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'Batwoman' Co-Authors Exit, Claim DC 'Prohibited' Lesbian Marriage

Authors J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman will leave the title after the upcoming 26th issue.

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DC Comics' Batwoman is losing its two co-authors.

In a blog post late Wednesday, co-authors J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman wrote that they'd be exiting the comic after Issue 26 is released in December, citing creative difficulties with DC.

Batwoman was relaunched in 2010 as a stand-alone series that told a new origin story about female Caped Crusader Kate Kane (aka Batwoman), this time a member of the U.S. Military Academy who was forced to leave after allegations arose that she was gay. Rather than hide her sexual orientation, she opted to leave the academy.

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"In recent months, DC has asked us to alter or completely discard many long-standing storylines in ways that we feel compromise the character and the series," Williams and Blackman wrote. "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."

The duo noted that they pitched the first five arcs of the comic before the first issue of the relaunched DC title was even written and rather than make drastic changes to their story, have opted to exit the comic.

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"We’ve always understood that, as much as we love the character, Batwoman ultimately belongs to DC," they wrote. "However, the eleventh-hour nature of these changes left us frustrated and angry -- because they prevent us from telling the best stories we can. So, after a lot of soul-searching, we’ve decided to leave the book after Issue 26. We’re both heartbroken over leaving, but we feel strongly that you all deserve stories that push the character and the series forward. We can’t reliably do our best work if our plans are scrapped at the last minute, so we’re stepping aside. We are committed to bringing our run to a satisfying conclusion and we think that Issue 26 will leave a lasting impression."

The news comes after February's groundbreaking 17th issue of the Batwoman, in which Kate proposed to her girlfriend, Maggie Sawyer. It marked the first lesbian wedding proposal in the history of mainstream comics. Since its start, the series has been a champion for gay rights, foreshadowing the overturn of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Batwoman also represents DC's latest exploration of LGBT storylines. (Iconic comic character Green Lantern came out as gay in a June, 2012 issue.) For its part, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation awarded Batwoman with the award for outstanding comic book in 2012.

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In a series of follow-up tweets, Williams clarified what he saw as DC's position on the marriage issue. "We fought to get them engaged, but were told emphatically no marriage can result," he wrote, adding that it "was never put to us as being anti-gay marriage." Fellow DC Comics creator Gail Simone suggested that "it's more of an anti-marriage thing in general," to which Williams agreed. (It's worth noting that not only was Superman's marriage to Lois Lane undone when the publisher relaunched the character in 2011, but a plotline featuring an engaged Bruce Wayne was rumored to have been killed at the last minute last year.)

Williams and Blackman are far from the first creators to resign from a DC series over editorial decisions; over the last couple of years, DC has seen a number of writers leave titles for similar reasons, including James Robinson, Rob Liefeld, Andy Diggle and Joshua Fialkov, with the latter being notable for his leaving before even writing one issue of his run on either the Green Lantern Corps or Red Lanterns series.

For his part, Williams may be leaving Batwoman but he is not leaving DC as a whole. He confirmed that he would still be illustrating Neil Gaiman's Sandman: Overture series for the publisher's Vertigo imprint, explaining that "this problem has nothing to do with anything involving Sandman or Vertigo."

When contacted for comment, a DC spokesman said "As acknowledged by the creators involved, the editorial differences with the writers of Batwoman had nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the character."

Read Williams and Blackman's complete post, below:

Dear Batwoman readers --

From the moment DC asked us to write Batwoman -- a dream project for both of us -- we were committed to the unofficial tagline “No Status Quo.” We felt that the series and characters should always be moving forward, to keep changing and evolving. In order to live up to our mantra and ensure that each arc took Batwoman in new directions, we carefully planned plotlines and story beats for at least the first five arcs well before we ever wrote a single issue. We’ve been executing on that plan ever since, making changes whenever we’ve come up with a better idea, but in general remaining consistent to our core vision.

Unfortunately, in recent months, DC has asked us to alter or completely discard many long-standing storylines 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.

We’ve always understood that, as much as we love the character, Batwoman ultimately belongs to DC. However, the eleventh-hour nature of these changes left us frustrated and angry -- because they prevent us from telling the best stories we can. So, after a lot of soul-searching, we’ve decided to leave the book after Issue 26.

We’re both heartbroken over leaving, but we feel strongly that you all deserve stories that push the character and the series forward. We can’t reliably do our best work if our plans are scrapped at the last minute, so we’re stepping aside. We are committed to bringing our run to a satisfying conclusion and we think that Issue 26 will leave a lasting impression.

We are extremely thankful for the opportunity to work on Batwoman. It’s been one of the most challenging and rewarding projects of our careers. We’ll always be grateful to everyone who helped us realize 26 issues: Mike Siglain, who brought us onto the project originally; Greg Rucka for inspirationally setting the stage; our amazing artists Amy Reeder, Trevor McCarthy, Pere Perez, Rob Hunter, Walden Wong, Sandu Florea, Richard Friend, Francesco Francavilla, Guy Major, Dave Stewart, and Todd Klein; Larry Ganem, for listening in tough times; and editors Mike Marts, Harvey Richards, Rickey Purdin, and Darren Shan.

And most of all, a huge thank you to everyone who read the book. Hearing your voices, your reactions, your enthusiasm every month was such a joy, so humbling, so rewarding. You guys rock! Because so many of you embraced the series, we were able to complete four arcs, and your passion for Batwoman encouraged us to push ourselves to do our best work with each and every issue.

Thank you for loving Batwoman as much as we do.

Goodbye for now,

Haden & J H