Rejection letters, correspondence, and miscellanea from the otherwise empty annals of the Journal of Universal Rejection.

Search This Blog

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Who Rejects the Watchmen?

Dear Mr. Lanci:

You have no doubt wondered what has become of your submission, VIGILANTISM AND VIOLENCE: THE CASE OF ALAN MOORE’S WATCHMEN, to our illustrious Journal. So do I. Offering, as you say, "the first 5 pages of an article on political theory, vigilantism and comic books I wrote for your journal", one might legitimately (I do love that word, and we will return to it later) wonder why we are only receiving these first five pages.

Do you not trust us with the entirety of your article?  Did you think we might loose even this small handful of pages?  You may have cause for such concern.

As I stood before my Editor-in-Chief's desk yesterday at the Journal's downtown penthouse offices I banged my fist on the tiny island of mahogany peeking out between towers of papers and books and I shouted, "You, sir, are a slob! And what about that raise you promised me after I handled the alien fiasco?"

"Who the hell are you?" he demanded, his cigar bobbing at the side of his mouth.

But I jest. He said, "Ms. Lyris, as one of our most valuable staff editors, if there is anything at all I can do to make you happy, you have only to say it and I shall make it so."

Again, I jest. He grumbled as we excavated your submission--the first five pages, anyway--from under a mountain of worn copies of GHOST WORLD, THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, DREAM COUNTRY, MAUS, V FOR VENDETTA, and the like.

Let us examine these five pages, shall we?

The key thing to note, Mr. Lanci, when discussing a work as seminal as WATCHMEN is to avoid referring to it as a "comic book". It is a graphic novel. With me so far?

And is it truly, as you suggest, a "privileged, and unusual, tool of research"? Sure, I've felt privileged to read my graphic novels, and yes, of course it is research--on life, the universe, and everything. But unusual? I don't think so. Not for decades, my friend.

This is where your article gets off on the wrong foot: you're telling us graphic novel "researchers" that we're not first-class citizens.  But we read stories about people like us turning into superheros all the time and that's as first class as you can get. You subtly imply we're weirdos and that gets our panties in twists and makes us less favorably inclined toward your academically oriented self. Not that our feelings are easily hurt or anything.

Lastly, defending the legitimacy (there's that word again) of Science Fiction as a literary art form is not going to make you any friends in the genre. I mean, really. We know we're literarily legit. (Say that three times fast.)

But obliquely insulting this editor is not enough to get you rejected. No sir, not here at the Journal. I was tempted to reject your work on the grounds that it is not a complete work, but that also does not make you unusual.

No, indeed. We reject your article on the grounds that it is lacking sufficient footnotes. We like footnotes, especially in our academically toned articles, and yours just doesn't have enough of them.

Best of luck with your future endeavors [1],

Sonia Lyris

P.S. I notice we both have last names beginning with "L" that are five letters long. That also did not help you.

[1] Which we hope will have more pages.

Sonia Lyris, Fiction and Political Theory Editor
Journal of Universal Rejection


  1. I really didn't see this coming...


  2. And by the way, Alan Moore himself wouldn't agree with you in calling Watchmen a "graphic novel". Blame him!

  3. Mr. Moore is welcome to present his case to us. Indeed, I would encourage him to submit it to the Journal for the kind of expert evaluation only we can provide.

    And I'm happy to blame him. Yes indeed. Where shall we start?

    You do know, I trust, that if your submission hadn't been of a certain quality we wouldn't even have bothered to reject it...? Naturally.