Writer criticizes 'unethical' creators who went public with DC Comics beefs

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Feb 21, 2014, 10:22 AM EST (Updated)

Hearing comic-book creators speak out about DC Comics is nothing new at this point, but now one writer is recommending a more private approach.

In the two and a half years since DC Comics launched its New 52 universe reboot, we've seen several writers and artists leave the company or projects they were working on within the company ... less than amicably. Writers leave projects at comics publishers all the time, of course, and very often we hear no reason other than "it was time to move on," or no reason at all, but these particular creators left DC somewhat loudly, voicing their concerns online about the way the company handled their work and its relationship with creators overall. 

Among the loudest exits was that of Superman and iZombie writer Chris Roberson, who announced his exit from the company via Twitter in 2012, blaming the way DC deals with creators and the company's "general business practices." Roberson and his wife, Allison Baker, have since gone on to successfully launch their digital comics publishing company, MonkeyBrain Comics. Writer and artist Rob Liefeld's exit from his slate of New 52 titles a few months later was even louder, as he cited on Twitter the company's "massive indecision" and "editor pissing contests." Since then, Liefeld's ... well, he's just kept right on being Liefeld. Then there are the creators who left Batwoman and Green Lantern Corps while publicly expressing the fact that their versions of the stories they wanted to tell conflicted with what DC wanted, and in the case of Batwoman, it was a particularly controversial conflict. 

In all of these cases, the exits of the creators, and the fan reaction to said exits, were well documented via social media, often because the creators themselves wanted to speak out about how they felt DC treated them while working for the company. Many fans, fellow creators and journalists applauded these public exits, but not everyone thought the openness was professional.

In a new interview over at Nerd BastardsAll-Star WesternHarley Quinn and Batwing writer Jimmy Palmiotti was asked about his relationship with DC and his thoughts on just how serious these creator exits are. Palmiotti praised the publisher, calling DC "probably the easiest company to work for," and added that he believes such disputes between creators and editors should be had, but that they should not be had in a public arena.

"I’ve been doing this a long time and I understand that in the end, these are their characters and they can ask me to do whatever they like with them and it’s my choice to do it, argue about it, or leave. I don’t always agree, and I am vocal about it to them… not to the general public," Palmiotti said. "My relationship and how I conduct my work is my business. I think it’s really unethical to go outside to media or social media and start complaining and naming names. It’s not how an adult conducts business. I understand people being frustrated, but that should stay between professionals or friends."

Palmiotti also went on to say that the dramatic exits aren't just about airing grievances. To him, they're also about getting attention, something he'd rather devote to his work.

"I think a lot of creators like the attention and making a dramatic exit brings them attention. In the end, this is never the attention I want," he said. "I want people to focus on my work and the printed page, and not on me, my ego or how upset I am."

So, while a lot of creators have stepped up to criticize DC Comics over the past couple of years, Palmiotti seems to enjoy working for the publisher just fine, and his point about quietly resolving disputes might be one other creators will take to heart. What do you think? Is he right?

(Via Nerd Bastards)