Monday, September 9, 2013

Dear DC comics. I'm done.

Putting this out so fast, I didn't even make a new title card this time. Might stick one in later Warning: This one's kinda depressing at parts.

So, obviously you've read the title and are probably thinking, “Oh fudge, what has DC gone and done this time?”, or “oh fudge, what is she complaining about now?”
Well, this... this is a little different this time.
Honestly, I was originally going to put up something else here. As much as I didn't want to, I had resigned myself to the fact that I would be complaining about DC for a loooong time. They're ALWAYS in the news! This week, I was going to post a reaction video, where I would talk about all the little bits of news regarding the New 52 lately. Like the terrible Lobo redesign that made me rant on Twitter and facebook, for reasons even I don't truly understand. Heck! I was actually going to complement DC!
Yes! Amazingly, I was actually going to complement them on the stories this week! I only got to glance through a few, but I was generally impressed with the villain’s stories! Something that no one is talking about, however, is that the famous 3-d covers are TERRIBLE. They do not work and are incredibly blurry. I compared the covers to other 3d images, including one on a child’s notebook and the dc covers loss every time. The only image the really seemed to work was the Batman video game add on the BACK of the books.
Maybe no one is talking about that because of the bigger issues here: Not only did the covers cost more to print then they do to sell, (with many buyers just being collectors that are planning to resell them online for a higher price) but I found out that because of the limited printing, some stores don't even get at least one of each 3d issue! So people who ordered the books early don't even get one! (Though this is partly due to diamond deciding to give the US first dibs on the books).
BUT! I was so pleased with some of the forever evil books, I was actually considering purchasing the omnibus when it came out!
But... no.
Dc... has done something that... wasn't as simple as just the regular missteps. When I complain about dumb redesigns or sexism, or bad stories, I fill with rage. This... just made me stop and realize something...
I want NOTHING more to do with DC.
Back story:
Now that Demon Knights is canceled, there are only two books that I am currently reading by DC comics. All star Western and Batwoman. (Not counting vertigo comics). Both comics are filled with great writing, likeable, relatable characters and beautiful artwork that works with the story. And despite the fact that I criticize DC so much, these are actually two of my FAVORITE stories! I look forward to reading them each month.

