Why Andreyko’s Batwoman run starts with issue #25


After the semi-dramatic announcement (shown above, courtesy Graphic Policy) at the DC Nation panel at Baltimore Comic-Con that Marc Andreyko would be the new Batwoman writer as of issue #25, everyone was asking if it was really issue #25—two issues before the Williams/Blackman run was slated to end, two issues that apparently wrapped up their run in a tidy fashion. Later on, DC’s Dan DiDio confirmed to the Beat the issue number but explained why—the issue could tie-in to Year Zero, the year long Batman event—and “we wanted to give the new team every boost we could,” DiDio explained. “It seemed like the best way to launch the new team.”

201309091236 Why Andreykos Batwoman run starts with issue #25

While it’s easy to see how yanking the last two issues from William and Blackman might have had a punitive element as well, they did go out in bridge-burning fashion. So it can’t be too much of a shocker.


And Batwoman previously didn’t tie in or cross over with the Year Zero stuff, so this is a chance, from Editorial’s standpoint, to give the book a push.

It’s all a bit harsh, but this is the big corporate branding leagues, kids.

Meanwhile, it seems that marriage itself has been banned from the DCU, given DiDio’s “heroes can’t be happy” dictate. Mera and Aquaman, and even Apollo and Midnighter are now Just Very Good Friends in the New 52.

Which is all kind of weird because…well, just being married doesn’t mean you’re happy, as I’m sure a few readers can attest. But bickering married couples are the most tedious thing in the world to onlookers, because well, arguing over the tone of voice you used when requesting the garbage being taken out just is not that dynamic.

This would appear to be the New 52 version of the old Marvel formula of “heroes with real problems,” something that DC characters have never had such a great time explicating. Being single leads to all kinds of exciting and dramatic probems.

Meanwhile, Williams is a little sad but moving on:

Comments

  1. This makes perfect sense from a “how to manage brands” perspective, but zero sense from a “how to manage talent” perspective.

    INSERT SNARKY REJOINDER.

  2. So… Will #24 end on an unresolved cliffhanger? Will there be any wrap up to the ongoing storylines?

    It will be funny to see Williams and co win another Eisner for this series after all this mess.

  3. Had they not spoken out, might they have been allowed to conclude their arc?

  4. Quadruple H says:

    Win an Eisner? Here’s the dirty little secret of Batwoman and Gail Simone’s Batgirl…the writing isn’t that great on either book. At least in Batwoman the artwork, by Williams’ and others, was good. It sucks that they were dicked around by management but let’s not kid ourselves on how good these books actually are.

  5. Yeah, to be perfectly frank, I found Batwoman to be unreadable at times. I stopped reading around the time of the Amy Reeder “controversy”. Their second arc was a little off the wall and very difficult to comprehend. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the new creative team offers up a reason to come back. I want to be a Batwoman reader.

  6. filippod says:

    Switching creators, changing the story line and tying in the Batman crossover mid-arc might make business sense but it is disrespectful of long time readers of the series.

  7. “Had they not spoken out, might they have been allowed to conclude their arc?”

    Maybe, maybe not. But if Williams and Blackman thought they were going to be allowed to hang around for another couple of months after unilaterally announcing their departure apparently without speaking to Dido first, they haven’t been paying attention. I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s been clear since back to the Chris Roberson days that Dido’s policy on people who do that is “You say you’re going? Then you’re GOING.”

  8. @HHHH
    Things that suck win awards all the time. I’m just sayin’ that, if this series keeps winning Eisners and GLAAD and whatever else awards after the creators walked off/were forced off, then it will be even more embarrassing for DC.

    I say this as an objective observer who doesn’t even read BATWOMAN. It would be a shame if I did, however. To invest two years in a storyline, and then not have a proper ending to it… that would probably sour me on DC completely.

  9. Torsten Adair says:

    Hmm… Is DC following the template from Swamp Thing #88?

