One of the most consistent creative teams since the start of the new 52, writers Haden Blackman and J.H. Williams III have quit the Batwoman series. And there is no dancing around why based on a post on both Williams’ and Blackman’s web site where they note they are “heartbroken” about leaving citing editorial interference, including being “prohibited from ever showing Kate and Maggie actually getting married”, as the cause.
Not going to happen. Read on.
The cross-posted entry states:
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.
Williams has expressed his frustrations publicly before. On Twitter he spoke about about not being able to write for Killer Croc one-shot for the current “Forever Evil” arc. He’s also expressed some questioning of DC around the lack of publicity for the wedding proposal of Kate Kane to her girlfriend Maggie Sawyer.
Batwoman operated as a standalone book for almost the first two years of its existence with very few characters from the DCU appearing except for Wonder Woman in an arc planned well before the new 52 and some cameos by Batman.
The book had a long and circuitous history before it came into existence which I outlined when it first appeared two years ago. First meant as a book for Devin Grayson and Dustin Nguyen, the book then went to Greg Rucka and Williams who launched it in Detective Comics. Rucka quit in March of 2010. DC then announced that Williams would write the book with Haden Blackman and share art duties with Amy Reeder and the book would launch in early 2011. The book was pushed back to align with the launch of the New 52. One of the critical successes of DC’s reboot, the book then saw Reeder leave and replaced by Trevor McCarthy as alternative artist which then turned into a full-time position when Williams left interior art to work on The Sandman prequel.
Batwoman made headlines as one of the first books to star an out LGBQT characters in corporate comics and winning awards from organizations such as GLAAD.
Williams has been an instrumental part of the book half a decade if not longer and his artwork was a core and critical part of the character. Blackman and Williams also did an admirable job taking on the writing of the character continuing the emotional arc of the character as set by Greg Rucka and furthering the relationship of Kate Kane and Maggie Sawyer.
This is an enormous loss for DC from both a creative view and a business view. The two creators most responsible for bringing one of their most critically lauded books have walked away from DC and in both cases they have pointed the finger at editorial.
DC’s has had ongoing problems with creators for years but recently since the launch of the new 52 it had accelerated to the point the company had to have an off-site to smooth over the relationship.
That detente, I was told by several people associated with DC, lasted no more than a few days. Since then other creators have walked away from DC due to editorial interference.
Co-publishers Dan Didio and Jim Lee have both said the creative turnover is part of business and Didio blamed social media as making it look worse.
In this the social media is from two of their most consistent and lauded creators and the reason is the denial of a marriage for a couple, the most prominent gay couple at DC Comics in a year where the legalization of gay marriage is in the news almost every day. I suspect this has more to do with DC’s seeming dislike of most married couples in the new 52 except for Aquaman and Animal Man rather than anything to do with the character’s sexuality but still this is just a fustercluck.
Good luck spinning this one.
Williams spent the night on Twitter so check out his feed.