Thursday, September 5, 2013

Williams and Blackman Depart Batwoman Over Editorial Interference

Last night, J.H. Williams III, writer and artist on DC's Batwoman, posted on his blog he and co-writer W. Haden Blackman will be leaving the highly-praised title due to editorial conflicts. Their final issue will be Batwoman #26. In the series, Batwoman a.k.a. Kate Kane is set to marry girlfriend Detective Maggie Sawyer. This is where the conflicts seems to arise.

Here's an excerpt from William' post where he details the problem:

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.

You can read the post in its entirety on Williams' blog. You have to wonder about the argument against showing same-sex marriage. We've seen it before with Kevin and Clay in Archie Comics' Life With Archie #16 and Northstar and Kyle in Marvel Comics Astonishing X-Men #51. I was happy both occurred, but obviously that's not a wide-spread sentiment.

I've spoken highly of this book several times on Twitter. Of the few DC books I read, Batwoman has been one of my most-anticipated each month. Williams and Blackman have penned an incredible journey for Kate Kane, who's sexuality hasn't been the whole of her character. The writers have expressed an authentic portrayal of lesbian characters while avoiding the gimmicks, which ironically have plagued some of the other New 52 titles.

The book also stands out on a visual level. I can't say enough how much I've enjoyed the unique layouts used throughout the run thus far. The tag-team effort of Williams, Amy Reeder, Trevor McCarthy, Pere Perez, Rob Hunter, Walden Wong, Sandu Florea, Richard Friend, Francesco Francavilla, Guy Major, Dave Stewart, and Todd Klein have given gorgeous life to the adventures of Kate Kane and her supporting cast. I didn't look up the names of everyone involved, so the rest of those names were lifted from the blog post.

It's been just over two years since DC Comics relaunched nearly the whole of its universe, dubbed the New 52, in an effort to cut down on continuity and spark new readership. As expected, it was a move met with much skepticism. Questions surrounded many decisions made since the beginning. It seems DC Comics has Twitter on fire just about every other week, and usually not for positive reasons. One need only look at the portrayal of Catwoman in her solo series and as well as Starfire in Red Hood and the Outlaws to get an idea of why fans are upset. For more on those issues resd this and this.

This new controversy is another battle in the war of creator vs. editor at the long-running publisher. Those have included George Perez leaving Superman, the firing and re-hiring of Batgirl writer Gail Simone and the public feud involving Rob Liefeld.

With the writing team's last issue still months away, we likely won't hear who'll be taking over for some time.

I'm not one to say they're trying to mess up, but even I'm left scratching my head looking at the decisions made. We know you can't please everyone with every move you make, but there are many odd activities going on at DC. What's your take on all the problems? Let me know.