  10. Torsten Adair says:

    So, how soon before all of the New 52 titles tie into Batman, to give it a sales boost?

  11. ‘—the issue could tie-in to Year Zero, the year long Batman event’

    And it could do that two months later. I hopped off Batwoman during the Wonder Woman issues, but popped back a couple of months ago and things have improved. I’d like to see those last two issues – heck, maybe Bette can dump that awful Hawkfire name …

  12. Kate Fitzsimons says:

    … So DC is just going to waste two issues by this team, and fans won’t be able to see them? That doesn’t seem like a great financial decision… Is there any precedent for them showing up in the TPBs, do you think?

  13. Silly but True says:

    @TA

    Unlike DiDio — accusing the team of not being fresh and exciting — but didn’t Jeanette Kahn accused Veitch of deviating from the approved script at the last minute?

    That -would- be something that could reasonably poison the well, if true.

    Silly but True

  14. Meanwhile, it seems that marriage itself has been banned from the DCU, given DiDio’s “heroes can’t be happy” dictate.

    First, not to defend Dan DiDio (because I won’t) but I think he specifically said that the folks in the “Bat-family” of titles weren’t allowed to have happy personal lives, not that NOBODY in the DCU was allowed to have a happy personal life. The quotes I read were specifically about the Bat-characters and not about the DCU as a whole. (If he’s clarified that to include the whole DCU let me know, because I will add it to the pile of “reasons why Dan DiDio should get out of dictating how creative people write comics” that I keep in a corner of my soul).

    Second – DiDio is showing a complete misunderstanding of how pathos is effective in a story. If you don’t allow a character to have a rest from the relentless dreariness of their existence – if you don’t allow some happy moments into a bleak world – then you have no story beats. It’s just one note played over and over again. And if there can never be a moment where something good happens to a character there can be no surprise. “Next month something horrible happens to Bruce Wayne. What a surprise.” I mean if story is ABOUT the relentless darkness of existence fine – you might be in a Kafka novel or perhaps the movie Brazil – but in a bunch of books that are at least surface-wise supposed to be action-adventure stories about a group of people who put on masks and beat up bad guys, I’m not sure you can make the story about that and have it work long term.

    This is basically like the old post-Crisis mandates of “no alternate world stories” or “no time travel stories”. Stupid, overarching mandates made because editorial had done a poor job of brand management and allowed too many bad alternate world stories into the brand. And I expect it to last about as long too – at some point someone is going to come up with a story arc that requires Barbara Gordon or Tim Drake or Dick Grayson or whoever to have some happiness in their personal life for a short period of time – if only to wring pathos out of it when that happiness is taken away from them. But as far as stupid editorial mandates go, this strikes me as one of the stupider ones.

  15. Dan DiDio has dictated DC “heroes can’t be happy.” Well, why should they be any different from DC readers?

  16. Synsidar says:

    The quotes I read were specifically about the Bat-characters and not about the DCU as a whole. (If he’s clarified that to include the whole DCU let me know, because I will add it to the pile of “reasons why Dan DiDio should get out of dictating how creative people write comics” that I keep in a corner of my soul).

    Second – DiDio is showing a complete misunderstanding of how pathos is effective in a story.

    I agree with that, and your following comments, but it bears emphasizing that being gay, or being distinctive in other real-life ways, only matters if someone’s personal life is examined in some detail. Being a superhero is only a job, even if Marvel and DC choose to depict it as being all-consuming. If a story about someone devotes 85-90 percent of it to his work, the reader won’t get a sense of who he is as a person. A reader doesn’t need to learn that someone can be gay and also be a Marine, C.P.A., lifeguard, or podiatrist. Without devoting space to a character’s personal life, boasting about having gay superheroes is boasting about a label that means next to nothing.

