Robot 6

Williams bids farewell to “Batwoman”

batwoman24williams“Batwoman” #24 hit stores this week, and it’s the final issue by J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman. After the duo stated they would leave “Batwoman” due to editorial interference, DC Comics announced that incoming series writer Marc Andreyko would take over with “Batwoman” #25, a full two issues before Williams and Blackman’s intended exit. (This was later confirmed with a revised December solicitation for “Batwoman” #26.) On Williams’ personal blog, the “Batwoman” writer/artist expressed his dismay that the creative team’s closing arc of the story was cut short.

“I’m depressed over this a bit. And frustratingly the issue will give no arc conclusion, or conclusion to our run,” Williams said via his blog. “We apologize to you readers for that. It wasn’t what we wanted to happen.”

The writer/artist went on to note that “Batwoman” #24 was already written and drawn by the time “fallout came from our decision to leave the title.” While “Batwoman” #25 was written with a script turned in, Williams doubts the issue will ever see the light of day, and their final arc will not end in “any way we intended.” It’s especially disappointing given that he and Blackman had planned issue #26 to put a cap on the duo’s two-year run on the series.

“We knew how we were going to wrap things by issue 26, and felt we would have done so in a satisfying manner, or so we hoped,” he said. “There was SO much stuff going to happen, some crazy reveals, the reveal of Bones’ past, just how he connects to Kate and Beth Kane, and a confrontation with Jacob Kane and his Murder Of Crows. Batwoman having the final throw-down with Batman. We were going to give large plot points on how Beth became Alice. Bette Kane a.k.a. Hawkfire shocked and horrified by something Alice/Beth does during the rescue mission. Ultimately bring the entire family to some form of a beginning to heal, and how Maggie would fit into all of this. Chase, seeing the horrors of what Director Bones is doing, was going to cause her to make a radical decision that would forever change her life. This was all set up after altering a major plot point to suit DC’s needs. We would’ve been able to end our run at good spot for the next creative team. But that must only be happening in some parallel world. So the first 7 issues of this fourth arc will leave the story in a sort of limbo and not fully resolved, at least by us.”

It seems unlikely that Williams and Blackman’s final arc will get any kind of real resolution — at least in the next couple months. Marc Andreyko’s “Batwoman” #25 is a “Zero Year” tie-in issue, and he’ll kick off his debut arc and new direction the following month.

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69 Comments

I am going to predict Batwoman is canceled by issue 32, caused by a mass exodus of readers. It’s never been a hot seller anyway, but this will push it over the edge. Andreyko will get one story arc of 5-6 issues (not counting this tie-in at the beginning) and then it will be done.
There’s a 50/50 chance they know this going in and just aren’t telling the readers this is the wrap up arc for the series.

not even letting the arc finish before showing the creative team the door?

You stay classy, DC.

I am probably the only person who is thrilled that Andreyko is coming on. The Williams art was great. The stories, not so much. Andreyko is a better writer than Williams and Blackman.

@Rollo Tomassi

Nah, dragging more in line with the Bat-books means it will gain enough of those readers to keep it going for some time. I won’t be one of those readers, mind you, but I truly don’t think enough people will mobilize to kill the book. Nor should they — Andreyko might seem like kind of be a scab in this situation, but he’s just trying to make his living and, I’m sure, tell the best stories possible. The way Williams III and Blackman were dismissed and treated during their run is bad, but Andreyko and Haun had nothing to do with that.

That said, I think the real crime here is that the run isn’t finishing as intended. As someone who’s been on-board with Batwoman since 52, and has bought and shared the hardcovers to spread the word, I’m upset that DC chose to just let these two years+ of storytelling…trail off. I’m dropping the book for that reason, and because more tie-ins are the last thing the DCnU needs.

“We apologize to you readers for that.”

Mr. Williams, you have absolutely nothing to apologize for. This is entire on the hands of DC editorial, who couldn’t have handled this worse. Why shelve a completed script? Why leave the story people have been following for *two years* unfinished when the creators were still perfectly willing to do so? Why completely crush the confidence your readers have that your serial stories–in this case, a story they’ve already spent north of $80 to read!–are actually building to some satisfying conclusion? And yeah, Marc Andreyko is a great writer, but why do this to him? Why rush the new creative team unnecessarily when you could use the buffer to start them off on the right foot witha fully formed plan in place? Why leave them with all this bad blood and fan frustration to overcome? I can think of no logical, creative, or business reason to do this. Is there any possible explanation other than spite?

Brian from Canada

October 17, 2013 at 10:06 am

@JasonGreen:

The bad blood comes entirely from Williams & Blackman. Go back and look at the sequence of events closely. It’s the WRITERS who run to Twitter when their script is rejected. Twitter response focuses on the blocking of Kate & Maggie’s marriage. No gay marriage becomes the lead story on the Internet. Corrections on gay marriage go out from the writers to calm the story, but it’s too late: the idea of anti-marriage is too strong and it’s going to reflect negatively on the publisher in the mainstream media.

Worse: Williams and Blackman also put the emphasis on editorial interference. Since DC values production schedule and keeping the books on time, they need to get a script in fast. Williams & Black aren’t getting the job done on time, so DC taps Andreyko to write 25. Knowing from their recent dealings with Perez and Robinson amongst others that it’s most likely Williams and Black wouldn’t be staying on the book beyond this arc, they decide to keep Andreyko on the book as the next writer based on his script for 25.

That led to Dan Didio responding to both problems with a statement at a convention. His reasons for the editorial interference over the marriage and happy ending are logical but poorly presented/defended. As such, it clearly doesn’t satiate the rabid Internet responders who are out to paint all DC editorial decisions as horrible.

More importantly, Williams/Blackman are doing nothing to calm the storm about the story change. Instead of saying it looks like their story is delayed by an issue, Williams announces via Twitter that their issues have been killed. Given that Williams & Blackman were already making DC look bad, and not making an effort to work with the publisher to end their story in a way that pleases the publisher, DC went with Andreyko instead.

