Greg Rucka and The Mystery of the Writer Who Just Said No

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By Todd Allen

ww225 200x300 Greg Rucka and The Mystery of the Writer Who Just Said NoBack in April, Greg Rucka abruptly stopped writing for DC Comics.  It was obvious something had just ticked him off, but as to what the problem was, it was a lot a like watching an episode of The Prisoner.  You’d ask why he resigned and you didn’t get an answer.  A little more information has come to light.

Rucka was recently on the “3 Chicks Review Comics” podcast, talking about the new volume of his Stumptown comic and at the end of the interview he said something I hadn’t heard him say before.

Here’s a transcription via DC Women Kicking Ass

I, at one point, was supposed to write Wonder Woman Earth One like they did with Superman and Batman. JH [Williams] was going to draw it.

So what happened?

I was told I was not going to do it. Dan Didio called me and told me he was giving it to someone else. And I said if you take that away from me I can no longer work for you because I have taken many a job for you, sir, on the promise of doing this and now you’re taking it away and I can no longer accept your promises any more. He had his reasons for doing it; this is not me throwing stones. This is just the way things shook out.

Now, not transcribed, the interviewers asked him if he knew the book was being given to Grant Morrison.  And the way Grant Morrison’s name was said came off, at least to my ear, as someone speaking the name of a deity.  There’s a pregnant pause.  Then Rucka grunts out an affirmative and, at least to my ear, it sounded like he almost said something else.

In Chicago, we would refer to this as having the job snaked out from under you.

Still, if you entered into an agreement to write an arc of Editorial Mandate Man in return for the green light on a dream project and you got snaked out of it, any person with self-respect would walk away.

Rucka tweeted that it was not the only the only reason for his departure.

Then again, there’s usually many reasons why a person walks away from a gig and it sounds like this was a major reason.

I was sad to see him go (Batwoman isn’t the same without him), but he was also talking about the real possibility of more Queen & Country, so “win a few, lose a few.”

Comments

  1. Please, more Queen & Country – prose too!

  2. Jeremy Holstein says:

    More Queen and Country? Yes. Yes, please.

  3. A pity. I’ve been looking forward to what Morrison has planned for WW, but don’t see why that has to exclude Rucka. Why is it that three new versions of Wonder Woman’s origin in as many years is okay but four would just be too many?

    I mean, I suppose you can’t call them both Earth One and that’s the coveted brand, but…well, Morrison’s a bigger name than Rucka; why not give Year One to Rucka and let Morrison’s giant name carry whatever other WW book you put it on?

  4. Dennis V. says:

    Thanks Dan Didio! Grrrr…

  5. Torsten Adair says:

    No Wonder Woman by Rucka, no Wonder Woman by Caldwell, no Wonder Woman by Hughes, no Superman by Waid, no Swamp Thing by Miéville…

    I’ll say it again:
    DC should transition to non-continuity publishing. Let someone pitch a six-issue series of a specific character or team. If the book sells (either as a serial or an original graphic novel), then the creator(s) continue on with more stories.

    I call this the “Everyworlds” paradigm.

    If it doesn’t sell, tie up the loose ends, and try something else.

    It worked for Shazam (by Jeff Smith). It worked for Superman (Morrison). It worked for Batman (Pope). It worked for Doom Patrol (Morrison). It worked for Sandman (Gaiman). It’s worked for every Batman cartoon since 1992.

  6. Thomas Wayne says:

    I agree with Torsten…smaller (6 to 12 issues) stories that don’t involve a set continuity is the way to go.

    On another note….maybe I’m alone here and by alone I mean the majority feels very differently)…but I would much rather have just about anything written by Greg Rucka over Grant Morrison.

    Case in point…during Rucka’s interview the interviewers (the ladies) mention Morrison as if he was completely at another level of talent over Rucka and everyone else.

    This is just plain wrong. Morrison has been great sometimes, good from time to time and ok most of the time. He is perhaps the most overrated scribe in recent memory.

    I have a theory on this..its along the lines of my “why does everyone start reading Twilight and those Shades of Grey books” at the same time. People want to be a part of a group…they want to feel like they are in the now. That’s why all these readers flock to the same book…not because they actually like it or get it…but because they want to say “yeah, I read that to” or “yeah, Im a fan”. I feel that Grant Morrison has this affect on comic fans. If you don’t appear to love Grant Morrison or worship at his altar you are not in that special little club. I truly believe this. No other writer in the last few years ( not Miller, not Moore, Bendis, anyone) can claim to be as highly thought of as Morrison yet Morrison at best is a really good writer. At worst he’s a hack who gets a pass because he can be a really good writer.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I loved his JLA run…it is easily the best JLA run ever and I re-read it all the time. But the Invisibles go from good to lousy from issue to issue…All Star Superman is (again in my opinion) the most overrated over hyped as great story in the last decade. His most recent Batman run was nauseating and Infinite Crisis was little more than bullshit masquerading as ego masturbation.

