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She Has No Head! – Batwoman’s Fate: Redux

Thank the gods for horrible decisions by comic publishers. Makes my job so easy.BW_Cv17

Not really though, I’d rather just not have a column and have good books to read and publishers I trust. But that’s not the world we live in, so we get my sad little column.

About two and a half years ago I wrote about Batwoman’s fate as Greg Rucka abandoned the DC Ship, and here we are again, talking about Batwoman’s fate, as her creators are forced to jump ship, and DC scrambles to pretend it was their idea in the first place. Two years is actually a pretty long run, and so if this decision had come a bit more professionally – rather than creators being forced to jump ship in order to save their sanity and honor the stories they intended to tell for the character, it wouldn’t be too bad. But frankly, we could have talked about any number of characters (and books) fates over the last two years at DC (I’m sure somewhere there’s a list of all the creators that have left or been removed from “New 52” books – update: here’s a really great timeline breakdown). There was even a freaking summit about how they (DC) were going to lessen their editorial interference and a further commitment to stabilizing creative teams. That seemed to last about a week.

It’s funny, this story had a lot of different angles since it first showed up last Thursday: at first it had an anti-gay bent in that it appeared DC was refusing rights for their most prominent gay character; and then it just came back to their utterly bizarre anti-marriage bent that applies to all their characters, not just the gay ones; and then it became the “we don’t tolerate happiness for our characters” party line, which we all knew given the state of the “all new” “grim & gritty” DC Comics but which is almost refreshing to hear admitted out loud, and I hope now that they’ve done that and they see it in print they realize how ridiculous it sounds, along with how terrible and joyless it has made their books – but one thing that never changed in this story was the refrain that they do not value creators.

The takeaway is, and always has been on this story (and for a long time now), that DC doesn’t care a bit about creators. But my larger concern is why don’t we?

There’s one reason and one reason only that Dan Didio and Co. can have an absolute disregard for creators – and it’s because they have learned time and again that we won’t actually stop reading. No matter how much of a fit we throw, we don’t actually stop buying, or at least not in significant enough numbers to make it matter.

And it’s hard to blame readers, because why should a character like Batwoman be punished because of something that has nothing to do with her. In fact, Batwoman is the perfect example because it’s taken so long for readers to get an openly gay hero headlining her own book. So do we risk losing that, something SO important in order to protest creator treatment? It’s a tough call.

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There are scenarios in which either argument can work. And certainly a major gay hero headlining her own book would be worth it, but at this point as a reader, I have no faith that she’s in good enough hands to make it worth supporting the poor treatment of creators. Because I know that creators don’t matter at DC, I also know that the best writer on earth can’t save Batwoman, because ultimately they are no more in charge of her fate than Rucka was or Williams and Blackman were. And it will never change. DC Comics has decided they are the only ones in charge of her, no matter what that means, and so, no, I have decided that it’s not worth the risk, even for Batwoman, a character so important to me. For this reader, I can’t continue to tolerate, or worse, quietly endorse this behavior by continuing to read these books no matter how shabbily DC treat creators.

For those of you that might feel Kate Kane is safe in DC’s hands, and that the creator should not matter, I’d urge you to look at the facts from DC’s own lips. Beyond the fact that Dan Didio doesn’t know her freaking name (repeatedly calling her Kathy Kane at Baltimore on Saturday), they also seem to be making their decisions primarily out of spite. Sure, you can make an argument that they are trying to limit the readers abandoning ship once the arc concludes, and you can also argue that the tie-in status of at least one of those books might bump sales and thus give them the “appearance of making the right decision” for the book. However, those are company/financial decisions. Not “best for the character” decisions. There’s no way that shelving the final two issues (one already complete) planned by the creators who have been so devoted to her for two years are “in the best interests” of the character.

But shelving those issues is definitely a way to make everyone know that you’re the boss. I mean, nobody was doubting that to begin with, but good job guys, you definitely proved that you’re the most powerful, spiteful, petty dudes in the room. Good work!

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And no matter how many other quotes you throw out there and how many unconvincing stories full of spin you come up with you can’t undo the actions of throwing away perfectly good finished professional material in order to make room for more hastily assembled mediocre gap-filler books.

This past week I had to review one of the worst comic books I’ve ever read, and perhaps the worst “big two” book I’d ever read and I opined how such dreck could make it through the assembly line and into readers hands, but this Batwoman clusterfuck has reminded me yet again that the editorial in charge at DC is not a place I trust and hasn’t been for a long time. So of course books of that laughable quality can make it through the process.

The process is undeniably broken.

The reveal by Williams and Blackman that their writing on Batwoman has been constantly undermined at the last minute is not much of a shock, or it shouldn’t be, given all the problems we’ve heard about this and the constantly shifting creative teams. But I just can’t help but be flabbergasted by DC’s inability to grow beyond this problem. Interfering to the degree that almost all of their best creators have been forced to leave is a potentially fatal problem.

I mean, how absolutely mind blowingly dumb do you have to be to let J.H. Williams III slip through your fingers? Easily one of the most talented artists to ever work in comics, probably the most talented and ground breaking artist to CURRENTLY work in comics.

You move heaven and earth to keep that guy.

You certainly don’t make his working life so difficult that he finally has to abandon a character he loves. And if you can’t keep him, you know what you do? You move heaven and earth to stay on his GOOD side. Because even if he leaves, there’s a huge difference between leaving, and leaving and never coming back. But you know a good way to make sure he never wants to come back? Tank his last issues, for no good reason except spite.

Maybe this is naïve of me, but I do expect legitimate companies to make decisions based on things other than pure spite.

As of Saturday morning, Marc Andreyko is the new Batwoman writer. I like Andreyko. I’m a fan of his Manhunter series, and I’ve written about him for this column before. He’s a good writer and a solid pick for a Batwoman book, but I don’t know why anything should be different for him than it has been for the slew of good creators before him. What’s that saying about the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Yeah, that’s it.

I wish Andreyko the best, even though I cannot in good conscience follow, but mostly I offer a bit of advice:

Run away, Marc, run away as fast as your feet will carry you.

 

132 Comments

Great column this week. You really articulated how irritating I’ve found this whole debacle, happening over and over at DC as it has.

Raymond Wonsowski

September 9, 2013 at 9:34 am

Awesome. Just…wow.

Thank you.

Here’s an actual list, which was alluded to early in the column. It’s kind of depressing:
http://guttersandpanels.com/gutters-and-panels/2013/3/23/the-new-52-timeline-of-departures

You know, there are lots of us who HAVE stopped buying the books. You just don’t hear about us because, well, we’ve stopped reading the books.

A great article Kelly, as ever.

I gave up all my DC books — including the ones I liked — six months ago and I haven’t looked back. Mostly it was the grim and gritty and unhappy outlook. It was also the shameful by editorial of creators.

One of the things that fascinated me about this whole thing was that they made the whole gay marriage thing a sideshow to deflect that the real problem was creators having work approved and then have it reneged months afterward. DiDio’s speech about their commitment to Kate Kane as a character was just designed to ignore the fact that they agreed and approved a storyline and, like with so many other creators, changed their minds.

I found Williams and Blackman’s Batwoman a bit too decompressed for my liking but it was definitely one of DC’s better efforts. In another era, they would have done something to develop that talent and build the readership with a long run. Sadly we live in the current era where for the first time in my life I am buying nothing from DC comics.

I liken the DC/Andreyko relationship to that of an abused spouse. They took away his Manhunter. Then they gave her back. Then they took her away again. Then they gave her back. Then he wrapped it up just as they they took her away again.

The advice of this article is good advice.

Also, this sort of garbage will never end until more readers start following the writers, not the characters.

Watching DC Comics burn their own house down is like being the poor kid watching the rich kid play with their toys all the wrong way, ripping their limbs out, scraping the paint off, gunking them up with sand. Or, more accurately, watching them not open their packaging, and displaying them on a shelf for eternity, instead of ripping them open and giving them a good playing with.

Since “DC Comics” can’t really stand for the redundancy of “Detective Comics Comics” any more, I guess the DC part stands for Dampening Creativity.

Luca Brasi: He Who Slept With The Fishes

September 9, 2013 at 10:05 am

Great article, Kelly-belle!
Totally agree and hoping to here you ladies talk in depth about this on the next 3 Chicks Review Comics podcast. Love those podcasts! Keep ‘em up! ;)

It occurs to me that DC could possibly rush-solicit a Batwoman annual that would compile Williams/Blackman’s last two issues and give their story a proper resolution. But that would require not being dicks.

Charles J. Baserap

September 9, 2013 at 10:06 am

I’d say Northstar was the first openly gay character to headline a book, but either way, DC editorial has been a big problem. That said, I’m a little less sold on necessarily feeling badly for the creators here for being removed afterwards because they threw a very public tantrum on the Internet about their unhappiness and did so in a way that initially was inflamed by an irresponsible media that made it out to be that DC was anti-gay marriage and that was the sole driving force behind their decisions.

The creators were right to have displeasure, no doubt, but when you go public with internal matters, sorry, you don’t gain immunity from the company pulling you off the book, especially if you go public in such a way that makes the company seem as if it had a motive other than what it was. That’s highly irresponsible and immature.

I recently left my job because I was a contractor who was being told by my superiors to perform the work of another position I was not at all hired or trained for, an illegal violation of my contract, and was threatened to do it or else. This went on for weeks and finally I walked when they gave an ultimatum. But had I gone public on Facebook or Twitter badmouthing them before that, they’d have had every right to can ME even though my gripe was 100% valid.

Also, people DO stop buying books and many have with this one, even before now–it opened at over 72,000 and it’s down to around 27,000 as of most recent sales data so the book has lost a LOT of readers on its own before this debacle. I still get the book, but just barely. The latest storyline has been dragged on for way too long and the pretty art is almost not enough anymore despite my love for the characters.

I think the creators were wronged in the last minute editorial changes (though, again, we’re only hearing ONE side of it and who knows why the other changes happened; they may have sucked or been in conflict with other approved plans, who knows?) and deserved better treatment but at the same time, the second you air the dirty laundry in public, you lose that high ground just a bit.

Taking to Twitter to say you’re quitting a book in 4 months is like calling someone to tell them you’re not talking to them.

I follow the creators. Im gonna start reading Batwoman now that Andreyko is coming on board.

@Charles:

But that’s not what happened.

J.H. Williams informed readers (on his blog) via a very well written absolutely NOT tantrum filled post that he and Blackman were finishing two issues and then they’d be done on the book.

I’m sure DC already knew this – i.e. DC did not find out they were leaving via twitter or blog posts.

And it’s not “we’re leaving in four months” it’s we’re finishing the work we’re doing. Which, by the way, is also the professional way to handle your business – i.e. not leaving a company (even one that has screwed you) in a lurch by walking off the job, but in finishing the work you began. In respecting that work and honoring the commitment you made to finish it – for everyone’s sake.

And I don’t think they lose the high ground by trying to explain what has happened. Batwoman has not been the book that I hoped it would be (though it’s easily still one of the better books coming out of DC) but it’s hard to know given editorial interference how much of the book’s problems are the writing and how much are editorial. We will probably never know, but the creators have every right to explain why they are leaving, especially since it’s A) Clearly not what they WANT to be doing and B) A pattern at DC and they are just the latest to fall victim to it.

Also – C’mon now with the sales stats – let’s not pull out stats on this book and act like that’s the story. The stats on the entire DC line have sunk like a stone compared to initial sales – as we all knew they would regardless of quality.

@John Wyatt: Thanks for the link. Exactly what I was looking for.

@John Smith: As have I. My DC pull list prior to this was down to four books I believe (including Batman: Li’l Gotham)…and then there were three. :(

I don’t even follow Batwoman (one only has so much money to spend) and was upset by all of this. It’s sad that it comes down to the business crushing the creators. I mean, I understand that the business has to keep a firm hold on their characters because they are their bread and butter. Just look at al the chaos from the fighting involving Superman. But good management should reward good results and DC seems to have a big problem with this.

The arrogance of Bob Harras is astounding. He made the same mistakes at Marvel 20 years ago and utterly tanked the company. Meanwhile, Marvel is repeating the wild creative success that DC had during that same time period with the same method of letting creators do their stories and letting those stories be dark or fun depending on the situation.

Speak the truth to the people, Kelly. I love Batwoman. I need Batwoman. This still narrow, but slowly expanding world needs Batwoman. Sadly, the shameful way DC has been treating its creators over the past couple of years had made me very uncomfortable for the fates of all of its important, forward-looking characters and the stories they could tell. The company’s being tone-deaf and idiotic in its treatment of Williams, Blackman, and Kate is the last straw. I’m done with DC. I’m heartbroken to ditch Snyder, Simone, Art & Franco, and the other good ones, but I hope my support of their non-DC work means something.

