Watchmen Creator Alan Moore Shut Down HBO With A Very, Very Hostile Letter

Alan Moore wrote a very hostile letter to Watchmen showrunner Damon Lindelof telling him to never contact him again.

By Nathan Kamal | Published

Alan Moore is perhaps the most acclaimed living comic book writer, with a resume that includes cultural landmarks like Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and the acclaimed Superman story “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” He is also famously uninterested in any adaptations of his work and very willing to tell anyone that. According to a recent interview in GQ, Alan Moore went so far as to send a letter to Damon Lindelof telling him in no uncertain terms that he wanted nothing to do with the HBO miniseries based on Watchmen, Warner Bros., Lindelof personally, and never to contact him again. 

It seems that Alan Moore received a package containing a “powder blue barbecue apron with a hydrogen symbol on the front” (presumably reference Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen) and a letter from Damon Lindelof, who he refers to as “showrunner of the Watchmen television adaptation.” Alan Moore says he was not aware of the adaptation at that point and found the “neurotic rambling” tone of the letter distasteful. Moore says:

I got back with a very abrupt and probably hostile reply telling him that I’d thought that Warner Brothers were aware that they, nor any of their employees, shouldn’t contact me again for any reason. I explained that I had disowned the work in question, and partly that was because the film industry and the comics industry seemed to have created things that had nothing to do with my work, but which would be associated with it in the public mind. I said, “Look, this is embarrassing to me. I don’t want anything to do with you or your show. Please don’t bother me again.

Given that Damon Lindelof is one of the most powerful television producers and writers in the world, it is pretty astonishing that anyone would rebuff him in such a hostile tone. At least, that would be the case for anyone except Alan Moore, who has been open about his disillusionment and dislike for both the comic and film industries for decades. While the famed writer can sometimes come off as a curmudgeon, it is worth saying that he has been a vocal proponent of artists’ rights in the comic industry, which has historically not been equitable to the people who create its content. 

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In fact, Alan Moore has long had a public stance that he refuses to watch any film adaptation of his work and that he basically disagrees with the entire concept. In the 1980s, apparently, Alan Moore felt that he could accept profiting off adaptations of his work without being involved, but at this point, refuses to have his name credited on any adaptations and does not accept payments for it. Per a 2012 interview, he estimates that he has lost several million dollars (definitely more by 2022) for this, but considers it a moral stance.

It is a standard practice in the comic book industry that most artists and writers do not retain the copyright for their work, but cede them to companies like DC and Marvel in exchange for employment. Alan Moore has long spoken up against this policy and largely disowned the work he did for major companies, like the definitive Joker story The Killing Joke and the development of Swamp Thing as a character.

The Damon Lindelof-created HBO Watchmen series was critically acclaimed and popular, but it seems that he got the message, as Alan Moore was not credited for it. Co-creator Dave Gibbons was involved in the series, but it seems that Moore’s very blunt letter actually got through to Warner Bros. Sadly, the company was probably just happy they did not have to pay him.