. Maybe they should have this discussion in a more private forum. I love Alan Moore and think he cares a great deal about the industry he has worked in for so long and continues to put out great work in. These guys should put the ego aside and hug it out and talk like adults.

    • Andy Kirby 01/16/2011 at 7:57 pm

      @Robb Orr, I would have to agree that a discussion like this is best done in private. But then again…you don't get any press that way. ;-)

  7. Scott 06/21/2011 at 4:12 am

    Andy, I very much enjoyed your piece. Having read Jason Aaron's rather juvenile response to Alan Moore's comments, I have decided never to read any of Jason Aarons work again. I will however continue to follow Alan Moore, and look forward to his next novel Jerusalem.

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