Williams, Blackman Leave "Batwoman," Cite Editorial Interference

Thu, September 5th, 2013 at 5:21am PDT | Updated: September 5th, 2013 at 1:31pm

Comic Books
Kevin Melrose, Staff Writer

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UPDATE 11:53 AM, PDT: A DC Comics spokesperson has contacted CBR News, saying, "As acknowledged by the creators involved, the editorial differences with the writers of 'Batwoman' had nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the character."


Cover art for "Batwoman" #25. Williams and Blackman have announced they will leave the series with Issue 26

Citing frustrations with "eleventh-hour" editorial changes, and an apparent prohibition against depicting Kate Kane's marriage to Maggie Sawyer, "Batwoman" writers J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman have announced they'll leave the DC Comics series following December's Issue 26. Williams later said, via Twitter, that this decision will not impact his work on the upcoming "Sandman: Overture" miniseries with writer Neil Gaiman.

"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," Williams and Blackman wrote in a statement posted last night on each of their websites. "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’re both heartbroken over leaving," they continue, "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."

Williams clarified on Twitter that the editorial stance on the wedding "was never put to us as being anti-gay marriage."

When contacted by CBR News, DC Comics had no comment on the writers' announcement.

The departure of Williams and Blackman is only the latest behind-the-scenes drama for the critically acclaimed series, and for Batwoman, whose reintroduction in summer 2006 as lesbian socialite Kate Kane was met with a hail of mainstream-media coverage, perhaps far more than the publisher had anticipated. A long-rumored "Batwoman" series faced one setback after another until finally, in February 2009, it was confirmed Greg Rucka and Williams would handle the character in an arc of "Detective Comics," timed to coincide with the “death”-induced absence of Batman. Their tenure ended in December 2009, with "Detective" #860, followed by a three-issue arc by Rucka and Jock.

The same month their award-winning “Elegy” storyline ended, Rucka revealed he and Williams would continue the story in "Batwoman." But in April 2010, Rucka announced he was walking away from the character, and from DC Comics. Less than two weeks later, the publisher confirmed it was still committed to "Batwoman," with Williams co-writing with Blackman and sharing art duties with Amy Reeder. After several delays, "Batwoman" finally launched in September 2011; however, Reeder left the series after just three issues, citing "creative differences."

Read Williams and Blackman's full statement below, and check back with CBR for more on this story as it develops.

Dear Batwoman readers -

From the moment DC asked us to write Batwoman — a dream project for both of us — we were committed to the unofficial tagline “No Status Quo.” We felt that the series and characters should always be moving forward, to keep changing and evolving. 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.

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.

We are extremely thankful for the opportunity to work on Batwoman. It’s been one of the most challenging and rewarding projects of our careers. We’ll always be grateful to everyone who helped us realize 26 issues: Mike Siglain, who brought us onto the project originally; Greg Rucka for inspirationally setting the stage; our amazing artists Amy Reeder, Trevor McCarthy, Pere Perez, Rob Hunter, Walden Wong, Sandu Florea, Richard Friend, Francesco Francavilla, Guy Major, Dave Stewart, and Todd Klein; Larry Ganem, for listening in tough times; and editors Mike Marts, Harvey Richards, Rickey Purdin, and Darren Shan.

And most of all, a huge thank you to everyone who read the book. Hearing your voices, your reactions, your enthusiasm every month was such a joy, so humbling, so rewarding. You guys rock! Because so many of you embraced the series, we were able to complete four arcs, and your passion for Batwoman encouraged us to push ourselves to do our best work with each and every issue.

Thank you for loving Batwoman as much as we do.

Goodbye for now,

Haden & J H

TAGS:  dc comics, batwoman, jh williams iii, w haden blackman

 
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