The Catch-22 is that if people drop this book (or any other that’s suffered from the same syndrome), DC is just as likely to cancel it and say “Well, the numbers don’t lie. Fans must not want a books featuring Character X”. Then Character X goes back into limbo…

I feel for Williams & Blackman, and I agree that Williams is an amazing artist, but I’m one of the ~45,000 who has quit reading Batwoman. I just don’t find the writing compelling (for a number of reasons that I won’t go into since that’s not really what this column is about). But with Batwoman charting at 76th this month, once can see how DC would be concerned.

That said, I hate that editorial interference has driven them off, and I hate that they were treated in a shitty way, as, it seems, a number of other people have been. And I can’t believe that preventing the marriage was worth pissing off the artistic talent that is JH Williams. After all, they could just have easily editorially mandated the death of Maggie Sawyer in 6 months or so, as both of the big two don’t show a lot of reluctance to kill off characters.

I’ve always wondered, though, if Williams & Blackman or if DC was responsible for Amy Reeder’s departure from the book. She said on Facebook that “…some real creative differences were going on, to the point that it became untenable,” but it was never clear who was making it untenable for her. But then I think about Rucka leaving before the solo title even began, and it’s clear that this book – whether because it’s a Batbook or because it’s a book with a lesbian lead (or some other reason) – has had a stifling editorial hand.

Beyond that, I feel sorry for Andreyko, whose work on Manhunter I really enjoyed. Writing this book could be a great opportunity for him, but I’m afraid that, with the shitstorm of publicity and the fact that many picked up this book for the promise of Williams’ art, he’s got a near-Sisyphean task ahead. I’ll try the book again, though, as I like his writing.

Brilliant column. You really cut to the core of the entire issue, Kelly. It’s the horrendous job being done by editorial at DC, and has been all along. Every one of these incidents crops up because of it. And ultimately, that starts at the top.

Bob Harras probably makes for an easy scapegoat because he’s beyond terrible at his job. And that’s fair, but who is it that allows Harras to continue in this position? It’s Dan DiDio and Jim Lee. And of that duo, DiDio makes for the easier scapegoat because he’s seemingly their PR-face, and an embarrassing one at that. Plus, Jim draws pretty pictures that fanboys love. But given that they have the same job title, it’s only fair to assign Lee at least as much blame for the present situation as DiDio, despite being the largely silent partner. His fingerprints are all over the debacle that has been the New 52, what with the atrocious costume redesigns, and his providing the connection to Harras in the first place.

And if DiDio and Lee are either ignorant of the problem, or unwilling to do anything about it, then it falls to Diane Nelson to do something about them. And if not her, then Kevin Tsujihara. But at some point, someone along the chain of command is going to have to acknowledge that there is, as you put it, a “potentially fatal problem” with editorial at DC. I’m sure that Tsujihara loved reading about all the (fairly or not) anti-gay marriage controversy. Eventually someone higher up at Warner Bros. is going to notice this little fiefdom, and a lot of people lacking in self-preservation instincts are going to lose their jobs.

What’s so maddening is that it shouldn’t have to come to that. If DiDio and/or Lee were at all perceptive enough to realize what’s happening, they could cut this off at the pass without having to lose their jobs. All it would take is firing Harras, replacing him with even someone like Paul Levitz, and 90% of their problems would go away. But that would require being aware there is a problem.

I was in attendance at the DC Comics panel at Boston Comic Con. DiDio fielded a question about all the creative changes and reported editorial interference at DC, and the sentiment he expressed is that it’s hard to see from the outside, but that each of those situations had unique circumstances, and it’s not a systemic problem. My head almost exploded. I mean, if seemingly isolated incidents continue to occur with discernible regularity, that’s the definition of a pattern. You can’t argue against a pattern by providing the definition of a pattern!

It’s times like these that I really wish comics had a strong independent press corps. I know that most of these sites like CBR rely on exclusive interviews and such from publishers for content, especially DC and Marvel, and thereby can’t rock the boat too hard. They’ll ask the question if it’s a big enough issue, but won’t follow up when they receive the canned, spin-response. A legitimate journalist would eviscerate DiDio, but instead he gets to address worthy questions with unrelated platitudes; all delivered with a s**t-eating grin that comes from knowing he has an addicted audience. So, he starts in with his “We reserve the right to make our characters exciting and entertaining” bit.

Which brings me to my final, and most horrifying point. That DiDio, Lee, and Harras clearly don’t share the same definition of “exciting and entertaining” as you and I do, Kelly. That DiDio genuinely doesn’t believe that Williams is “easily one of the most talented artists to ever work in comics, probably the most talented and ground breaking artist to CURRENTLY work in comics”. And therefore, that he doesn’t need to “move heaven and earth to keep that guy”. Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool is reporting that the “exciting and entertaining” rationale is being used both externally and internally at DC; that Williams and Blackman quitting has saved them the embarrassment of having to fire an Eisner award-winning, critically acclaimed team. The implication is clearly that DC did not find Batwoman exciting or entertaining enough. And one look at the vast majority of their line circumstantially corroborates that sentiment. THAT is horrifying.

Sorry for the super-long response. This has been brewing for a while, and after reading your column I was inspired to let it out. Keep up the great work.

I definitely agree with what you have to say, Kelly. The majority of fans will complain until they are blue in the face, and then they will STILL keep reading the titles, no matter what.

Myself, I’ve stopped buying any ongoing titles published by DC with the exception of Wonder Woman, and that is soley due to the amazing work Brian Azzarello & Cliff Chiang are doing on the series. One they leave (whenever that happens to be) then I’m packing my bags, as well. The only other ongoing DC series I’ve been thinking about starting to follow is Katana, and that is because Ann Nocenti is writing it. I’m a huge fan of her work. Again, the only reason I’m interested is that she’s involved in it. If I do end up picking it up, well, if it’s good I’ll stay with it while she remains on it. But once she is gone, yep, so am I. After all these years, I’ve given up on following series & characters. I’m much more interested in specific creators. I wish more fans would adopt that approach, as well.

I get that people want to drop reading the book–it’s tough to support a comic that is being hamstringed creatively by its own publisher. But if people care about these kinds of storylines featuring LGBT characters., then ultimately they should stick with the book. If readership dips, DC will undoubtedly pull the title entirely, thereby dropping a headling gay character–that very well may have a successful or at least creatively worthy run with Andreyko. Seems like boycotting/dropping hurts everybody.

Charles J. Baserap

September 9, 2013 at 11:43 am

@Kelly, that IS what happened though. THEY took to Twitter to announce it first before the company did, full stop. They didn’t mean any disrespect I’m certain.

But the way they phrased things led the media to pick it up and run with it which is exactly WHY Williams LATER clarified things because he’d realized how the initial stuff came across, but by that point, the firestorm had ignited and was on gay websites all across the internet. It’s fine if they gave DC notice personally, and I have no doubt they meant no disrespect, but there was no need to go public before the company and people need to be cautious before airing dirty laundry about their still current employers in public, end of story.

They didn’t just say, “Hey, we’re leaving in a few months,” they complained about treatment and took some potshots at editorial; regardless of whether they were right or wrong, they still made the decision to make a personnel change announcement before the company could and got people slamming the company across various streams of the media.

And, honestly, if that’s a slam at me, that’s messed up (the part about walking off) because I was forced with an ultimatum–do this or you’re fired–and I had to walk off because I couldn’t do what they were asking because it was illegal and would have damaged the company because it would have prevented me from doing the job I WAS hired to do and I would have lost any claims against them. They pushed me into a situation where it was do something illegal or you’re fired and if I had complied and something went wrong, I would have had it on my head and had to wait for my name to be cleared and in a job where I was, where it was literally life or death, I couldn’t risk that sort of thing on my conscience, so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that that wasn’t an intentional dig at me and just a general statement since you had no way of possibly knowing the specifics of the situation of where and how it was I worked and in what capacity.

I only pulled out sales stats because you seemed to be of the mind that people don’t drop books. I never said they were taken off because of sales; I merely remarked that the book had been bleeding readers showing that people will indeed leave books, and not just because of things like this, but because of general displeasure.

My problem with them is that they could have waited until DC made an announcement and then taken to Twitter, but they didn’t and that, to ME, is unprofessional, just as unprofessional as DC sending Simone an email.

I absolutely loved Batwoman under Williams III and Blackman therefore, I will most certainly not be following Batwoman under the new creative team.

I’m just one person – but I’m sure I’m not the only one.

The news about Kate Kane (and the Harley Quinn episode) was actually enough to make me cancel all of my DC subscriptions indefinitely. It’s really hard to support a company that treats their creative teams and characters with absolutely no regard.

Remember the firing Gail Simone via email?

They also took away Tiny Titans from Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani. The writer/artist duo found out by looking in a PREVIEWS magazine and seeing “Final Issue” as part of the solicit.

Needless to say that while the company has some of my favorite writers/artists: Greg Capulo, Scott Snyder, Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, Brian Azarello, Mark Andreyko (to name a few)… I’m done. I just can’t do it any more… and I encourage others to make the bold jump as well.

I dunno about ‘She has no head!’ I think it’s ‘DC have lost their minds’.

i only read Marvel’s Ultimate comics in trades, but every story i seem to see about DC lately is something about their comics either sucking or their treatment of the creators sucking or their cancelling some comic and launching another in it’s place.

Someone needs to stop them taking the stupid pills. It’s like they WANT to ruin the company…

For a thousand different reasons, DC Comics means something to me personally. I love those characters and they are deeply connected to moments in my actual life. And yet, I have basically stopped reading new DC Comics.

It wasn’t a dramatic decision, but it has become harder to support them as a publisher as stories like this have accumulated. It doesn’t really matter to me whether Dan DiDio, Jim Lee, Bob Harras, Diane Nelson or whomever is ultimately at fault. What matters is that DC is plainly a toxic place for creators and no one has ever bought a comic because of the editor. Like baseball umpires, they are hard-working professionals that can only do harm. Also like baseball umpires, some them have seem to have egos that do not allow them to get out of the way of the people that you are paying to see.

As someone who has been reading comics for a very long time, the grand corporate narrative just doesn’t matter to me anymore. Corporations just cannot tell certain types of stories. Characters can’t really die, because trademarks have to be serviced. Because they cannot die, none of their life choices really matter. They can marry, but just as easily be unmarried. They can have children that vanish in a soft re-boot. They can have irreparable conflicts that vanish with a fresh creative team.

None of that stuff ultimately matters.

What does matter is the connection of a given creator, or set of creators, to a given character. That is why folks follow Geoff Johns around. Whatever his flaws, you get the sense that he really cares about characters like Hawkman. That personal connection between creator and material is what interests me. If it really matter to JH Williams III that Kate Kane get married, then I care because I am invested in his take on the character.

In the case of Batwoman, the take of JH Williams III and Greg Rucka is all that I care about. The Batwoman brand literally could not have mattered less to me before they started work on Kate Kane. It was a silly legacy of the Silver Age that seemed better forgotten. They invested in the property in a personal way and (as a result) produced entertaining comics. That personal investment is incompatible with an editorial culture that blindly enforces policy edicts that get reversed seemingly every couple of months.

As a result, DC Comics has stopped be a place that is capable of producing stories that I’d be interested in reading.

@John Smith: As have I. My DC pull list prior to this was down to four books I believe

I’m just amazed so many people still even have DC pull lists. They’ve done so much crappy stuff since Identity Crisis to now that I assumed more people would be fed up by now. The amount of good will this company must have built up pre-Didio really must be that great for people to last this long as DC customers before giving up everything.

I threw in the towel around One Year Later. It was so poorly coordinated and it was so obvious that they created the new One Year Later status quos without actually figuring out what took place in those missing years and making it up as they went along. Sadly, they learned nothing from this mistake as they repeated it with the New 52. It became obvious no one had any idea what was and wasn’t canon in the new 5 year timeline.

And how does Batman have a 10 year old son in a 5 year timeline? Is Damian Wayne artificially aged?

This is why I torrent the few DC books I still read. Between crap like this where they ABUSE creators and a fantastic character, plus their hiring of Orson Scott Card to write that Superman story that has mysteriously disappeared from existence, I cannot and will not give a cent of my money to DC Comics until the current folks in charge are GONE.

Thank you for writing this, Kelly. Expertly articulated. I have found myself gradually buying fewer and fewer DC books post-”New 52.” I have just right now decided to drop the few I was still collecting and no longer support DC at all.

Graeme summed it up for me: “I gave up all my DC books — including the ones I liked — six months ago and I haven’t looked back. Mostly it was the grim and gritty and unhappy outlook. It was also the shameful by editorial of creators.”

Effective right now I am not buying any more DC Comics.

On Wednesday I am dropping all my DC titles. So over it. There’s too much good Image comics out anyway.

This article perfectly articulated how I feel and what DC is doing…which is screwing over their creators for some bizarre an nebulous reason. It cant’ be for profits, because they are going out of their way to annoy people…as you said, purely from spite, and that is never a very good business model.

It is as though they have all collectively lost their minds lately.

There’s absolutely no truth to the rumor that DC offered the Batwoman writing gig to Orson Scott Card.

