Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Reader Question - Batwoman Without Rucka?


One of the biggest news to come out of WonderCon was that Greg Rucka would no longer be working with DC comics. Rucka has been writing Detective Comics ever since the reshuffling of the the Bat-titles after Bruce Wayne's death, starring the (relatively) new character of Batwoman. Batwoman was first introduced in 2006 during the weekly series 52, and got quite a lot of press because of the character's sexual orientation (more specifically, the character of Kate Kane is a lesbian), and DC has been hinting for quite some time that she would get her own ongoing title since then. That hasn't happened yet, but she starred as the main character of Detective Comics, written by Greg Rucka and drawn by J.H. Williams III.

Ever since the shift to Batwoman starring in the main role, the series has been critically acclaimed and won many accolades in that time, fleshing out the character and her history in more detail. For the most recent arc of the series, Williams was replaced by another artist (Jock), and it was widely speculated that it was because he was starting to work on the Batwoman solo series. The announcement of Rucka leaving DC to work on his creator owned titles and novels, has left the future of Batwoman in limbo. Williams has stated that he is committed to the character, so there is a possibility that he will work on a Batwoman series, but without Rucka writing it.

So that's the question for the readers, would you read a Batwoman series with Williams on art but penned by another writer? Who could, if anyone, replace Rucka? Let us know in the comments section.


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32 comments:

Ryan K Lindsay said...

I didn't pick up Batwoman, but it is a trade I am interested in. I won't speak specifically about this one lady, but I will offer a consistent argument, I would read Spider-Woman with another creative team. I love Maleev's art but I'd accept a new stand in creative team so long as they were quality. I guess this means, I'd probably read Batwoman with another quality team too.

It should be the quality of the tale we are interested in not purely the talent involved. Some will leave without Rucka but plenty should be fine to accept someone good coming on board.

Anonymous said...

Marc Andreyko would be the most natural and relevant replacement. That said, this is Rucka's baby and his voice will be impossible to replace.

It's a moot discussion, though. The homophobia at DC Entertainment will prevent this series from ever materializing.

Anonymous said...

It's a failing of DC that they couldn't keep Rucka on board, even though he states there is no animosity. To be honest, I'm surprised he's lasted this long as his talent has seemed to be vastly underutilized. Whereas Marvel seems to be pretty good at scooping up writing talent and supporting their development by a combination of high-profile opportunities and more passion-oriented projects, DC seems to just throw crap at the best creators with a few notable exceptions. I wouldn't be surprised if Rucka lands at Marvel at some point rather than DC if he reenters mainstream superhero comics as I figure they would be happy to have him.

Batwoman in Detective was a really unique blend of writing, art and design in which it was hard to tell where the writer and artist started and ended their roles. The fairly straightforward plotted belied a lot of subtle character work and pushing the narrative boundaries of the medium. After reading Rucka's commentary on how the creative process gelled together, it's no wonder why I had that impression. For whatever reason (be it homophobia or something else), DC seems to have yet-again failed to support a long-term project by bumping it here and there, which inevitably kills momentum and enthusiasm for the project.

Matt Ampersand said...

@Anonymous #2: Ohh, Marc Andreyko is a really good choice. I wish I had thought of it.

Jonathan M Perez said...

@ anonymous--

Uh, where is some solid, concrete evidence that DC as a company policy is homophobic?

When I was at Emerald City Comic Con (where Greg Rucka told me he was leaving Detective), at the Sunday Chat panel with Ian Sattler they specifically singled out Detective and how proud they were that the comic won a GLAAD award.

I don't think either of the two major comic publishers are really that progressive when it comes to their attitudes toward homophobia, but neither company is outright homophobic.

Matt Ampersand said...

@Jonathan: I agree with you, there's no outright telltale signs that there is homphobia at work here. That being said, a lot of the subtext and impressions do seem to point to that being a factor, at least that was my assessment from reading the interviews of Rucka and Williams.

