From his 2003 limited story, The Hiketeia, through to the end of his ongoing Wonder Woman series in 2006, Greg Rucka planted himself firmly in the minds of Diana's fans as one of the few writers to truly get Wonder Woman.
So naturally those of us who loved the work he'd already done were thrilled to here that Rucka would return to the Princess of Themiscyra (who was more representative than royalty when last he left her) this year.
Another name was also to be involved with the new Wonder Woman series -- Frank Cho, an artist known for his more cheesecake, pin-up style portrayal of women. And while his art is revered by many, he is sometimes dogged by controversy. Not long ago, Cho drew a sketch cover nodding to an equally-controversial Spider-Woman cover by erotic artist, Milo Manara. In it Peter Parker's Spidey oogles the behind of a suggestively-posed teenaged Gwen Stacey aka Spider Gwen.
Criticism was less about the pose and more about the subject in question, a teenage girl, and the percieved audience, also teenage girls.
Despite this, however, Cho was set to draw a whopping 24 variant covers for DC on Rucka's new Wonder Woman ongoing. Unfortunately, for Cho at least, this is not to be. After only three covers, Cho has left the series. And he hasn't been shy as to why:
"All the problem lies with Greg Rucka.
EVERYONE loves my Wonder Woman covers and wants me to stay. Greg Rucka is the ONLY one who has any problem with covers. Greg Rucka has been trying to alter and censor my artwork since day one.
Greg Rucka thought my Wonder Woman #3 cover was vulgar and showed too much skin, and has been spearheading censorship, which is baffling since my Wonder Woman image is on model and shows the same amount of skin as the interior art, and it’s a VARIANT COVER and he should have no editorial control over it. (But he does. WTF?!!!)
I tried to play nice, not rock the boat and do my best on the covers, but Greg’s weird political agenda against me and my art has made that job impossible. Wonder Woman was the ONLY reason I came over to DC Comics.
To DC’s credit, especially [Art Director] Mark Chiarello, they have been very accommodating. But they are caught between a rock and a hard place.
I just wanted to be left alone and do my Wonder Woman variant covers in peace. But Greg Rucka is in a hostile power trip and causing unnecessary friction over variant covers."
I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that, no, this isn't censorship. Censorship would be if Cho were forced by law not to draw or be forced to only draw a certain way.
Some have been quick to point out that Rucka's previous Wondie run featured Diana in plenty of suggestive poses. This raises debate over how much control Greg Rucka as the writer (and not editor) should have on this Wonder Woman ongoing series. It seems possible that, a decade ago, Rucka may have had less control over his artists. Maybe.
But in the here and now it seems all but certain that Greg Rucka does have a great deal of control over covers and interior art, and moreover that he is trying to keep both authorial intent and Wonder Woman's audience in mind while wielding that control.
For his part, Rucka has yet to make an official response. Should he do so we will update accordingly.
In the meantime, here are the variant covers Cho did finish. Whether or not they should be on DC Rebirth's Wonder Woman, I leave to you for now.
(via Bleeding Cool)