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.
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!