Just a half hour ago, W. Haden Blackman and J.H. Williams III posted the following message on Blackman's blog, announcing their departure from DC's Batwoman. The depature is attributed to editorial interference from DC, particularly in regards to being forced to ditch plans for Killer Croc's origin, changing the ending of their current arc, and prevented from showing Kate and Maggie from getting married in the book. As you can read below, all of the changes came at the last minute after a year or more of planning. The team will be on the book until issue #26. It's unknown what will happen with the book after that, and how it might affect Williams' upcoming work on Sandman: Overture with Neil Gaiman.
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
These problems has been going on for sometime, as we reported on it back in June. Of course, Williams and Blackman are the latest in a growing list of creators to quit a DC book blaming editorial interference.
UPDATE: Williams also posted the same message on his blog, but the site is experiencing some issues (probably due to the influx of traffic).
Williams also added more on Twitter, as fans and creators poured out their support. You can read that ongoing stream of comments there, but here's an important one:
And please stick with us through issue 26, we hope to give something strong in our last issue...— J.H. Williams III (@JHWilliamsIII) September 5, 2013
Thanks to intrepid Outhouse reporter Zechs who disturbed my viewing of the classic movie Mary Poppins with my kids and my mom, who is visiting, to publish this article. DC should get a counter reset just for that.
UPDATE #2: Steve Morris has covered the story over at The Beat, and he has some notable insights:
1. Williams mentioned that DC was more concerned about the "wedding" part of "gay wedding."
2. Williams is the artist on the new Sandman: Overture with Neil Gaiman.
UPDATE #3: "The Great One" Brian Bendis tweeted:
@JHWilliamsIII reach out when you are ready.— BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (@BRIANMBENDIS) September 5, 2013
To which Williams replied:
@BRIANMBENDIS Totally will, thank you. Sandman has a long way to go yet. But one of these days we need to do something. So admire your work.— J.H. Williams III (@JHWilliamsIII) September 5, 2013
UPDATE #4: Andy Diggle, who walked off Action Comics back in March, chimed in:
@JHWilliamsIII I feel your pain.— Andy Diggle (@andydiggle) September 5, 2013
UPDATE #5: As we mentioned in update #2, Williams said on Twitter that the part of "gay wedding" Williams thought DC objected to was not the "gay" part, but the "wedding" part. The Mary Sue has weighed in with a post about this, and the situation in general, which you can read here.