Prolific comic book writer known for his long runs on Batman, Detective Comics, and the Punisher recently shared his opinion why he believes what Amazon is doing to Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings is an abomination.
Dixon, who also adapted Tolkien’s The Hobbit into comic book form, sat down for an interview with European Lore, where he was asked his opinion on the current state of film and television adaptations.
Dixon responded, “The state of contemporary adaptation is pretty miserable, film and television, because they want to change the work.”
“They find things in the original or the source material that offend them or that they feel don’t fit our post-modern sensibilities and they alter them. And it’s a crime. It’s a crime,” he added.
Dixon would then specifically address the upcoming The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power adaptation from Amazon’s Prime Video.
He said, “What Amazon is doing to Tolkien is an abomination. The people doing the work obviously don’t understand the original work. They are adding elements that are very 2022 to it that five years from now are going to appear laughable.”
“They’re taking a timeless tale and setting it basically in our contemporary zeitgeist. And it’s just wrong,” he explained.
Dixon went on, “So many of these things — I mean when they do stories set in history and they want to update the attitude of historical characters to today’s mores it doesn’t work.”
“It’s not right. It’s not accurate. And in the end it’s not entertaining because there’s a sameness to it all,” he stated.
Aside from his commentary on The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and modern film and TV adaptations, Dixon would also discuss how his comic book adaptation of The Hobbit came into existence.
Dixon revealed, “How I got the job was I was doing a lot of work for a company called Eclipse Comics. They were based in California. And Dean Mullaney, the publisher of Eclipse, was always looking for public domain material. In other words material that didn’t have a copyright on it.”
“And he had a guy who would do nothing but search through the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. looking for uncopyrighted properties that could be adopted into comics,” he revealed. “And the guy came across, unbelievably, an uncopyrighted early manuscript of The Hobbit.
“So Dean contacted me and said would you be interested in adapting it into a graphic novel,” he relayed. “And I’m like, ‘Yeah, okay. That would be great.’ And while I was working on it — and the manuscript was significantly different than the published novel — while I was working on it Dean was in communication with the Tolkien estate telling them what our plans were going to be.”
Dixon recounted, “And he said, ‘Look, you can either authorize us and we’ll do an authorized version of the novel or we’ll just do our own from which you will see no money.’ And so the Tolkien estate bowed and then Dean called me and said ‘Stop working on the uncopyrighted version and get our your old paperback and start working from that.'”
“So I think I was only 10 pages in. I scrapped everything I had done and I got to work on the authorized version. So that’s how that came about,” he explained.
Chuck Dixon is still churning out comics and books. He recently launched a SubscribeStar that funds a number of his projects at Antarctic Press and Arkhaven.com including the superhero story My Sister Suprema and the sci-fi series Something Big.
What do you make of Chuck Dixon’s thoughts on what Amazon Prime Video is doing to the Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power? What about his thoughts on film and TV adaptations in general?