Robot 6

WonderCon | Greg Rucka walks away from Batwoman, DC Comics [Updated]

Batwoman, from J.H. Williams III, from "Detective Comics"

Batwoman, by J.H. Williams III, from "Detective Comics"

The bombshell from the first day of WonderCon wasn’t the announcement of a new title but rather the apparent confirmation that DC Comics has again shelved plans for a Batwoman series.

Unofficially announced in December, the Batwoman title, by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III, was to have continued their award-winning story arc from Detective Comics — itself the product of years-long corporate starts and stops. But last month, at Emerald City ComiCon, Williams offered the first indication the project had hit another roadblock: “I don’t know if that’s going to happen.”

Rucka all but confirmed the title’s fate Friday during his WonderCon spotlight panel, where he revealed he doesn’t know what will happen with Batwoman. He also said that on Thursday he turned in his last work for DC, at least for the foreseeable future.

“It is agonizing to walk away from Batwoman,” the writer was quoted as saying.

For those who have followed the character’s four-year history, this latest twist may seem par for the course.

The introduction of the new Batwoman — lesbian socialite Kate Kane — in summer 2006 was met with a hail of mainstream-media coverage, perhaps far more than the publisher had anticipated. A long-rumored Batwoman series faced one delay after another, which some chalked up to DC’s nervousness about any potential effect the character’s sexual orientation could have on the lucrative Bat-brand.

Finally, in February 2009, it was confirmed that the long-awaited Batwoman comic by Rucka and Williams would become an arc of Detective Comics beginning with June’s Issue 854, timed to coincide with the “death”-induced absence of Batman. Their tenure ended in December, with Detective #860, followed by a three-issue arc by Rucka and Jock.

Update: This morning on Twitter, Rucka wrote: “To all who sent kind words: thank you! No bad blood w/ DC; just time to move on.”

Update 2: Comic Book Resources has posted a report from the Rucka spotlight.

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Comments

44 Comments

Surprised? Hardly.

DC is a cowardly company. They’d prefer to keep producing garbage that no one buys like Azrael and REBELS than give Batwoman her own title.

Critically acclaimed, award winning, beloved. There’s no reason other than the homophobia of the newly christened DC Entertainment to blame.

The fact that no one gives a clear answer as to why her title has been shelved and Rucka driven out is evidence enough that something stinks that everyone is afraid to discuss.

Just have a Pink Lantern turn her straight and be done with it. Deep down, that’s what you really want to do anyway.

Time to go indy. The big two and their garbage don’t cut it any more.

F You, DC.

alexandre Petrin

April 3, 2010 at 7:07 am

it’s a shame. it was one of the best title Dc publish (before the arc with Jock)

Matter-Pooper Lad

April 3, 2010 at 7:21 am

So does anybody know why Rucka is leaving DC? Crappy editors? I want to hear all the sordid details.

As always, I blame it on Didio… I don’t know if that’s fair or not, but given how much I dislike the DC brand these days (and I’ve been a lifelong DC nut) I have to lay the blame for the company’s (many) poor decisions and (many) crappy books on the EIC’s doorstep.

Shaun:

What’s your theory on this?

I think the creation of “DC Entertainment” has amped the corporate cowardice to high levels. Not that they had far to go.

Rucka essentially announced the book in December and now he’s leaving the company.

Something happened at Batwoman’s at the center of it.

TopJack, while it’s natural to be disappointed with this news, there’s no reason for you to insult other books like Azrael and REBELS. They have their fans too who’d be just as saddened if those books suddenly ended.

Its a shame this happened. Rucka’s great, his Detective run has been great, and now this. Bummer.

Let’s get real, Bryan. Azrael and REBELS are all but invisible. Zero buzz, even fewer sales.

But DC keeps publishing these as if there’s a demand.

But Batwoman? “Ew. doesn’t she have ‘teh gay?”"

Welcome to 1959.

Christian Otholm

April 3, 2010 at 7:48 am

Without any confirmed knowledge of the background dealings of DC it’s hard to comment, but seeing as DC didn’t have any trouble putting Batwoman in a high-selling series like Detective, I very much doubt it’s related to any homophobia. If I were to guess- it could be that the title, with two enourmously high profile creators, just didn’t sell enough for DC to continue publishing it in the same format. And Rucka, understandibly, might not want to do a Batwoman series without compentent and experimenting artists like Jock or JHW.

We really don’t know at this point. All we know is that it fucking sucks.

Wow. Appalling. Aside from all our of our (likely justified) suspicions of why this has been shelved, what a wasted opportunity.

(And while, as always, I feel the need to note that Shaun above and I are not the same person, here we do largely agree.)

I hope Marvel gets Rucka and lets him loose on something.

