2000 AD Prog Slog

Monday, February 23, 2009

Prog 773

There are thrills that you just never expect to see again in 2000 AD. Zenith is one; Halo Jones is another. Another still is Skizz but here it is up to part 7 of its second run. Originally, it appeared ten years ago to cash in on the upcoming success of the film ET and was written by Alan Moore with at by Jim Baikie; now it’s been renamed named “SkIIzz” and is now written by the original artist.

In it, we rejoin Interpreter Skizz to see that he is being held in quarantine on a moon thanks to the live yoghurt he ate during his time on Earth. As he attempts to outwit his robot guards and the mechanisms in place to keep him there the original cast of Earth characters reunite in Birmingham. Cornelius is still in procession of a communications device that originally belonged to Skizz which warns the authorities of the upcoming destruction of Earth’s sun thanks to our war like inclinations. (Damn those war like ways of ours! They’re always getting us into trouble!)

For a thrill that has drifted into being sacred in the mindset of many Squaxx dek Thargo, this revisit to it is quite enjoyable. Baikie, who I have never seen write his own work outside of Skizz, is demonstrating that he has a strong inclination for it. In fact, the overall result is I suspect a lot better than it would have been had it been written by anyone other than Moore, I suspect.

Personally, I’m intrigued by what the existence of SkIIzz implies. My understanding about copyright in the UK is that permission from the original creators needs to be had before it can be reprinted and revisited. Would Tharg have had to have had permission from Alan Moore for Baikie to be able to create the sequel? Or, because Baikie is one of the two principle creators of the original series, no permission from Moore is necessary? If this is the case, could we theoretically see sequels to Zenith and Halo Jones appear as long as Steve Yeowell and Ian Gibson are involved? Of course, I am not a copyright expect at all, and I could be making a great big fool of myself by asking these questions in the first place but, well, there you go.

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  • I would assume that Skizz was created by Moore on a standard page rate deal meaning he has no more rights to it Gerry Finley-Day does to Rogue Trooper. Thus Tharg could happily have whoever he likes write it.

    Hasn't Ian Gibson actually intimated from time to time that he has some outlines of his own for Halo Jones?

    By Blogger Peter, at 9:06 pm  

  • I seem to remember an interview with Baikie in which he said he had rung Moore up to get his blessing. Moore's response, somewhat predictably, was essentially "Go ahead. I've washed me hands of it."

    By Blogger Douglas, at 10:08 pm  

  • Yeah my understanding, which is pretty limited, is that Moore is very supportive of this co-creators and their rights to produce a story, be paid from a film etc etc even if he has washed his hands of the whole thing. All of which in theory is academic since the rights belong to 2000AD's owners. As much as Moore's attitude to many things annoys me on this front I think he gets things pretty much spot on.

    By Blogger Colin, at 1:55 pm  

  • Peter, the reason I think otherwise is, for example, Alan Moore's Captain Britain run was out of print for a long time because he wouldn't grant permission for it to be reprinted and I imagine that they were both written under the same circumstances. I always thought that UK law meant that permission from both/all creators was needed first. I haven't heard anything about Ian Gibson's Halo Jones although that would be interesting.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:42 pm  

  • Douglas, that sounds like Moore to me :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:42 pm  

  • Colin, that's the thing - Does 2000 AD own the rights to something like Skizz in the same way that DC own the rights to The Flash? If it's the same situation, then what does it matter if Tharg gets someone else to create Halo Jones Book Four or if Pat Mills gets pissed off because Dan Abnett, for example? I think that there is a difference over in the US than over here, I just don't understand what it is.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:47 pm  

  • Paul, I think the law on this point is pretty much the same: if you sign a contract that says the publishers own the story then they own it. Any difference in handling is probably just down to a recognition of how difficult it would be to follow Moore and the vain hope that he'll come back and work for you one day.

    There's a big difference between Moore's view that he should own Halo Jones even though he knows he doesn't and Morrison's assertion that he does own Zenith.

    By Blogger Peter, at 7:05 pm  

  • YEah I believe (and again I speak from a position of informaed ignorance) that Grant Morrison thinks he owns Zenith because of a poorly written contract. Moore believes he owns Halo Jones becuase he wants his cake but was hungry when he baked it.

    By Blogger Colin, at 8:27 am  

  • Peter, I still have a sense (which is vague if not rubbish, I know) that there is a difference between US and UK copyright law which, for example, prevented Marvel US from reprinting Moore's Captain Britain without his permission. At the time, I find it hard to believe that Marvel would have worried abou p*ssing him off.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:16 pm  

  • Colin, I hope this doesn't irritate you but I like Moore and his attitude. I love the fact that he's so good he can shut doors with most publishers and still earn a living. There aren't many comic creators who can do that :-)

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:20 pm  

  • "Colin, I hope this doesn't irritate you but I like Moore and his attitude."

    I know this is the Internet but I hope I can still appreciate that people can have different options to me and not get irritated!

    Mind when it comes to liking Gerry Finley-Days work...

    By Blogger Colin, at 4:02 pm  

  • Wha?! Gerry Finley-Day is great!

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 10:31 am  

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