The one arc that I was really excited about right now was in Batwoman. For those that don't know, Batwoman, Kate Kane, is not only one of the few gay characters in the DCU, but one of the few heroes in Gotham that were not trained by Batman. Kate was a soldier, kicked out because of Don't Ask, Don’t Tell. She was inspired by Batman and took up his symbol to serve her country and Gotham in another way. She has a fairly long history in DC for the last several years, and during the end of the last arc, revealed her identity and proposed to her girlfriend, Officer Maggie Sawyer. Right now, she's about to take on her biggest fight, aided by all of her family, including Maggie.
Not only is the creative team, led by Haden Blackman and J. H. Williams III, brilliant writers and artists, but they managed to create a very unique story with a good balance of action, romance and horror. All of the characters, even the evil ones, are relatable. Killer Croc is relatable. And it very much feels like a story about family. And you can tell just how much Maggie and Kate love each other, despite any bumps (or mountains) they hit during their relationship.
So, two nights ago, I look up DCWomenKickingAss and I find out that Blackman and Williams III have quit DC. The reasons? Because, despite over a year of planning, DC, once more, at the last minute, not only told them that the team had to REWRITE the ending to the latest arc, but that they are “prohibited from ever showing Kate and Maggie actually getting married.”
I... really wish this was a bad joke.
You can read the full letter here, but here's the chunk that caught most people's eyes:
Unfortunately, in recent months, DC has asked us to alter or completely discard many long-standing story-lines 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.”
I just... what? I...
What possible reason... could DC have for this?! DC screws over another set of employees, one of them an EISNER winner. They don't even get to finish the arc! A gay character is not allowed to get married in her own book. A title character is not allowed to get married in her own book!
Oh, but wait! it's been a few days since then. Lets see if DC Comics still has horrible PR!
Didio is not only fanning the flames with his almost insulting comments on twitter, regarding the issue, but then he stated at a panel that “Heroes shouldn’t have happy personal lives.”, which only brings up a WHOOOLE other can of worms! And then tries to stroke his own ego by mentioning that DC is the ooooonly company with a gay character with their own book.
Oh. Gee. That makes EVERYTHING better, now doesn't it?!
And by the way: telling us that the next writer for Batwoman is openly gay is NOT GOING TO FIX THINGS!
Lets see, shall I start with how LGBT characters rarely get any kind of relationship in stories? Or perhaps how it is unfair that characters are not allowed to be happy or get married? How Animal man's title was hyped because it was one of the few stories where the hero has a family? (btw, they screwed over that relationship now too)... But, did you know that not everyone wants to get married? Some just want the right. To be treated like everyone else and be allowed to be with the ones they love?
In fact, forget all the LGBT stuff for the moment and think about what this means. That NONE of the heroes at DC comics are allowed to have a happy ending! I know that Marvel has pulled this “no marriages” bull too, but Marvel still has marriages and characters with happy lives and family that they care about. Dan Didio doesn't think that any heroes should have any of that. Ever.
Well. I guess now we know how the twilight inspired Superman/wonder woman book is going to end! (can you hear the bitterness in my voice yet?)
Comic books do not always need to have happy endings, kind characters or sunshine, rainbows and lollipops. Heck, there are hundreds of award winning, successful stories that have unhappy endings. And ya, sometimes it is the journey, not the destination but... COME ON. Why would you cut off so many possibilities for a story like that! What's the point of reading a story, when we know that no matter what the characters go through, no matter what growth they have, things will always end up bad for them? That even when a hero wins a fight against the bad guy, they still lose. Every. Time.
Kate is a character that I care about. She inspires me. She never wanted to hide herself from her family, whether it was her sexuality or her work as Batwoman. And when she did reveal everything, you know what? They ACCEPTED her! Everything about her! Even her stepmother, who she barely knows.
Do you understand just how relieving and amazing that is to me, not just as someone who is bi, but someone who had to grow up hiding almost everything about herself because of the people I had to deal with in school? I thought I was a freak because I thought and acted differently then everyone else, whether it be from my learning disorders or my interests. Thank god that I have family & friends that loves and accepts me, but dealing with everyone else in the world is another story!
And what about the creators of the book, who put so much into Kate's story?
I'll tell you something someone told me when I complained about the last time DC stabbed a creator in the back. They said that the writers are hired by the company and are using that companies characters. They work for the company and should do what they are told.
But this is not creators refusing to do the job they were hired for. This is creators doing exactly what they were hired for, were given the okay for a story that was planned months to over a year in advanced, and at the LAST minute, they are told not only to change everything, but must change the story in the way that it harms the character. That is not a creator not doing their job, that is a company abusing their power and stabbing a creator in the back.