    I say less Morrison is what the world needs, and more Rucka. I’d have bought the Wonder Woman book if Rucka was writing…not Morrison. I may be in the minority, but in all reality, if I’m right, the majority likes Morrison simple because they want to fit in, not because they actually dig his work.

    Now I shall sit back and wait for the inevitable hate to be slung my way….

  7. Apollo9000 says:

    It’s a shame that Rucka doesn’t write for DC anymore, especially under these circumstances. DC’s (self-inflicted) loss is not the comic buying public’s loss.

    I’ll echo the adopting of a more stand-alone mini series format for Big 2 comics. Continuity for a line of 10 or more books boarders on pointless. It (along with other factors) stiffles creativity, which is still possible within what DC and Marvel essentially are – IP farms.

  8. Greg Rucka doing more Queen and Country is just a plain out win. No lose there in my opinion.

  9. mpneeb says:

    “Back in April, Greg Rucka abruptly stopped writing for DC Comics.”

    April 2010.

    http://www.comicsalliance.com/2010/04/02/greg-rucka-finished-at-dc-off-batwoman-wondercon/

  10. I will read anything Greg does, no matter who publishes it. If it is creator owned, even better. I follow the talent, not the companies.

  11. faustino perez says:

    @ Thomas Wayne – oyu’ll get no hate from me. I USED to love Grant – until I started noticing tics and motifs and decisions he’d invariably make as a story-teller and then went – “Where have I seen this before? OH YEAH – EVERY OTHER GRANT MORRISON COMIC.” (SHOUTING WEIRD THINGS! is only one of these things.)

    His JLA is AWESOME but hide-bound – I don’t like his Batman but I can’t bring myself to hate him. I LIKE his take on Superman, his iconic power and the goofy fun of it all. THE FILTH was interesting. THE INVISIBLES went from good to excellent to awful in the course of a single issue (or chapter, as it were. SBEASTIAN O, ST. SWITHINS DAY, I LIKE gRANT BUT … I feel like the best part of his writing is the stuff he didn’t actually bother to write. Like there’s missing pages that he gloats over at midnight on his Throne of Drugs or something.

    Never really read much Greg Rucka (a novel or two, glanced st some of his Batman stuff, not much else . I hear good things about Queen and Country? I dunno) but it seems in this case, they gave Morrison what he wanted and he had little to do with screwing Greg Rucka – Grant expressed an interest in Wonder Woman Earth One (which will be, presumably, the last of the Earth One Books, as Green Lantern, Flash, Martian Manhunter and (*shudder*) Aquaman hardly deserve hardcover prestige GN’s.) and DC/Didio said “Sure!” Thinking “I’ll call Greg. Or send him an email. It’ll be fine.”

    It wasn’t fine.

    There are more knives than pencils in most offices.

  12. b.t.t.c. says:

    Morrison is a far superior writer imo, but I’d rather Rucka got to do the project.

    IMO there’s just been far too much over-indulgence of Morrison over the last few years. I’m saying that even though I enjoyed Final Crisis. But Morrison’s ideas just don’t really lend themselves to world-building. You can’t use his stuff as a tent-pole of a universe… so why rest your Earth One version of WW on his idiosyncratic nature?

    The last I heard he was reading random outdated ’70s feminism screeds and looking for ways to shoehorn them into a Wonder Woman project that probably won’t come out till 2014. And I’m sure it’ll be… interesting and probably pretty good. But Rucka could have banged out the project years ago now, and his version would assuredly be more palatable to the bookstore-frequenting masses.

    Lately over the last few years Morrison’s mainstream superhero stuff has either been frustratingly average (Action Comics) or else plagued with delays (his Batman stuff). Meanwhile he writes treatises on superheroes that smack of historical revisionism and pseudo-academic quackery (Supergods). He’s the second-best comic writer of the past 30 years and I’ll continue to buy most of what he puts out, but over the last few years he’s definitely had his share of flawed work, and DC should stop indulging him so much.

  13. Nick Jones says:

    “I’d have bought the Wonder Woman book if Rucka was writing…not Morrison.”

    Ditto. Morrison’s writing is all over the place in terms of quality, while every single thing I’ve read by Rucka has been stellar.

    Of course, I must add that if it’s a choice between Rucka on Wonder Woman or Rucka on Stumptown and Queen & Country, I find the latter two vastly preferable.

  14. LobsterAfternoon says:

    Thomas – you might want to give Morrison a pass on Infinite Crisis considering he didn’t write it.