@Charles

I guess I cannot know for sure if the tweet came first (I first saw the blog post) – I’m sure the tweet got more coverage because Twitter moves very fast, but I’m still not sure it came before the blog post (I’m sure someone somewhere has an accurate timeline).

For me, they had every right to try to get their story out there before DC “gave them permission” to say whatever they were going to let them say? You think they should have sat around on their hands waiting for the “oh, okay, go ahead and announce it, after we have already put our spin on it” memo? Please. That is maybe the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. There was ABSOLUTELY need to go public, otherwise they were simply not going to get to tell their side in a non-polluted environment. DC is a giant multi-million dollar corporation, likely the only chance some freelancers have against that is if they gett their story out in front of the machine. They did the right thing.

And no, I’m not slamming you…? I’m talking about comics, not construction. Did you ever read me say a word about construction or about you personally? Stop reading into things and making wild leaps.

The more I hear of the latest fiasco from DC, the more disgusted I get with the industry as a whole. Everyone working at DC Entertainment, from Diane Nelson to Bob Harris, have no logical reason to be there other than to collect a paycheck, throw their weight around, and piss away any integrity the company has left.

As for those who want to drop this or any other DC book for one or more reasons (the editorial restrictions, the lousy storytelling, the brutal treatment of creators, etc) but feel like that it will give the wrong message and doom the character, do the following…

DROP THE BOOK BUT LET DC COMICS KNOW WHY YOU’RE DROPPING IT!

Go on their Facebook and Twitter accounts, send multiple emails to the people in charge and beyond, send in actual letters, make phone calls to them, send in petitions (online one are OK but make a physical one. Go to a convention and get actual signatures from fans who are fed up by this), have protests, anything to get the attention of the company and everyone else (especially the media that is not tied to Time Warner). Let them know that, while you love and support these characters, you do NOT support or respect the decisions they’re making. Let others know why Dan Didio, Bob Harris, Jim Lee, and others do not care for the fans or the legacy of these characters. This problem needs to be resolved immediately!

@Mr. Q:

Excellent post. Dropping sales figures are simply chocked up to audience erosion if they’re not accompanied by the message that you are ready and willing to purchase said comics under different circumstances.

Too many fans are resigned to simply take what they’re given. The comics industry is small enough that dedicated groups of fans can certainly bring about change. The rehiring of Gail Simone on Batgirl is an example. If these groups were informed, organized, and disciplined, there’s almost nothing that couldn’t be accomplished.

DC Comics is small potatoes, but it’s part of a much bigger animal at Time Warner. And companies like Time Warner are deeply concerned with public relations, and audience perception. If you start a big enough fire they will see the smoke, and won’t hesitate to make changes. DiDio, Lee, and Harras might seem firmly entrenched and untouchable to comics fans, but they’re small-time at Time Warner. Their superiors will not hesitate to fire them at the drop of a hat if they feel like they’re causing more trouble than they’re worth.

Their jobs are to provide intellectual property research and development. If they’re causing bad PR in the mainstream media, i.e. the Batwoman gay marriage controversy, then it’s an easy decision to can them. They’re expendable.

Indeed, letting DC know you are dropping their books and why is important.

If you are planning to drop you can use social media and/or email to let them know why, but historically they seem to respond best to actual print snail mail mailings, in which case I BELIEVE this is the correct address (any one knows differently, please correct me):

DC Entertainment Inc.
1700 Broadway, 7th Fl.
New York, NY 10019-5905

I, for one, AM stopping reading. This has been the line for me that I am not going to cross for them, for their characters, or for the few remaining books I love. And yes, it’s going to hurt to have to leave behind my Lil Gotham, my Batgirl, my Animal Man, my The Movement, but… there’s no way I can POSSIBLY continue supporting them in good conscience at this point. Sure, Batwoman is a great openly queer hero. Sure, Batgirl has an openly trans character. Sure, The Movement has one of the most diverse casts of any team assembled. But none of that is ONLY accomplishable through DC, and so long as those accomplishments ARE at DC, we’ll NEVER be able to feel safe in them, to trust them, to know our representation actually matters to the people making the decisions, not just the disrespected creators who have zero job security. I want queer characters that I can feel safe with, not constantly feel like there’s a sword of damacles dangling over their heads. And I’m sick of being FURIOUS with a company I apparently support, week after week.

And I’m very very sick of supporting a company that clearly has such utter, undisguised contempt for readers like me.

I’m not going to do it anymore. Cancelled all my DC pulls yesterday.

Granted that Batwoman lost me after issue #2, I still find the way DC has been acting to be downright disgusting. Not just in the treatment of their creators and such, but also in their revamping of EVERY friggin’ title and character with this New 52 crap! Like so many others, I’ve stopped buying DC books altogether right about when they did Flashpoint. My method of dealing with their bad business decisions is to simply download their books online for free. I get all the books I want to read from DC just to see where they’re trying to go with the revamped characters. I BUY my Marvels and independents because they still respect not only the readers but their characters.
As for the whole gay characters/marriage/happiness bruhaha it IS pretty obvious that DC just isn’t for gay relationships. Recently a promising character in Teen Titans, Bunker, left the series because his lover had just gotten out of a coma and was asking for him. Did the company decide to keep him on the team despite his relationship? Nope. They replaced him with Raven in what promises to be a rehashed storyline from the 80′s.
Other gay characters that were removed or badly treated in the past:
Extraño from The New Guardians. Also Jet from the same book.
The young artist friend of Kyle Rayner-Green Lantern (for the life of me I can’t recall his name right now). He was gay. DC had him get the crap beat out of him in a hate crime and then they made him disappear altogether.
And can someone at DC please explain just why characters CAN’T marry? Gay or otherwise?
Nah! I’m done buying DC books. When I see something even remotely interesting I just download it. Not fair to the artists? Perhaps but who is more unfair? I vote DC (Destroying Comicdom) Comics.

@Natalie, exactly. Exactly, exactly, exactly.

While I like the character and all and ever more appreciate what the character is about, I can’t say I’ve been a big fan of the book with Williams and Blackman writing. It has just not been my thing so hopefully someone can come in and do a good job with the character.

How about if someone started a petition on change.org ? A petition to politely ask DC to let the writers finish their story arc, as planned, on issue 26, with the changes Didio demanded, but let us the readers read it to the end. It’s the least they can do.

Seeing how sales figures (and prices) are these days, I actually wonder how representative of comic book fandom the comic book sales are.

Maybe we have come to a point where events work to spike sales because only those who accept them bother buying comics anymore?

@T “I’m just amazed so many people still even have DC pull lists. They’ve done so much crappy stuff since Identity Crisis to now that I assumed more people would be fed up by now. The amount of good will this company must have built up pre-Didio really must be that great for people to last this long as DC customers before giving up everything.”

The only reason I still get any DC books is that they put out some good content despite themselves. Like they’re so busy majorly screwing this book or that book that an uncontroversial quality book slips through their fingers. I continued on with Batman Inc because Chris Burnham was killing the art, I enjoyed the story, and DC didn’t completely burn the previous creative team to give Burnham the book. They completely broke me of compulsively buying every Bat title that came out, but I want to support good stuff.

But yeah, it’s getting harder to support good stuff with all the headlines DC has been generating lately.

What a well-written and heartfelt column, Kelly! DC’s management is toxic. We see the evidence in the sludge they produce.

Whatever happened to the DC characters I loved for so many years?

The silver lining out of this, hopefully, will be new characters and worlds by Williams, hopefully with a better, at least semi-indie publisher…Been a fan of Williams since Promethea and will buy just about anything he does.

First, thank you Kelly for your well thought out and well articulated article.

Second, I have friends who own comics shops. I have said repeatedly that NO new DC 52 book is as good as the titles they were publishing pre-relaunch. I stand by that. There are good DCs, but only a handful. Batwoman was one of these good titles. I am disheartened by the treatment of these creators, but it’s only the tip of a very large iceberg. DC and Marvel both are now being run by creative heads and sub creative heads who seemingly dictate how the books must be. At DC, it is DiDio, Lee and Geoff Johns, with a few others. At Marvel, it’s Alonso, Quesada, Bendis, Millar et. al.

Some things I can enjoy and a LOT I cannot. I remain totally unimpressed with ALL of Marvel’s new Avengers books and am dropping all of them. Oddly, despite my dislike of Bendis in several ways (the man cannot write dialog to save his life) I do like some of his newer works. Don’t like Scott Snyder on the Bat books, thought both “Death” and “Court of Owls” were ho-hum and I HATE the new version of Joker. His previous Detective run with Dick was far superior.

I agree that it is time for editorial to stop interfering. You hired these people to create – let them DO IT! If you think you can write the books better, then do so. Or tell the writers from the outset that this is what you want and let she or he decide if they want the assignment. By and large, an editor’s job is to edit, perhaps occasionally (al la Julie Schwartz) help plot and steer. Then you sit back and let your creators do their best work. I think the only DC editor who got this in recent times was Karen Berger.

Look at some of the work that DC published in the past, the quirky and still published material like Moore’s SWAMP THING, Gaiman’s SANDMAN and Morrison’s ANIMAL MAN or DOOM PATROL. I doubt if any of those would get through today. Maybe, perhaps Morrison because he’s still loved by the company although his best work is long since behind him. Does DC honestly believe ANY of their new stuff will have the longevity these books have enjoyed? If so, they’re delusional.

I am off Batwoman and likely more DCs to follow in months to come. I will buy trades of the old books I enjoy. Knowing DC has this new “no marriage” policy (which doesn’t seem to apply to Johns unless Aquaman and Mera are only common law – God knows) makes it increasingly easy to stop reading their books. Grim and gritty has been done to death, we’re now in maudlin and depressing. In 2013, can’t we go to uplifting and optimistic?

I suggest readers find some independents and support those. If you need a really positive, uplifting, CHEERFUL superhero experience, may I suggest LOVE AND CAPES? I believe IDW is coming out with trades and back issues seem easy enough to find.

I agree that the best way to make yourself known is to stop buying and let them know why, but also just not buying DC period is pretty clear. Then no single title is being punished. I would join in, but I actually realized a few months ago that I had stopped buying any DC books without even thinking about it.

The only thing I bought from them recently is “Batman/Superman” #1 and 2. I read #1 and liked it enough to buy the second, but honestly haven’t even read #2 yet. So yeah. I honestly hope that enough people vote with their wallets to make it clear that DC, not just Batwoman, needs to change fundamentally if it wants to keep its customers. Or get them back, as it were.

Also, I echo BrettJ’s suggestion that everyone should go out and support some indies (or just publishers outside the “Big 2″ like Image, Boom!, and Dynamite), but I can’t disagree more on Marvel. I have been enjoying the post Marvel Now stuff quite a bit, and I actually think it will make it clearer to DC editorial how angry we are if their chief competitor outsells them 10-to-1.

While I find the continued resistance to happy married characters stupid, I’m glad the truth came out (it’s not an antigay marriage decision, it’s an antihapiness decision). I wish that would be as public as the initial spin, but it won’t. An initial spin, BTW, that was put into motion by the way the authors wrote their goodbye.

I’m with Charles on this one.

BTW, 76th placement in sales? That would normally merit a shakeup, although I do believe that critically acclaimed books should be given lower target numbers, i.e. as a way to make up for all the trash that tops the lists and makes big bucks.

Also, they made good bucks despite the continued editorial interference, or maybe they were helped by it? Challenged by having to produce despite editorial shenanigans?

I was making my way through the first paragraph of this article which looked on the surface to be yet another take on a story that has only one take. No problem. Redundancy is cool as long as it’s entertaining. But then I hit the second paragraph where this whole bizarre POV goes completely off the rails. In particular, this line here…

“in that it appeared DC was refusing rights for their most prominent gay character”

Um…huh? Fictional characters have rights now? Do inanimate objects also have rights? If so, then my constantly flickering desk lamp has one hell of a physical and verbal abuse case against me. This reminds me of that bugs bunny cartoon when the artist was drawing bugs bunny and screwing with him by erasing his feet and head and stuff and it turned out the artist was bugs old foe Elmer Fudd. Can we all agree that fictional characters are not real and therefore have no rights? Technically, Didio could direct an artist to draw Batwoman decapitating babies and it would (can’t believe I actually have to say this) not be a criminal offense.

“why should a character like Batwoman be punished because of something that has nothing to do with her”

Fictional characters can’t feel pain or a sense of punishment. The level of fan-projecting here is actually kind of disturbing. And this is coming from a guy who threw a major tantrum when they dressed spidey up like Jennifer Beals in Flashdance back in the 90s.

If there is one thing that one was allowed to take away from articles by disgruntled comic book fans and the comments sections below them is that, apparently, no one has ever worked at a large company. Ever. Or even heard of one. Management does things that often displease their employees. This is DC/Warners. Not Starbucks or Whole Foods. These characters are not people, they are a product owned by a company that can do whatever it wants. Why is that so hard to understand? Why does one assume that DC owes it to their staff to placate them or keep them happy when there’s a long line of artists/writers at every single convention hoping for a chance to get their portfolio reviewed by DC. These people are hoping and praying they get to work at DC. Hoping for a chance to draw the most iconic characters ever. I can only assume that some of those in line have actually read comics, read comic book news sites and editorials about how horrible and Dickensian DC apparently is.

