Batwoman Writers Quit Book After DC Forbids Wedding: What Is DC's Problem Keeping Talent?
We first read it on Towleroad, but the story is fast and furiously spreading over the geek net: Acclaimed writers JH Williams III and W. Haden Black, two of DC's brightest stars, have unceremoniously quit their GLAAD Award-winning title over editorial interference from the top, including an all-out prohibition on Kate Kane's wedding to longtime girlfriend Maggie Sawyer.
Here's the full comment from the authors' blog (reprinted from Towleroad):
Unfortunately, in recent months, DC has asked us to alter or completely discard many long-standing storylines in ways that we feel compromise the character and the series. We were told to ditch plans for Killer Croc’s origins; forced to drastically alter the original ending of our current arc, which would have defined Batwoman’s heroic future in bold new ways; and, most crushingly, prohibited from ever showing Kate and Maggie actually getting married. All of these editorial decisions came at the last minute, and always after a year or more of planning and plotting on our end.
We’ve always understood that, as much as we love the character, Batwoman ultimately belongs to DC. However, the eleventh-hour nature of these changes left us frustrated and angry — because they prevent us from telling the best stories we can. So, after a lot of soul-searching, we’ve decided to leave the book after Issue 26.
We’re both heartbroken over leaving, but we feel strongly that you all deserve stories that push the character and the series forward. We can’t reliably do our best work if our plans are scrapped at the last minute, so we’re stepping aside. We are committed to bringing our run to a satisfying conclusion and we think that Issue 26 will leave a lasting impression.
While DC's stance is puzzling (and shortsighted), Williams was quick to take to Twitter to (try to) clear up any whiff of overt homophobia from the publishers:
So, that makes us all feel better, right? It's not as though DC comics has a long and embarrassing history fumbling LGBTQ issues (Teen Titans' Bunker, Earth-2's gay-for-no-reason Alan Scott, trying to serve Superman fans a big steaming pile of Orson Scott Card) *OR* of mishandling the impressive roster of talent that keeps loyal readers coming back despite bone-headed world-altering relaunches and repetitive characters. Or, do they?
io9 has it down COLD when they say "DC Comics Has a Creator Problem":
This is pretty shocking. Williams is a highly respected creator, but it sounds like DC has been treating him like a factory worker, churning out books according to a rigid specification every month. In sharp contrast, Marvel has spent the last few years promoting the men and women behind their books, and the strategy has worked well for them. Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca had a massively successful, Eisner-winning, 61-issue run on Invincible Iron Man. Kieron Gillen's Journey Into Mystery completely reinvented Loki (who he's now writing inYoung Avengers with is longtime collaborator Jamie McKelvie). And Marvel's biggest critical successes in recent years have come from the stable creative teams of Daredevil and Hawkeye. DC couldn't keep Grant Morrison on Action Comics for two years. Much like moviegoers and television fans, comic readers are becoming far more aware and respectful of the people behind their favorite media, and it would be wise of the folks at DC to recognize that and act accordingly.
As you might expect, Williams' Twitter is BUH-LOWING UP with messages of support from fans and fellow creators, including Brian Michael Bendis and our fave, Gail Simone. His and Black's run finishes with issue #26, but he's imploring readers not abandon Batwoman, even without him.
It's easy for Marvel fans to sip a nice, warm cup of schadenfreude over DC's repeated bungles, especially compared to Marvel's better track record, but Andrew Wheeler over at ComicsAlliance reminds us, a bit Cassandra-like, that we shouldn't take our favorite queer characters from the House of Ideas for granted, either.