    If Andreyko starting his run early means that an issue or two won’t be devoted to getting rid of Maggie Sawyer, I’ll be glad, although I’m dropping the series anyway. To me, doing stories that are written solely to get rid of unwanted characters, in fatal or non-fatal ways, is disgusting. If doing that is deemed necessary because, well, that’s how never-ending serials work, then that’s an inherent defect in doing a never-ending serial. Better to cancel the thing.

    SRS

  17. Considering the negative publicity DC got in the mainstream media over the gay marriage aspect of this thing, I suppose the early firing of Williams was inevitable. When the corporate mouthpiece has to go out there and do damage control over something you said, you should probably expect things to go badly. Still… It kinda sucks. When Williams was drawing Batwoman, it was great comics. I’ll miss it.

  18. “we wanted to give the new team every boost we could,”
    Translation: “These new second-stringers are coming in to do a rush job, so we figured that we might as well throw some cheap gimmicks in there, too.”

  19. Roberto Photos says:

    I can’t wait for Nelson, Lee, DiDio, Harras, and Johns all leaving.

    DUMB CUNTS

  20. Tony – My sentiments exactly.

    I’m enjoying the heck out of Satellite Sam and a bunch of other fun titles from IDW, Image, and Dark Horse. I’ve totally dropped DC for the first time in 35 years, and aside from some TPBs that reprint some older material (including yours), I’m not looking back under the current administration.

  21. Jon…you won’t find any of my material reprinted by DC. Outside of some online sales and the Doc Savage comics I wrote for Marvel, DC has never collected any of my work in trade paperback.

  22. Mikael says:

    “Dan DiDio has dictated DC “heroes can’t be happy.” Well, why should they be any different from DC readers?”

    So you did a survey of every DC reader and that was the conclusion? Call the heads of DC smug and boneheaded all you want – but comments like that are no different. Way to disrespect readers that may have just read some of your comics as well.

  23. Dan Ahn says:

    JH Williams won two Eisners in 2010 for the “Batwoman in Detective Comics” run. The actual “Batwoman” series only sorta won an Eisner once when Dave Stewart won Best Colorist (and he was nominated for his work on a slew of titles).

    “Here’s the dirty little secret of Batwoman and Gail Simone’s Batgirl…the writing isn’t that great on either book. ”

    Yeah, you can say that again. I’ve liked Simone’s stuff plenty in the past, but none of her Batgirl stuff has moved me. And JH Williams as a writer? Eh, not great. Actually, the second arc on Batwoman was absolutely one of the worst things I’ve ever read, and that is not hyperbole. A million time-jumps per issue for no reason? It was awful. The third arc wasn’t much better. Everything was so overwrought and overwritten, and only one out of every seven or so attempts at innovation between word and visual actually worked. Still, the writing on the most recent slew of issues had definitely improved — basically, because the writers were just doing basic storytelling, not trying to do all sorts of tricks and punch above their weight-class or whatever.

    I will really, REALLY miss the current Batwoman team. It was a very unique book and more often than not I could find something to like about it. But… the post-Rucka stuff not some kind of critical darling. Let’s please NOT rewrite history that way.

  24. Dan Ahn says:

    And, also, it’s laughable that anyone would expect to be able to call out one’s employers and overseers and expect not to be taken off the project in question as soon as possible.

    “My editors are AWFUL jerks who foul up EVERYTHING! … But I expect to be on the book for another four months.”

    Just, NO. Even if what you’re saying about your bosses’ failings is true — and in this case it almost certainly is — it’s insane to think that the editors in question are NOT going to show you the door immediately, not four months into the future when it would be more convenient for you.

  25. Silly But True says:

    @Syn:

    I wonder if there’s an even more disgustingly banal solution. The proposal happened in Batwoman #17. And it happened, even if they wedding won’t.

    Assuming it doesn’t get wiped away, what’s the shelf life of a perpetually-engaged Batwoman? The only hint of lesbianism — that DC trots out periodically — is to say “Batwoman’s engaged to a woman.” 1 year? 4 years? 10 years? It’s comics. Certainly, if this Batwoman is to be branded with certain defining characteristics, then she can be around 40 years, 60 years perpetually engaged.

