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Greg Rucka Departs DC Comics

As you might have heard, Greg Rucka is not going to be working at DC Comics for the foreseeable future.

This, of course, means that Rucka is no longer going to be able to continue the fantastic work he’s been doing on Batwoman and the Question. Heck, this puts Batwoman’s future at DC totally into question, as Rucka had previously noted that Batwoman would be finishing her run in Detective Comics soon, but that she would be getting her own ongoing title by the regular creative team of Rucka and the brilliant JH Williams III.

Now I don’t know WHAT will be going on with the character.

As you might imagine, with such an announcement, all sorts of conclusions have been leaped to, and I think that’s pretty unfair, as we really don’t know anything except what Rucka himself has said, which is that he wanted to tell the stories that HE wanted to tell, and he was getting complacent at DC Comics. And honestly, while it is a shame that we will not see anymore Rucka Batwoman or Question, if that means more great independent works from Rucka like his current Stumptown (or his past Queen and Country), then this is probably a net positive for us as comic book readers!

Now if only they would just give Eric Trautmann the opportunity to take over from Rucka on all of Rucka’s titles, then I would be totally set! New Rucka original books and great Trautmann writing on Rucka’s old books! Win/win!

35 Comments

Is it a safe bet to say that the Batwoman character will be passed off to Judd Winick next?

Gayness, Gotham City, grimness, grittiness (I swear the alliteration isn’t deliberate here)…it seems to be up his alley.

With The Shield cancelled, Eric Trautmann and Marco Rudy are free to take over a title.

The more I think about it, the more I think Judd Winick will be handling her next. Especially if he has her share a title with Jason Todd.

Booooo all around. If I were DC, I’d give Rucka and Williams all the space they need to do that five-part origin-of-Alice arc. The first seven issues of their Batwoman/’Tec were phenomenal, but the story cries out for its bookend. As it stands now, Rucka’s swan song for Kate is the very disappointing Cutter arc. (In other words: No swann song at all.) Meh.

This makes me sad. I hope JH WIlliams sticks around with a good writer. I don’t want to see her get “Nextwaved” or “Ordered”.
Also, Winnick gets a bad rap. He’s done some really could stuff in the past. He could fuck it up, but I’ll give him a chance if it turns out he gets Batwoman as an apology for taking away Batman from him.

I’m actually not badmouthing Winick. I’ve hated some of his stuff but I did like his Batman and Red Hood stuff so overall I’m neutral on him. But I was being 100% honest in my original comment, this book really does seem to hit on a lot of themes he likes.

“With The Shield cancelled, Eric Trautmann and Marco Rudy are free to take over a title.”

Honestly, I can’t see DC asking me to do it, since my name doesn’t exactly move books (note the aforementioned fate of The Shield). And, were they to ask, I can’t see myself accepting, though It’d be silly to say never.

I’d LOVE to see Marco get a shot at the Bat books, though. He’s fantastic.

-E

I assume Rucka will return to the DCU in 4-5 years. But it’s reasonable that he felt that he was getting a bit complacent, since much of his recent work was stuff that Johns talked him into doing (BN:WW and Action Comics/WoNK stuff, obviously the Question and Batwoman comics were stuff he wanted to write.)

Maan another star writer DC loses!!
I want the best writers writing the best characters, dammit!!
I’m very upset about this….

Perhaps JH Williams III can re-team with Dan Curtis Johnson on future ‘Tec/Batwoman issues.

You’re wrong. This is “lose-lose.”

Way to go, DC. Strike one for diversity and score one for the tea baggers at DC.

I expect Kate to be offed in whatever ridiculous crosover they have planned next. “Crisis of the Pink Lanterns” or what not. Better than her sitting on a shelf like a child they’re ashamed of.

What a pathetic organization.

The Mad Monkey

April 3, 2010 at 1:46 pm

There is no “win” in Winick.

