Updated: Williams and Blackman Walk Off Batwoman Citing Editorial Interference & Gay Marriage Flap
I woke up to rather shocking news, but the team of JH Williams III and WH Blackman have walked off DC Comics‘ Batwoman citing editorial interference. This past year numerous similar stories have come forth of upset creators clashing with editors, but this is the highest profile team yet to quit their book.
Williams explains on his blog:
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.
Thank you for loving Batwoman as much as we do.
Goodbye for now,
Haden & J H
Batwoman has been a nationally recognized book for its portrayal of the main protagonist, a gay woman. It’s won two GLAAD Awards for its portrayal of gay characters. Recently two characters of the same-sex got engaged with little promotion or fanfare by DC Comics.
We’ve spoken to numerous former and current DC creators and editors and all paint a picture of a chaotic scene with issues on every side. Senior decisions impacting editors impacting creators, creators whose egos have gotten to them and editors run amok. It’ll take a long time to set this train straight.
Williams has gone to Twitter to further clarify on the gay marriage issue:
I’m guessing there won’t be a third GLAAD Award in the future….
Update: DC has Tweeted a response: