Batwoman Creative Team Exits Amidst Gay Marriage Controversy

J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman have announced that Batwoman #26 will be their last issue, after DC prohibited the character's lesbian marriage.

J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, the critically-acclaimed creative team on DC’s Batwoman title, have left the title, citing continued editorial interference. The final straw appears to be DC’s brass squashing plans to show the wedding of Kate Kane (Batwoman) and Maggie Sawyer, an event that has been in the cards since February’s Batwoman #17 which detailed their engagement.This isn’t the first time that high-profile creators have walked off of DC superhero books over the last year. Gail Simone was “fired” and then promptly re-instated as writer on BatgirlAndy Diggle walked away from a high profile gig on Action Comics before his first issue even hit the stands, while Joshua Hale Fialkov did the same with Green Lantern. Rob Liefeld had a high-profile falling out with DC editorial on Twitter, and most recently James Robinson left his writing chores on Earth 2, and Kevin Maguire was unceremoniously removed as artist on Justice League 3000.What all of these names have in common is that they’re all high-profile, respected names in the industry, with signifiacnt bodies of work and/or fanbases to their credit. We’re not a rumor site, but if you didn’t see a pattern before, certainly you can see one now. Whether the problems stem from personality conflicts or business interests (the decision to interrupt a number of ongoing stories to showcase the Villains’ Month titles in September, or Batman: Zero Year tie-ins in November, may have rubbed a few creators the wrong way) remains unclear, but it doesn’t change the fact that there’s, at the very least, a lack of effective communication over there.It’s unclear whether or not this is politically motivated. DC hasn’t been shy about bringing LGBT characters to the forefront in recent years, even revealing that a relatively high profile character like Earth 2‘s Green Lantern, Alan Scott, is a homosexual. What’s revealing is the wording of the statement which says “prohibited us from ever [emphasis mine] showing Kate and Maggie actually getting married.” Given how uncomfortable DC and Marvel have become with high-profile marriages in recent years (they had spent a decade trying to figure out an appropriate way to undo the Lois Lane/Clark Kent marriage…and let’s not bring up Peter/MJ/Mephisto), this may have more to do with that than a political stance. Nevertheless, it’s unfortunate, considering that Williams and Blackman have clearly given this character their all. And really…good luck finding another artist like J.H. Williams III….The complete statement from Williams and Blackman is below. A hat-tip to THR’s Heat Vision is in order for this one, since, at the moment J.H. Williams’ website, where the announcement was made, is currently down. Presumably from an influx of traffic from readers looking to lend support to the creative team and the beloved character.

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.

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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

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