THANK GOD!! Now at least Wonder Woman is a little bit safer!

@ TopJac&:

I’d say the Kate Kane Batwoman is pretty safe. Greg Rucka is pretty clearly not done telling the stories that he has for her. Assuming that the parting with DC is amicable, it would make sense to leave her story-telling engine roughly intact for whenever he wants to pick up again. The Rucka-Williams run on ‘Tec sold well and was praised to Heaven. No reason to squander a future Batwoman mini.

On the other hand, Renee Montoya is in mortal peril. DC is on a kick to return every property to its most iconic state. Her role as The Question is an impediment to that. She just lost her patron. She is just well-known enough that her death would be news in a cross-over. Plus, it would be great Kate Kane angst bait for whoever takes over as the caretaker for Batwoman.

DC has a real problem holding onto name creators. Geoff Johns has his work cut out for him.

I always get Rucbaker and Brucka confused. I suppose I should read more of their comics.

The more I think about it, the more that Rucka quote bugs me.

It seems like one of the worst things a writer could say when leaving a publisher is “I just want a chance to tell MY stories.” The implication is that DC does not offer that option. Considering DC has an established creator-owned imprint (Vertigo), the best book store distributor in the business (HarperCollins) and dominant market share graphic novel space, that is a pretty amazing statement. DC should be the BEST place to tell HIS stories, but it apparently isn’t.

Someone is squandering the biggest advantage DC has.

@Dean:

Renee is toast. There’s not even room for one lesbian hero much less two. She’s imminent cannon fodder at DC.

Kate was a brilliant creation. Rucka, despite the acclaim, was likely frustrated with having Diane Nelson and others make life miserable for him just because Kate is gay.

Rucka could write that dreck Geoff Johns does, collect a check and care less.

The thing is he does care.

Our loss.

Someone is squandering the biggest advantage DC has.

My guess is that Rucka is worried that if he remains connected to DC (even via Vertigo), then he’ll feel pressured to write mainstream stuff for them and he doesn’t feel he has the ability to say no to that. (As I mentioned, Johns talked Rucka into several of his recent projects, and Rucka may not feel able to say no to him if he asks him to write a new project.)

tl, dr; Rucka may just want a clean break for a while.

@ TopJack:

Maybe you know something I don’t, but Diane Nelson hardly seems like a micro-manager on the content side. Her attitude appears to be that she can hire people that know how to produce quality comic content.

I am bummed about the lack of future Batwoman work but would be sort of relieved if they just let the Question go away. With the twist in the latest issue of Tec that the whole plot ties into that truly boring Final Crisis Revelations storyline, I feel like the Renee Question has run her course (or is just moving in circles around the whole Crime Bible thing). If there was a promise of a non-Crime Bible Question storyline, I would be a lot more interested in the Question’s future.

Also, Trautmann (despite his own protestations above) deserves a shot at something big. His work with Rucka on Checkmate was top notch and the JSA/Kobra mini was one of the best things I read last year. He needs a title where being cerebral isn’t a negative and something Detective oriented like a Batman title should be just fine. Also, if they ever relaunch Suicide Squad without Ostrander, he would be my top choice.

Comicbookheretic

April 3, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Eric your work on The Shield was fantastic! I will read it until the end and follow you to your next book. As for you name not selling books and pointing to The Shield as a valid example. $3.99 new launch book with a little known or cared about character to the DCU was not a good pad to launch from. Rucka was writting Action Comics and it was not selling. It is all about getting on a character/book that is hot or what is wanted at that moment. You and Marco Rudy on Batwoman would be great. In my reviews of The Shield I have sighted his panel layout rivaling JH Williams’. You can do it, please don’t say know if they ask you.

I’m disappointed that we’re not going to be getting the Rucka/Williams Batwoman series, as the few details Williams mentioned at the last signing I attended sounded extremely promising, but I can’t fault Rucka for wanting to get away from corporate superhero work and focus on his own material.

