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Tuesday, August 14, 2012


An odd thing happened on THE BEAT this week: a blogpost on a particular type of fannish outrage was *bleeped* out of existence, presumably through the auspices of the editors.

As of today one can still call up either of THE BEAT's two posts on the death of Joe Kubert, and see a small display under "Related Stories" that references the missing post, but clicking on the icon takes you noplace.  Presumably the link will go away in future.

The substance of the missing post was a mini-controversy started when some publicity-person at DC Comics responded to Kubert's death by highlighting his contribution to a current BEFORE WATCHMEN title, rather than his many earlier and more esteemed productions.  It was a gaffe that DC later corrected somewhat with an amended comment stressing Kubert's long history (though BEFORE WATCHMEN was still listed).

The only point of interest for me in this minor kerfluffle was that another poster directed me to a post by Alan David Doane, on his blog TROUBLE WITH COMICS. After Doane celebrates Kubert's immense influence and talent, Doane says:

Unfortunately, and because of [Kubert's] own choice, I’ll always also remember Joe Kubert as a scab artist who chose a paycheck over decency in signing on to DC’s egregious Before Watchmen project. The disgust I felt when people like Brian Azzarello or J. Michael Straczynski signed on board was nothing compared to the enormous confusion and disappointment I felt when people like Kubert, or Len Wein, or Darwyn Cooke agreed to be a part of Before Watchmen, against the clearly stated wishes of the writer of Watchmen, Alan Moore.
I responded on the BEAT post, saying something to the effect that this was a "noxious" thing to say about Joe Kubert.  It's certainly possible to take up a moral position against DC's decision to bring out BEFORE WATCHMEN, though most of the rhetoric against it I've found poorly reasoned.  But comparing Joe Kubert to scab labor isn't even a good metaphor for the situation between Alan Moore (who is, one might like to remember, only one of WATCHMEN's two creators) and DC Comics. 

Fans may not like it, but Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons signed a legally binding agreement with DC Comics, thus making it possible for the characters to be "farmed out" in whatever way DC Comics might please.  No professional, regardless of their high or low status, owes Alan Moore the favor of refusing to execute such a continuation simply because Moore made a bad deal.

Case closed.

Except this quick ADDENDA--

I'll note that Doane originally had even harsher words for Joe Kubert than "scab artist" in his original post, and anyone curious can find reference to those remarks online.

Also, the vanished BEAT post also referenced Tom Spurgeon cursing out DC for their disrespect to Kubert's memory.  A couple of posters took issue with Spurgeon, so it's likely that McDonald took the post down for excessive toxicity.  Spurgeon later expressed regret, not for his anger, but for detracting from the appreciation of Kubert's legacy-- a general spirit with which I concur.

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