Wednesday Comments – An Open Letter to DC
by Mathan Erhardt on September 11, 2013

Dear DC,

I’m a lifelong fan of your comics. I’ve been collecting Green Lantern for close to three decades. My pull list is overwhelmingly filled with DC titles. I’m such a fan of the DCU that for years a wrote a Q&A column here titled “Who’s Who in the DCU.”

Basically, I’m someone who has always been in your corner.

But lately for various reasons, it’s become increasingly more challenging to be in your corner or even to proclaim yourself a DC fan. Honestly there are so many things that I genuinely don’t know where to start.

I guess the recent Harley Quinn fiasco is a good place to start. I can completely see every side of this controversy. I totally understand where people were offended and what they were offended by. By the same token I understand what the creators were aiming for and how it was not only taken out of context, but lacked any sense of context. I understand how some people think that this is just completely blown out of proportion.

And it actually may have been blown out of proportion. In a different world, people might have waited before reacting (or overreacting.) But the thing is, at this point, why would anyone give DC the benefit of the doubt? Why would anyone have faith that you guys actually knew what you’re doing or had your act together?

Let’s take the whole “New 52″ decision off the table. Yes it was polarizing, but it was very much a desperation move on your part. I totally get why you scrapped a quarter of a century worth of continuity, abandoned characters that go back seventy years and alienated long-term fans. It was a business decision.

But how do you explain the whole Batwoman fiasco? (And really, two fiascos in one week, come on.) So first you don’t let J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman work on Killer Croc for Villains Month. Maybe the story they pitched wasn’t what you were looking for for the event, I guess it could be understandable.

But not letting Batwoman get married to Maggie Sawyer is just wrong for so many reasons. On one hand it’s wrong because the creators got the editorial ok to move things toward that direction. So really to change your mind at such a late stage in the game it just corny.

And then there’s the publicity angle. By not allowing Batwoman and Maggie to get married it makes their engagement look like one huge stunt; a milestone that we never have to worry about happening. Plus by having this union be the one that caused you guys to announce your “anti-marriage” stance, it looks as though you’re vaguely homophobic.

While I’m on the topic of publicity, think about the publicity you’d have if you only let Kate and Maggie get married and not your hetero couples. A universe where things are the opposite of the universe readers are used to! No, that doesn’t sound like anything even remotely close to something you’d be interested in exploring.

But that brings me to the issue of editorial interference. It seems to be an ongoing concern. It was a big enough concern that you had a retreat to assuage creator concerns. But let’s look at creators who have left books, if not your company as a whole because of editorial interference; Andy Diggle (before his first issue even hit the stands), James Robinson, George Perez, John Rozum, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Rob Liefeld and the aforementioned J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman. That’s a pretty impressive list of creators that your editorial decisions have burned.

Let’s put things in perspective; you’ve put yourself in a position where fanboys on the Internet are siding with Rob Liefeld. No, really think about that, people think that you’re wrong and Rob Liefeld is right. No one should even put himself or herself into that position.

And that’s just counting the New 52. If you go back further you guy burned Dwayne McDuffie, Greg Rucka, Nick Spencer and Brian Wood too. But whatever, I’m not going to dredge up the distant past.

Let’s stay in the relative present. The Orson Scott Card writing a Superman story didn’t seem to work out that well, though I’d have to guess he’s thrilled with your decision about the Kate/Maggie union.

Then there was the time you fired Kevin Maguire from a book with little notice, because of a last minute change of direction. For a second I was shocked that you’d treat a veteran artist who contributed so much to DC’s history in such a manner, but then I remember how you shelved Jerry Ordway.

Can you understand how all of those thing pile up to the point where anytime something negative is said about you guys it’s instantly believable? Of course you do, that’s why I’m sure when they leave books creators are subtly prompted to write blog posts proclaiming it has nothing to do with editorial interference and they are leaving of their own volition.

That’s where you are as a company; your image is so bad that people are willing to believe the worst about you without really hearing any facts. You know who else had that problem? Blackwater. Things got to bad for them that they had to change, a couple times, in an attempt to get that stink off of them. Hopefully that won’t be the case with DC Comics.

I’m not going to make any hollow threats about dropping all of your books or boycotting your parent company. I will say that I’m disappointed in many of the decisions you’ve made recently and that I miss the days when I could proudly proclaim myself a DC fan. Hopefully in the near future I’ll be able to vocally support you again.

But let me end on a positive note; I do want to applaud your total and utter commitment to Villains Month. I mean your willingness to allow the comic reading public to view you as the ultimate villain is pure genius.

Anyway, it’s Wednesday. I’m going to hit up my local comic shop and buy some of your titles. There’s a chance I might even be able to get some of those nifty 3D motion covers I’ve heard so much about.

Best regards,

Mathan Erhardt



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