And this isn't the first time DC has done this! Greg Rucka, another great, famous writer, was part of the original Batwoman writing team. He was promised by DC that he would get to write Wonder Woman year one. He did several jobs in exchange. And then they gave it to someone else. So he left. Gail Simone was fired in an email because she didn't want to bow to DC's whims at a last minute story change. And then rehired because, sometimes, fan rage actually does work. Editors rewritings stories instead of just editing! Sending people on an employee retreat that didn't work at all. Here. Here’sa list someone put together of some of the people who left DC.
A month ago, Dan Didio had the NERVE to say that changes to creative teams like this are normal. And then blamed SOCIAL MEDIA for DC's poor image.
Didio... Social media is all you HAVE! You don't. Stop. Talking! Every day you keep putting your foot further and further into your mouth and expect people not to report on it? Or maybe you mean that thanks to social media, we now know the bull you keep pulling on your creative teams!
DC continues to sound like a TERRIBLE place to work. If DC called me up right now and asked, “would you like to work for us?”, I would refuse! Even if it meant putting them on my resume! Why would I work for a company that I openly know has a high chance of screwing me over!?
Guys, with all my criticisms, it takes a lot to make me actually hate someone. To actually go out and insult them. Because I know that for all the bad stories, & different opinions, there is a person behind the words, that could be a really nice person. And who knows, maybe Didio isn't behind THIS editorial bull and he's just trying to clean up this mess the best he can.
That said...
Dan Didio. YOU ARE AN FUGGIN' IDIOT. You are egotistic scum. You have no business sense. You have no idea how to run your company! You treat your employees, distributes and retailers unfairly. You insult and patronize customers who have come to you with questions or concerns. And let's go ahead and add Jim Lee since he's been doing the same thing! Stop patronizing people!
Y'know why I criticize DC so much? Because there are good, talented people working there and I believed in the company.
But I don't believe in it anymore.
Guys. I have been complaining. About the same things. For two years!.
And everyday, DC Comics sound more and more like everything I have heard about the Speculator bubble in the 90s that led to Marvel going bankrupt! I wasn't in the western comics scene at the time. But most of it came down to mistreatment of creator rights, gimmicks and merchandise used to attract collectors, instead of focusing on over actual content. Making all characters the same, dark character no one wants. Sound familiar?
The people in charge of DC Comics obviously doesn’t want to change. They don't want to take any criticisms. They don't even pay attention to the things people like them for. They don't want my business. All the want is my money. They continue to suck all the fun and joy out of comics and the comic experience. All they think about now, all Dan Didio thinks about now, is what Dan Didio thinks. And I'm tired of giving them both my time and money.
DC comics and those who run it are greedy, petulant, attention grabbing children that should be ignored. So I'm not going to give them the time of day anymore. I'm not even going to talk about the Harley Quinn debacle. I'm too exhausted and frankly, DC's terrible PR is doing my job for me. (Do NOT look up the Harley Quinn debacle, if you are sensitive to Trigger Warnings!)
What I do next... I don't know. It would be easy for me to burn those last DC bridges. But I don't think a simple boycott will be nearly as effective as I would want it to be. I want to support the good creators without also giving money to a company that abuse their power on employees and treat their customers like crud. I also don't want to wait around to see who gets screwed next. It's not an easy decision to make and definitely needs some thinking.
Next time I will have something a lot more cheerful up. But for now, I will leave you with this:
Comic books are about new possibilities. Trying out a book that you have never tried before-- Maybe it's won't be very good. Maybe terrible. But it might also be something amazing and defining for you. That's part of the risk. A well done story and well written characters can leave a lasting impression on you. Sometimes inspire you. They can take you to a new world and open your eyes to things you once didn't think could be tangible. Even if the book doesn't have a happy ending, it could still end up being worth while. Once, comics could never be considered art. That something that mixed drawing and writing could not be considered worthwhile. They were once burned because they were considered “evil”. But through everything, a new possibility rose up. We had the underground comics. We had Eisner and Jack Kirby. We still have Stan Lee, Art Spiegelman, Alex Ross, The Gutters, J H William III, Haden Blackman, Joe England, Neil Gaiman, Hiromu Arakawa, Norihiro Yagi and a hundred others. Comics are now in more stores and online, where it's easy to get to. Comics are in the movies. Comics break barriers of all kinds and will continue to do so, no matter what the naysayers in the big offices think. That's why I draw and write comics. Because I want to leave that impression with someone. I want to cheer people up when they are sad, give them terror when they want that thrill, & bring them believable characters that they feel for and perhaps look up too, like other creators did for me when I was a kid.
This is a dark time. But like all things, it will pass and comics will continue to be one of the greatest forms of media and communication out there!
 SlugLady28 aka Tegan Dumpleton
Here's the Mary Sue's Susana Polo's opinion on the issue. She goes into the LGBT issues much better then me.
This one here is my new favorite:
*TRIGGER WARNING ON THESE TWO LINKS* Here is some info on the whole Harley Quinn thingAnd the patronizing, pretentious response of Jim Lee. And please don't be too hard on Palmiotti. He actually apologized.
oh and if you still need a pick me up...

Not enough? Here ya go!

And then...

It's so... beautiful..

Edit:Oh, and all the DC stuff i had planned is now canceled, so... there's two months of work gone, guh X( I will have the canceled article's title card on my art sites in a few days

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