Thoughts On Batwoman

The shot heard around the comic book world this week is Amy Reeder’s abrupt departure from Batwoman. All sources citing creative differences. My first thought was, “Corporate shenanigans strike again!” They seem to strike a lot at the DC offices. But I have another theory.

I read Amy’s blog post addressing her departure from the book. I also read some entries posted on JH Williams III’s blog. One directly discusses the change; another is a bit more abstract. Also, it is my understanding that there are Batwoman pencils by Reeder that will not see print. So, she was in the middle of working on an issue when they pulled her off? Seems … emotional. That makes me wonder if the “differences” were between Williams and Reeder … as in Williams is a tough act to follow.

I LOVE Amy Reeder’s work. She is one of my absolute favorite comic artists. When I heard she had paired with Williams (another favorite artist) on Batwoman (a favorite character), my brain nearly ‘sploded. BUT Reeder has her own style, one that I think works well for Kate Kane. Her work in Batwoman #6 and #7 is beautiful. Much of it has Reeder’s signature hints of Manga and rich expressiveness, but some of the panel layout and flow are very … Williams. Even if his art does not appeal to your aesthetic, it is still absolutely brilliant. I even think that may be an understatement. There is no one out there who does sequential art the way he does.

I know it is kind of in the job description, but what must it be like to take direction as an artist from another artist? Not just any artist, but JH mothafucking Williams III.

I have gathered from things that Williams has written on his blog, the way he writes Batwoman, and looking at his art that he is very meticulous. Maybe he’s even got a streak of extreme perfectionism (which a lot of artists have). So, perhaps taking direction from Williams (on a character whose image he essentially defined) is no cake walk. I wonder if that didn’t stress Amy all to hell. Maybe her style didn’t jibe with Williams’ vision. Maybe Williams ran out of patience. Given his legendary status, maybe he just wasn’t having it anymore.

That is, of course, just a theory.

We may never know the real reasons behind the change-up, at least not in any official capacity. No one owes us an explanation, either. I certainly can appreciate that all parties involved — DC, WIlliams, and Reeder — seem to be minding their manners, and there has been no mud-slinging. Professionalism is good. That doesn’t do much for the disappointment I am feeling, though. It is not just because I am a fan of Reeder, but because that’s one less lady working on a major title in comics. Talent absolutely should be the reason for hiring a person on a book, and I assume that is why Reeder got the Batwoman gig in the first place.

But still.

Amy, I love that you drew one of my favorite characters, and you will be sorely missed on Batwoman. I look forward to whatever you do next. I will buy any book you draw … because you are drawing it. Best of luck!

8 thoughts on “Thoughts On Batwoman

  1. This news just completely floored me. I’m also a big fan of her work as well as Williams. I was so excited at the prospect of owning a book collection featuring both of these talents work. But what upsets me the most is that we aren’t even going to get Reeder’s full story. The series now has an unintentional black mark for me and I’m not sure if it can recover from it. I may be overstating it but I can’t help the way I feel. I am reading the New 52 a little here and there but the two books I was for sure getting in trades were Batwoman and Aquaman, but now….

    We’ll see.

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    • I concur. One of my biggest gripes with DC books, and we have seen it a lot already in the New 52, is inconsistent art. I understand there is a monthly schedule, but I think I am not alone in saying that I am okay waiting two months for a book if that means Rags Morales will still still be drawing it. I digress a bit. My point is, I thought the team of Reeder and Williams alternating arcs was a brilliant idea. I, too, thought what a beautiful collected edition that will make. Now … only in the second arc … we have a third artist. Whether or not he will do the book justice will be seen. But the inconsistency already bugs me … among the other things stated above.

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  2. I do not read Batwoman but I will say that the art work shown here is simply beautiful.
    What I do not understand if an artist is hired or chosen to draw a book then why is that he or she cannot do that if that is part of their job? I mean it is not like the did not know that they would have to do twelve books or covers, like it was some sort of surprise just flung on them at the last minute?

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  3. “I understand there is a monthly schedule, but I think I am not alone in saying that I am okay waiting two months for a book …”

    But is that helping or hurting sales? It’s more common than ever for illustrators (and writers) to blow a deadline … yet, everyone seems concerned about the dwindling sales of comics. Much of our entertainment is habitual, and an erratic schedule for monthly books hurts in the long run.

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    • I don’t know if I buy that … entirely. Pardon the pun. Infinite Vacation, Lady Mechanika …. their schedules are ridiculous. I think we waited 8 months to get a second issue of Mechanika. But the art in those books is stellar. Those are extreme examples. But for CONSISTENTLY great art … especially if from a particular artist – I’d wait, and still buy it. I do it now. I think other people would, too.

      As for the publishers wanting to make numbers. That is a given. And as for “dwindling sales of comics,” I will drop a book in a second because of a shitty fill in artist. I much prefer for it to be consistent. So, that’s a double sided coin.

      Shit. Again. Pardon the pun.

      Having said all that, I don’t think THIS had anything to do with THAT.

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  4. I keep thinking about Ditko’s rant at the comic fan who asked him about the reboot and what they were doing to the female creators. Every place I’ve ever worked the culture and mood of the place was heavily defined by the people at the top. If that’s how he handles conflict I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if people under him behave the same way. Maybe it’s not the demands that were being made, but the manner in which they were made?

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