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.
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:
There 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.