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Hercules-Rock

For once, it’s NOT because he wrote the comic book it’s based on and he’s an impossible to please twelve-cylinder wackaloon.

It’s because his FRIEND wrote the comic book it’s based on–being a twelve-cylinder wackaloon is incidental this time.

There is, of course, a bit more to it than that: Brett Ratner‘s upcoming Hercules, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is based on Steve Moore‘s Radical Comics series Hercules: The Thracian Wars. Due to the kind of legal BS the comics industry is infamous for, Steve Moore (no relation to Alan Moore, btw) received no compensation when his comic was optioned for film adaptation. Steve Moore did not contest this, but asked that his name be taken off the film, given that he would not be making a cent from it–not to mention the fact that the film version took a great deal of creative liberties with his work, but more on that later…

Thing is, there was no mention of Steve Moore in the film’s publicity–and they’ve been promoting it for some time–until, that is, this past March when the acclaimed writer and Classical scholar died.

THEN, suddenly, Steve Moore’s name got slapped on every piece of promotional material for the movie. Out of the blue it was “HERCULES”: Based On The Comic Series By The Late Steve Moore!

Even if Steve was 100% on board with having his name attached to the film, this dancing on his grave for the sake of ticket sales would be in questionable taste. Knowing how badly he wanted to have nothing to do with the project, and how much they doctored his writing, and STILL using his name to promote the film is nothing short of despicable–the actual quality of the movie notwithstanding.

Here’s what the other Moore, Alan, had to say. The two had been close friends and collaborators for years, and Alan Moore witnessed Steve’s seemingly unending creative and contractual issues with Radical Comics:

A couple of months before Steve died, I know that I was down at his house and he was expressing great indignation. He had just heard that a film was to be made of his series for Radical Comics, The Thracian War. Now, Steve had had quite a few problems with Radical Comics in producing the comic book and there were compromises that he had been assured that he would not have to make which he had, in fact, been told to make. So that relationship wasn’t an entirely happy one. But he was very happy with his scholarship on that series. It was impeccably researched. There wasn’t an element of it that wasn’t supported by something from Greek mythology or Greek history.

But on this occasion when I went down to visit him, he was quite cross, because he had just heard that there was a movie to be made out of this. And he said, “I’ve just written them an angry e-mail asking why I wasn’t consulted in this and when I can expect the something like 15,000 dollars”, which was the paltry amount which Steve thought was the amount that it said he’d be getting in his contract. He was cross about this, and he said, “I haven’t heard back from them. There’s just a deafening silence, so I’m going to pursue this further”.

When I went down to see him a couple of week later, I said, “So, did you get any response from Radical about your e-mail?”. He said, “No, I didn’t. But I went away and dug out the contract, and it turns out that no, they don’t have to consult me and they don’t have to pay me the 15,000 dollars. That must have been in some earlier version of the contract as opposed to the one that I signed. So, I’m not getting anything out of this. The only thing I am glad of is that apparently they’re not putting my name on it. Because it sounds like it’s going to be idiotic shit”.

“Idiotic Shit”–not exactly a glowing review.

But then, I’d be indignant too if all the work I’d done researching Greek history and mythology was being shitcanned for the sake of making a goddamn popcorn flick. There are historical details from the comics that filmgoers will never see:

Steve was saying that this film sounded like it was going to be a complete abortion, that they’d dumped characters such as Hylas. That’s understandable in that Hylas was Hercules’ boyfriend. And that’s perhaps not what The Rock wants to bring to his tale of his Hercules.

To be fair, The Rock had NOTHING to do with any of the changes made by the filmmakers, and there is nothing in his background or public persona to suggest he would refuse to play a bisexual Hercules (hey, what happens on the Argo stays on the Argo–right?)

And as for what was done with Steve’s name posthumously:

They had not, before Steve’s death, seen fit to mention his involvement with the original story. Like I say, that was his only consolation, that his name was not going to be linked to this ignorant dreck. However, after Steve’s death, you could see that someone had thought, “Oh, there’ve been a couple of obituaries in the press and there’s quite a lot of talk about this. We could perhaps get some publicity for our film. It’s not like we’re going to have to pay him any money”. So they started to put Steve’s name upon the credits.

It was a little bit of free advertizing. The publicity surrounding a man’s death. Now I’d have to look at my thesaurus and see if there are any words other than “vile” which I could use for that. But even in the low estimation in which I hold the greater part of the comic industry, that is a new low. Now, I know that when before I have suggested that the comics industry may have treated Steve Moore less than fairly, or even less than humanely in the past, this has excited a flurry of complaints that I am surely old, paranoid, and crazy, which I may well be.

However, in this instance, I suggest that people simply look at the publicity for this film before and after Steve Moore’s death. I would also ask that anybody out there who gives a damn about Steve Moore or his legacy not go to see this wretched film. It is the last thing that Steve would’ve wanted. And I cannot un-recommend it too highly or anybody involved in it. I think it is absolutely shameful, however, there are also more positive elements of Steve’s legacy.

So there you have it:

A brilliant and influential artist, writer, and scholar’s legacy mouth-raped by mercenary, amoral publicity whores in order to sell a weak film adaptation of the man’s work–an adaptation the poor bastard didn’t even get PAID for!

It’s too bad: I like The Rock, and I like Brett Ratner, and I had high hopes for this film.

Sad thing is, it STILL might be good, but knowing this has seriously reduced the chance that I’ll see it–or at least that I’ll PAY to see it.

Source: Bleeding Cool

Category: Comics, Film, Nerd Culture

Tags: , , , , , ,

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