I get fan outrage. I get boycotts. I get anger at “the man”. What I don’t get is the weird sense of entitlement on the part of fans who are getting vicariously angry on behalf of creators who are still working at this horrible company in spite of perceived editorial slights when they clearly have other options. I mean, have you seen the horrible quality of the art on the majority of books at Dynamite, Moonstone, IDW and other non big 2 companies? It would be far easier to get work there than trying to get a foot in the door at DC. I can only assume that the creators still working at DC were not forced to work there at gunpoint and are not being forced to stay under similar conditions.

Big companies regulate, oversee, micromanage and generally try to control all aspects of product development and production. That is never going to change. Ever. You could make Gail Simone or Greg Rucka or whatever seemingly progressive comic book icon president of DC and it would still be exactly the same. Because ultimately there are stockholders to answer to who don’t give a crap about comic book characters “rights”. That’s a universal truth that won’t change. There might be brief moments when editorial loosens the reigns but that’s all you’re ever going to get.

So, ultimately one has to ask themselves: do we support the comic starring that rarity of rarities, a strong, female lesbian character? Do we support the gay writer about to work on the book(because we all know there are SO many of those working in comics, let alone at DC and on a book featuring a gay character no less)? Or do we continue to project on behalf of people we don’t know who might have the boss fuck with them now and then, but who get the prestige of working at one of the big 2? And don’t think that prestige doesn’t factor in to their decision to apply or continue to stay, in spite of any editorial interference which, lets face it, isn’t exactly equivalent to being forced to make bricks without straw while being whipped by the Pharaoh. In spite of what Ms. Thompson might think.

Excellent article. After much waffling, you’ve finally convinced me to drop the book when Williams and Blackman leave.

Batwoman is likely my favorite superhero character, and I fully believe she still has legs under the new creative team. Had DC even allowed the current team to finish their arc with #25 and #26, I’d have stayed on board.

But in no way do I want to have my money reward the pettiness, or, as you put it, even if it’s monetarily motivated, disregard for the character and storytelling that the early change-up signals. My DC list is about to be reduced to the three- or four books I still feel justified supporting (a list comprised of nothing but Tomasi, Simone and Lemire), and even the more editorially driven books I trade-wait are probably getting axed.

I love DC’s properties. But there’s decades of back issues to explore while I’m waiting for something good. One day, way down the line when I’m not supporting editorial ineptitude, I’ll give Andreyko’s Batwoman a look in collected form. I’m sure it will be great.

This was fantastic, thank you for writing it! I agree completely.

This news was the final straw for me too. Batwoman was really the glue that held my quickly dwindling DC pull list together. I think I started out with about 8-10 books? I can’t remember. But that number dropped to 2 (Batman and Batwoman), and after this, 0. (Meanwhile Marvel is sitting at around 25 or so, not including the mountain of back issues I’m catching up on).

This anti-marriage thing is so bizarre. It makes no sense at all, and for it to come forward so fully to light through J.H. Williams III and Haden W. Blackman leaving Batwoman, reflects a tone-deafness that’s just baffling and embarrassing. This is the company whose characters I adored for 25 years? Between the big two, I’ve now completely switched over to Marvel: a process which began with DC’s utter mishandling of the (extremely premature) conclusion to their New Krypton story, which I saw as showing at least as many years of storytelling promise as House of M, and ended with this Batwoman news.

Just before the news about Williams/Blackman news broke, I dropped my last 2 DC Books – Earth 2 and Worlds’ Finest – with the intention of buying some digitals, and some trades. Partly cost related, partly political, I just… How can I have gone, in the space of about 18 months, from only 1 Marvel title and several DC to ZERO DC and THREE Avengers titles after having NEVER bought an Avengers issue in my entire life, plus a few X titles. Like a lot of folks, I would think, most (if not all) of my favourite characters are DC owned, but there’s just no trust left that DC will treat their properties with respect. The comics industry is very cyclical, I have learnt over the years, and I don’t think dropping a character like Batwoman will mean she’s never going to reappear if her title gets cancelled. The new team might do a good (enough) job to keep the current title afloat, but dropping Batwoman for political reasons is entirely appropriate, since not even having her book cancelled will erase Batwoman from existence. Even Wally, Donna, Steph and Cass WILL be back, one day. Its inevitable – there’s a Phantom Stranger book being published and Marvel’s just announced “The New Invaders” with the original Human Torch! If the title goes away, Batwoman will survive. I’ve followed characters to several titles over the last two years and been burned badly. Follow your creators, even outside of the Big Two, for THEY are what give us the stories we love. But on the flipside, try out NEW creators as well. You never know who’ll be the new Williams III, Mark Waid, Greg Rucka or “insert your favourite creator here” when they first appear. And if you want a strong female protagonist after dropping Batwoman, then Rucka’s Lazarus is probably not a bad place for you to start.

Brian from Canada

September 9, 2013 at 8:01 pm

While I admire a well written article as much as the next person, this article continues to perpetuate many myths about the situation.

One is the fact that Williams acted honourably about it. As Didio made clear in Baltimore, he was not online at the time of the Twitter announcement and ended up caught in an online storm that took off because there was an objection to a gay character being married. Didio’s response at the convention was ill prepared but the point was clear: the editors are being vilified, but their job is to enforce certain rules. It’s clear Didio was also trying to bring back some interest in the book by announcing a suitable replacement team beginning with a crossover issue, but that isn’t the case.

Because myth two is DC actually replacing Williams and Blackman for the two issues to follow. THAT opinion comes from Williams, through Twitter, in direct response to “beginning with the upcoming issue 25″ statement by Didio. But DC has not said it’s 25 onwards with no interruption; until the solicits for 26 arrive, we don’t know which version of the story will come. All we do know is that the intended issue 25 is not the planned 25 because DC is inserting a crossover to try and boost sales.

And myth three has to do with the talent of Williams. He’s not a writer, he’s an artist. Batwoman lost close to two thirds its readership and that has to be accounted for somehow. Williams is also doing a Sandman story with Gaiman as well, so it’s not as if his departure is immediate.

But more to the point: when creators take to the Internet to air their grievances, what incentive is their for the publisher to bend over backwards to keep them? It’s not as if Williams and Blackman were racing up the sales charts or garnering continuously lavish press: if anything, it wasn’t nominated for an Eisner, its sales are dropping, and you have two writers who not only refuse to let their book take a temporary boost from crossovers but who are planning a potential agenda for their character which runs contrary to the status quo established by the lead character of that family.

I repeat: contrary to the status quo. Because Williams’ really big talent here has been to divert attention from the fact that Batwoman’s blocked ending has something also to do with Batman, her relationship to Batman, to Gotham City, and the organizations in Gotham City. Had anyONE who is complaining about the book been reading the book as well, they would see that some of this has been sprayed across the wall in front of them.

But that’s what really gets me about this whole situation. It isn’t that columnists are pointing out that DC is having regular difficulty adopting a Marvel-style structure of core writers capable of writing editorially-focused events (i.e., the architect system) with so many diverse creators. It’s that SO many people come out jabbing fingers at WB and DC as the most evil, chaotic, destructive thing to comics since… well, Fredrick Wertham.

The reality is that DC is still stronger market-wise than before 52 started. Barely, but it’s there, and WB is beginning to see the renewed interests in its properties that it wanted all along. The reality is also that Diane Nelson and Bob Harras seem to be doing their jobs: Nelson is making sure DC becomes more than a money pit for WB, and Harras that DC is creating output that keeps the bosses happy.

If anyone needs to be called to the carpet here, it’s the Bat-line editors and Dan Didio. The Bat-line editors for allowing this mess to occur from the start and not working towards a resolution, and then for not standing up and being the ones to defend their actions. And Didio needs to be slapped on the hands publicly for not letting someone with better PR skills to step forward. Didio must be hopping because his other foot is so stuck in his mouth. It’s time to stop acting like the petulant amateur and let professionals step in and fix it.

Brian from Canada

September 9, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Sorry. Just noticed that DC has now changed the solicitation information. I was basing my second point on the fact that, up until this evening, the Internet was focused on Williams’ responses without seeing what DC has come up with. My bad.

Basically, what Brian from Canada said. All you did was regurgitate the misconceptions that have swirled around this story. To continue on, Didio never said that “heroes can’t be happy.” He was specifically talking about the bat-family members. To continue to repeat the false tropes does everyone who is interested in the story a disservice.

I know this is just an op-ed column, but a modicum of actual journalism would be most appreciated.

@Carlos

It IS an op-ed piece, and one I’m not sure you bothered to actually read given the fact that you don’t seem to understand a lick of it.

My point is simple, DC doesn’t care about creators and as a reader, I think *I* should stop reading, and I’m advocating to others why it’s hard for us to continue complaining if we can’t back up our feelings with not buying what we SAY we don’t support. I regurgitated information (and linked to it) because the story has had several different iterations before it came time for me to publish my piece. I’m less interested in those variations than I am in what I see to be the one consistent message – which is that DC doesn’t care about creators.

As for the “bat-family” vs “all of DC” yes, we’ve seen it clarified that he was talking specifically about the bat-family, it doesn’t change my piece a bit. Additionally as someone that has largely walked away from DC comics because of the utter joylessness of the books, I think the lack of happiness DOES apply to the line at large, whether he said that explicitly on Saturday or not.

I’m also not sure you know what a trope is, you might want to look into that.

I’ll tell you what, I’ll work on adding a modicum of journalism to my posts, if you’ll work on adding a modicum of reading comprehension. Deal?

@Brian from Canada:

I don’t understand how you can just take Didio’s word for it – the sentence “As Didio made clear in Baltimore” is an alien sentence to me because I do not believe the words that come out of that man’s mouth. You do, that’s fine. I have been lied to too many times by DC in general and by Didio specifically. When he talks/types right now all I hear is SPIN, SPIN, SPIN. It’s not the case for you, that’s fine, but right out of the gate I can see that you and I are not going to agree here because you are inclined to actually believe what Didio says and I am inclined to believe the creator.

I agree with you that Williams talent (so far) is not his writing. If you go back through my piece, I think you’ll see that I never say anything about his talent as a writer. I think there were problems with the writing on Batwoman, not problems big enough to cause this though. Batwoman is certainly in the upper levels of the books DC is producing right now, and though its sales have tanked, so have most of the line, so I don’t think we can use “sales” as the reason for all this to go down. Some of Williams writing issues are him being new to writing a monthly title (and new to writing in general). It’s a learned skill. That said, given editorial interference, it’s hard for me to know for sure now (and more than ever) how much of the writing problems were Williams/Blackman and how much were DC Editorial. We’ll probably never know. But my point stands. Even if Williams is the worst comic book writer of all time (he’s not, there are far worse working at DC right now) he’s still an Eisner winning artist of the absolute highest caliber and someone you don’t piss off and burn bridges with unless you are galactically stupid.

I’m sure Williams will finish out his work on Sandman and do an amazing job, he’s a committed professional and I guarantee someone at his level is interested in the quality of the work above everything else. I’m sure Gaiman’s deal with DC protects both Gaiman and Williams to do what they need to do, independent of editorial shenanigans. So I’m sure that will go off without a problem. But I seriously doubt Williams will stick around beyond that. Why should he? He can go anywhere and do anything. Why stay with the dudes that not only made it impossible to do your job but also tanked your last two issues out of spite?

Huh. Didn’t know how this played out. Now I really don’t feel like I’m missing out on today’s comics. It is interesting that people should say that the creators shouldn’t air their grievances. I understand professionalism but isn’t it odd that it’s expected of a person to be absolutely silent when there’s a disagreement? It perhaps might affect one’s future employment but this implies that all the power is on the hiring side. I’m not sure this is right.

in-san-i-ty \ n, pl -ties
1 a: a deranged state of the mind usu. occurring as a specific disorder (as schizophrenia) and usu. excluding such states as mental deficiency, psychoneurosis, and various character disorders b: a mental disorder
2 : such unsoundness of mind or lack of understanding as prevents one from having the mental capacity required by law to enter into a particular or civil responsibility
3 a: extreme folly or unreasonableness b: something utterly foolish or unreasonable

Seems to me that the Batwoman creative team was given more leeway than most when it came to the company-wide relaunch, not having to adhere to crossovers which might affect their story and characters, and just generally going about the business of presenting the same characters they had been producing prior to Flashpoint, and this was largely due to the fact that the Batwoman title was held back to coincide with the first issues of the other books. The first sign of interference, or editors doing the job of editing, and the creative team go crying to the internet and pack up their stuff and quit. And we’re supposed to respect them for that, and FOLLOW them off the title? LOL!

