I…well. A game of two halves, but then Alan is a real human being rather than a goody or a baddy and it’d be simplistic to write him off based on some opinions he has.
If nothing else, all of us working in the field and the industry owe Alan big time for being someone who helped popularise the form of the trade paperback. Dave Sim and Will Eisner were there first, but the trifector of Watchmen, Maus and Dark Knight really drove home the notion of the graphic novel.
So if you’re ever written a foreword, designed a cover for, created a mini-series or sold any comic with a spine on it, you and I owe Alan a huge thank you, really. He was the main event of the British Invasion back in the mid 80s and with Swamp Thing helped create that audience for serious horror work and such.
He made the right noises when enough people were listening over Kirby, over DC’s Mature Readers Ratings and when the world of corporate comics was more than he could bear, he started an independent label usin g his name to sell comics that came out infrequently, ironically creating Image’s early business model for them.
I imagine I’ll never be on Alan’s Christmas list, as I’ve taken the piss out of his decision to work for Avatar too many times in public, I suspect, but I do respect and admire how much of the comics industry he’s genuinely shaken up and much for the better.
I’ve said before and I’ll say again that a lot of the barnacles and hangers-on in this industry who slag off Alan (Unless they can make friends with his children, obviously.) do so without understanding just how much of the things in their contract with major companies that they take for granted are because ‘Old Cranks’ like Alan,Neal Adams, Frank Miller and such went to argue the point that those ‘entitlements’ ought to be standard practice (That whole ‘Being paid a page rate for a TPB version of your work, for one.)
Alan’s changed the business and mainly for the better. I’m not entirely convinced he IS going, because he’s said this a few times in the past and it’s usually when he’s pissed off about something (And if I’d been shanghaied with the artists he got on the likes of Providence, Crossed 100 and most criminally, ‘Fashion Beast.) I’d be thinking of quitting soon, too.
But at a point where a lot of high end creators seem to be running to cyberspace, Alan’s supported the retailers by putting out mainly quality comics for nearly 40 odd years, and I thank him for his work and respect that.