One of the big news stories recently was J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman walking away from their GLAAD award winning run on Batwoman in protest of last minute editorial changes, and more specifically, centred on editors rescinding their approval of a story where Kate Kane (Batwoman) would marry her fiancée Maggie Sawyer. If you follow the comings and goings of DC, you know this isn’t exactly something new in regards to what goes on behind the scenes of DC Entertainment. Andy Diggle leaving Action Comics before his run even started, likewise for Joshua Hale Fialkov walking out on both Green Lantern Corps and Red Lanterns, all over alleged editorial interference. Sadly, this appears to have become standard operating procedure for DC. However, this time it ended up being something a little different and quickly spiralled out of control. DC not wanting their characters to be married became DC not wanting to publish a same-sex marriage, to DC hating homosexuals. Rubber-Baby-Monkey-Dishwasher. The batshit hit the fan.
Although Co-Publisher Dan Didio could have explained it a little better, he essentially said that it’s a line-wide edict that DC’s characters remain unmarried. Unless I am missing something, this is correct; the only exception being Animal Man (although he is currently separated from his wife). Lois Lane and Clark Kent are not only unwed, but also not even together. The classic marriages do not exist in this universe. This was apparently not enough for some who disgustingly took to the internet to not only express their absolute ire towards DC, but threaten violence and death against editorial staff members. Williams III jumped on Twitter to try and maintain some version of sanity amongst the masses stating “I’ve just been told that threats of violence have been issued toward individuals at DC comics. This is unacceptable. It needs to stop now.” He continued by stating, “To reiterate: Were [sic] NEVER told they could not marry because of gay marriage. AT ALL. Even if you question their motives, it is NO excuse to threaten violence. Expressing opinions should never be cause to threaten violence.” The fact that he had to actually go ahead and do that saddens me to no end. When it comes down to it, this isn’t a matter of DC being against same-sex marriage, or homosexuality in general; the real issue here is the inner workings of the people in charge at DC.
There are other ways to get your point across, with the old adage being “vote with your dollars”. Dork Shelf’s own Jay Batzner wrote about his disgust for the current state of DC Entertainment and is doing just that. Fair play for Jay on that one, and normally I would fully support him in it, but dropping Batwoman after Williams III and Blackman’s departure is not an option. As much as I wish the state of the world was different, and this did not need to be highlighted: Batwoman is a special case.
To boycott the Batwoman book over the alleged mistreatment of Williams III and Blackman would be detrimental to not just corporate comics, but to the industry as a whole. Though it could always be better, DC does a fairly competent job of creating gender-diverse books in their publishing slate with the likes of Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Katana and Birds of Prey (how many female-centric books are Marvel rocking these days?), Batwoman not only stars a strong female character in Kate Kane, but a gay one as well – the only one currently headlining a comic from a major publisher.
While I loved the work both Williams III and Blackman have produced— making Batwoman one of the most innovative books published today— DC is placing Kate Kane in capable hands. Marc Andreyko not only wrote the painfully underrated Manhunter series starring Kate Spencer, a female character as tenacious as Batwoman, but Andreyko is also an openly gay man. I feel he will be able to approach the character of Kate Kane from a place of understanding. On the art side of things, while I would have preferred the return of Amy Reeder (though I believe that bridge was burned a while ago), artist Jeremy Haun does lay down a rather beautiful page. It’s not the same, I know, but we will adjust. Remember, people thought Batwoman would nosedive after Greg Rucka left the character, and they were so very wrong.
I don’t just support Batwoman because it’s an amazing book about a fantastic character, but because I am a comic fan who strives to see the characters in the universes I enjoy be as diversely wonderful as the world I live in. To punish Batwoman over the mistreatment of the current creators by DC is not something I can really get behind, and losing the beacon of hope for the future of diversity in comics is not something I am willing to trade. A tad harsh, sure, but we all have to draw a line somewhere. DC will find some way to punish themselves at a later date – they have it in them.
Eventually DC will change their mind about marriage for their characters in general. One day (hopefully soon), Kate Kane and Maggie Sawyer will have their moment of nuptial bliss (and I will cry, I’m sure)… but the book needs to be around for it to happen. Think of it as supporting the character and what she represents, rather than the tomfoolery of DC Entertainment’s editorial department.
Where do you stand on the Batwoman debacle? Do you think I’m right? Wrong? Want to thumb wrestle? Let me know in the comments below or on twitter @ThisIsMyTruth