The recent JH Williams-leaving-Batwoman debacle is upsetting. It’s upsetting because it’s yet another high profile creator quitting a DC title (cue asshole Brian Michael Bendis cackling like the Wicked Witch of the West) and it’s another hiccup in the development of a great character. But it’s also upsetting because it’s a PR nightmare for DC. Why does Didio come off like such a massive heel? Why can’t Didio respond by saying the following:
“We’d love to see Kate Kane grow and develop as a character and surely a marriage to Maggie Sawyer would do that in spades. And we definitely support gay marriage one hundred percent and always will! However, as unfortunate as it is, we have storytelling across the board that must comply with the world that is being built in a shared universe. Right now, her marriage (and the Killer Croc origin that Williams wanted to tell) would not fit in with what we have in mind for the greater DCU. Maybe at some point further down the line things will be different. We have a blueprint for the multiverse we are building with the New 52 and certain things (including Kate being married) would throw a wrench into the mix. It’s nothing against Williams’ ideas personally. I would go into further detail about exactly why Kate’s marriage would cause problems continuity-wise, but that would expose story details that we aren’t ready to reveal at this time.
As the leader and face of this company, I understand and take full responsibility for the eleventh hour editorial changes and for the ostensible heavy-handedness in regard to our writers here at DC. Jim Lee and I will do our best moving forward to communicate better with our writers and artists in the future. We never ever want to stymie our talent or block their creativity. Nor do we want to drop a bombshell on them at the last minute. But due to the complicated nature of re-writing the entire line, turbulence and problems can occur during this “work in progress” era. Please know that the New 52 reboot is ultimately something we are doing because we love our product and our consumers. We hope you are enjoying it so far and we have big plans that I’m sure you all will enjoy in the near future. I personally apologize to anyone who may have been upset by the nature of Williams’ departure (and other recent departures), but please know that the ship is sailing smoothly and we are working very hard to make sure that everyone involved with DC is happy, including our fans, who are the best comic book fans on the planet.”
There. Now that’s Public Relations. DC should hire me. Or at the very least let me run Didio’s twitter. Hell, I’d do it for free! The ComicBeat compared Didio to Vince McMahon. And it’s totally true. He’s so cold and mean! Do I actually believe everything I wrote above? If the world was a better place then I would. But I know that Didio, since 2004, has made a perfect science out of selling comic books. The numbers don’t lie. Alternate cover stunts, arcs that feel like bad TV seasons instead of showing that the characters have much longer lives that need greater development than that, shocking deaths, summer blockbuster crossovers, movie and video game tie-ins—let’s face it, these are the things that have proven to be financial successes. Strong character development, cohesive and engaging narrative that moves forward and often changes the status quo, and allowing creators to do what they want—these make for good writing, but ultimately the average American doesn’t read comics for that. Hell, the average American will never even see my website or ComicBeat or even ComicBookResources or Newsarama! It’s a shit world, guys and gals. Are there any gals left? Or have they been driven away yet?
I get pretty steamed about this stuff, but it’s only because I love comics. More to the point, it’s because I love DC Comics. Why am I really mad? Because I’m tired of the Internet community shitting on DC and for Didio giving them so many reasons to shit on DC. And then instead of having some grace and some decent PR, he adds fuel to the damn fire. I’m not gonna be one of those trolling web commenters that says “lifelong DC fan, no longer buying any of your books, Marvel is doing better stuff now anyway, blah, blah, blah.” That ain’t me. In fact, that is almost as bad as how Didio has responded to the situation. I do read everything that comes out on Wednesday, so I am well-versed enough to say honestly that Marvel has been putting out better quality books lately. But despite that, I’m not a Marvel fan. For me I can’t just switch. Captain America, Spider-Man, and the X-Men just don’t appeal to me. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter. To me, those characters ARE comics. Period. And I love them too much and I am too intertwined with their history, whether or not it exists anymore, to drop them. I’m in it for the long run.
Hopefully something serendipitous occurs, because, boy, we all could use a little bit o’ something good to happen to this eye-rolling, head-shaking industry.
UPDATE: Didio’s latest in regard to denying Kathy and Maggie their marriage: “Heroes shouldn’t have happy personal lives. They are committed to being that person and committed to defending others at the sacrifice of their own personal interests.”
SHUT UP ALREADY, Danny Boy!