J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman's acclaimed run on Batwoman is coming to an end, as the writer and artist announced today that they would be leaving the title voluntarily, and long before their planned run was over. The two made it clear that they were not leaving because they felt they were done, but because D.C.'s editorial control had become too much to handle. The straw that broke the camel's back was that D.C. refused to allow Batwoman, Kate Kane, to marry her fiance, Maggie Sawyer, in the comics.
Just to make sure that's clear - they allowed Kate to propose, but not to actually get married. Apparently that's taking it a step too far. As detailed in their resignation letter, there were quite a few other issues as well, but that's the one that really sticks with us. Didn't D.C. just heavily publicize that they were making Alan Scott gay when they launched the new 52? And aren't they still reeling from their unfortunate association with Orson Scott Card? Why on Earth would they decide to censor a very well written character's marriage? From even a cynical point of view it makes no sense, considering what a big deal Northstar's marriage in X-men was, both in terms of eyeballs and dollars.
D.C. comics, ever since the new 52 launched, has seemed to have a problem with maturity. From the whole Starfire and Catwoman debacle to this latest craziness, they've made one decision after another that comes across as totally illogical. This time smacks of parent company interference - was Warner Brothers uncomfortable with a lesbian marriage?
Here's the full text of the note for your viewing pleasure.
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
Honestly, while I've never read a new 52 book, I think I'll put my money on their last issue in support.