It was DC’s decision to delay the ending to Williams & Blackman’s story until at least after the next arc. They wanted to focus on the new direction in hopes of attracting new readers, instead of zigging and zagging. Had Williams & Blackman stayed away from Twitter and the Internet, or been a lot coyer with their words, then things may have been different — but they didn’t. They blatantly made DC look bad.

IF DC looks like they’re acting out of spite, remember the importance of reputation in the marketplace. Bad press is best dealt with quickly. It’s no secret that IF Williams & Blackman were going to get their last two issues in edited form that people would be complaining about “what if”s and changes. DC had to go the route they thought was best for promoting the characters THEY own, not the writers’ agendas.

And, quite frankly, as a reader of the book, I don’t like the sound of what they were planning. Bones being connected to the Kanes? Chase making a career decision? Flamehawk reacting to what Beth does? Batwoman finally throwing down with Batman? None of those really help put the franchise any closer to where the rest of the DCU is going — and THAT was the biggest flaw in the series: it’s an Elseworlds story compared to the rest of the publisher’s output.

Quite frankly, Bones works best as an enigma. He’s a super spy and manipulator. Chase’s identity is wholly connected to the DEO and turning on Bones would be out of character and bad for a company that may want to use Bones more in the future. Flamehawk’s reaction is almost Batgirl-like (to her brother) and could damage the character for future use beyond what’s already been done to change her. And there’s no way in Hell Batman would ever fall to Batwoman in any way: Batman is superior because he’s the A-lister, and there’s no way DC would really allow that to happen. (More to the point: agreeing to fight Batman of all people really doesn’t make sense for Batwoman; Kate’s got to know that Batman’s the best chance for outsmarting Bones.)

@Brian from Canada

It’s thanks to creators that you get to read comics not the publishers, so you should learn to respect more the creators and pay less attention to editors and publisher’s excuses :) You can’t say it’s the creators fault for what happened, they were making their job, with the editor’s approval and all of a sudden the editor changed idea, it’s in their right to protest about it, because the editor behavior was unprofessional. You don’t green light a story, wait for it to be written and drawn and then change idea at the last minute, if you are a professional. In every professional field works that way, especially the creative ones. Only comics readers (probably the part of them that are still students and never worked in their life, at least I would hope) think the “it’s in the publisher’s right” motive is sensible in the context of a professional environment.

Williams should have considered this before shooting his mouth off about “editorial interference.” You don’t own the characters you are writing, DC does. Glad they showed you the door.

Not sure what the uproar is all about.. The art was always amazing on the title, everything else was sub par. Andreyko is a much better writer.

At most jobs, you end up doing what your bosses want. Why is this any different?

If I had a dollar for every time I thought my boss was wrong I’d be rich but I’d also be jobless.

Only comics readers (probably the part of them that are still students and never worked in their life, at least I would hope) think the “it’s in the publisher’s right” motive is sensible in the context of a professional environment.

That’s probably one of the most ignorant thinks I’ve read on here in some time.

@ Brian from Canada

You’ve got what happened all wrong. DC editorial approved their storylines, the solicitations for #25 and #26 had already been released. THEN they came back and realized that they have some kind of childish policy against marriage and un-approved those storylines.

At that point, the creators decided that they didn’t want to re-write everything that had already been approved and left. DC decided to shelve the already finished #25 to tie into whatever cross over is going on.

This is all on DC editorial being unprofesional.

Williams and Blackman quit, they weren’t fired. You can debate DC’s decision to through away scripts that were still in rewrites, but the fact of the matter is Williams and Blackman stepped away before resolving things.

And honestly, while the last issue was pretty exciting, Williams comments that they would have dragged out the fight over two issues, reminds me of the everyone’s perspective of the battle issue in the Medusa arc and how unsatisfying that was as a single issue despite the great art.

And DC continues to maim its own properties. It’s no wonder Marvel is having such a resurgence.

Hey PK it was their choice to leave at this point DC just let them. If they really wanted to finish the arc they could have kept quite until the arc was done then make their big hissy fit and leave.

Honestly I think this whole mess could have been adverted and it looks as though both sides are to blame for being stubborn and Batwoman not ending the arc properly. I look forward to seeing what the new writers do with this great character.

it wasn’t their choice to not have #25-#26 unpublished. It was their choice whether or not to be quiet. They chose not to be quiet and, by the looks of things, Fans lost out when DC, in reprisal, chose not to publish the last two issues of their story.

At no point did Williams and Blackman choice to not finish their arc. They chose not to be quiet and to ultimately leave. DC chose to be petty and kick them out the door even faster.

@KnightFire – Totally agreed. It’s amazing to me how many people seem to expect a business to continue working with people who have not only announced their intention to quit, but are loudly complaining about said business on social media. That’s just absurd. Even if JHW & Blackman were totally in the right, and DC was totally in the wrong, about whatever issues caused the departure, they can’t walk off the book and expect not to walk off immediately.

Sucks for the fans who don’t get a proper conclusion to the story, though.

yeah, the writing on this book was really subpar, while the art fluctuated from amazing to serviceable. Feel like the character deserved more, and we weren’t getting it. Not sure this change will fix that, but I understand DC’s call a little bit on this one.

@Brian from Canada: You can get a hack like Scott Lobdell, a company man who turns in his scripts on time all the time, yet churns out forgettable stories…or you can have Neil Gaiman, who was notoriously late with his scripts, and his work is still loved, studied and PERENNIALLY REMAINS IN PRINT after 20 years. DC pressuring Williams and Hayden to turn in a script on time is nothing more than a red herring and a strawman. Current editors keep jerking the writers around, changing their minds at the last minute, not allowing stories to organically develop. it’s DC and the editors who are the ones being short-sighted and unprofessional.

