J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman Walk Off DC’s ‘Batwoman’
By Hunter Camp
Thursday, September 5th, 2013 at 12:53 pm
Citing “editorial interference,” series creators J.H. Williams, III and W. Haden Blackman have decided to leave one of DC’s most popular titles, Batwoman, with issue #26.
This is the latest bit of drama in regards to creators walking off of DC books, including creators like Andy Diggle leaving Action Comics, Justin Jordan leaving Superboy, and Joshua Hale Fialkov leaving Green Lantern Corps, which all seemingly had to do with editorial edicts. But Batwoman has also had issues since her amazing run on Detective Comics with Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III on creative duties. Rucka and Williams were intended to come back with a Batwoman ongoing series that was re-imagined as a zero issue tie-in to Batman Incorporated by Williams, Blackman, and Amy Reeder. This was subsequently halted and remade as a “New 52” title.
Along these same lines, however, throughout the run of The New 52, Batwoman tended to stay apart from the rest of the Batman family of titles. For example, when Night of the Owls, and Death of the Family were crossing over with all of the Bat-books, Williams and Blackman decided to stay away from the crossover and continued to, for lack of a better phrase, do their own thing. In that was evidence to one of the elements that Williams mentions in his “goodbye” letter on his website, stating that DC editorial would enact “eleventh hour … changes” which would lead to frustration amongst the creative team who had plotted out several story arcs over the past years that included a proposal and marriage story between Batwoman’s alter ego Kate Kane and her girlfriend Maggie Sawyer.
Williams shines light on the most “crushing” editorial edict as being that DC editorial prohibited them from “from ever showing Kate and Maggie actually getting married.” Nothing about this edict was meant to, nor does it, in my opinion, come off as an anti-gay marriage edict, but rather an overall edict within DC Comics that marriages of their heroes should not exist, at all. This law was enacted with DC’s New 52 initiative that saw the dissolving of the unions of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, Barry Allen and Iris West, and many more.
As Williams states, the same-sex marriage would have been a large part of the character’s story and the end of this story arc would take Kate Kane into a bold new direction that was designed to show Batwoman’s heroic nature, which sounds like an exciting conclusion to the current story arc. However, fans of the series (myself included) will never see Williams and Blackman’s vision for the series take fruition as the creative team will be leaving after December’s Batwoman #26.
Below is Williams and Blackman’s post, in full.
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.