Creative Team Behind “Batwoman” Quits After DC Interferes
J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman have quit DC after the publisher decided last minute to put the kibosh on a number of storylines in the current Batwoman comic book series.
In a blog post Williams wrote,
“In order to live up to our mantra and ensure that each arc took Batwoman in new directions, we carefully planned plotlines and story beats for at least the first five arcs well before we ever wrote a single issue. We’ve been executing on that plan ever since, making changes whenever we’ve come up with a better idea, but in general remaining consistent to our core vision.”
“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.”
Williams cites the “eleventh-hour nature” of the editorial edicts as particularly frustrating, especially given how much planning had gone into the series from the very beginning. As a result, Batwoman #26 will be he and Blackman’s last.
On Twitter, Williams asked fans to , “please stick with us through issue 26, we hope to give something strong in our last issue,” while Blackman said, “Huge thanks to
@JHWilliamsIII for being such an inspiring collaborator. I’m proud of every panel, buddy.” Williams responded similarly, “It’s been a truly great thing to work with you on this. Very overwhelmed right now. So proud of our work. There will be more!”
On the one hand, this is extremely unfortunate. Batwoman not only stars an empowered and complex female heroine, but one who’s also a lesbian, making the book even more of a rarity. The fact is that Batwoman is one of DC’s best comic books right now, not despite the progressivity of its characters but indeed precisely because of it.
Williams and Blackman succeeded at making Kate Kane (Batwoman) an incredibly compelling character by embracing her sexual identity and tying that directly to her experience as a caped vigilante. The storylines were mature and sophisticated, something few superhero comics can even begin to claim. In addition, Williams art in the series has been truly amazing, and as co-writer has shown just how powerful a comic can be when the script and illustrations are tied so seamlessly together.
Still though, while DC’s decisions regarding Batwoman and the creative team’s resulting departure are both infuriating and saddening, I think Williams and Blackman’s unwavering conviction in this matter is something more writers and artists in the industry should emulate.
Both men will have no trouble finding more work, even if that means taking refuge in the ever expanding domain of “alternative” comics like those published by Image, IDW, and Darkhorse. And if more of their peers start following their example, the big two publishers, DC and Marvel, will be forced to either change course or simply become increasingly irrelevant, at least as far as the actual medium of comic books is concerned. Batman, Superman, and the Avengers may continue to flourish, but the art surrounding those icons will be dead.