As well as the Martin Rowson and Garry Trudeau events with Steve Bell at the Edinburgh International Book Festival last week (see here) there were several other comics folk present at the world’s biggest literary fest, including Garen Ewing, Sarah McIntyre and oh yeah, there was some bloke called Alan Moore… It was a sold out event, despite being a bit too late to make the print catalogue, and there were a number of comics and books folks in attendance, including former Tharg David Bishop, Ian Rankin, Iain Banks, Garen Ewing and a lot of others (including yours truly, of course). It’s not everyday you get the chance to hear Alan Moore talk at such an event and a lot of folks wanted to take advantage of the opportunity – including, I think, the host, Steve Bell, who seemed genuinely interested in what Alan had to say about the longform comic (an area the cartoonist mentioned he was interested in dabbling in himself), the ins and outs of publishing, creator’s rights and dealing with Hollywood.
When the subject of creator’s rights came up Moore described the famous (or infamous) situation with V For Vendetta and Watchmen, mostly stuff many will have heard about before, about how he and the artists would get their rights back after the books went out of print, which as he said seemed reasonable at the time given in those days graphic novel collections rarely stayed in print for more than a short time, but as we know now theses books remained popular and so in print. Alan seemed remarkably sanguine about it – obviously not a situation he was happy with, but he didn’t appear bitter about it, it was quite clear those were past and he was far more interested in the works he was doing now, from the Dodgem Logic magazine (the fifth issue came out just in time for the Book Fest) through the next League of Extraordinary Gentlemen book (Kev O’Neill is working his art magic as we speak, Alan tells us) and his massive prose novel Jerusalem. He did mention feelers put out to him to the effect that he could have the rights to Watchmen back if he signed off on allowing other writers and artists to create spin-off tales set in that universe, something that’s been rumoured for a while from the DC camp, but Alan said he wasn’t interested – if he’d been offered the rights back years back when he was arguing for them, perhaps, but now he’s moved on.
The very first batch of the new DFC Vern and Lettuce collection by Sarah McIntyre is due out in September but luckily early stock made it to the Book Festival in time for Sarah’s art class with the kids, and Sarah was happy to sign them:
And who needs Gucci or Prada, in the festival city this is the designer bag to be seen with!
After years of enjoying reading his wonderful Rainbow Orchid tales (the second print volume was just released by Egmont this summer) I was delighted to finally get to meet Garen Ewing in person.
Garen too had been holding an art class for the younger readers at the Book Fest and had decided that if you survived teaching art fun to kids then you were doing okay. As usual with Festival time the weather was variable (hey, it is Scotland) – the day before I’d seen the girls from the press tent putting rubber ducks into a rainwater pond that had formed (the staff always keep wellies on hand just in case, the Gardens are lovely but can get a bit muddy if it rains), but we were fortunate that day and had nice weather so we could enjoy sitting outside as readers came and went from evening book events, while Down the Tubes‘ Jeremy Briggs demanded Garen entertain us by drawing a whole new book from scratch right there.
(all pics from my Flickr, click for the larger versions; thanks to the Edinburgh Book Festival crew for kindly slipping me into the comics events)