@Kenn:

None of us that weren’t directly involved know exactly what happened, but you’re making wild assumptions in the opposite direction.

Yes, I agree that generally they seem to have been given more leeway than some other creative teams, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t undermined – and as stated by Williams – the issue was not so much the content of the edits but the last minute nature of the changes that was unacceptable.

While I don’t expect you to take Williams’s word for it, you can just look at how many creators have jumped ship (just since the new 52) or been hastily replaced, and read their similar complaints, to see that there is certainly some truth there and an extremely disturbing pattern.

Your assumption that this is the first time the team has been told what they could or couldn’t do, or on within an unreasonable time frame is ridiculous. Where are you getting that idea? You’re basing that on what, because this is the first time you’re hearing of it? C’mon.

Much more likely is that Williams played ball and tried his best to tow the party line and still put out a book he was proud of for as long as possible. In fact, if you actually read some of the material linked to you’ll find that the creators complaints/issues go back a long ways. Unfortunately however, at DC you’re not allowed to talk about things like this unless you’re ready to leave (as evidenced by the fact that once they said they were going to leave their last two issues were basically thrown in the trash…yeah, that sounds reasonable and professional). Williams and team wrapped up their work, like professionals should, and then put in their notice, and then spoke what they believed to be true.

Truth is always a bit subjective and kind of doesn’t exist, but I’m certainly more inclined to side with creators, especially when so many have told the same story, rather than swallowing “the man’s” party line. Clearly you feel the opposite. Life will probably be really good to you, cause corporations own almost everything.

Bob from Accounting

September 10, 2013 at 12:21 am

You missed the most important part of Didio’s spiel: “This is our edict, this is our mandate and this is our stand.”

He’s either gone insane or is the Borg.

I’m a little confused by how many people have come on here to just bash Kelly, or Williams/Blackman, or whatever. There is a link posted near the top of the comments in which you can see a detailed timeline of all the creators who have left, been fired, and/or reported extremely draconian editorial interference from DC in recent years. All of the dates and facts can easily be verified by researching them. Believe me, I checked a few myself to make sure, since DC’s recent pattern of decision-making has been almost unbelievable.

There is a provable, inarguable history of this sort of thing happening. Whether you think the creators were being unprofessional by making it public or not (which is itself a bit confusing, because if anything it seems like they have been being jerked around by the editors for some time and have stayed impressively silent up until now), the facts speak for themselves. DC is being grossly mishandled, and they are seemingly going out of their way to alienate their creative talent one-by-one. As Kelly stated above, this is an op-ed article. She’s as entitled to her opinions as anyone else, and as it stands, she’s got quite a bit of evidence to back hers up.

@Brian from Canada: good points, but

and you have two writers who not only refuse to let their book take a temporary boost from crossovers but who are planning a potential agenda for their character which runs contrary to the status quo established by the lead character of that family.

Those are two odd complaints to make, seeing how crossovers are pretty much temporary boosts at the expense of long-term vialibility of the market in the first place, and with about one third or more of the whole DC line being Batman-related we better have some deviation from the status quo so that some of the Batman-related titles are not completely redundant and therefore boring and vulnerable.

Sure, DC has been having a hell of a time even attempting to build a coherent retroactive continuity with their New 52 books. But it was their choice to make such a huge real world event of rebooting their whole line and doing so with five years of undefined backstory. One would think they would learn from making that exact same mistake in Crisis and living on its shadow for over two decades, but apparently not. Or more likely, they wanted to avoid it but were overruled by the higher staff of DC Entertainment, who wants the most merchandise-related version of the DCU around that they can push for – even if that means strangling the credibility of the comic books proper.

I can understand that comics are seen as a slowly dying commercial activity (by both Marvel and DC), but that is hardly reason to vote with my wallet and support creative decisions that I see as destructive and predatorial. Tom Brevoort has gone on record recently saying that Marvel attempted to avoid Big Events recently and sales suffered for it. Sales will suffer any way, it seems; we have reached the point where selling just a few tens of thousands of copies is just barely avoidable at all, and success is a very relative term for comic books from Marvel and DC. That is bad, but one consequence is that there is little point in buying books that one does not really enjoy.

“Beyond the fact that Dan Didio doesn’t know her freaking name (repeatedly calling her Kathy Kane at Baltimore on Saturday), ”

This made me LOL — About 5 years ago, I was at SDCC with my girlfriend. We were in full costume in a DC Panel. She was Streaky the Supercat and I was Krypto the Superdog. After the panel, Didio sees us and says “Oh, what are you, some kind of super bear?” … and Paul Dini, who was right beside him, gives him a look of disgust and goes “He’s Krypto the Superdog!”

Later that same day, at another DC Panel, Didio is at the mic and starts talking about the love of Silver Age characters, and he goes “You can tell how much love people have for the Silver Age … hell, we got a guy dressed as Krypto the Wonderdog over here.”

Krypto the Wonderdog. From the head of DC Comics. And I was wearing an S-Shield!

I don’t understand why so many ppl are saying they are taking Batwoman off of their subscription list. If you like a character or the character means as much to you as a lot of ppl are saying,then why not stick it out? Its not like the Avengers books or X-men books where if a creative team you like leaves there’s 4 other family of that book out there.

“I’m certainly more inclined to side with creators, especially when so many have told the same story, rather than swallowing “the man’s” party line. Clearly you feel the opposite. Life will probably be really good to you, cause corporations own almost everything.”
Actually I’m looking at the evidence of the book itself and the fact that just about every other book DC was publishing was changed dramatically while Batwoman was pretty much left alone to do its ‘thing’. Cheap shot, though, and entirely unprovoked. Thanks.

@Mike T.:

I don’t understand why so many ppl are saying they are taking Batwoman off of their subscription list.

To be fair, much of the motivation has more to do with DC’s current policies than with Batwoman specifically.

If you like a character or the character means as much to you as a lot of ppl are saying,then why not stick it out?

There are several good answers, and most come down eventually to caring about the quality of the stories themselves and to the environment where they are published instead of just about the character in abstract.

Its not like the Avengers books or X-men books where if a creative team you like leaves there’s 4 other family of that book out there.

Part of the problem is that DC’s output has become quite over-reliant in just a tiny handful of themes and just one general (dark) mood, and for all their intentions, the New 52 failed utterly at reversing that trend. How much of a market can truly exist for over half a dozen books that are marketed on the grounds that they have a marginal connection to Batman? Particularly when twice a year they are bossed away from their own storylines in order to pay tribute to the mega-events of the time?

Books that are marketed as just more of the same may well end up being perceived as such, correctly or otherwise.

Hey Kelly, you gave the DC’s address. But I was wondering if there should be a specific person at the header of that address. I keep getting this mental image of the DC mailroom people just tossing them off into the “whateva’” pile.

Address it to the man at the top, I would think.

Letters should go to any one of the following:

Dan Didio
Jim Lee
Bob Harras
Diane Nelson

If you’re only going to send one letter, I guess I’d go for Didio, not because he’s the most likely to care (in my opinion that would be Lee) but just because he’s by and large been the “face” of the nightmare.

Diane Nelson has been a massive disappointment, but it is hard to know how engaged she even is in the publishing business.

Jim Lee is sort of the same. He is smart and has produced great comics in the past, but he seems more engaged in other things.

I almost feel badly for Dan DiDio, since he is the public face of every debacle. While things have generally gotten worse at DC since he started, a shocking number of great comics have come out under his watch as well. Sadly, that suggest that he really doesn’t care. DiDio knows good comics (e.g. NEW FRONTIER, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, WEDNESDAY COMICS) and chooses not to produce them.

Bob Harras is allegedly a nice guy, but he has overseen two very similar debacles at each of the Big Two publishers.

That tears it—anyone know how to contact Fidel Castro? I’d like some pointers for overthrowing the management of DC Comics.

Think about it, folks–if the execs get replaced, THEN future incidents like this could be avoided. I’m sorry, but it’s time the Big Two just got new people in charge with the first words to come out of their mouth being “SCREW PROFITS! From now on, characters can age, they can get married, they can have kids, they can have new people take up the mantle, WE DON’T CARE IF IT AFFECTS THE PROFITS! The stories are what really matters! And the creative teams, old and new, get to share in every inch of it all!”

That’s pretty much it–we need to replace the current execs in management in order to get DC (and its Marvelous competition) out from under the thumb of the Peter and the Dilbert Principles.

Does anyone know if Williams is still contracted to DC and therefore obligated to still produce art work for them?
If that’s not the case I’d be knocking at Marvels door. The sad thing is that i’m not really suprised by this given DC’s latest track record.
Oh well i’m reduced to enjoying Lil’ Gotham and Batman ’66 whilst they last, after that, that’s it for me.

Williams is still finishing the Sandman mini-series with Neil Gaiman. But yeah, after that, odds are he’ll go SOMEwhere else, whether it be Marvel, Image or who knows.

You lost me at “forced off”. If I don’t like a decision made by my employer and I choose to walk away, that makes me a quitter.

Succinctly put. I wanted to like Batwoman, but DC’s disdain for creators and for the audience convinced me that I could not.

Wow you actually critized dc on a mainstream comic website?
Your so fired

Kelly,
I’m confused; you think it’s okay and professional to get on the internet, write about “how the sausage is made” regarding your current work environment, say that’s why you’re leaving, and then expect your boss to still reward you by putting out your work?

The Comic Industry operates no differently than any other industry. If you publicly say; “I don’t want to work here anymore and here’s why”, you’ll most likely be relieved of those duties. I certainly know my boss would do the same to me, and I bet your editors/site owner/whoever here would likely cause a parting of the ways at CBR were you to do something like it.

I don’t understand why comic creators think they’re immune to this, maybe because they think there’s a safe-haven at Marvel/Dark Horse/IDW whatever, but much like with Chris Roberson, I think Dan DiDio is in the right here. I don’t agree with the policy regarding marriage/character happiness and think it’s rather silly myself, but JH could have definitely handled this differently. The industry has become a gossipy nightmare lately.

I’m a fan of DC characters. I don’t like Marvels. I’m not going to give up reading stories I enjoy to send some sort of message. I’d like creators to be happy, for editorial and creative to get along smoothly, but at the end of the day, my only option is read the books about characters I like or stop reading comics. Not willing to do that.

I’ve never understood the anti-marriage stance shared by DC and Marvel, frankly Peter Parker’s marriage to Mary Jane Watson was what I found compelling about that character, and humanized him far more effectively than any soap-opera tinged revenge-oriented behavior. Coincidentally, I haven’t read any Spider-Man since Quesada’s hackjob One Moment In Time.
That being said the actions and behavior of the DC powers that be has become a disturbing and misguided pattern of misrule, that is ultimately rehensible. The “Kathy Kane” incident is simeltaneously sad and hysterically funny. It is symptomatic of somone who has a code-of-conduct guided by impulsive and half-cocked decision making. I too will be canceling all DC titles from my pull-list later this afternoon.

Firstly let me begin this by saying I am a big fan of Batwoman, and everything that has happened with her since Greg Rucka’s run with the character. I think she is one of the best characters in DC’s stable, and it is great to finally have a bit more diversity within comics.
However I think this has been blown way out of proportion and people are forgetting some fundamentals here. This character will be a major DC character long after Blackman and Williams III have gotten bored and gone to play with different toys. DC knows full well how much readers hate to read new creative teams back track on the corners the character was previously painted into.
Now I actually think DC has let them get away with a lot on Batwoman:
1. They misrepresent Batman, a lot. He is defeated easily, or sidelined to quickly by Batwoman, he doesn’t appear the mastermind he is. Now this will come up a lot. Batman and Gotham city are pretty much the only character that makes DC any money. For them to allow a Bat title as much freedom as they have been given. The book never got involved or even referenced major Gotham events or DC events.
2. They were given access to pretty much do what they wanted with one of DC’s core trinity of character in Wonder Woman to great effect.
3. They were allowed to have crazy monstrous stories that had major lasting impact on Gotham as a fictional city, these weren’t minor things. This was massive.
4. They did have a lot of freedom to tweak Killer Croc.
I think that people need to remember that Gotham and bat characters are DC’s cash cows, they are what allow titles like Animal Man to be offbeat and crazy. They are what let a title like Dial H or I, Vampire to last as long as they did. So DC has said no don’t change killer croc to that extent, that makes him unusable for the rest of the line. Fair enough, he is a major Batman villain. The other edict, don’t get married. They have a core demographic, that demographic is not, generally, married. The New 52 was a massive risk, a giant gamble. They hit reset on everything, 2 years in, and the writers want to have a character settle down after what 6 months of in universe time. Max. The characters barely trust one another; Maggie definitely doesn’t fully understand Kate. It makes no story sense for them to get married. And whilst many of you may disagree that married characters are less relatable. It doesn’t matter, DC doesn’t want long form stories to be so drastically changed so early into the runs. Batwoman has infinite story telling potential, and I am certain one day they will get her hitched, maybe to Maggie maybe to a different woman, but for right now she isn’t even 25 issues old, and by marrying her off they are chopping away years and years of great storytelling potential. Don’t forget that a wedding issue would spike sales massively in the short term. DC is turning down an obvious top 10 selling issue to keep the story more long form. Whilst I do think they are very bad at handling the creative disagreements, and perhaps they should notify sooner, and perhaps have big meetings where certain things are listed as no-go areas. And they definitely need a better PR team, let’s not forget, once again, that these characters are DC’s forever, they are the creators until they get bored of the character.

