Batman #54 is set to release September 5, from writer Tom King, artist Matt Wagner, and colorist Brennan Wagneran Wagner, who happens to be Matt Wagner's son. Well, it turns out that Brennan's colors were too fresh for DC Comics. So much so that he was removed from the issue. Which was about a father and son relationship.
Matt Wagner took to Facebook to say he's sorry he ever even took this gig.
Hey gang...sad to say, I've got some distasteful news to share. As previously announced here, I recently signed on to provide the art for an upcoming issue of the monthly BATMAN title for DC Comics (#54) from a script by Eisner Award-winning writer, Tom King.
Brennan Wagneran Wagner was, of course, enlisted to color as well. I finished work on the issue several weeks ago and Brennan was nearing completion on his end of things, producing his typically beautiful, thoughtful and evocative color renderings over top of my B&W art.
But just yesterday I received word from Batman group editor Jamie S. Rich that the DC "powers that be" found Brennan's coloring to be too different from their regular fare (because, y'know...different is bad) and so have decided to pull him off the book and have the entire issue re-colored by one of their in-house colorists—at this point, I don't even know who that will be.
Even though Jamie went to bat for us, claiming that both he and Tom King loved the way things looked...he was over-ruled from the higher-ups.
Tom's script is a heartfelt look at a father-and-son relationship and, rather than capitalize on the fact that they had a celebrated father-and-son art team on board for this issue...DC instead elected to fire the artist's colorist/son for producing distinctive work.
Needless to say, I thought Brennan was doing a fantastic job and think this is a terribly shoddy way to treat not only him—this would've been his first full-length job for them—but also me, one of their longtime and supposedly respected creators. Regrettably, I'm now sorry I ever agreed to this gig in the first place...because this is just f-cking bullsh-t.
This would've been a great selling point for DC. A comic about a father and son relationship by a father and son team. This isn't Brennan's first rodeo either with DC. ComicVine has him credited for 19 Batman covers, so apparently he was doing something right at some point. He's also done colors at Dynamite on Django vs. Zorro, Will Eisner's The Spirit, and The Shadow.
Editorial needs to let creators create. When the book's group editor Jamie S. Rich and Tom "I just won an Eisner for this shit" King are supporting the colorist, let the colorist do their thing. While Matt Wagner doesn't directly name the editorial higher-up, we hear that it rhymes with Man Midio.
Now if only we could see what those pages looked like...