Why Alan Moore Has Become Marvel's 'Original Writer'
The "Watchmen" writer explains why his name is absent from Marvel's reprints of his classic 1980s superhero series.
When Marvel Comics released the official solicitations for the first two issues of its long-awaited Miracleman reissue series, the writing credit caught a lot of attention. Entirely absent was any mention of Alan Moore, the man who wrote the material reprinted in the issues, with his name replaced by a more generic "The Original Writer." In a newly published interview, Moore explained why you won't see Marvel mention his name.
In an interview with Padraig O Mealoid, the Watchmen writer talked about discovering that he may have worked on the Marvelman property -- renamed Miracleman to avoid legal action from Marvel in the 1980s -- under false pretenses. "As soon as I knew that the rights to Marvelman had never been with the Official Receiver, I said, 'Well, if I'd known that, I would have never taken the job, and, yes, if I can help, I do feel bad that I must have been instrumental in taking these rights from their rightful owner, whoever that might be.' "
The belief that he had accidentally been a participant in intellectual property theft led to Moore deciding that Mick Anglo, who originally created the character and may, in fact, have owned the copyright, should receive any royalties from a potential reprinting of Moore's work. "This was at a time when I thought, yes, I did do a lot of the work on it and it would be nice if, I don’t know, [Moore's daughters] Leah and Amber … were to profit from it in the future, but by the time that Marvel Comics were involved I just thought, 'No, let it go, give all the money to Mick Anglo,' " he explained.
He continued, "The first draft of the contract that I'd got said that, 'If Marvel makes any alterations to the artwork, then Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman will have the right to take their name from the strip.' And I got back and said, 'No, this is irrespective or whether Marvel makes any changes to the artwork.' "
This isn't the first time that Moore has removed his name from material related to his work; movie adaptations of From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen lack any mention of either project's original writer.
Elsewhere, Moore describes his confusion over ownership of the Marvelman and Miracleman property. "After 25, 35 years of this shit, I'm no closer to knowing anything, and everything that comes up just seems to make the matter more complicated, more murky," he said. "All I've done is do what I thought was best with whatever information I've got at the time. I suspect that it'll probably turn out that it all ended up completely unfairly for almost everybody."