This is a great article and I wanted to post to say that I too have completely dropped DC books from my pull list, with 2 exceptions – Wonder Woman and Lil Gotham. I’m a long time reader and already really miss the characters, by the characters I cared about aren’t being published any longer. In my opinion, Marvel has found a way to make much of its line fresh without hitting the restart button, so that’s where my “mainstream” dollars are going right now. Sorry DC.

DC is a part of a huge mega-corporation. Who knows how far editorial control goes up. DC has the right to make unpopular decisions on the stories and development of their characters. Hearing about the sales numbers is probably a better reason for DC to remove a distinguished team. I stopped following the book around issue 5 or 6. I wasn’t keen on the writing or art style. I think JH Williams is incredibly talented, I just find his ways of illustrating in different styles in the same page to be distracting, and his storytelling can go artsy- to- confusing. I don’t think I’m the only person that felt that way. If our books did 27K readership, I’d be dancing on the tables. For DC that is barely above cancelling. I think firing the team for bad sales would be less problematic than the potential DC is “anti-gay”. For Kelly, I’d suggest going outside the Marvel and DC box, as they will end up only disappointing you as a fan. I drop at least 1 marvel and dc book a month now. If you want to read cutting edge material, you should focus your interests and journalistic prowess on independants . It would be nice to get more reviews from people like yourself on such books. Just my 2 cents.

Rather than delve into why I called my local comic book store to announce that instead of dropping Batwoman with #26 I would be dropping the title with #25, I want to ask why it is that both publishers have decided that marriage permanently severs all great storylines. I loved the beginning of Brian Michael Bendis’s story focused on Matt Murdock’s marriage to Milla. Many of the all-time great Superman stories have featured Ma and Pa Kent. I loved David Michelinie’s Christmas story focusing on Mary Jane and Peter Parker and the storyline “Who Kidnapped Mary Jane?”
Thom Zahler’s Love & Capes is fantastic; Abby and Mark’s marriage is the culmination of a long romance. I could go on and on…

Which major comic book publisher will realize first that the comic book buying public from the 1980s is still the comic book buying public of the 2010s? We are the ones, along with writers like Kelly Thompson, who will encourage and shape the habits of younger readers. If only we could influence the publishers to make sounder decisions!

Great column!

I think, as a professional in any field, Willams needed to just step off the book quietly; he would’ve been well within his rights to share his opinion with fellow pros outside of public channels, but Tweeting a critique of his employer was just stupid. I also think, as a reader, it doesn’t matter if DC actually has issues with editorial decisionmaking, what matters is if the books are any good. Everyone here is saying the books are worse but, obviously, sales indicate that what DC is doing is working–NOT dropping a book is not the same as growing sales, as DC has done in the new 52. I was one of those who dropped Batwoman early, and it was due to the writing, so it doesn’t seem surprising to me that sales have dropped on that title and DC wants to try something new.

I haven’t found DC’s books to be overly dark–I actually find them to be warmer and fuzzier than anything by anyone at Marvel other than Fraction or Bendis (who I can’t stand but at least he likes warm relations between characters). I think the idea that EVERYONE in the Bat family has to be miserable seems stupid (how will you differentiate?), but I agree with DC’s anti-marriage policy. I can’t be the only reader who derived huge amounts of enjoyment from the dating trials and tribulations of superheroes while growing up. I’m married (and happily so), so this isn’t about marriage; it’s about storytelling, escapism, and reaching a broad (and younger?) audience–marriage makes addressing those checkboxes harder. Does nobody want to see a storyline in which Montoya comes back to Kate? Does everyone want to see that storyline played out in the context of Kate’s marriage?

I agree people should vote with their wallets, but I wonder why the voting is on the internal machinations of a company rather than its product.

“The takeaway is, and always has been, that DC doesn’t care a bit about creators. ”

That does a grave disservice to the efforts of Jenette Kahn, Dick Giordano, and Paul Levitz from the 1980′s onwards to establish royalty plans, finesse toy moneys for Jack Kirby by having him do a minor re-design of the New Gods, holding the line for more than 20 years on Watchmen sequels or prequels (a long-standing rumour has it that Paul Levitz drew the line on this, and that once he left editorial, Before Watchmen immediately hit the pipeline), and a variety of other things. Recently, DC has been terrible, and they’ve certainly never been great, but the hyperbole here (and a lack of context vis a vis Marvel, which is pretty much as unspeakably horrible as a company can be when it comes to creators such as Kirby, Ditko, and pretty much everyone else, ad infinitum, ad nauseum) undermines your own argument.

When did people get this idea that comics are best produced by editors getting out of the way of all creators at all costs, even if the product is not selling as well as the company feels it could be? Nobody freaks out when plot points are passed down to staff writers on tv shows like Breaking Bad or Walking Dead. And those staff writer’s certainly don’t take to twitter and complain when their arc about Darryl getting married gets cut.
How many people said “I’m deleting all AMC shows off my pvr because Frank Darabont is leaving!” The villifying of editors on comic sites lately reveals a real lack of understanding of what their role is and always has been. Go read up on celebrated figured like Julius Swartz and see if things have changed for the worse as so many here claim.
This is how some bad comics are made, sure, but this is how a lot of good comics are made as well.

Oh, the haters. I wonder if a lot of comics fans know what jobs in the creative field are actually like. Most of us don’t do it for the money, or for fame. We do it because we really, really like producing quality product. Now, ideally, that quality product sells, and both the creatives and the bosses are happy with that. Generally, the bosses are there to give direction to the creative process, and the best bosses actually stimulate creativity. The New Yorker has never had a bad cover, because the art directors through the years generally know how to work with creative people. Pixar still has an amazing batting average on its movies (even counting Cars 2) because they know how to turn creativity into productivity.

Bear in mind, these are the bosses. The Pixar honchos could say, “No movie we put out will ever have talking animals again,” or “Anyone who works with us has to draw like Lou Romano” and you know what? People, talented employees, with good ideas would leave. Pixar is a name brand. They’d make $100 million on a 2-hour movie of just a big pink anus squinting on the screen, in 3D. I mean, that almost happened with Toy Story. First movie, and Jeffrey Katzenburg wanted it to be edgy and cool, and Woody was a smarmy asshole and Buzz was a hapless weenie, and it sucked, and the creatives got fed up and spent a couple months making the movie THEY wanted to make, and THAT production is what has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

I don’t care what the company “direction” is. Don’t even pretend you couldn’t have everyone in the DC universe gay marry their own clone and turn Batman into a TV chef, and then retcon or reboot it 5 months later.

The bosses at DC are shitty bosses. Their best talent could do better work on their own, and should quit. And if it weren’t for the notoriously slavish devotion of comics fans to fictional characters, rather than the creators who make them, they would have been out of business a long time ago, and then in a few decades, the copyrights would lapse, and everyone could tell whatever Batwoman stories they wanted, without some asshat know-it-all clown leaning over their shoulder, telling professional storytellers what does and doesn’t make a good story.

There’s a lot to agree with here and a lot to disagree with. Even the creators said it was the eleventh hour changes that pushed them over the edge, not DC’s attitude towards marriage or homosexuality (or the combination of the two). And that makes sense. It sounds like an incredibly frustrating situation. I’m a freelance artist, and nothing drives me more nuts than when I having ro re-do work that was previously approved. Some (not all) of these problems just come with the territory of work-for-hire on corporate owned characters, but none of this is anything new. You want to write your favorite Marvel or DC characters, you put up with the system.

The only thing fans can do is vote with their wallets. You’re not punishing Batwoman by dropping the book, you’re punishing DC. Obviously DC knows she’s a viable character in the hands of the right creators. Batwoman is one of my favorite comics at the moment, and I’ll be dropping it (because JHWIII is the main attraction for me). If enough fans bought and dropped books in accordance with the way they complain, the industry would be forced to respond. But since all they do is gripe and open their wallets, nothing changes.

Don’t know why people are all obsessed with pointing out “it’s not anti-gay, it’s anti-MARRIAGE!”. Making that distinction is very much missing the point: due to the cultural context in which these books occur, forcing a gay couple out of marriage means something VASTLY different than, say, deciding Aquaman and Mera aren’t really married. Just like annulling Storm and Black Panther’s marriage, when they were the sole black “power couple”, meant something vastly different from screwing around with the marriage’s of Cyclops and Jean, or Reed and Sue. This is perhaps even MORE true of gay couples, where the question of marriage, and legitimacy of love, is one of the primary battlegrounds (and, with groups like HRC running the media portrayal of queer rights, marriage is often seen as the ONLY “LGBT” issue… that and maybe DADT, I guess).

Brian from Canada

September 11, 2013 at 8:51 am

@Luis: Dan sums up a strong majority of the problem being ignored.

Batwoman’s portrayal of Gotham City isn’t in sync with the rest of the Bat family’s. Batwoman’s portrayal of Batman isn’t consistent with the rest of the Batman universe. Heck, Batman’s villains aren’t handled consistently with the rest of the DCU.

IF you read issue 23, you’d see that villains Batman just put away are being released by the DEO — with the DEO seeming to have a power over the city that never gets represented anywhere across the line. Even in its one other appearance (Blue Beetle), the DEO is a secret organization collecting information like ARGUS is in Vibe.

More importantly, though, whether you believe DC editorial is being honest or not — and Kelly is right in saying that there appears to be a pattern, though one can say that the pattern also matches the rocky start of NuMarvel at times as well — the fact remains that Batwoman’s intended destination does NOT fit anywhere close to where the rest of the output is headed.

We’re not talking JUST a marriage (though why the writers would think they are immune to key boundaries is difficult to comprehend). We’re talking about the Kanes as an organized force in Gotham at a time when Arkham’s inhabitants are about to take control. We’re talking about a DEO that is either active in Gotham or seeking revenge. We’re talking about a Batman that is, most likely, about to be defeated by Batwoman when he needs to be strongest of the League to help fight off the Crime Syndicate.

What this is really coming down to is the question of freedom to write vs freedom to write within boundaries. Editorial stepped in far too late and that the creators responded by walking away. But then this became public and used as another example of “anti-creator” behaviour at DC in order to vilify an administration that wasn’t there when these creators began. DC is undergoing a structural change — to match Marvel’s unfortunately — and their silence on some issues have built up the image of evil around the offices.

Quite frankly, I’d rather vote with my dollars based on the end product. Losing two issues to end the story hurts. However, I am wondering if DC’s decision to bring Batwoman more in line with the rest of the DCU won’t be better in the long run. They are already seeing questions about Wonder Woman’s coherency with the DCU arise online in equal numbers, but there are other ways they are dealing with that. And it’s one thing to let a solo character be on her own; it’s another to be a key member of a franchise and be completely opposite it.

@JonnyFalafel:

Fair point, my sentence was not clear (I was referring to the takeaway in this situation – even as the story has morphed from one hot issue to another) – but I’ve modified the sentence – hopefully it’s more clear now.

Brian from Canada

September 11, 2013 at 9:13 am

Paul: as someone who also works in the arts, I have to disagree with you on your very last point.

Comics are a unique business. Epic, Image, divisions of Dark Horse — these were companies and divisions established not to give greater royalties but to give greater control over properties and ideas because the big two, Marvel and DC, had restrictions in place that sometimes were not editorial’s in nature. [New Yorker, in contrast, has no ongoing properties — in fact, no one really does in publishing outside of comics.]

DC’s present bosses are dealing with something the company has NEVER dealt with before. NEVER. This is the second time in forty years that Warner’s has paid attention to their publishing division — and the last time was to make sure creators didn’t kill off Bruce Wayne/Batman as they wanted to in response to a feature film that broke every rule the publisher set out with from “Crisis On Infinity Earths.”

(If you don’t know what I mean: “Crisis” was intended to bring Bruce back to just him and Alfred, no Robins, no kids, no other Earths, etc. And that included rules that no one but Bruce, Alfred and maybe Dick knew about Bruce’s alter ego, nobody else got into the Batcave, and Joker had no origin. Tim Burton’s film three years later gives Joker an origin and brings Vicki Vale right into Bruce’s secret world. When DC saw the film in advance of theatres, memos were generated inside the company as to how to kill Bruce and prevent further exploitation — true story.)

But now it’s different. Now WB cares how much money is being pissed away at DC, a division that hasn’t turned a profit ONCE since being bought in 1971. Now WB cares to why they can’t attract big talent to their DC-based movies. Now WB cares why DC isn’t getting half the notice that Marvel did. And so it’s restructuring the company into Marvel-like lines, and that’s not an easy transition.