I think Williams’ “DC didn’t want us to portray a homosexual marriage” statement is merely Williams’ sour grapes and yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre. He wants immediate and emotional reactions against DC. He did it because that kind of a proclamation in today’s “hip” society gets immediate emotional responses against the accused (the implications of that is a discussion for another forum). I believe Williams was trying to get back at DC for a business decision. This is the kind of decision done by publishers that portends to the closing of a title. We saw this take place with DC’s New 52 Deathstroke series too. Liefeld was brought on..etc..etc.

Now I’m not a fan of DiDio or his “throw a lot of mud at the wall and what sticks we’ll keep” decision making style but the Batwoman book has been in trouble for a while. I’ve tried the title..it’s lethargic story telling and far too mired in Kane’s sexual orientation and relationships. At the end of the day…it’s a DC superhero book, not an “edgy” social activist vehicle. We’ve seen DC try the same thing with Gail Simone’s “The Movement” and it’s occupy wall street overtones..that title is also failing. Now..do you refrain from socially pertinent topics in a superhero book? Not since the 1970′s you don’t. But you don’t deliver it with a sledge hammer either if the book is not intended for social commentary. But look..at the end of the day it’s about the quality of the character and the story telling and Williams peaked on Batwoman a long time ago.

Look…business doesn’t have morals or loyalties…if something is lucrative it keeps it fed and active. If it’s showing signs of weakening it might get something to try saving the enterprise (this is what’s taking place now with the title’s creator changes). If that fails..the venture is ended..it’s just not worth keeping it going.

DC only mucks up their own reputation when they do stuff like this. Again, and again…

I have to say, though…the art on Batwoman is really lovely, but it’s often hard to read (dropping good panel structure in favor of illustration work) and the story was forgettable for me. I had high hopes for it, but never got beyond the first GN. I consider it more a really pretty artbook than I do a comic.

And DC does it again…..

I hate DC and their stupid editorial mandates. Williams and Blackman made the book and now I feel bad for Adreyko. It isn’t his fault he’s in a tough spot.

Charles J Baserap

October 17, 2013 at 11:49 am

People keep going off based on emotions, not common sense.

While DC definitely shares some blame, particularly by approving scripts and then reneging and the creative team is no doubt justified in being frustrated, you don’t air your dirty laundry in public and slam the people giving you your paycheck, period. This entitlement society that shirks personal responsibility is absurd. The creators took to Twitter to complain and bash their employer and I agree 100% that they had EVERY RIGHT to be upset…but they are not immune to any backlash for doing so. They handled it wrong. I want anyone here who thinks it’s all right to go online right now and bash their employer and things at their workplaces and see what happens.

ALL parties were complicit in this situation and had the team waited until AFTER the departure to give some clarification and voice their complaints publicly, I’d have more sympathy. But while I don’t support DC and their editorial interferences, I’m not going to cry a river for people who haven’t learned the lesson that hundreds of others have learned about being responsible with social media and employment.

And it was especially bad because they made it sound like DC was against the marriage because it was a gay marriage and THAT was what the press ran with, forcing DC to scramble to damage control, which was later helped by the creators clarifying their earlier statements and saying DC wasn’t against GAY marriage at all. But by just shooting from the hip and on raw emotions, that’s how the initial story came out and DC had to deal with accusations that they were being homophobic and that’s what happens when you tweet things irresponsibly. DC shouldn’t have the right to treat creators badly, but nor should said creators be immune from acting like children and not using a modicum of common sense with what should have been interpersonal dealings, end of story.

@Tel…

“…far too mired in Kane’s sexual orientation and relationships. At the end of the day…it’s a DC superhero book, not an ‘edgy’ social activist vehicle.”

Don’t beat around the bush, dude, your complaint is that the book showed a lesbian character behaving like anyone else. The last time Kate’s sexual orientation came up was in Rucka’s run with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Since then, Kate has been allowed to have an average amount of relationship drama for a comic book, if not less than average.

Your comment betrays the exact kind of homophobia and sexism that keeps miring this industry in the past, because you equate “treats a lesbian like any other character” with “edgy social activist vehicle.”

By calling DC on their shit, they create an environment where the fans are aware of what’s going on and whether they want to continue supporting these draconian and idiotic policies. Dan Didio boosted sales, and the fans have the right to know that it was done at the expense of any measure of creative integrity. DC is a bad place to work, and now everyone knows it. DC had fucked them, and they made the best of it by getting the story out there.

Brian from Canada

October 17, 2013 at 12:19 pm

@Matt: No, you’ve got it all wrong.

This was not a story fully approved. DC approves the general plot first — and based on the decompression of story that Williams/Blackman use, that approval would have been done close to a year before these problems. Then the editor approves the general plot of the story so that the pencil/ink work can be done before approving it and going on to the scripts. It’s around the time of the script that they may have gotten some look at 26 and decided it was clearly not going in the direction that was originally planned. Saying “whole new direction” and “major revelations” is one thing: ending it with the reward being given after Batwoman defeats Batman and then she going off to marry her partner in clear violation of the corporate policy is something different entirely.

What DC wanted was most likely a revision of the ending for 25 to lead into a more acceptable ending on 26. The writers chose to express emotional outrage to the Internet rather than work with DC, and that’s when the whole thing blew up. Editorial changes happen ALL THE TIME, though most are minor to help the story.

I say that Williams and writter that no one gives a shit about even regarding his own book, they jumped the gun too fast.

They could have say ” Hey, DC was cool when we said that Batwoman should not take part on Night of the Owls and Death of the (Bat)Family, and since Batwoman was not created by us nor did her newest run started with, maybe we should give them this one and we can make something different, I mean we are artists after all! We adapt!”

But nope, they were all ” DC didn’t wanted a GAY MARRIAGE!!! Go after them twitter people!!!”, next tweet ” Did we mentiohn that the marriage cancelation had nothing to do with the fact that the character is gay? I think we should have mentioned that earlier…yeah. ”

Gee, I wonder why did their last issues got canned, I mean with all that class that they are showing and all.