    Hah. I’m sure that’s one route they’ll go with.

    Silly But True

  26. “I’ve liked Simone’s stuff plenty in the past, but none of her Batgirl stuff has moved me.”

    What I hated about the Batgirl Firing controversy was the way everyone instantly, and i mean INSTANTLY, completely forgot they’d spent the previous year complaining about the book’s quality, and calling Gail a traitor and an ableist and a sellout and god knows what else. It was giving me flashbacks to 1997 and everyone deciding they loved Princess Diana all along.

  27. tonyjazz says:

    I will vote with my wallet, so I will stop buying this comic. I do happen to have every issue so far….

  28. Silly But True says:

    I think what really moved people was Princess Diana dying in a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel in Paris, France after her driver swerved to avoid paparrazi and then struck a sign post at high speed.

    It was the worst case of car-pole tunnel syndrome the world had seen.

    –Silly But True

  29. Whatever says:

    How come when some scab writer comes in to take over a book in circumstances like this everyone is fawning all over the guy. Is it really that hard to find work in comics you have to do classless crap like this? Really is bringing your Manhunter book that, that important? I read it the first time but I definitely wouldn’t support it after this. Seriously how long before Kate Spencer returns….everyone has their price.

  30. Rob J. says:

    “Here’s the dirty little secret of Batwoman and Gail Simone’s Batgirl…the writing isn’t that great on either book. ”

    Did it ever occur to you that the reason why the writing wasn’t up to par on either book (and I am underwhelmed by both books) isn’t because of the writers but because of the constant waaaay-past-the-last-minute corporate interference?

    Lessee — Williams & Blackman, Rozum, Jurgens, Perez, Robinson, Liefeld, Ron Marz. After a while, a pattern becomes set and it becomes ridiculous to blame anyone other than the people who are running the business so badly for producing crap so bad that said creative types aren’t just too embarrassed to put their names to ‘em anymore, they largely walk off the books in very public instances of bridge-burning.

  31. @ Rob – I’m sure that played a part. But I think DC picked a lot of artists to write comics (Perez, Daniel, Van Sciver, Williams, etc) and they really didn’t have the ability needed.

  32. Adam Farrar says:

    @Zach, Perez can write. It’s silly to suggest otherwise.

  33. For all the hubbub surrounding the “impending” marriage, has anyone complaining about its “cancellation” been a reader of Batwoman?

    If you have, I really don’t see how you’d think this would be a successful, or happy relationship, and if you do, I’d love an explanation as to how. Really.
    One of the biggest curveballs of this series is Maggie saying yes to her proposal.

    I mean sure, out of all of Kate’s relationships, this would be the one that makes sense, and will be happy and healthy.

    After all, the DEO has been the greatest thing to happen to Kate, basically controlling her life, threatening her family, and working to bring down Batman (of course she’d invite Maggie further into that madness).

    The singleminded focus that let her be an absent partner and caused all those problems with Maggie before, that will be forgiven and never brought up again (Maggie’s a cop, she’d totally understand now that it’s all in context, right?).

    And there’s just, yeah, so much more, that unless I want to spend too much time typing, it’s pointless.

    Now I’m NOT saying I don’t want to see them married, just that I know it’d end badly, but I still want to see that train-wreck, because…drama.

    For those of you who’ve followed the entire run, please explain how I’m wrong (and don’t say that the fight with Medusa was so intense that this “epiphany” is the real deal, that she’d responsibly ask Maggie to marry her without even giving her the benefit of knowing most of her problems, and that she’s ready for this because…comics).