There was clearly some conflict with Rucka, and it seems that the next story was going to be about Batwoman's time in the army, and her partner while she was there. Greg Rucka has openly criticized the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy many times in his twitter account, so I can imagine that the story would have been very critical of it. It is a very touchy subject, and something that the higher ups at DC would want toned down for one of their Bat-characters.

Like I said, it's all speculation and conjunction on my part, but I think it is certainly a possibility. In any case, I don't think we'll ever find out for sure what was the conflict all about, or at least not for many years.

The Dangster said...

Yeah people need to stop jumping to the whole homophobia angle. Rucka isn't gay and DC wouldn't have championed Batwoman the way they did if they were homophobic.

That being said, I'm outraged over Rucka's departure, I thought he'd handle the character further before someone else does it.

Marc Andreyko is probably the greatest idea I've ever heard. Kudos, I never would've thought of him. I would've put down Gail Simone and my guest wish would be Ed Brubaker (unlikely but they are very similar in style). In any event, the title has been extremely praised, so I'm sure a good name will come onto it.

That being said, regardless, I will buy it for J.H. Williams III's art. His layouts are out of this world and contribute well to the story. I will truly miss what was one of Rucka's finest works.

Jonathan M Perez said...

@ Ampersand

If Rucka quit because DC nixed/altered a storyline that criticized the army's Dont Ask Dont Tell policy then that sucks. However, I think that sometimes people forget that DC is owned by a HUGE media conglomerate--one that a single writer on a single comic book is a small part of.

Maybe a head-honcho type got wind of the story and threatened a line wide cancellation or something worse if an offending story was printed. Maybe Rucka quitting ends up doing the least amount of damage. Maybe DC is looking out for the best interests of the whole company.

If something like that is the case, I think it kind of sucks that DC didn't dig in their heels more to defend one of their creators, but maybe they did go all out for Rucka, but it came to the point where something had to give.

Im totally speculating here, but if that wass the case, it is corporate policy readers should be pissed at, not any percieved homophobia.

I'm unhappy that Rucka is not going to be writing for DC anymore too. But maybe it could be an excellent thing for the character of Batwoman if other creators can write her just as well.

Dream creator for Batwoman--Brian K Vaughan

Lucho said...

I wouldn´t buy a character as crappy as Batwoman.

DC must really focus in good characters or else... Marvel is going to keep kicking ass!

Andy Savage said...

I'd like to possibly see Warren Ellis write this. Could be good and I like how he's come up alot in my books lately.

Ivan said...

I'm not interested in Batwoman myself, but if you don't ellaborate on your argument people are going to think you're just trolling.

Ivan said...

The above is @ Lucho.

Phillyradiogeek said...

I also was very disappointed that Rucka is leaving. Batwoman's stories in Detective were some of my favorites of 2009, and I was looking forward to many more.

However, that doesn't mean it's over for Batwoman. Grant Morrison is also a fan of the character, and did a great job with her in Batman and Robin. I'm sure if no one else writes her, Morrison will, even if as a supporting player in the overall Batman family of books (which is perfectly fine with me).

Ethereal said...

I wouldn't read a Batwoman without Rucka. Just like I wouldn't read an Iron Fist without Brubaker, or a Captain America if it ever gets to that. The same thing could probably be said for Geoff Johns and the JSA or Green Lantern.

Melissa said...

Andreyko gets my vote.

Anonymous said...

Not reading a Batwoman book in the future because Rucka is not writing it is ridiculous. If you're only going to read your "definitive" writer for a character you're going to quickly run out of books to read as creators leave.

I don't think the homophobia aspect holds any water. Rucka himself said on Twitter that there isn't any conflict with him and DC and he just wants to move on. DC has trumpeted the fact that the book won the GLAAD award and has been critically acclaimed. The next story was also going to be about Alice and her origin rather than Batwoman proper. Do I think the next writer will be as good as Rucka? Maybe, maybe not. But to not give them a chance seems like you won't even give someone a chance at anything after a great writer leaves their mark. Rucka also said that while leaving the character was hard he believes he has created a great background for any future writer to use her (as Morrison already has).