@Rob

Is it? I think what is ignorant is people that don’t care about who imagine and produce the things they like and constantly root for people systematically unable to respect their colleagues just because they mix up serial art with baseball and think publishers are the teams and characters the players. It’s really a shame that publisher are just companies, characters doesn’t actually exists and creators are the only human beings in the equation and also the ones who give life to characters, isn’t it?

Brian from Canada

October 17, 2013 at 12:32 pm

@JohnSmith: everyone’s entitled to their own biases and perceptions.

DC focused on 52 *specifically* because they believe that’s the number they think they can produce without going off schedule. Schedule may not be important to readers like you, but it’s incredibly important to retailers — and to digital subscribers, which is where WB wants DC to focus its attention because the old style brick and mortar stores are disappearing at a decent clip, never to return again.

Comparing Gaiman to Lobdell doesn’t work, since Lobdell isn’t pushing himself a celebrity with novels and TV scripts for top TV programmes like Doctor Who. Lobdell is a writer on monthlies because he can deal with the schedule required. **IF** DC decides to work with Gaiman on a project — such as another Sandman book — they will do as they did with Frank Miller and delay the solicitation until they are guaranteed the story will be able to come out fairly close to a regular schedule.

And you’re totally wrong about this not being organic storytelling. ORGANIC storytelling changes with every external factor. That’s something Williams/Blackman never did. They ignored every major event in Gotham City. Mad Hatter shows up in 23 after having a breakdown in Batman’s books, for example.

Which is the key thing. DC’s decision process — like Marvel’s — is to base everything on a series of core book events. (The difference is that Marvel has all the core writers work together and plan out the beats instead of letting editorial do that.) Justice League, Batman… these books’ events would have effected Batwoman’s ending dramatically, especially since the plot was submitted nearly a year in advance of this problem. Asking for changes to fit those is perfectly in keeping with editorial practice; it’s crying to the Internet fan base that’s not.

Brian from Canada

October 17, 2013 at 12:57 pm

@David:

In NO WAY is “creative integrity” a valid excuse for the intentional violation of corporate policy. You take the job KNOWING the rules of the game — and DC made it very clear where they stood on marriage between characters with Lois & Clark, Barry & Iris, Ollie & Dinah and other long-term couples. Yet Williams & Blackman deliberately made marriage their intended goal.

Fans do NOT need to know how “stifling” a handful of creators find DC: you have to be totally naïve not to comprehend that, as corporate assets, DC’s goal is to maintain its vision of where the characters should be. You don’t go to work for them and expect to do whatever you want with those characters and not run into those boundaries. Especially with DC rewriting the core rules for how their entire universe works.

Didio’s way of expressing himself may be poor, but he does have a point about the Bats: there’s a reason why those heroes put on the Bat and not some other symbol. It comes from pain. And you don’t just erase the pain, especially with a marriage that — as we’ve seen time and time again with Superman and Spider-Man — the next creative teams find incredibly stifling and work hard to avoid any way they can.

Perez went public with the problems over Superman to explain why Superman doesn’t function as a book. Rob Leifeld went public to justify his leaving DC — and that sharp turn in Hawkman came much faster and much sharper than anything Williams & Blackman are talking about.

What’s really going on is what Tel is talking about: creators yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theatre. They had to know from the Devin Greyson situation that Twitter leads to emotional pressure against DC. They had to know from the Orson Scott Card fiasco how much the gay card has a role in igniting those emotions. And yet they deliberately chose not letting gay characters marry as the symbol of editorial interference. Not general interference, not difference in where they wanted the characters to end, but gay marriage.

I don’t care how much they backtracked on the gay part — it was deliberate. It was calling out the employers. And while YOU and some others get outraged over DC’s role and response, put yourself in their place. Put yourself in WB’s place. It was public sulking to force DC to reverse their editorial position and this was one time DC was not going to balk because of the consequences. Allowing Kate & Maggie to marriage would be open door for Clark to suddenly propose to Diana or Lois, or Barry to propose to Iris or Patty, and then what happens?

Again: YOU may think it’s a harsh company to work for, but the reality is that you MUST play in the rules to use the toys in that sandbox. Whining about not being able to do what you want and making the owners look bad is going to get you sent home.

YUP this is what happens when you run your mouth and bash your bosses and employer. Maybe instead of trying to sway public opinion and try to make it about gay marriage he should have shut his mouth talked to DC in private about his concerns.

Not letting them resolve the current storyline is just horrendous. It pretty much guarantees I won’t be buying any Batwoman trades.

I was a fan of this book from the start….fantastic art and engaging story. But the story DID get a bit long and dull as the issues went on. I kept up with it and will give the new creative team a chance. If the art stays decent and the stories can become engrossing again, I’ll hang with it.

I’m glad their gone and now Batwoman can join the Batman family of books. They wanted to use the Batman name but have her stand off to the side of everything else it was dumb. I bet in the end the book sells more than it ever did before. Sorry their store didn’t get to finish like they wanted but if you want complete control of a character create your own characters. You WORKED for Dc they owned the characters if you wanted to keep working on the character you needed to do what they said.

Come on Marvel! The perfect artist for a new Doctor Strange series was just handed over on a silver platter by the competition! Lets make it happen!

Realistically though, it seems like a good time for WIlliams to move over to creator owned stuff. While I’ll admit Didio hasn’t been all bad I think it’s pretty safe to say things aren’t working out.

I continue to be stunned by the comments in support of DC’s utterly misguided and delusional corporate approach. There seems to be an attitude that we’re all born to be screwed by ‘the man’, you’re no different because you make comics, so quit you’re whining.
Damned peculiar if you ask me.

With DC’s attitude, you’d almost think they manufactured shoes. They seem oblivious to the fact that they’re in a creative industry; as sadly reflected in the current quality of the bulk of their comic books.

@drumansepic I don’t think anyone’s defending DC’s corporate policies so much as noting that a) said policies exist, b) DC has reacted to this the same way pretty much any employer/ client would, and c) the creators in question were undoubtedly well aware of all of that when they agreed to the job.