The Batwoman serial in Detective was one of the best things DC has published in years, and the Question backup wasn’t too shabby.

the_gaunt_man

April 3, 2010 at 8:36 am

You all need to read Rucka’s interview before you go off all crazy like. I think comicbookalliance has the full interview. Rucka is not going to Marvel, doesn’t want to go to Marvel. The guy is moving on to do his own thing. Rucka hasn’t had an exclusive with DC for 3 years but he has worked there anyway, pretty well exclusively because he has enjoyed the work. But he has felt the calling to do his own thing with Queen and Country. He’s not leaving DC because of something sortted DC did to him.

There is no way DC can be that homophobic. That’s just plain crazy, cry over spilt milk talk. At ECCC they were very proud that it had won the Glaad(wasn’t that the award?) and talked about it a bunch.

Trust me. I’m sad to see Rucka leave the character because she is such a strong character. Hopefully they get someone who gets the character to continue to use her and she won’t just dissappear, but I almost rather she ride off into the sun set as it were than have someone come along and totally mess the character up.

Jeremy Horsley

April 3, 2010 at 8:42 am

I thought Batwoman in Detective Comics was an overhyped art book.

I love REBELS and think it’s the way DC cosmic SHOULD BE done, not mysterious ENTITIES and A BAJILLION LANTERNS.

That aside, it’s too bad the Batwoman series is getting held up again, but I really doubt it’s due to all this “BOO THEY’RE SCARED OF PRINTING COMICS WITH GAYS” bullshit being slung around. How about you put some proof in the pudding before you start trying to shove it down people’s throats so MATTER-OF-FACT.

As for Rucak ,at least there’s still Stumptown and his other independent projects. I love JHW3′s art and hope he ends up on a book where he’s doing more than terrible splash pages and crazy style changing.

“Let’s get real, Bryan. Azrael and REBELS are all but invisible. Zero buzz, even fewer sales.

But DC keeps publishing these as if there’s a demand.”

Clearly they do, as there’s still a solid chunk of people reading them. And frankly, both are a strong example of diversity in the line, much like Batwoman.

It sucks that Rucka’s off the title, but there really is no need to shit over other good books as a result.

Can’t wait for the lesbian She-Wolverine later this fall, by Rucka and Williams. Make it happen Joe Q!

What a revolting development.

Jeremy you thought wrong. It was a modern exploration of the Bat-mythos and urban vigilantism.

Yay, more Queen and Country!!!

This is BEYOND disappointing. While I’m not ready to cry homophobia, I will say that it’s interesting that even in this day and age, there is yet to be a mainstream comic put out that has an LGBT main character. I know in my local comic shop (which is NOT your typical shop) Detective has been selling like hotcakes since Rucka and Batwoman have been on the book. This is just sad. Who cares about YET another Batman-starring book. I thought that giving Batwoman the Detective book was a brilliant move.

Clearly they do, as there’s still a solid chunk of people reading them [AZRAEL and REBELS]. And frankly, both are a strong example of diversity in the line, much like Batwoman.

February direct market orders of those books, per Diamond:

02/2010: Azrael #5 — 12,856
02/2010: R.E.B.E.L.S. #13 — 11,836

You might consider that a “solid chunk of people” but it’s about 10K below the amount of reported Diamond sales where books in the main DC or Marvel lines usually get canceled. The plug will no doubt be pulled on both books in the near future. Expect MAGOG to go away too.

Jeremy Horsley

April 3, 2010 at 10:16 am

Well then I guess it’s time to cancel Jonah Hex too!

You know what, let’s start imagi-canceling EVERYTHING because plans for a Batwoman book fell out for generally unspecified reasons and people are angry!

Also Trey, I’m pretty sure having bought every issue of the run for full-cover price at my LCS entitles me to think HOWEVER I WANT ABOUT IT. Yeah! YEAH. But I acknowledge that I’m in the Internet/community minority.

Jonah Hex is a straight white guy with a movie coming out. He could sell 10 copies a year and he won’t get cancelled.

Not at DC, at least.

DC Entertainment is the comic book equivalent of the Tea Party.

Matty Macomober

April 3, 2010 at 11:05 am

TopJack-
In two different sites you have launched accusations of homophobia on DC’s part for Rucka’s decision. What facts are you basing this on? As a gay man myself that lives in a society that has a lot of instances of oppressive and destructive homophobia, I choose which battles to devote my energy to. If there is good evidence, fine, rail away. However, until I know more, it seems just as likely that 1) Rucka has problems with the new corporate structure in general 2) has troubles with the editorial interaction or 3) is being a businessman/creator that realizes he can get out more of the stories he’s interested in doing by giving up his DC jobs (i.e. similar to Robert Kirkman’s decision to stop doing Marvel stories).

It doesn’t take a sleuth to figure it out.

