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Dan DiDio Addresses “The Batwoman Issue” on Facebook & I Agree with Him

Today, the team behind Batwoman quit the book in a public blog post that caused the internet to meltdown. Though most blogs, and many commentators, focused on the creator’s wanting to “gay marry” two characters and DC Comic‘s nixing of the plan, it was greater editorial issues that caused the departure, not this one thing. JH Williams III and WH Blackman in a joint blog post clearly stated:

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.

That isn’t one issue, that’s many things leading up to this and causing a public, ugly meltdown.

Much of the internet’s backlash was directed at DC Comics’ Co-publisher Dan DiDio. Many seem to have focused on him, blaming him for recent issues with high-profile creator departures. Those creators often point to editors as to the cause of the creative issues at the company that lead to those departures.

While the comic publisher has been having issues dealing with the public when it comes to these public changes, DiDio took to Facebook directly addressing the issue in a way that not only defended the company well, but explains the company’s position.

Many took this announcement as a sign that DC does not support gay marriage or gay characters. But DiDio defended the company, as an example in this exchange from Facebook.

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You could make an argument that Marvel has had more gay characters, and shown more progressive relationships, that publisher doesn’t have a gay character headlining a comic series or one for so long. While Kate Kane/Batwoman might be the highest profile gay character in the DC universe, the company has had a long history of inclusion of gay characters including Renee Montoya, a fan favorite character, who was also the Question in pre-52 continuity. Recently the company introduced a transgender character in the pages of Batgirl and that’s after their high-profile push of Alan Scott as the first gay Green Lantern. The company also shelved, after an online outcry, a Superman story that was to be written by Orson Scott Card who has voiced anti-gay sentiment in the past.

It’s not gays or gay marriage that seems to be the issue at DC Comics, but marriage in general. DiDio in another post on Facebook:

2013-09-05_2135There is the possibility that the planned marriage storyline for Batwoman just didn’t jive with DC’s long-term plans. The company in its New-52 reboot broke up Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane, not only ending their marriage, but ending their relationship. A reason given was the ability to explore other storylines and relationships with the characters by doing so. Superman/Clark is now dating Wonder Woman.

In the new-DCU it’s been five years or so, these are new heroes still settling into their roles. The engagement between Batwoman/Kate Kane and her love Maggie Sawyer has only been for a few issues. To have them marry so quickly just doesn’t make sense and also destroys the possibility of exploring their relationship as a couple while dating. As a whole, the engagement feels rushed to me. It’s not so rushed when you see the series as a continuation of the 2006 beginning, which Williams was a part of. But, all that came before the new-52 is no longer relevant (I think, it’s all so confusing really).

Here, I agree with DiDio. In this particular case it looks like the creative team was rushing things when it comes to the characters and moving things along. As an editor I would have stepped in too, in an attempt to stop it. When it comes to plot and story, I agree with DC.

The bigger issue is how this was handled by the DC Comics team internally as well as other previous changes. Were decisions and changes last-minute? Were decisions made only then to be changed? That, none of us know, we weren’t there, we didn’t have those conversations. Before people blow this situation up more, it seems the only thing DC is guilty of is poor communication.

 

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2 comments

  • That’s an interesting take. If you’ve read my Batwoman reviews, you’ll know that while I LOVE the character, I’ve been extremely disappointed with how the story has progressed. It’s pace has been glacial and frustrating, and the relationship between Maggie and Kate(so important in the last arc) has fallen by the wayside. I can’t decide if that’s because DC wouldn’t let Williams and Blackman write that story, or if it stems from a place of poor storytelling, but either way it’s annoying. I agree that the proposal was rushed, but I can’t help but think that had this current arc spent a little more time on the Kate/Maggie aspect, posts like this might be less common. However, based on the way the story stands now, I don’t necessarily disagree with you.

    And yes, it definitely sounds like DC handled this poorly. If you’ve got JH Williams III on your staff, why would you do anything to upset him? He’s without a doubt one of the most interesting artists working today. I”m sad to see him leave the series if that means he’ll never be on art duty again.

    • i think part of it is that Williams was still in the time frame of what was being done with Rucka, and not in the mindframe of the new 52. So while the story might have been years in the making, with the new 52, it’s been 24ish issues. Batwoman was supposed to come out pre-New 52, I think that’s part of the disconnect between the creative and editors in this case.