Radlum said...

While keeping Williams is a good sign, I don't know if Rucka could be replaced. I don't know if any author would "get" the character; it is hard enough for established characters like Spider-Man and Superman, but for "author" characters like this one, it just isn't the same (has anyone wrote Runaways as good as Brian K Vaughan did? some arcs were interesting but not as good).

kareem said...

I mean, it had to happen at some point. Depending on who takes over on the character, maybe this is a good thing? I think DC will probably at least try out a Batwoman title, which in the hands of a competent writer could pull a Batgirl and surprise everybody.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

@Ethereal - I am saddened that you didn't give Iron Fist a chance after Frubaker left. Swierczynski did a pretty good job, though I felt he was hamstrung by the art, and I wish more people had given him a go. Just because Stan Lee had the definitive run on the FF, or Byrne, or Waid, doesn't mean you can't give Hickman a go. You'd likely miss out on something good otherwise.

Steven said...

Let Rucka leave DC, they haven't used him well anyway. He won't end up at Marvel, as I believe he has stated he found his time there a few years ago to be extremely frustrating. I'm sure he is leaving to focus on his prose writing for awhile. He'll be back.

I will be chomping at the bit for more Queen & Country myself. His best comic work by a longshot.

kwaku said...

Just for the record, Rucka already the Don't Ask, Don't Tell story in Batwoman. Maybe he was going to expand on that but we already saw her time at West Point where she had a girlfriend and was outed. She refused to lie about her relationship and was kicked out of West Point. As I said, maybe Rucka was going to go deeper into that storyline but I seriously doubt that he left DC because they wouldn't let him expand on a story he had already told half a year earlier.

Also I would definitely read a Batwoman book without Rucka or even JH Williams III if the creative team is good. I know Batwoman is their baby but sooner or later characters change creators.

Biff Henderson said...

I think it would be a wise idea if DC went with a writer with an established track record for intelligently writing Gay characters to take over for Rucka. To me, the obvious choice for his replacement is Ron (Rawhide Kid) Zimmerman!

Mario's Pizza said...

The campaign to have Ron Zimmerman take over Batwoman starts HERE and NOW!!

BT said...

My picks for Rucka's replacement:

Gail Simone
Eric Trautmann
John Ostrander
JMS

Matt Ampersand said...

I guess I should have specified, but I didn't mean it in a "WHO COULD EVER REPLACE RUCKA?!" way that no other writer is allowed to use Batwoman, but in who should DC pick if they are committed to publishing a Batwoman title at this time. I know some other writers are going to use her character sooner rather than later.

Also, funny thing about Gail Simone, someone asked her if she would replace Rucka, and she said that "Rucka was irreplaceable" or something along those lines.

grabbie said...

Batwoman in Detective comics was easily my favorite book from last year. Great writing and art. I would read Batwoman from different creators if the stories were worth telling.

I'm not sure how many people have been following Rucka's run on Action Comics. He was writing (and co-writing) Nightwing and Flamebird for I would say at least 12 issues now. The writing was pretty bad for Rucka's usual high quality and the lame crossover events didn't help. Every time I would read an issue you could tell he wasn't in his top form. This break could be exactly what he needs. I hate to see him go but if we get a better Rucka down the line, I'm all for it.

Servando Gomez said...

I didn't read Rucka run sadly on DC but if it means more Queen and Country then i'm all for it. Other than that, I wonder if this leaves him open for more Marvel work. If i remember correctly, didn't he do a wolverine run there?

Anonymous said...

Now that Rucka is gone, maybe we can get the original Question back. I have never been a fan of the revamp and would love to see an ongoing with the original character. I never bought Detective for Rucka's writing, the art sold the book.

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