  34. Let’s get Desolation Jones back up and running.

  35. Silly but True says:

    Also @Zach

    The Batwoman writing team was comprised of JHWilliamsIII — an “artist” — but also Haden Blackman. Someone, who like Perez, has writing chops (nearly) beyond reproach. Additionally the guy has front office experience managing licensed product brands. He’s lead all manner of Star Wars projects including lead design, supervising editor, among various roles.

    I don’t see the outgoing team being the problem here. Especially considering the others they’ve run off.

  36. Snikt Snakt says:

    Roberto Photos, if you hate DC’s current execs so much & how they run the show, why don’t you respond w/your dollar$ and just no longer buy any DC books? That’s what I did, months ago…

  37. @ Adam – Go ahead and call me silly, but if Perez can write, he didn’t do it on his Superman run. I also tried his much-loved WW run from back in the day a while back and found it pretty boring. His art is off-the-charts good though, so there’s no shame in “merely” being an amazing artist.

    @Silly – whoever was writing Batwoman, be it Williams or Blackman, was not doing a good job. That first arc that Rucka/Williams did is heartbreakingly brilliant, while the issue of new 52 Batwoman that I tried was pretty meh.

  38. Silly but True says:

    @Zach

    Fair enough. New52Batwoman’s first arc collected TPB (incl #0) hit #1 on NYT bestseller list. The second arc was some (relatively) experimental storytelling, essentially telling six different stories in parallel with each kicking off at a different point of the arc. They received GLAAD nominations two years running.

    It may not be one’s cup o’ tea, but professionally, the team’s artistic and business performance was right where any publisher (excepting DiDio) would want them to be.

    Silly But True

  39. I sympathize with the creators but they mishandled the whole thing too. You can bitch about your bosses but bringing the issues to social media where only one side is heard and everybody jumps to conclusions and reacts isn’t fair either [fairly extreme with some DC people getting death threats. You want public sympathy while burning bridges, don’t cry when you are shoved out the door. I’m in creatives too and have had my share of meddling and fights but you deal with it like professionals not unless you plan to end the relationship, but be ready for the consequences. Also, my understanding of Dan Didio’s reasoning is its too soon for characters to be getting married so early into the new 52 launch which makes sense. From a narrative standpoint, marital issues can be somewhat limiting too. Married characters have a lot of issues but they would be boring to most readers, ever married readers. Single characters have far wider dramatic issues which lends itself to the super-hero books. Lastly, creators may have great stories to tell but the characters aren’t theirs. These characters are designed to last a long time and the creatives are responsible for making sure they can be turned over to the next creative team without limiting those creators story-telling options. Much as I love FANTASTIC FOUR, the Reed-Sue dynamic doesn’t get too interesting unless Reed is obsessed with something or Sue and Namor’s attraction is explored. Barry got boring because there’s not that much you can do with his relationship with Iris dramatically not unless you explore the darker side like infidelity. Ralph and Sue Dibny were great with fun cases but really reacted more to the characters when IDENTITY CRISIS. Ray Palmer and Jean were coasting until they divorced and Jean became a killer. Marriage is fine but don’t expect it to sustain long term story-telling. It’s good for short runs or done-in-ones like MR AND MRS SMITH. Lois and Clark actually kept things interesting for awhile but it eventually took a back seat to the main story because it wouldn’t be as compelling without a major conflict that may make the funny books too soapy. You have to balance the drama of the characters with the drama of the story. Major developments would need to be agreed upon as a total directional shift because it impacts future narrative. It’s the same mindset when branding celebrities and choosing the kinds of projects they will subsequently have. You want to open possibilities and not box them in.

Trackbacks

  1. […] You just can make this up. Yet more creators walked away from DC recently, and did so in a very public and outspoken manner. I am of course talking about J.H. Williams & Haden Blackman walking off of Batwoman. This in turn sparked all kinds of reactions from well thought out essays on how DC banning marriage is anti-character, to revelations of a saddening nature – Williams and Blackman won’t even get to finish their current story arc. […]

Speak Your Mind

*