I’ll be looking forward to future installments of Queen and Country and any other creator-owned or prose work he puts out.

‘As it stands now, Rucka’s swan song for Kate is the very disappointing Cutter arc’.
How can a 3 issue arc which put Bette Kane back as a costumed heroine be a disappointment?

‘On the other hand, Renee Montoya is in mortal peril. DC is on a kick to return every property to its most iconic state. Her role as The Question is an impediment to that’.
DC has heaps of characters with the same name (Green Lantern ring any bells?).

Louis Bright-Raven

April 4, 2010 at 1:10 am

DC didn’t “lose” Rucka. He’s taking leave to go recharge, do the work that speaks to him right now, and he’ll come back when he has the ideas flowing again and there’s a spot on the schedule for him with the proper amount of creative freedoms he needs to do his best stuff for them. You should all be thanking Greg for not staying on to give you half-assed efforts for the money, not pissing and moaning because he’s got some respect for himself and his audience.

Dean:

‘It seems like one of the worst things a writer could say when leaving a publisher is “I just want a chance to tell MY stories.” The implication is that DC does not offer that option.’

They don’t when it comes to writing corporate characters. You’re always at the whim of whatever backstage politics at the company are going on at any given moment. Even after they’ve approved of your work, something can always come up and force external changes to your work, be it from political pressures to ‘Oh, it’s your book’s turn to be tied into the latest crossover, so stick in 2 pages of content to tie it in, won’t you?” Nothing else you mentioned has anything to do with Greg’s creator owned works, and I’m sure Greg does not want to leave the companies he’s with to bring his creator owned properties to DC.

@david: Cutter was good, but wasn’t amazing compared to the prior arcs. As a neat diversion while Williams catches up it works really well, but as Rucka’s swan song it’s mediocre at best. And GL is different because they entire point is that there are 7200 or so of them.

I’m pretty disappointed about this too. Though I respect his reasons for leaving, DC still has some stars/rising stars. Tony Bedard is finally getting his due, I don’t think Dan Jurgens has any writing duties right now. And I don’t know who is on Batman after Batman #700 so maybe Tony Daniel could take over Batwoman. There’s Dave Gibbons, Tomasi, Simone, McDuffie (He’s a master of character.) Just saying that it could still work out all right. But if J.H. Williams doesn’t see at least the current arc to the end that might be disappointing (Unless they get Maruo Cascioli or something).

@ Louis Bright-Raven:

I get and respect that Greg Rucka has been honorable with Oni regarding QUEEN & COUNTRY. That is certainly better behavior than other creators have engaged in when placed in similar circumstances. I also get that corporate-owned superheroes do not allow much in the way of creative freedom anymore. Although, it should be noted that titles plotted at corporate retreats have been shedding readers at a remarkable rate.

However, I presume that Q&C is not going to be the only material Rucka is working on. I also assume that he would be perfectly happy banging out, say, a Batwoman “co-feature” while working on his own stuff. It is the new stuff that DC should have been able to publish more effectively than anyone else. Karen Berger has a great track record shepherding projects outside the Cape & Tights world. Most of the dollars in those projects come from bound collections, which DC is well positioned to move. The desire to tell his own stories ought to be an incentive to stay at DC.

>>Also, Trautmann (despite his own protestations above) deserves a shot at something big.

The fact that DC saw fit to, when Rucka left Checkmate, ignore Trautmann, Rucka’s own writing partner, and give the book to Bruce Jones, who promptly ran the book into the ground, goes to show that DC have no idea how to handle younger talent, mostly because the editors are mostly all old farts. Is it any wonder that Rucka left – the current editor of the bat books is Mike Marts, who almost ran the X-Men franchise into the dirt, while clashing with Rucka on his Wolverine run.