But I don’t think they are just “bad bosses.” I think there’s too many bosses in the process with no clear system as to how they can do it while still remaining different than Marvel. You can’t be diverse and lineated. You can’t have two chief editors (as Didio seems to present himself as). Until THAT structure is settled, the process won’t balance out completely.

Yet to say “bad bosses” implies it’s a bad work environment, and we’re still seeing creators flock to DC. Because, like it or not, they still have properties everyone wants to work on. You have to accept there will be some creative control because that’s the nature of the business.

(Sorry to take the conversation away from the core, Kelly, but I think it needs to be said. The changes at DC as it tries to “Marvelize” itself are what I think the problems are caused by, and Batwoman’s present situation would be presently akin to having one of the active Avengers’ solo books run completely against the major event plan for the team and not get noticed until it was too late.)

You keep saying “forced.” As if they did not have a choice. They were not forced off the books, they chose to leave based on their perceived treatment.

Words are important.

What are the odds they knew what editorial’s stance on marriage was, but tried to force it through anyway? I mean, it’s not like Editorial’s position on married characters was a closely guarded secret.

I would love to follow suit amd drop my DC books, but I love the ones I get too much to do that! I cannot drop Batman, Wonder Woman, Animal Man, Justice League, Batman and Robin, Aquaman, Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps. I just can’t.
I have, however, dropped everything mediocre from DC I was also still getting forwhatever reasons.

I’ve given up on DC Comics except for Batman and Detective Comics. Though I’ve gone from reading DC exclusively to only those two titles. Now Valiant Comics and Dark Horse Comics make up what I’m reading. I really feel like this New 52 stunt has caused all of these problems. It seems like every title is one big “event” after another to keep people buying low selling titles. Green Lantern has been the worst in the last five years.
When Blackest Night started crossing over into DOOM Patrol the writing was on the wall. For the better part of a year Green Lantern has had crossovers of all the related titles. Why? To keep people buying Red Lanterns and the New Guardians titles. The two Green Lantern titles that have to the lowest sales.

Most people in the comics world despise him, but Rob Liefeld was the first to see what was happening and got out the first chance he could. There was all kinds of backlash against him and more bad mouthing than usual, but a year later look at what’s happening. With the exception of a few, every DC title has a revolving door of creative teams. It’s the age old adage of people in charge that don’t know what they’re doing.Looks like Rob was right after all. Frankly I’m surprised that Jim Lee hasn’t been more vocal about it. He’s the most recognizable “suit” in the comic industry that is still a relevant artist.

DC’s loss is the fans’ gain. Peter Milligan is starting work for Valiant and the Batwoman team I hear is headed for Marvel. Maybe one day the powers that be at DC Comics will realize that fans and reading actually do have an opinion that counts.

I find it disturbing, but predicatable, that a number of people have expressed the view that what happens to the creators doesn’t matter as long as fans get their comics. (Although the person who spoke of Batwoman suffering if people didn’t buy her might be the one that is most problematic)
Fans keep buying things they don’t like and get what they don’t want. That’s bad enough, but so many people are so self-centered that their escapist fix matters more to them than the actual humans who create the things they love. At this point, as much as I have loved DC in the past, I’d prefer they just collapse, and make way for companies who treat creators with respect. And, maybe the “fans” who like whatever the companies do and don’t care about creators will go somewhere else.
I’m never embarrassed about being a comics fan because of how geeky fans are, that’s part of the fun, but I DO get embarrassed by the immature and self-centered reactions of many of them.

@Ben, you’re assuming the creators are actually being treated poorly and that their side of the story is 100% accurate. And even if things DID go down as described (“My editor kept changing his/her mind!!!!”) these folks aren’t in sweatshops, they’re walking away from jobs because they want jobs that are more enjoyable/less stressful. More power to ‘em; I’ve done the same (without calling for any businesses to go under; hell, my first manager at my current employer was a living nightmare). How do you think the entire comics industry is gonna fare if a DC flame-out took place? What about all the creators who are still there? You think another company’s just gonna rise up and start handing out similar page rates?

If you REALLY want your superheroes to get married, a boycott now makes sense.

If you REALLY want LGBT superheroes to get married (i.e., you don’t care about heterosexual married couples in DC Comics), a boycott now makes sense.

If you REALLY love Williams and don’t care about Batwoman, a boycott now makes sense.

If you REALLY have strong feelings about employee/employer relations AND you always assume the employee is right and should get his/her own way, a boycott now makes sense.

Am I missing anything? (I’m ignoring a questionable hatred of DC editorial because I’m assuming we commenters haven’t actually worked with them and I’m just not willing to credit anyone here with ACTUALLY knowing better.)

Actually, given the number of creators who’ve said similar things, and the way DC has responded, I think it would take a LOT of spin to think it wasn’t mostly true. If anyone wants to think a business founded by criminals (look it up) and which hasn’t done much better most of the time has really changed, despite what MANY people who actually work for them say, nothing anyone says will change that mind.
Really? “They’re not sweatshops” is the best people can do? That it could be worse doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be better. I don’t always think it’s the company at fault, but in this case, it pretty clearly is.
I have said before that if DC goes down it would take the industry with it. And I wouldn’t want that to happen. But, I think enough is enough. There are now other ways for people to get their work out there, and I just get tired of hearing people support unethical behavior with this. It would suck if the industry suffered, but that is just not enough of a reason to keep this business going.
It’s clearly not all about the page rates.
And I haven’t bought anything (except for a couple of gifts, and something I had already ordered) from DC since the announcement of Before Watchmen.

Very well stated Kelly. I have been loyal to DC as a company for so long that I was almost buying out of habit more so than because I was enjoying the product. It has taken me almost 2 years but am finally done with DC. I stayed around after the new-52, but my DC pull list eventually dwindled down to Batwoman, Batgirl, Demon Knights and The Movement. Now, the light bulb has finally gone on for me and just cannot support the company anymore. I will find other ways to support the creators that I enjoy and wait for DC editorial to undergo a major shift in mentality before I even consider spending another dime on DC material.

@SAMURAI36:

You know you’re on a COMIC BOOK WEBSITE, right?

It’s a place to discuss comic books. If you want to discuss politics and all the very real problems we are facing as a society/country/world/people/universe etc. you should probably move on over to site that is not focused on comic books.

it’s absolutely acceptable to focus on comics books and their minutia (including how they represent us in media, and connect to and potentially affect the real world) when on a COMIC BOOK WEBSITE and commenting on a post about COMIC BOOKS.

Sorry for all the caps, but are you freaking kidding me?

-Kelly

Never have and probably never will understand the “I’m dropping all my books from company X because I don’t like decision Y even though I enjoy them” mind set.

I’ll quite easily drop a book if I don’t enjoy it or if a creator whose work I dislike is assigned to it but I can’t ever see myself dropping an entire company’s output over one unrelated thing. Just seems silly in a nose/face way.

Samurai,
First, I don’t know why you seem to think that was aimed at you, I don’t know that I much care what you “stated”, since it wasn’t aimed at any one person.
Second, it’s nice of you to decide which ethical issues matter and which don’t. Then again, it’s all a way of keeping people from talking about what you don’t want discussed, so it works. It’s an old trick.
As to the rest, this is the internet, you can lie all you want about how cool you are. So what? You can’t prove anything you’re saying, and it doesn’t matter anyway. As has been pointed out, this IS a comic book website, so that that is the topic isn’t a surprise. And, guess what, if you are so “indifferent” to those who create the things you consume, no matter how cool you think you are, you’re not.
And, of course, you just throw back the “self-centered” point, as though doing that proves anything.
How incredibly pointless.

Paul,
For some people, it’s not only a really big thing (how you treat those you employ), but it’s often NOT just one thing, but a series of them that add up to unethical behavior. I don’t fault DC for the new 52, they made changes based on the market. I fault them for their behavior towards their employees.

Samurai,
My mistake, you’re one of those people who think it’s up to you to control the discussion, and tell others what counts and what doesn’t, what IS the topic and what isn’t.
If I’d known you were one of those people I wouldn’t have bothered, but your reply to the author makes it TOO clear how it’s all about hearing your own voice.
Bye.

@Kelly,
I think I’ll be buying your book now. This IS the kind of discussion I want to have, and your column is well done. So, I’m ordering it from my LCS tonight!

@SAMURAI36

It’s not your job to decide HOW people discuss comic books in the same way that it’s not your job to try to flame people for having the gall to discuss comic books on comics book websites. The good news for you is that it’s not just not YOUR job, it’s not ANYONES job.

You’ve personalized all of this really intensely, and I don’t know what that says about you, but I’m sorry that it’s so upsetting to you. All I did was comment that it’s ridiculous to complain about people discussing comics on a site called Comic Book Resources/Comics Should Be Good. Someone pulls that stunt almost without fail in every commment section, you were the guy to do it first (at least that I noticed) and so I called you on it. Accept it and move on. Me calling you on it, me writing this piece, you reading it, none of that means you have to agree with me, or that I expect you should or would. I don’t know you, how could I expect you to agree? It’s absurd.

The fact that you find an op-ed piece so threatening and “dictatorial” is kind of hilarious. Life in general must be extremely difficult for you to negotiate. Have fun with that.

“For some people, it’s not only a really big thing (how you treat those you employ), but it’s often NOT just one thing, but a series of them that add up to unethical behavior. I don’t fault DC for the new 52, they made changes based on the market. I fault them for their behavior towards their employees.”

Um, not getting the “unethical”. I’m pretty sure everyone has had their boss come at them with some last minute changes that made no sense to them or had to do things in a way that was sub-optimal to their thinking. On that level comics aren’t any different to any other job, being a creative/entertainment industry doesn’t make it a special case.

Samurai is strong proof of how awful DC comics is getting under Didio and Harras. The books are so terrible that they are increasingly turning off more normal, intelligent fans to the point that only the irrational illogical and more rabid fans with a cultlike devotion and low standards stick around. That’s why the past year any strong defense I see on DC’s behalf only seem to come from the Samurai types and are never positive posts that can make a convincing intellectual case on DC’s behalf.

Sorry T., I’m buying slightly more DC now than pre New 52 and I consider myself to be neither rabid or having a cult-like devotion. If I like a book I continue to buy it, if I don’t enjoy a book I drop it.

@SAMURAI36:

I never made an attempt to tell anyone how to discuss comics. Show me where I did that? I wrote an op-ed piece filled with – yes, my opinion – which – here’s a hint – that’s what the “op” stands for. I then told you it was ridiculous to flame people for talking about comics on a comics website. That’s the long and short of it.

I have no need to play the victim. I’m coming from a place of strength. This is my house.

Caps were for emphasis because your comments suggest a lack of reading comprehension. Clearly they didn’t help in the least. So noted.

You do have me on one point. I clearly never should have engaged with you. I should have just called you out on the silly ‘how dare you talk about comics on a comics website when there are serious problems in the world!’ nonsense and been done with you.

But now I am done with you. Feel free to frequent the many pieces that various people pay me to write about comics though!

@T:

Yes, because people ranting over an overinflated issue, is somehow sane and rational, yes?

Is this irony on your part unintentional?

Kelly, hate to disrupt this wonderful flame war, but may I ask the title of the book you mentioned that you reviewed from the big 2. I would like to know just out of curiosity.

Thanks.

It was Justice League Dark #23.1 – The Creeper -> http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=user_review&id=6416

@James M.

Thanks for the link.

It’s certainly up to other people whether they want to sign a petition or not for this kind of thing, for me, I generally do reserve petitions for things like social and political issues, not media. I also typically feel that personal letters (especially snail mail) are much more effective and hard to ignore than petitions. That said, I have a pulpit from which I can easily share my opinions, so I understand if others want to express their opinions and feel a petition is the best way to raise their voice. Again, thanks for linking.

@NightSwordsman:

It was Justice League Dark #23.1: The Creeper.

@Ben:

Thanks. I hope you like it. Just as an FYI – it’s superhero prose (a novel) not comics/a graphic novel. I hope that won’t turn you off of it, but understand if it does!

If you want the limited edition hardback with 16 pages of full color Stephanie Hans illustrations (I only have maybe 2 dozen left?), head here:

http://www.thegirlwhowouldbeking.com/Store_Home.html

@Ben, re: ‘“They’re not sweatshops” is the best people can do?’ I don’t have to do any better than that, that is the point. Should every comic book reader now agitate for better snack rooms? The ability to telecommute? Validated parking? What DC did to Williams isn’t “unethical,” it’s annoying (I’d say the same for Before Watchmen, appears to be your tipping point), but the fact that you escalated the terms suggest you’re REALLY wrapped up in this. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be PO’ed, but even as you complain about how unfair it is for the workers you advocate for action that you concede MIGHT harm the entire industry (“I have said before that if DC goes down it would take the industry with it”). You might want to take a deep breath (and, again, that doesn’t mean I think you need to (fundamentally) change your mind) and ask yourself what you’re really upset about, and what a reasonable response would be (and I think your DC boycott sounds like a good solution).