Any employee/ freelancer who terminates his relationship with a publisher, and then starts airing dirty laundry on the Internet, should expect that relationship to be terminated immediately, not in a few months. That’s not a “comics” thing, it’s a “having a job” thing.

Brian from Canada:

You are just assuming that the fact they talked about what happened is the reason they aren’t getting to end their run at 26. Maybe DC just thought this year zero would sell and that’s the reason Andreyko starts there. It’s not like Williams&Blackman would discard their final 2 issues for DC after this whole fiasco just to attach it to a crossover.If they stayed it would be to finish their run. A sensible thing for everyone from the outside looking at it. But DC doesn’t care about the integrity of the story. Not further then it being something that can make sales go up.

It would be different if the comic was ending but when it comes to switching writers and direction it’s not as important.

Now you don’t seem to care about stuff like that. It’s more important to defend the rights of DC and make us understand what a horrible thing it is to tell the truth. The truth has been shown to be statistically bad for business after all. Personally I’m much more interested in hearing what actually happens and being able to make a informed decision based on all the information made available for me. Not just the information DC wants us to know.

In the end I want to read stories whit at least the illusion of it being character driven and planned out. DC wants to sell comics. I believe there should be somewhere we can meet in the middle. I’m still holding out for that day to come in the 52DCU.

Allstarmatches – I hear you and I completely disagree. Creative industries get the best out if their producers, if they commmunicate efffectively and with a modicum of respect. In other words, like all industries. Just more so.

I admit to being a supporter of management best practice. I am happy and willing to criticise any management team that simply rushes for the bottom with lowest common denominator expectations.

I also note that you’re ignoring the specific circumstances behind Williams’ walk-out, which frankly, make DC look incompetent, at best.

DC’s contrary shutdown of this arc might irritate Williams but it really lets down the loyal readership. That’s just not good enough.

Brian from Canada

October 17, 2013 at 6:22 pm

@Malachi:

I do care about stories getting a proper ending. I do think it would have been best for DC to use the one month delay caused by the crossover issue to find an ending suitable to both parties.

But I *do* defend DC when NONE of what’s happened comes from their end. The accusation of story sabotage originated with Williams & Blackman. They opted not to go for a general dismay as Devin Greyson had done but instead aimed their criticism of DC (and by extension WB) on a specific story point that could — and was! — easily misinterpreted as being politically deplorable to the non-comic public. Saying DC is anti-gay on so close of the heels of the Orson Scott Card fiasco was punching them on the nose and WB/DC management HAS to respond. It’s corporate reality 101.

THEN, when DC opted to introduce the new writer, both Williams & Blackman announced they had been removed from the book instead of immediately trying to offer an olive branch to the company. THEY QUIT. The premature end of this arc is totally upon them and not DC because they had the option of coming up with a solution and chose not to follow. If I were Andreyko, I wouldn’t finish the JHW/Blackman story either: he’d be criticized for obeying the corporation and having no soul; at least this way he has time to find a suitable dovetailing while showing off he can write his own Batwoman stories.

And this b.s. of not being character driven is just that: b.s. OF COURSE it’s character driven! No matter the destination, the character determines the route. Andreyko’s route will intersect more with other characters, but the book is hers and the driving personality will be hers — every good to great comic writer… heck, every hack!… gets that basic concept.

In the end: it’s BUSINESS. Even in the creative industries that Drumanespic wants to claim are different, there are stories of creative types that lose their jobs because their disagreements with ownership go public. Megan Fox lost her job on Transformers because she equated Bay to Hitler in public; Ozzy Osborne deliberately withheld new music from Columbia because he didn’t like the way they handled the first release; James Woods just said he doesn’t expect any more work from Hollywood because he’s critical of Obama.

Why should Williams & Blackman be any different? What makes THEM so different that they can publicly humiliate a major entertainment conglomerate in the press and then be given free reign to return?

Brian from Canada

October 17, 2013 at 6:37 pm

@Drumanespic: we don’t KNOW the specific circumstances behind Williams’ walk out. All we know is that DC objected to the marriage of Kate and Maggie because their policy is not to have any single characters get wed in their comics for the foreseeable future. Didio added Bats shouldn’t have “happy endings” but that can tie entirely to the marriage as well.

IF the marriage is the only point of contention, DC is in the right here: writers of superhero comics routinely find it hard to keep marriages as a point of the narrative, leaving the spouses to either get pushed off to the side or disappear entirely — and that’s on top of the fact that New 52 is to make the characters attractive to film and television development, where most heroes start single because the romance angle is what’s used to satisfy female viewers (either dates or moms/older sisters accompanying the family, which are part of the two key audiences).

More importantly: IF the marriage is the only point of contention, it doesn’t make sense for the narrative because the courtship goes by too fast. And the fact that it’s a LESBIAN marriage — “gay” being present in the complaint rather than just marriage — makes it more of a social issue. I’m not homophobic (I have close friends and relatives who are gay and totally support gay rights) but I find the forcing of a marriage on the characters to be forcing a social agenda far more than organic storytelling.

Marvel got away with it because Northstar has been out of the closet for decades and it’s not his own defining element. They also established for years that he had a boyfriend on the side and they’d been dating for a while. In DC time, Maggie and Kate have been dating for… what?… a few weeks? They just moved in together and they’re going to tie the knot less than a month later? That’s not realistic for real people nor is it realistic for fictional people.

On the other hand, IF the points of contention go much wider, it shows a major misstep in communication about where the DCU is going between writers and editors. There, I would put the majority of the blame on the editors for not being clear – though I would say that the writers, in ignoring the rest of the corporate output, should have been aware of this.

Quite frankly, I think the calling of DC incompetent to be childish and naïve: Batwoman was consciously going against everything else in Gotham and the DCU. The DEO’s presence in Gotham was asynchronous with the rest of the DCU, the crises not involving Batman at all despite the presence of two prominent Bats in the city, and setting up a fight between Batman and Batwoman when there are NO grounds for it to end up this way is something that the editors have to reconcile to management but couldn’t.

