Wonder-Con 2010 redux
YOU’RE LIKE A KITTEN WITH A BALL OF YARN
I missed a big thing in my post of yesterday regarding the goings-on at Wonder-Con, so let me try to tie this up.
One of the most interesting developments from the show was the abrupt announcement that Greg Rucka was ending his working relationship with DC comics. And this is interesting because he’s been a quiet cornerstone of the company since he signed exclusively with them back in what, 2003? 2004? He was central (perhaps surprisingly so given his writing collaborators) in 52 and had turned in runs on all of the marquee characters at the company (as well as helping establish GOTHAM CENTRAL as a must-read book, alongside Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark and a host of other artists.) Most recently, he wrote and co-created the new Batwoman character with JH Williams III in the pages of DETECTIVE. This book, and I’ll go out on a limb here and say primarily because of JH Williams’ art, was one of the best that DC’s put out in the last several years. And we’re not going to see the story completed, at least as I understand it.
It’s easy to indulge in master narrative construction and say that it was an obvious move by DC’s newly-invigorated corporate ownership to move a quietly and stubbornly “controversial” author like Mr. Rucka to one side. That this is just part of a larger scheme to whitewash the mainstream DCU books and make them as uncontroversial and widely appealing to the largest number of people possible. And who knows, perhaps there’s a measure of truth in that. More likely, however, I’d bet that this wasn’t so much a conscious move to push Mr. Rucka out. Instead, it may have been a simple matter of finding that the stories that he wanted to tell were better told away from the strictures and structures of a corporately-owned franchise character (or characters.)
But either one of these isn’t a particularly rosy scenario. I mean, what’s Mr. Rucka done that’s particularly controversial (if that’s indeed the basis)? Suggested that DC should tell more stories about characters of nonwhite ethnic origins? Suggested that maybe gay and lesbian characters ought to be on an equal footing with heterosexual characters and not just a sideshow? I suppose that is rocking the boat, but not in a particularly violent or stupid fashion. Looking at this, it’s clear that Batwoman was his baby (if you’ll pardon the double entendre) and for him to simply walk away, drama or no drama, is not a small deal (even if insisting that it’s not a big one. However, if it’s simple friction in the day-to-day of heightened expectations on the basis of someone’s new boss, then that seems to me just as much a potential problem down the road as does being kicked out for being an agitator.
Either way, I don’t see it as a good sign for creative freedoms, in particular at DC. At a time when that sort of thing is needed most, to break away from the long period of both literal and figurative necromancy that DC’s been practicing, you couldn’t be blamed too much for thinking that this looks like another round of wagon-circling. Taken in conjunction with DC’s limited appearance at the show floor (as noted yesterday), it felt like a couple of big steps in the wrong direction. Geoff Johns’ genial panel presentations and new title notwithstanding.
2 comments to Wonder-Con 2010 redux