At the start of today’s DC Panel at the Baltimore Comic-Con, DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio sought to detail his long-term vision for DC Comics “Batwoman” title, dating back to 2006, and to announce that writer Marc Andreyko would be the writer on the series starting with “Batwoman” 25.
DiDio appeared at the outset of today’s DC Panel at Baltimore Comic-Con, in what turned out to be a cameo appearance. Prior to introducing DC Editor-In-Chief Bob Harras (who moderated the panel after DiDio’s departure) and the other creators at the DC Panel, DiDio conceded that he was“ going off the script, as they like to say” in order to address “a little controversy around DC Comics in the last couple of days and I want just clear things up just a little bit” (speaking about the departure of the “Batwoman” creative team over apparent editorial interference).
DiDio admitted that when news first broke about the creative team’s departure, it was in a period where he had been offline. “I got caught up in the middle of it,” he said. “But now I am up to speed.”
In his statement, DiDio emphasized the character. “When we introduced Batwoman back in 2006, we took a huge risk at DC Comics, we went and did something unprecedented: we made one of our major characters gay.” The co-publisher then stressed that at the time of this decision, for those involved with this creative choice “it was something that we thought about, something we considered. . .we were very committed to doing that.”
“When we did it, we knew there would be controversy and complaints and there were,” DiDio recalled. “We got hit with so many different letters and so many nasty emails. We stood behind that character 100 percent, so much so that we made her the lead in 'Detective Comics' and then we gave her her own book. That was back in 2006 and we continue to support that character to this day. Simple as that.”
DiDio also recounted his original 2006 public push in marketing the character to its potential audience. “We made it very clear what we wanted to do was make the hero first and then make the character gay as part of who she is, part of her personality, part of what makes her a hero,” he said. “It set her apart from the other members of the Bat family, but she was clearly a member of the Bat family.”
Then DiDio jumped forward in his discussion to more recent times, with The New 52 and the editorial team’s view of the Bat Family—there was one clear idea in mind: “They shouldn’t have happy personal lives.”
He proceeded to detail why unhappy personal lives should be central to the family. “They put on a cape and a cowl for a reason,” he said. “They’re committed to being that person, they’re committed to defending others—at the sacrifice of all their own personal instincts.”
This was clearly a central point for DiDio in his statement. “That’s something we reinforce. If you look at every one of the characters in the Batman family, their personal lives kind of suck.”
DiDio slightly broke away from his larger point while providing examples of personal lives that were not great, listing “Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson—God rest his soul.” (which elicited a smattering of laughter from the crowd). “Oops, I shouldn’t have said that, should I?” He then laughed. “Now I got the Nightwing people pissed at me again.” But after that bit of continuity levity, he resumed his larger actual point. “But Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon, and Kathy Kane: It’s wonderful that they try to establish personal lives but it’s also just as equally important that they put it aside as they know what they are accomplishing as the hero takes precedence over everything else. That is our mandate, that is our edict, [and] that is our stand with our characters.”
According to DiDio, DC Entertainment aims to reinforce that with all of their books and with all of their writers. “You wonder what editors do,” he asked rhetorically. “That’s their job. I stand behind that 100%. I stand behind our choices 100%. And I stand behind Batwoman and Kathy Kane—100%.”
He then challenged the audience to “name one other publisher that committed to a character” and with that level of passion. He then emphatically answered his own challenge: “There isn’t.”
He continued to stress his level of commitment: “We put her in the book [“Detective Comics”] that the company was named after. We have her in her own series, and that series will continue…and it will be better than ever."
DiDio then announced Marc Andreyko as the series new writer. “He is so excited about taking on this series,” DiDio said. “So much so that we are putting him on with issue 25. ‘Batwoman’ is going to become an integral part of Batman’s universe, just the way we always wanted it.”
With that done, DiDio introduced the members of the DC panel and stepped down from the stage.
New writer Marc Andreyko commented on his new gig on Facebook:
yes, it's true: i'm the new writer of Batwoman! and, as i prepare for the interweb onslaught, a few things: i ADORE J.H Williams and Greg Rucka and Hayden Blackman and the great character they've created so lovingly. i am taking this job very seriously and hope to do right by Kate, Maggie, Bette and the rest of the cast. this all happened very quickly, so i am trying to catch my breath and let it sink in. And i've already had great conversations with Mike Marts and can't wait to work with him again. i hope you will give my run a chance as i am going to give it my all and try to live up to the work those great creators did before me.