Yes, it’s a total disservice to the readers. Yes, it leaves a distaste for DC’s handling of certain story arcs. But on the other hand, I’d counter the fact that this took a YEAR to get done and — with so many changes to the DCU during that year, including the creation of JLA and the lead up to “Forever Evil” — NOT being organic with where the rest of the DCU is heading really made it possible. Had this ending happened months ago, there might only have been an issue with the marriage; as it stands, I’m looking at the timeline of when this story would have ended (November/December) and am wondering how any writer would justify the sudden switch in Batwoman to where “Forever Evil” begins. It’s just not something that’s really viable… and “Forever Evil” HAS to supersede all because it’s DC’s first attempt at doing a major, Marvel-level event to charge the charts. No book, particularly one that takes place in Gotham during the takeover, can ignore that.

J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman should just go to Image and create their own version of Batwoman and tell the stories they want to tell.

@Brian – I understand your argument but why are you so “angry”?

The plain fact is that DC behaved with sheer editorial incompetence, to begin with.
Remember the context of the meeting Dan Didio & Diane Nelson had with their creatives only a few months earlier, apologising for previous cock-ups created by editorial? They assured them all that a new leaf waa being turned. That once routes of execution had ‘final approval’, that would actually mean ‘final approval’. So much for those assurances.

I just think that DC had an obligation to the readers of the previous six issues, to complete the arc regardless of their disagreement with J.H. Williams. If his behaviour was so out of order, DC could have simply followed that time honored american tradition; sue him.

Cutting this arc is a fit of pique. Now, that’s what I call immature. In fact, it’s downright amateur.

People just need to stop by Batwoman and/or DC to show their support. Things will then change real fast. Stop being zombies people!

@ Brian – just saw your 2nd comment to me.

You agree with me that editorial screwed up and call me childish for addressing editorial incompetence? Plain nonsense.

I love your expectation that creatives should be able to read the minds of bad briefing editors.

You’ve lost the plot pal.

Y: The Last Nerd

October 17, 2013 at 7:08 pm

In hindsight, perhaps Williams III and Blackman should have discussed their departure with their editors privately before making a public announcement on the internet. Then at least, they could have finished the story they wanted to tell less abruptly.

We can debate over who’s right and who’s wrong til the cows come home. The bottom line is this: DC has an intellectual property to protect and, at the end of the day, they cut the checks. The creators have a choice to stop accepting those checks and move on if neither side is getting along. The only losers are the fans. Period.

I’ve never seen DC being handled so poorly until these last 7 years.

Unacceptable.

Once again another conversation on this topic is highjacked by Brian From Canada. I wonder if he’s really Dan from DC.

Picked up issue 24 today and cancelled all future issues. I’m voting with my wallet which is about the only power any of us have in this whole sad mess.

Brian from Canada

October 18, 2013 at 3:50 am

@Drumansic: I am angry that fans believe they have a sense of entitlement that supersedes the realities of modern business. And, more importantly, I am angry about what that message says to younger readers and society in general.

THAT is the plot.

Even if DC promised to lessen the editorial control, you have to admit that at some point editorial has to step in to keep the book from going too far off track from the rest of the line or the corporate vision of the stable they have. When other writers in the past ran up against editorial — George Perez, James Robinson and Rob Leifeld being three key examples — they didn’t use Twitter and the Internet to create outrage in an attempt to reverse DC’s hand. Instead, the left the books in dismay and explained to the readers it was difference of opinion as to where the character was supposed to go.

Williams didn’t. Williams started a fire and then apologizes for the ashes.

As a teacher, I see this with teenagers all the time. They and their parents will bypass the system and run to the top with outrageous complaints in order to get what they want no matter the reality. And that to me sends a wrong message.

Because what happens if Williams got what he wanted? What happens if DC balked and reversed the decision? Another writer may push the envelope further with the fan base at his back and it can hurt DC worse.

Do the fans lose? ABSOLUTELY. And I am not — as momaw suggests — Dan from DC, trying to justify anything that hurts the readers. There should have been closure as soon as possible.

Should the fans upset by the premature end of the story be rejecting the book with their dollars? ABSOLUTELY. That’s the message that you send to DC you’re upset about the sudden switch.

But should the fans be expressing outrage over the way it was handled? That becomes a lot harder to me because MOST of the Internet discussion is biased by a lack of facts coupled with an absolute hatred of anything DC editorial. When this story first hit, people were calling for Dan Didio and Bob Harras to be fired; yet if they did the exact same thing with their own employers, they’d be kicked to the pavement faster than a speeding bullet.

There are right ways to do things, and there are wrong ways. Williams, to me, did it the wrong way and should not be praised as a hero for it. DC’s removal of the writers from the book are justified by business practice. DC’s refusal to continue the story and, instead, focus on something new (heck, an annual would be great to fix it all!) is a bad business practice on their part that should be seen as wrong too.

Again: I am not from DC, nor do I say that DC is right in everything. But Williams brought this on himself at the expense of the readers hoping for a different result, and he got exactly what he deserved as a result. It’s basic business 101 — plain and simple.

People should definitely STOP buying… If they want to no longer see a prominent lesbian character… THATLL TEACH DC!!

This is all rather silly. In any profession, management has the right to direct its employees’ activities, to follow its procedures and policies. If Williams and Blackman were professionals, they’d accept that and move on. Instead, they chose to quit, cry about it,in public, to the audience that would most likely react in their favor, as if the “outrage” would change anything. It was a bullshit move, and totally unprofessional. They are the ones depriving you fan boys of the stories and artwork. Whether DC told them “No” early on, or at the last minute, so what. That was their job. Do you really think, that’s the only book with incompetent editorial interference?

Whether DC editorial is competent, who cares? They own the property, they approve the stories. Everyone knows it, especially the people who work for them. I’m sure incompetent editors work at both houses. Does anyone think this doesn’t happen at Marvel???? Really boys, grow up.

