To paraphrase our friend Shag of Once Upon a Geek, sometimes our hobby hurts us and it doesn’t love us back. That’s a pretty good summary of how I felt last week when V. dropped the news that Greg Rucka, one of our favorite comic book writers, was parting ways with DC.
I’m running out of ways to say how much this sucks. Rucka’s run on Wonder Woman was, in my opinion, second only to George Perez’s 1980s reboot — and a close one. Along with artist J.H. Williams III, he created a killer origin story for Batwoman via Detective Comics, which was easily one of the best stories I read last year. I was looking forward to their rumored reunion on a standalone Batwoman comic, and I was frankly crushed to learn that he wouldn’t be stepping in for Gail Simone once she departs Wonder Woman.
I know Rucka has his critics, and I’ve heard all the lame jokes about how he specializes in troubled lesbians. (No one ever jokes about Geoff Johns specializing in idealized white guys, but I digress.) To many a fangirl, he is one of a handful of writers who not only gets strong, female characters, but seems to genuinely like them. In a candid interview with Comics Alliance, Rucka shed some light an an issue that V. and I have talked about many times — people who either dislike Wonder Woman outright or don’t know what the hell to do with her: “A lot of the guys who have written her don’t like her; they just want to f–k her. … And people want to simplify her, so they go, ‘She’s Superman with tits.’ No, she’s not.”
As RuPaul would say, “Can I get an amen?”
I’ll leave it to others to speculate about the reasons behind Rucka’s departure, though he certainly has a lot of other cool projects on his plate. I’m willing to believe that the man simply has other stories he wants to tell, and that he’s looking for new challenges as a writer. But … but … but. While talking about the Batwoman stories he and Williams had hoped to do, Rucka said something that stopped me in my tracks: ” ‘Elegy’ was supposed to be four issues; there were supposed to be three issues that were ‘Go,’ and then there was a five-part story that Jim and I had, but because of a variety of things in-house at DC, we were moved out of Detective [Comics] and we couldn’t tell the story there.”
Seriously? He and Williams were moved off of Detective Comics, despite making it one of DC’s most buzzworthy books of 2009? What the hell?!
Anyone who reads comics for any length of time is going to be disappointed by something — a character dies, a beloved writer or artist moves on, an awesome book is cancelled. That’s life. But something about this announcement, on top of recent DC bombshells about Wonder Woman and Power Girl, put me in a seriously foul mood. Aside from Gail’s return to Birds of Prey, I can’t think of a single upcoming DC event that I’m genuinely excited about — and that makes me wonder whether it’s time to back away from the caped entertainment and start exploring more independent comics.
I’m tempted to say that I might be expecting too much, but my standard for comics is no higher than it is for any other form of entertainment. And thanks to dream teams like Rucka and Williams, among others, I know what comic books are truly capable of.