Opinion: Allowing Creative Freedom in Comics

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J.H Williams III Announces that he has left Batwoman over editorial decisions for her character. The internet has been roaring in rage over this, with many takes on the situation. Be it saying DC hates lesbians, DC doesn’t like marriages in general, or DC is hypocritical in their decisions. None are the real problem. The problem is 11th hour decisions. Decisions in which put writers in a situation where they have to rush to change something they put a lot of effort into. Something which was already decided on and something which they were more comfortable with that the editorial staff decided last minute they didn’t want to go through with.

That is NOT okay or fair for writers such as himself. DC has the right to scrap anything they don’t feel they are 100% on, but it should not be at the risk or expense of putting unnecessary pressure on the writer. This causes them to rush, and in turn affects the quality of their work. That is not something they should have to put up with when these are characters they were set with to explore. As J.H Williams III said; “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.” If there’s anything to take out of this, it’s that part right there. This is something that all writers would agree upon who have gone through a similar situation, and there are others as well. This is nothing new and it should be taken into consideration when editorial approaches them.

Stipula_fountain_penIt is Ultimately DC’s decision, but also their loss. One thing that made Marvel NOW! successful was giving writers and artists that creative freedom to do something new with characters and do what they felt most comfortable with them as well. It is all about approach and Marvel’s writers were given that opportunity to do such things without worry of eleventh-hour changes. In fact what you see from DC is exactly what Marvel did themselves and they changed that after 2003. This is something DC should take notice of and take a step back. You can’t dictate and expect all to comply as if they can’t be confident in what they are putting their effort into.

Aside from this fans need to take notice of the real issue as well because crying of everything but the actual issue helps no one. If you only read gay, lesbian, marriage, and so forth, you will only get something which has done nothing but create controversy where there has been none. Yes it overall brings attention to the topic, but not the kind that it deserves and DC and just about anyone else who does the same can slip through the cracks because of it.

The problem here is that this is not the first time something like this has occurred. Not being for the same issue, but happens none the less and is not good for business on their end. This has nothing to do with the sexual orientation or anything against same sex marriage, this is about creative freedom which DC doesn’t allow their writers. They might as well put the editor’s name over the writers with how they treat them for something like this to be such an occurrence.

Jideobi is the Comic Editor at Analog Addiction where he writes all things comics and comic related(especially if X-Men). Also follow him on Twitter @Siphen0.

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3 thoughts on “Opinion: Allowing Creative Freedom in Comics

  1. Great write up…the most egregious thing about this whole snafu to me was Dan Didio coming out and saying that Heroes in the New 52 “weren’t allowed to be happy”, that they were not allowed any kind of personal life and should always suffer, which is what led to this decision being made…first off, a good amount of the New 52 has shown characters leading a pretty miserable life, but they have had relationships outside of the tights, be it family, friends or significant others, which means either this is the approach from here on out, or DC picks and chooses which characters get a miserable life…either way it’s no way to tell stories about characters the fans have grown up with a grown to love…as a reader I want to see good things happen to good people…sure the characters get tested, and they have bad things happen to them, but when good things happen it’s that much more relevant…look at books like Daredevil and Hawkeye at Marvel. Two books that have been an absolute smash for readership, two books that are creative and upbeat…the only analogues DC has to these series are out of continuity books like Batman 66 and they are too few and far between…If editorial didn’t have such a strong reign on the characters and what happens to them, I think the talented creators under DCs umbrella would be happier, and in turn would make better books…Losing Williams is a huge blow for DC when they are literally losing talent left and right…guys like Soule, Azzarello, Pak, Lemire & Snyder are all putting out quality work, but readers just have to assume that their runs will eventually come to an abrupt and unfulfilling conclusion, because it has happened so many times before…at that point, DC aren’t only hurting their creators, they are hurting their readership….it’s sad that during a possible creative renaissance for DC, a handful of people are holding it back from being all it can be. Hopefully these things change, but these announcements keep coming.

  2. That freedom to do what is necessary for the story to progress in a natural organic matter is important as well as avoiding this 11th hour change.Marvel took a cue from DC when The New 52 started and saw what happened with Static Shock. If I was DC I would seriously reconsider what the editorial process is doing. There is a negative effect of bad news and this is making a lot of friends of mine to start thinking about droping several DC books from their monthly buys. Me too but for now i will wait and see what happens.

  3. Agreed. DC wouldn’t be publishing the character if there was some kind of anti-gay agenda. This skirmish between creative and corporate is just the newest in a long line of public fallouts since the New 52 began. This was the only DC book I was picking up (apart from the Unwritten from Vertigo), but they have convinced me that following their line of comics just isn’t worth it. I’ll be interested to see what Williams does after Sandman – I’m guessing nothing to do with DC.

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