So go vote with your wallet, go smolder in your basement with self righteous indignation. At the end of the day, it is a marginal title, that may or may not survive. It won’t be the first. It won’t be the last.

@Drumansepic –

“I also note that you’re ignoring the specific circumstances behind Williams’ walk-out, which frankly, make DC look incompetent, at best.”

If I’m ignoring them, it’s only because I don’t pretend to know what they were. I don’t work for DC or know any of the people involved. All I know is what I read on the Internet, and I know well enough not to take that as the gospel truth.

There’s every possibility that JHW walking off the book was entirely DC’s fault. He may have been entirely justified in walking away (and even if he wasn’t – it’s his decision – he can leave any time he wants to, with or without justification). But one can’t leave a job, burn bridges, and expect the publisher to wait two months to acknowledge that they’ve been burned. That’s just unrealistic. Put simply, if you kick up a shitstorm, you can’t act surprised when some of it blows back on you.

@Brian from Canada:

“(heck, an annual would be great to fix it all!)”

Isn’t that the obvious solution, at least to the problem of the story being cut off at the knees? Has DC said they *won’t* do that in this case? They’ve done it in the past, cf the end of Heinberg’s Wonder Woman.

Rather than being angry, and playing the blame game, maybe we should just be thankful that we had this creative run as long as we did. Issue 24 was fantastic and it saddens me to think I will never get to see the conclusion of this fantastic arc, however I will not sit and play detective to find out who is at fault. At the end of the day it is the fans who suffer, and neither creative team or publisher really is willing to compromise their stance for the good of the fans. That is their prorogative and in the grand scheme of things if I never get to see the conclusion of this arc I will go on and find other comics to read. There’s just little chance they will be Batwoman comics for the time being.

JH Williams III probably cost us seeing his concluding issues by airing his grievances on twitter. Whether we like it or not, DC reserves the right to fire a contractor and throw his unpublished work in the garbage.

I believe axing the final 2 issues was an act of retaliation by DC.

However, JH Williams III is experienced enough that he should have seen that coming. I don’t agree with the above posters who say “you never criticize your employer. Ever.”

Forget that! You have a right to call it like you see it. But, you also have to be realistic and anticipate retaliation. Even if Didio was a really humble, nice guy (wrong!), likely the executives he works with wanted to see JH Williams III eat some mud pie after the Twitter broadcast.

@ Brian. I think you are confusing two kinds of business relationships
That of a company and it’s direct, salaried employees as opposed to in this case, DC hiring a team of creative freelancers. These freelancers are asked to pitch for specific projects and if successful, hired to deliver said material.

As a freelancer, he has his own livelihood and rep. to maintain as he sees fit and this is his priority. The overriding wishes and standing of DC are not. This is understood by both parties.
He is not an employee. As I’m sure you’re aware, contracts, NDA’s etc. for permanent and freelance hire, contrast greatly. Hence no lawsuit in this specific case. So, in a real business sense, he is not beholden to them as you suggest. If he chooses to burn a bridge, quite frankly, that’s his business.

I agree with you on one thing only; the readership have been truly let down by this affair.

Everything I have referred to in my comments is sourced from quotes on record.
I have not made a single guess. I don’t need to hear further detail to be aware of either partie’s approach in this dispute.

You suggest that DC had no option but to dump this arc. Ridiculous.
They could have approached this problem in any number of ways. They could have kept the interests of their (not Williams’) customer base at the forefront of their strategy and thinking.

Empirical evidence suggests they were far too preoccupied with feeling indignant and wanting to retaliate. That’s no way to run a business.

Your forgiveness/ blindness to DC’s blatant lack of professionalism, whilst laying all the blame on J.H. William’s big mouth, is surely reflective of serious and in my opinion, unjustified bias.

@Brian
@John S
Why do peoples think Batwoman having her own storyline in her series prevent other book having her?
look at Wonder Woman&Hawkeye,having their own story didn’t prevent them to appear in dozen other books

@ allstarmatches – DC are entitled to feel put out if they wish, noted as they are for their fragility.

However, to place their ‘shitstorm’ implementation, the withdrawal of two issues’ worth of work to 2 x freelancers ahead of the interests of their thousands of readers is pathetic. More importantly, a terrible publishing decision.

Once again, thank you to Brian from Canada, for adding LOGIC and RATIONALE to these “discussions” (re: rants).

This “apology” from JHW3 is disingenuous, IMO. They brought this on themselves, by CHOOSING to walk off the book. DC did what they had to do, in order to take care of themselves and their product. They don’t owe these creators anything.

@ Drum:

I think you are looking at this with the emotionally charged perspective of an outsider:

“You suggest that DC had no option but to dump this arc. Ridiculous.
They could have approached this problem in any number of ways. They could have kept the interests of their (not Williams’) customer base at the forefront of their strategy and thinking.”

–Who says they didn’t take the readers’ interests into account? They have been trying to tie BW into the greater Bat Universe for months now. JHW3 refused to do that, and despite what you and a few online readers might think/say, that’s what the majority of the fanbase wants.

Thus, D has opted to kill JHW3′s arc mid-story, and tie BW into Zero-Year. BW has missed several opportunities for tie-ins and crossovers. DC has had enough.

Also, I notice that JHW3 was quick to run down what they had planned, but glossed over the changes that DC had been getting them to do in the first place. They have been going into over drive, trying to paint themselves as the good guys, and DC as evil. This has been one-sided from the start, but as usual, the “fans” buy into this stuff.

“Empirical evidence suggests they were far too preoccupied with feeling indignant and wanting to retaliate. That’s no way to run a business.”

–Empirical….. Riiiight. What this says to me, is that DC basically said “well, since you’re on your way out anyways, we can now do what we planned to do all along”.

“Your forgiveness/ blindness to DC’s blatant lack of professionalism, whilst laying all the blame on J.H. William’s big mouth, is surely reflective of serious and in my opinion, unjustified bias.”