@T., if you haven’t seen Paul’s response to you, check it.

Amazing article Kelly (as always) !
I stuck with Batwoman until a couple of issues ago, as I enjoyed the artwork and the arc of each story but found the resolutions just….unsatisfying. The build-up to the Medusa story was great and revamping Killer Croc in the way JHW3 and Blackman did was inspired. And yet, the final issue of the arc seemed rushed and didn’t end the story in a way which provided closure while having me salivating for the next issue. It’s a shame that it has come to this yet again (cf the timeline from Gutters & Panels) but I fear this is yet another link in a chain of creators being treated badly by DC editorial, even as us fans fervently hope it is the final occurrence.

Oh, I went back and read the article you wrote back in 2010 re: Rucka’s departure from the book. This leant a very disturbing air of deja vu to this article.

It also allowed me to reflect on just what Greg Rucka has done since he left DC: having the movel Alpha published and Bravo on the way, launching Lady Sabre with Rick Burchett, kicking it with the campaign for a collected edition of Lady Sabre, launching Lazarus to rave reviews and even better sales and generally producing the best work of his life ! (Oh, and the long-awaited next volume of queen and Country is on its way too ! YAY !!)
Oh, by the way – Kelly did you end up reading the Q&C prose novels ? If so, what did you think of the last one (A Gentlemen’s Game I think it was called) and the……..very minor spoiler alert………changes it made to Tara’s position ?

Thanks for a great column !

See you,

Brett
The Comic Book Evangelist

@Brett:

Yes, I have had problems with Batwoman too. Though McCarthy’s art is good, it’s hard to follow Williams no matter who you are. The writing has been hit and miss for me. Sometimes I felt like they were really getting it, and sometimes not so much. I still thought it was easily one of the best books DC was publishing. Overall, I’d say the writing disappointed me (but it’s hard to follow up Rucka in fairness there).

Maybe some of those writing issues can be explained by editorial changes last minute, maybe not.

Some want to make this about how perfect or how horrible Batwoman is (not you!) but as I tried (and failed for some) to express, it’s not about how perfect or how flawed this book or that book has been, it’s just about how you treat creators generally, and how you go about solving a problem like writing issues or flagging sales, etc., and this is just the latest (and most high profile) in a long line of disasters for DC. It’s pretty untenable.

I did buy a Q&C prose novel, but have not yet had a chance to read it. :)

Rucka is indeed killing it these days. So much good!

A really good piece, Kelly. I found myself debating what to do in response to Williams and Blackman’s leaving. I didn’t feel like I could, in good conscience, essentially condone DC’s actions by continuing to buy the book. However, I didn’t want to punish the character or the new writer for editorial’s mistakes.

But Kate Kane won’t disappear just because I stop buying the book. I’m just one guy and maybe the loss of my sale doesn’t mean much, but I doubt I’ll be the only one dropping the book. I guess it’s time to tell my Friendly Local Comic Book Store owner that there’ll be one less title on my pull list soon. It also makes me wonder why, at a time when DC doesn’t want their characters to have happy love lives, they’re launching a book focused on Superman and Wonder Woman’s relationship.

And even though this wasn’t so much an “anti-gay” decision as it was a “dumbass creative” decision, it’s kinda sad when Archie Comics can feel more progressive than DC.

@Kelly

Naturally we share many of the same thoughts. This conundrum on what to do as a reader with a voice and money (a tad anyway) seems futile (see The Beat’s take). CBR has also shared compelling polarized views. There are any numbers of acceptable positions, which will and is making any movement for change futile. Without a united front, we are defiantly not going to see results. Still I have that feeling something is changing. Perhaps it is in an unexpected way.

I find myself to be nuanced (read whishy washy-complex), being an INFJ obsessed with Comics. So I bristle at those who abandon or have disdain for Superheroes. Who say forget about them, look over here (as if I am not already immersed in the pleasure of the finer comics objects on the planet). They are right in an easy reality, just walk away. Stop paying “the Man” for making horrible comics. Stop helping them step on the little guy; the ones that ACTUALLY created the comics; especially if you already equally love the plethora of other genres (which I do). I just can’t do it, I love Superheroes too.

To make myself feel better, I think about the penciler, inker, writer, ect (who sometimes are people I know); the ones who are working in the machine, making the comics of today. Hay, they are trying to do the right thing and live the dream; actually scraping by a living in making funny books. Only the dream is sick and twisted and not under their control. When an artist has that reality…they often make some sick comics (how do you think we have gotten the ones that made us fall in love with comics…the poor bastards that came before struggled in the machine and made something in impossible scenarios. What do you think makes a Superhero who does the impossible possible…a Cartoonist who is facing the impossible working environment and is a genious).

Now if a comic sucks…even if a friend makes it, well, I can’t partake. And DC has mostly lot of stinkers (especially since they are reliving Marvel’s 1990’s). But Batwomen all and all was not one of them (I struggled with the art since Williams stopped doing that…but that is a personal aesthetics issue). So you have this case, where the comic is either good or great and the characters and stories are both compelling and fulfilling a great need; diversity, a lesbian superhero specifically. Plus, she really is that kind of character fandom is based on…all else aside…she is just a solid well conceived and designed Superhero.

To try and sweeten the deal or due to altruistic inspiration DC hires another talented writer, Marc Andreyko who I have heard is openly Gay. As you just said, because of the editorial vise like grip, not the freedom Didio & Lee promised, it won’t matter. His talent won’t bring a happiness in the form of marriage. His sexual orientation won’t; not that one’s gender or orientation would matter…even if he was a Lesbian…there is no secret magic way to fix this. Even though Batwomen represents vital things, including greatness, at no fault of her own, we are abandoning her.

Ultimately, I think you and I represent the readers of Batwomen, who will, like us leave the book for the same reasons. I have a hard time believing there are a lot of “Girl on Girl porn fans” currently reading Batwomen…maybe that is the new target audience. Perhaps they will keep a perverted Batwomen afloat. If so, Marc Andreyko was not the right call as a writer.

As I have mentioned before, I also listen to Kevin Smith (who as an individual walks a tight rope, which keeps me from throwing my hand in the air). He loves 1990’s comics and endorces a lot of aestheticly unappealing, masoginist and sleesball creators and works. Yet he also is truly progressive in many ways and mostly a feminist. So when he interviews Stan Lee (who I have issues with, due to the Kirby fall out), or Jim Lee (who I liked once apon a time, but now don’t know why) or Dan Didio (who was not familure with before Kevin’s interview)…well I walk away kind of annoyed, but mostly thinking…”oh, what interesting descent fellows.” So I am not coming into this hating on anyone, including Didio (threats against him and his family are horrible and not unique).

However, his lack of humility, his & DCE’s bogus reasons (or truth telling) about keeping Superheroes in crisis, in a dark place, IS the problem. It is the problem with Man of Steel, it is the problem with misogynist backlash among fans, it is the problem with the 1990’s and the eroded intellect of readers, miss understanding the lessons from the 1980’s Frank Miller, Bill Sienkawitz and Alan Moore’s work and is endemic of issues throughout our culture.

The reason, I am not giving up on Superheroes is because they are a huge part of my culture and when done well are actually a vital tool in helping resolving many real world problems. While the consumerism of comics on a mass scale has some promising developments these days, the films based on Superheroes have been the most promising in delivering the potential positive impact a Superhero may have. Comics, TV and Movies together have the cultural impact resembling the mid 21st century, especially when it comes to the Superhero genre. Diane Nelson and Joe Quesada hold potentially tremendous cultural power, but are held back by their own limits of heroics, intellect and the precise reason we really have these issues, anonymity and lack of self awareness in conglomerate corporations. This represents the root of the problems that are of the here and now, and ironically Superheroes could help untangle them…but the ones with the most cultural pull are controlled by the source of the problem.

On this point, I wrote my own broad take a couple days ago at my little place to rage, when I don’t have time to get it out on the comics page (like I should); Dyslexic Ranting Loon. You may find it interesting. J.H. Williams III himself liked it (which made my day): http://tmblr.co/ZTudYwuj_HI5

In addition to those “big picture” thoughts (and some even bigger ones I am just starting to work on), I wanted also mention, that the second big news issue over the weekend was the Harley Quinn submission fiasco…turns out it was not Didio’s fault (even the Beat credited him with that one). Ironically it was the fault of some of our favorite creators…who have tremendous credibility on the issue of Women in Comics and Quality…they also happen to have dealt with their error correctly (unlike Didio) and apologized & clarified…very refreshing:

“For everyone:
That the tryout Harley Quinn page went out without an overall description of tone and dialogue is all my fault. I should have put it clearly in the description that it was supposed to be a dream sequence with Amanda and I talking to Harley and giving her a hard time. I should have also mentioned we were thinking a Mad magazine /Looney Tunes approach was what we were looking for. We thought it was obvious with the whale and chicken suit, and so on, but learned it was not. I am sorry for those who took offense, our intentions were always to make this a fun and silly book that broke the 4th wall, and head into issue 1 with a ongoing story/adventure that is a lot like the past Powergirl series we did. I hope all the people thinking the worst of us can now understand that insulting or making fun of any kind was never our intention. I also hope that they can all stop blaming DC Comics for this since It was my screw up. The idea for the page to find new talent is an amazing one and we hope that can be the positive that comes forward from today on…that we get some new talent working in our field because of this unique opportunity.

Please feel free to share this, post it on your web sites and so on.”

-Jimmy Palmiotti’s status on Facebook, for him and Amanda Conner.

I hate to repeat the same point, but there are a lot of people who keep commenting as if this is a single issue that we’re all freaking out about. Let me repost the link, instead of just mentioning it like I did above:

http://guttersandpanels.com/gutters-and-panels/2013/3/23/the-new-52-timeline-of-departures

This is a list of all (well, all that we know) of the people who have quit, been fired or dropped at the last minute, or been dealt with unprofessionally by DC since the New 52 (and slightly before). It is not arguable that there is a problem. It is not arguable that the higher-ups at DC have been making choices that limit creators. It is not arguable that DC has become a bad place to be a creative person.

I’m not singling anyone out or trying to be a jerk, I totally understand if you didn’t read EVERY one of the over 100 comments on this page, I’m just trying to present all pertinent info.

@TJCoolguy:

Yeah, I also updated the post and included the link.

Williams is perhaps the straw for the camel’s back but it’s after a long two years of unbelievably bad behavior on DC’s part.

“I have no need to play the victim.”

What’s this column called again?

Great post, thank you

September 13, 2013 at 9:39 am

“I mean, how absolutely mind blowingly dumb do you have to be to let J.H. Williams III slip through your fingers?”

Word.

“I mean, how absolutely mind blowingly dumb do you have to be to let J.H. Williams III slip through your fingers?”

Actually, besides his Batman issues with Morrison, I’ve never really gotten the hype with this guy. He’s a good artist, don’t get me wrong, and he does do some inventive things with his art, but for my money, for every weird panel layout he chooses that is great, he uses one that actually just confuses the telling of the story. IDK, for my money, I’d rather have the likes of Chris Bachalo, Greg Capullo, Joe Madureira, or John Romita Jr. To me, those are some of the best artists working right now. Eh, but to each his own.

Also, everything involving Samurai has been hilarious to watch, although I’m not a fan of statements like this rather insulting:

“Samurai is strong proof of how awful DC comics is getting under Didio and Harras. The books are so terrible that they are increasingly turning off more normal, intelligent fans to the point that only the irrational illogical and more rabid fans with a cultlike devotion and low standards stick around. That’s why the past year any strong defense I see on DC’s behalf only seem to come from the Samurai types and are never positive posts that can make a convincing intellectual case on DC’s behalf.”

So apparently being a fan of any of DC’s books beyond what’s been deemed acceptable by the intelligentsia-police in CBR’s comments sections makes me an unintelligent, unreasonable cultist? Really, T?

I think I need to cut down on my buying and the new 52 is probably where the reduction is going to come from due to
1) it’s so focussed on power fantasies, sex and violence that it resembles the early image
2) the editorial interference in the creative process
3) the regular cancellations of lower-selling titles to make way for new series mean that all their series are targetting the same audience with increasingly similar stories – anything which is not a modern-day superhero series gets cancelled or turned into a modern superhero series (see All-star Western)

I enjoyed Rucka’s first two Q&C novels (A Gentleman’s Game, Private Wars), but have not yet to read the third (The Last Run)

great article . espically love the advice of marc should run as fast as he can from dc for it will only be a matter of time before dc eidtorial starts messing up his plans for batwoman like they did to the last time. he can save himself some headaches.

I sent a snail mail to Diane Nelson explaining why I was dropping DC altogether. I wonder if it would be worth it to send a letter to someone further up the food chain. I honestly don’t think it’s worth it to write to Lee, DiDio, or Harras, as everything seems to go in one ear and out the other with them. I’m guessing they’d read the letters, laugh them off, and ignore them. It’s better to aim higher.

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