In the Kevin O’Neill interview we linked to earlier, he made reference to the troubles surrounding LOEG: Black Dossier, which nearly didn’t get published by DC and arrived without a planned flexidisk due to legal concerns. According to O’Neill, even after the book had been vetted by DC’s lawyers, second thoughts arose:
And then all the trouble with Scott Dunbier started, where suddenly the book wasn’t right, and — We’re on tricky ground here! A Hollywood film producer insisted on seeing the book, long before publication, in the early part of the year it was finally published. He was putting a lot of pressure on DC, and if I understand the story correctly — I’ll try to keep names out of this — someone important at DC flew out, showed the assembled book to the guy, who was flicking through the pages going, “Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck, you guys are going to be sued out of existence, oh my God, what are you doing, what are you thinking …” And the guy flew back to New York — we never knew any of this at the time, of course — and things settled down. But suddenly the book was delayed from being relatively quick, like the spring of that year, to being put off to that summer. And I thought oh, Jesus — the royalties from these books really support us, you know? The advance was so small and the exchange rate so poor that the greater the delay the more financially problematic it became.
In recounting the whole tale, Rich Johnston pegs the producer as Don Murphy, the colorful and controversial producer of such things as the League movie, and rather more successfully, the Transformers films. Murphy is pretty comfy on the internet, and he quickly responds to Johnston, fingering John Nee as the DC exec and painting a not very flattering picture of Alan Moore and O’Neill.
The fault is simply THEIRS. ªBecause they want to use people’s property for free anyway they want to. ªAnd the law says no to that. ªIt’s telling that Kevin states twice “You can do anything you want to” as if that meant they could rob and pillage at will.
The simple fact is Don Murphy is not that important to DC nor am I that powerful. ªThey didn’t owe me anything. ªWhat kind of pressure could I give them to force them to show me the comic? ªCut a fart at them in public? ªSeveral years ago their so called head of Entertainment kept me and my wife and Grant Morrison and his wife out of a DC party at Comicon because I showed the guy the lack of respect he thought he deserved. ª It is laughable that Kevin suggests I could pressure anyone at DC.
It should be pointed out that Murphy’s feuding with Moore is pretty well documented — the ultimately spurious trial over the LOEG movie was so annoying that it led Moore to walk away from Hollywood forever, and Murphy to denounce Moore for all time.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.