DC co-publisher defends those controversial Batwoman changes

Contributed by
Sep 9, 2013

Fans aren't happy with the way DC Comics has treated Batwoman lately, but one of the company's publishers is here to show us all the silver lining.

Yet another editorial-vs.-creative controversy ignited at DC last week when writer/artist J.H. Williams III and writer W. Haden Blackman announced they were leaving the acclaimed Batwoman title after the editorial department asked them "to alter or completely discard many long-standing storylines in ways that we feel compromise the character and the series." The controversy only deepened when it was revealed that one of the storylines editorial wanted to ditch was the marriage of Batwoman Kate Kane to longtime girlfriend Maggie Sawyer.

Williams clarified that DC's issue with the storyline wasn't that it was a gay marriage, but that it was a marriage in general, something the company has shied from in recent years, but that did little to diminish the criticism of DC. The company has dealt with several high-profile creator exits over the last two years, including those of Chris Roberson and Rob Liefeld, and the loss of Williams (who's won two Eisner Awards and a GLAAD Media Award, among other honors, for his work with Kate Kane) and Blackman due to editorial intervention only served to further convince many comics readers that there's something wrong at DC. 

So some of those readers, in search of answers or perhaps just looking to vent, reached out on Twitter last week to DC co-publisher Dan DiDio. A number of accusations and concerns were leveled at him, but he seemed to respond to almost everyone with the same general message: Change is good.

Here's DiDio's response when confronted with his own past promise to keep "stable creative teams" working at DC.

@RyanHigginsRyan A solid two year run plus sounds stable to me and change is good to bring renewed energy.

— dan didio (@dandidio1) September 6, 2013

OK, fair enough. Two years on one character at a major comics publisher does seem like a fairly solid run, but Williams and Blackman didn't get to finish their story due to editorial intervention, and some fans are mad about that. Here's DiDio giving basically the same change-is-good message to another fan who's a little more emphatic about his disappointment.

@cjt0805 actually we hope the team change can bring renewed energy to the series. Thanks, DD

— dan didio (@dandidio1) September 6, 2013

Sure, another creative team could definitely do something cool with Batwoman, and some readers are probably excited to see what's next. But what about letting an Eisner-winning artist walk off a comic because he couldn't tell the story he wanted to tell? 

@DaneHellyer @JHWilliamsIII Eisner or not, we need the books to be exciting, entertaining, and part of a shared universe.

— dan didio (@dandidio1) September 6, 2013

Setting the creator problems aside for now, what about the issue of how this affects Batwoman as a character? Kate Kane's homosexuality was apparently not an issue when DC editorial decided she shouldn't get married, but can't refusing to allow a gay character to marry still send a negative message?

@KevinBauer0 @DCComics @JimLee don't need to reconsider, we have supported Batwoman and her appearances and series since 2006. Thanks. DD

— dan didio (@dandidio1) September 6, 2013

OK, but what about the simple need for things to change sometimes? Dick Grayson grew up and became Nightwing, Barbara Gordon was paralyzed and then somehow unparalyzed, Jason Todd died and then came back to life. Why can't the DC Universe endure another character change like the marriage of Batwoman?

@KevinBauer0 @DCComics @JimLee given the longevity of our characters we can't progress in real time, its the same with all our series.

— dan didio (@dandidio1) September 6, 2013

 Well, DiDio definitely seems unmovable on all these points. Batwoman will move forward with a new creative team later this year, and she may indeed get some new and exciting stories, just as long as those stories don't involve her getting married.

What do you think? Is DiDio being fair, or is he just spewing company talking points? 

(Via Dan DiDio)