It took four years for Batowoman to get a solo story told. There have been many accounts – easily found online – that there was great trepidation about the controversy a gay Bat character would cause.

The character finally gets a story, is critically acclaimed, award-winning snd embraced by fandom.
Rucka announces a solo book is happening back in December. Three months later, the book – and Rucka – are gone.

But wait. DC published Batwoman stories in Detective. That proves they’re diverse!

What’s changed since those stories began publishing? DC Comics became DC Entertainment, with a much more critical corporate eye on such inconveniences as characters having “teh gay.”

I admire Rucka for having the character and dignity to walk away from this situation. I despise DC.

Meanwhile, hit books with straight white guys like “Jonah Hex” continue to burn up the sales charts.

Bravo.

Interestingly enough, the solicitation for the June issue of DETECTIVE (http://www.dccomics.com/dcu/comics/?cm=14950) at the end specifically says, “And come back next month for the return of The Question and Batwoman!”

I’m wondering if this means we will at least get the rest of the planned run from DETECTIVE. Depending on the interviews, I’d heard it described as 12 or 14 issues. So if the Jock three-parter used some of those scripts, we might get one final four-part story?

No, this is a story that features the Question in the lead with Batwoman as the back up. Rucka announced that a while back.

For whatever reason, JONAH HEX seems to be treated more like a Vertigo book than a DC book in terms of sales expectations. It would certainly be hard to argue that his stories take place in the main DCU continuity. The common story is that JONAH HEX sells quite well in collected editions, just like the various Vertigo series that don’t burn up the monthly charts (DMZ, SCALPED, HELLBLAZER, etc.), especially in Europe. I have no way to confirm that, but I’d believe it.

Matty Macomober

April 3, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Hate to be too much of a jerk, TopJack, but I think it DOES take a sleuth to figure out what’s going on… a good sleuth tries to build stuff off of facts and data, not just relying on their fear of continued oppression to identify every possible bad thing in the world as an example of prejudice. Again, it could very well be the move to DC Entertainment that inspired him to leave but it’s a huge leap of logic to say that the only thing wrong with that new corporate structure is that it MUST be homophobic. Just ‘cuz fans have speculated for years that it is fear of Batwoman’s sexuality damaging the Bat-brand doesn’t mean that it is actually so (although, yes, it seems… problematic… that straight Spoiler/Batgirl gets a series when the online buzz and acclaim for Batwoman is much stronger.)

I’m not saying you are wrong, by any means, just wanted to know if you have other supporting evidence beyond the fact that there isn’t a Batwoman series and that Rucka is leaving.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable that DC go into publishing a lesbian Batwoman with a little trepidation — not because there should be anything to fear with portraying homosexuality in comics, but because it IS such a sensitive subject for people on BOTH sides of the aisle and needs to be handled with care. Wanting to take their time, wanting to put the best possible set of creators on the book, wanting to stockpile issues so that momentum wasn’t lost from delays…that doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.

As much as everyone would like homosexuality to be as accepted and commonplace as heterosexuality, it isn’t. Acknowledging that extra care needs to be taken with something that could be construed as controversial isn’t homophobia, it’s just good sense.

If DC was really homophobic they wouldn’t have launched the character in their big event book (52), then put their biggest creators on her on one of their biggest books (detective) during one of the biggest pushes the Bat-line has gotten in the last 10 years (death of Bruce Wayne).

DC has put unprecedented weight behind this launch. If things didn’t work out, they didn’t work out, but I don’t think it’s the result of DC being filled with homophobia.

Wait, Jonah Hex is not just some white guy, as an Unattractive American, I find the dismissal of one of the few unattractive heroes to be off base. Hex’s existence speaks more to diversity than some pretty lipstick lesbian.

DrunkJack, Founder of the UUUAP
Ugly Americans United Against Pretty People

Bucky Sinister

April 3, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Well, hell. When I read Rucka and Williams’ Batwoman, I felt like I knew how people must have felt reading Steranko’s SHIELD back in the 60s, or how I myself felt reading Chaykin’s American Flagg! in the 80s. These guys were raising the bar on mainstream American funnybook storytelling, and I was looking forward to seeing them continue that. Whatever the reason for the book’s end, I will miss it.

Deniz:

You sound like a total DC plant and you probably are.

Bucky Sinister:

Couldn’t agree more. This book was magic.

Here is a thought. What if the demise of the long awaited Batwoman title has nothing at all to do with her sexuality. Supposing Greg Ruca decided to leave D.C. for personal reasons (ie. To work on his own indie titles, issues with editorial staff, etc.) and now D.C. has no one to write a Batwoman title. Who else but Ruca could handle this title? Grant Morrison? I think not.

TopJack, calling somebody a DC plant could lead some to suggest that you are a Marvel plant.