As for Kate Kane, given DC’s respect for gay characters – they’ll probably give her to Chuck Dixon and Mike S. Miller

That would imply that Mike S. Miller is ever going to work in corporate comics again, he seems far more comfortable never updating his webcomic and begging his ever-dwindling audience to throw more money at the pyramid schemes he sunk his childrens’ college fund into.

Well, other Dave, I work in a comic book shop, and I saw his name in the credits of the Authority trade we got in this week (another sick joke on Wildstorms part, not content with running the franchise into the ground, they put a bigot on the only book with a high profile gay couple, coming only a year or two after Dixon was allowed trample all over Midnighter)

Well, I wish Rucka luck with his creator-owned stuff (which I’ll be checking out, don’t worry), but I’m sad to see him leaving his current DC books.

However, I agree with Brian—I would LOVE to see Mr. Trautmann take over Rucka’s books! DC really needs to put him on a book with some real selling potential! Because as great as the Shield has been (and don’t worry, I’ve been praising it and recommending it to people!), as others have already mentioned, a $3.99 book about an almost unheard of character never had much of a chance in today’s market. It’s always sad to see great work by writers like Trautmann (and Bedard and Nicieza, etc.) selling so poorly . . .

Louis Bright-Raven

April 4, 2010 at 4:41 pm

@ Dean:

Rucka’s got more than just QUEEN & COUNTRY to write, yes. He’s got STUMPTOWN, he’s got more prose novels and screenplays to write as well. It’s not as though his leaving DC is going to leave him bereft of projects. And frankly, the comics geeks could stand to have to go read a prose book now and again, too. *wink*

As for why he doesn’t bring his creator owned stuff – old or new – to DC, it’s a matter of looking at Time-Warner and Haper-Collins’ track records in how they honor their contracts, what his dealings have been / are with them as a prose fiction novelist, what obligations he has to other publishers in the prose publishing world, what obligations he has to film studios who have optioned rights for his stories for film adaptation, etc. He has a far larger scope of business to be concerned with other than comics. Let me bring in a real world scenario from the publishing world, from SF author James Alan Gardner:

“Will there be more Festina Ramos/League of Peoples books?

I get asked this question a lot. I wish I could answer it.

I no longer have a contract with Harper-Collins, the publisher that has the rights to the existing League books. It isn’t likely that another publisher would want to handle new books in the series, given that they don’t have the rights to the books that already exist. Never say never, but the odds aren’t good for Festina to fly again.”

Now apply this to comics, Dean, and you’ll understand why Greg generally keeps his creator-owned stuff out of the hands of the corporations. (And it was just a coincidence that Harper-Collins happened to be Gardner’s publisher and you mentioned them as DC’s distro for bookstores.) Imagine if Greg HAD brought his creator owned stuff to DC while he was under exclusivity contract, and now he’s been technically out of that contract for two, three years. They could theoretically hold those properties ransom or keep them from being in print until the rights revert X amount of time later as per contract, or Greg and his collaborators might have to buy the rights back so as to keep their entirety of work in print.

That sort of mess, no sensible creator wants to deal with.

A Chuck Dixon-Mike S. Miller “Death of Batwoman” series sounds like DC’s dream come true.

They hate the character for one reason. The same reason they want to break Obsidian out of his egg and have him chasing distaff tail.

They don’t want gay characters . Period. Unless they’re cannon fodder ala “Cry for Justice.”

Ruck fought to keep Batwoman relevant and in the spotlight. Her defender and champion is gone.

And soon, she will be as well. She’ll show up in the background of a fight scene in the latest lame Bat stunt and she’ll either sit on a shelfvlike a shamed child or offer in “Final Crisis of the 52 Pink Lanterns” or whatever money-sucking nonsense they have planned.

DC’s idea of progress is relaunching “Boobs of Prey” with it’s tasty T&A art.

What a POS publisher.

On a quick off topic but related thing, I will check out the Shield in trade. Sorry Eric, I missed the ride for this one but I’ve heard nothing but good things.

TopJack, you are jack ass.

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