If there's one thing the head honchos at DC have made clear since the launch of the New 52, it's that they're not interested in creative teams. Since the first issues shipped two years ago, the line has been plagued with fill in writers and artists, and it's never a certainty that the names listed in the solicitations will end up on the final cover. The first sign of trouble came last April, when Chris Roberson very publicly quit the company over their treatment of creators, especially Alan Moore and Jerry Siegel. Then came Gail Simone's unceremonious firing from Batgirl (where she was rehired two weeks later after major fan backlash). But the latest blow to DC's reputation comes from three-time Eisner winner and artist of the upcoming Sandman: Overture: J.H. Williams III is quitting as writer of Batwoman, a character he co-created with Greg Rucka.
Williams pulls no punches in his announcement. He says that the creative team's motto for the book was always "No Status Quo", which apparently didn't sit well with DC.
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.
This is pretty shocking. Williams is a highly respected creator, but it sounds like DC has been treating him like a factory worker, churning out books according to a rigid specification every month. In sharp contrast, Marvel has spent the last few years promoting the men and women behind their books, and the strategy has worked well for them. Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca had a massively successful, Eisner-winning, 61-issue run on Invincible Iron Man. Kieron Gillen's Journey Into Mystery completely reinvented Loki (who he's now writing in Young Avengers with his longtime collaborator Jamie McKelvie). And Marvel's biggest critical successes in recent years have come from the stable creative teams of Daredevil and Hawkeye. DC couldn't keep Grant Morrison on Action Comics for two years. Much like moviegoers and television fans, comic readers are becoming far more aware and respectful of the people behind their favorite media, and it would be wise of the folks at DC to recognize that and act accordingly.