–Says the person that is guilty of the same unjustified bias. You are no more unbiased than anyone else around here is. You have done what most of us have done, which is pick a side, based on how you FEEL about the situation, nothing more. You don’t have all the facts, you don’t have an inside track (nothing you’ve said here indicates that you do) on what’s going on behind the scenes, and you opted to listen to JHW3′s emotional rants.

The creators knew exactly what they were doing when they aired their grievances. They had already walked out of DC, and they explained why. DC’s decision to ax their already completed conclusion was petty — and probably cost the company more money than if they just ignored their freelancers’ rant.

Brian: “Then the editor approves the general plot of the story so that the pencil/ink work can be done before approving it and going on to the scripts.” hahahahahaha. What is this, Marvel in the 60s? You’re also way off on how editors and writers communicate.

Now what will DC do with the collections? Still publish Williams’ unfinished arc? End hardcover Vol . 4 in #24′s cliffhanger and never resolve it? Will be interesting to see.

According to the Amazon listing, that’s exactly what Vol. 4 is going to do… end on #24′s cliffhanger. Genius

Also, it’s only out in paperback, as opposed to the first three volumes that were in hardcover. So I’ll be putting my three hardcovers up on ebay this weekend.

@samurai36 – you can be assured that there’s nothing emotional about my remarks here. So, if I’m an outsider, I guess that makes you an insider?

Could you direct me to your evidence supporting your claim that the bulk of Batwoman readers want their title ‘brought into’ the Batman universe? Dare I suggest in advance that there isn’t any? Anecdotally, many many fans have voiced their support of keeping well away from th bat-verse. I am not so emotionally invested in my position, that I would make a stronger, unverifiable claim.

I have no objection to DC doing what they like with one of their properties. I object to DC letting downi everyone who bought the last six issues of Batwoman.

No, I don’t have all the facts. No one does. But, the facts that I do know, support my argument. DC could and should have seen the arc through for the sake of their readers.

It’s all very well to dismiss me as reacting emotionally, but you show nothing to support your claim.

@ Drum:

” you can be assured that there’s nothing emotional about my remarks here. So, if I’m an outsider, I guess that makes you an insider?”

–And insider to what? I’m an outsider, just like you. And that’s the whol point. You don’t KNOW any more about what’s going on at DC, than any of the rest of us do. Only the employees and employers at DC know. Unless you fit into either of those categories, and/or are allow to sit privy to the goings-on, then you are an outsider, like the rest of us.

And thus, you are making your statements/conclusions based on your emotions, i.e. how you feel, rather than what you actually know.

“Could you direct me to your evidence supporting your claim that the bulk of Batwoman readers want their title ‘brought into’ the Batman universe? Dare I suggest in advance that there isn’t any? Anecdotally, many many fans have voiced their support of keeping well away from th bat-verse. I am not so emotionally invested in my position, that I would make a stronger, unverifiable claim.”

I’ll admit, I’m theorizing, based on the fact that the Bat books tend to be consistently high sellers, while BW, which tends the be the odd-book-out, as it is VERY loosely tied to the other Bat books, tends to be a low seller.

DC figured it out with Batwing, and are now making the same efforts wth Batwoman.

“I have no objection to DC doing what they like with one of their properties. I object to DC letting downi everyone who bought the last six issues of Batwoman.”

–Then your issue should have been with the creative team, who forced DC’s hand, not DC per se. Again, DC hs a larger base of readers that it has to cater to. Have you seen the numbers for BW lately?

Whether you like it or not, the “everyone” that DC is “letting down”, is a small minority.

“No, I don’t have all the facts. No one does. But, the facts that I do know, support my argument. DC could and should have seen the arc through for the sake of their readers”

–Could have? Probably? Should have? That’s debateable. But I’m going to be fine with the direction they have decided to take. The “last 6 issues” of BW were frustrating to read, because JHW3 was all over the place, but rarely in the Bat universe. It was like Brian Azz, Jr. That does not service the universe that DC is trying to build, whatsoever.

“It’s all very well to dismiss me as reacting emotionally, but you show nothing to support your claim.”

–People like Brian from Canada (and a few others) have already made the arguments I would make here. But you dismissed them as well, and no less callously as you imply that I’ve done to you.

@samurai36 – I didn’t dismiss you or Brian. I offered an alternative viewpoint, based on available facts, that you happen not to agree with. And, that’s fine with me.

It’ll be interesting to see how Batwoman’s inclusion in the bat-verse affects sales over the next few months.

@ Drum:

Agreed. But if sales are boosted as a result of the inclusion, what will this say to you?

LOL….my that was quite the angry post there Stephen B (October 17 12:12).

Really Stephen? The last time Kane’s sexuality was a factor in the book was during Rucka’s run? Funny…this whole Williams brouhaha is allegedly over some proposed upcoming nuptuals between Kane and her girlfirend which Williams wants to make sure is portrayed front and center in the book and who she proposed to a few issues back after the whole “will they get together or won’t they”ongoing plotline, no? So yes Stephen..I’m right…the book is far too mired in Kanes sexual orientation and relationships. Even though Williams backtracked on his initial accusation about DC he wanted to make a point in the book of portraying Kane’s marriage to her girlfriend and how that plays out in issues to come. In the context of homosexual marriage, this is called social activismby the writer in case you didn’t know.

I’m not surprised at your reaction though Stephen, homosexuals have been made a protected a class and anyone perceived as disparaging that said protected class is be to attacked and insulted with the utmost prejudice. In “gay” circles is called “Jamming”. Look it up.

I made it clear in my post that DC is just doing business. I’ve seen numerous issues where DC is “proudly” displaying it’s “it gets better” support at it’s offices. DC made a point of making a big deal of Earth 2′s Green Lantern being a homosexual. DC clearly doesn’t have a problem with homosexuals or their causes so what’s Williams’ gripe? Clearly it’s a business decision by DC and I made that clear in my post. It’s a dangerous thing to create protected classes Stephen, you should remember that.

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