  15. Thomas Wayne says:

    Forgive me Lobster, I meant Final Crisis..not Infinite.

  16. Harry says:

    “On another note….maybe I’m alone here and by alone I mean the majority feels very differently)…but I would much rather have just about anything written by Greg Rucka over Grant Morrison.”

    No, you are not alone. I feel the same way about those two.

    And frankly, I’m feeling a little bad that I give money to Marvel for Rucka’s Punisher, but it’s so darn good!

  17. I think Morrison gets by a lot of the time because he has a reputation of really deep, cerebral stories.

    Like the Emperor and his new clothes, when Morrison writes something that doesn’t really work, we the reader assume there’s a deeper message, we just don’t see it.

    That said, I feel like Rucka, as much as I like his work, would probably steer towards a “strong, confident” definition of Wonder Woman, where as Morrison is more likely to strip away the idealized back story and present something that ties in to the much more interesting Amazonian-Lesbian-Bondage-Queen character WW was written as in the first place.

  18. Hi Todd, as the person who asked Rucka if he knew Morrison was going to get it I’m interested with your take that his name was spoke like a “deity” because that was the furthest thought from my mind.

    When I asked him Kelly and I were both shocked by what Rucka told us (as clearly it was something that had been heard publicly before). I asked him if he knew Morrison had gotten it because knowing you didn’t get a gig is one thing but knowing you didn’t get it and the job went to someone else is different. When I asked, Greg paused and reply shortly, “Yup”.

    Either way I am sad I can’t have Rucka’s take. As I said on the cast, I’d love to see a series of books where Rucka, Morrison, Simone and even writers not currrently associated with Wonder Woman got a chance on a new take on her story. (Although as I said that’s been the case for the character by editorial changes over the last decade).

  19. The “Emperor’s New Clothes” argument is infuriating. It assumes that your opinion (and the opinion of those who agree with you) is the only one with any integrity. Just let people like what they like without tearing them down.

  20. faustino perez says:

    @ RJT – “The “Emperor’s New Clothes” argument is infuriating. It assumes that your opinion (and the opinion of those who agree with you) is the only one with any integrity. Just let people like what they like without tearing them down.”

    Well … a lot of people like French cuisine. (I don’t) French cuisine has been perfected on down through the years and is a fine distillation of rustic, hearty foods and sublime flavour combinations. French cuisine makes use of various types of sauces – Bernaise, Hollandaise, etc – in many widely varied dishes.

    The reason French cuisine makes such extensive use of sauces stems largely from the fact that meat spoils and the storage of meat (or improper storage) leads to maggots. It’s hard to choke down dinner when it’s writhing on the plate in front of you, hungry as you may be. Back when French cuisine was developing, this was a constant hazard and so … presto! (Voila?) Sauces, of every description, for every taste (except mine, as I don’t like French cuisine. Or sauce.)

    Sometimes, Grant Morrison uses just enough sauce. Sometimes, too much. Sometimes, not enough and you can clearly see the maggots.

    (No people who eat horsemeat have any claim at calling themselves the bastion of civilization. THAT”S why I don’t like French cuisine. Likewise, I can no longer read DC Comics as their editorial policies infuriate me to babbling incontinence.)

  21. SCARCE- Xavier Lancel says:

    “No people who eat horsemeat have any claim at calling themselves the bastion of civilization. THAT”S why I don’t like French cuisine”

    Are we eating horses? Well, that’s news for me.
    Horse restaurants must be really well hidden…

  22. Torsten Adair says:

    Horse meat legislation varies by state. A recent USDA law allowed the existence of slaughterhouses (which do not currently exist).

    Mexico is the second-largest producer of horse meat, both for animal and human consumption.

    If you call it something else, like “basahi”, then people might not care.

    Yeah, it’s exotic to Americans. So is dog and guinea pig. But other countries accept it,and if you find it (heh) distasteful, then consider our consumption of cattle, which many Hindus would find upsetting. Or the non-kosher aspects of a cheeseburger.

    Myself, gustatoraly and literally, I like to sample all sorts of variety. I might not try it again, or it might be luxury, or it might just be something I don’t have an opinion of but will try again because it’s okay.

    (And yes, I’d try horse or dog or whatever, if I were in a region where it was common. You never know…)

  23. I agree with jimmy palmiotti to a certain extent. I am a huge fan of Rucka and have pretty much brought nearly everything he has published. Loving Punisher, and cant wait for Stumptown and his new Image series. But I WILL NOT buy any of the over inflated Marvel 18-20 page $4 Marvel titles. But thats more because I feel ripped off and with taking advantage. I will, however, pay $4 from an Indy publisher.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] as much as I’d like Rucka on that book. You can read more about this disappointing news at The Beat and Straitened Circumstances, which have commentary and links to the Rucka [...]

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