Do you really want to go down that road?
_____________________

The Batwoman story in Detective Comics sold so well because it was a good mix of writer and artist. Also, it was in a Batman book. None of those would be a guarantee that a Batwoman solo book would sell more than 25,000 copies. And even if a Rucka/Williams III Batwoman book sold a ton of copies, it would not be long before the sales dropped to the 25,000 or less range, as creators seldom stay with a book for more than a year these days. The creative dynamic would change, and people would stop buying it. As an examole, watch the sales of Power Girl after Amanda Conner leaves the book.

Yeah, calling people corporate plants on the internet is a good way of saying “I’m a pig-headed idiot and don’t want to hear ANY sort of contrary opinion, so don’t talk to me.”

Power Girl, Azrael, Magog, REBELS – more DC junk. Especially with Winnick on PG.

Who needs quality when you can have crappy volume?

Don’t forget guys, I’m pretty sure (at least by my own opinion) part of the reasoning behind all this also is DC looking at what Marvel went through recently with the whole Cap/Tea Party ridiculousness and decided they didn’t want to publish anything that could rile the right wingers.

Not a good reasoning, but at least a reasoning. Not that they’d ever admit it

TopJack: Go to hell.

Or, alternatively, respond with something substantive, rather than baseless, hate filled demagoguery that totally contradicts everything both Rucka and Williams have said.

cactusjac2000

April 3, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Working with James Robinson for so long would drive away most anybody.

Matty Macomober

April 3, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Deniz: Sadly, when you try to introduce some nuanced understanding of human behavior and the complexity of corporate decisions, you’ll get accused of being a plant, or a tool, or some other disrespectful thing. Thanks, for articulating some of why the desire to be careful about publishing the adventures of a gay/lesbian hero might cater to both sides. (and, I guess, thanks to TopJack for a mild demonstration of why DC needs to be careful about doing anything with this character for fear that it will be construed as homophobic.)

This news breaks my heart.

Evan:

Bingo. They’re too cowardly and pathetic to admit it.

Deniz:

You’re an apologist tool. Find a backbone.

Matty:

Thanks, nice to know I’m not the only one who sees it that way.

TopJack:

You’re an idiot. Grow a brain.

RonnieThunderbolts

April 4, 2010 at 7:21 am

From this site’s coverage of Wonder Con:

‘DC is firmly committed’ to Batwoman

http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2010/04/wondercon-dc-is-firmly-committed-to-batwoman-j-h-williams-says/

From this site’s coverage of Wonder Con: DC Universe Editorial Presentation

12:28
Status of Batwoman? Sattler: “We have plans for Batwoman.” Johns: “We want Greg (Rucka) to write it, but he’s focusing on his career right now.” Sattler: “There’s no shelving.”

http://www.newsarama.com/comics/wondercon-2010-dc-universe-100403.html

And from Greg Rucka’s twitter feed: “To all who sent kind words: thank you! No bad blood w/ DC; just time to move on.”

It is easier to ignore everyone involved talking about it and make at this point baseless accusations of homophobia. Insisting this is about homophobia is essentially calling Geoff Johns, Ian Sattler and J.H. Williams liars and inferring information from Greg Rucka’s remarks that has not presented by the man himself at all. J.H. is continuing to work at DC, and Greg is continuing to work with J.H. J.H. says DC is committed to Batwoman. Greg says there are no hard feelings. It isn’t reading between the lines or making the most logical conclusion to interpret that as the book having been canceled over the character’s homosexuality, it is insisting on a preconceived perception of the situation regardless of the facts

I’m not an apologist and I’m not a plant. If there were ANY indication that there was actual bigotry going on I’d be outraged. I’ve worked with the Simon Wisenthal Museum of Tolerance to fight actual ignorance and bigotry. I stand up for my beliefs and I loathe the hateful and exclusive attitudes that are still pervasive in our society in terms of race, belief system, nationality, class, sexuality, gender identity or any other arbitrary way to try to divide and cause hate between people. There is simply not any reason at this point to assume the worst. Greg has said simply and in a straightforward way that he made a personal choice to walk away from Batwoman. If DC weren’t asking him to stay on Batwoman in some form then he wouldn’t be walking away from the character. People will think what they want to think, but Diane Nelson, Dan Didio, Geoff Johns and Jim Lee are real people and don’t deserve to be characterized as bigots, corporate tools, or cronies to a Right Wing agenda.

Chuck Dixon presents “The Death of Batwoman.” With guest appearances – and funerals – for The Question, Obsidian, blue Starman and Scandal.

With art by Mike S. Miller and covers by Alex Ross.

2011. Bet on it.

Hey TopJack, you’re adding nothing here and insulting other commenters. And in another thread you called Greg Rucka a liar. Consider yourself banned.

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