‘Batwoman’ Artists Amy Reeder and J.H. Williams III Comment on Creative Changes
We were disappointed to learn last week that Amy Reeder would no longer be drawing Batwoman. Since the title's inception, Reeder was to alternate story arcs with artist and co-writer J.H. Williams III, who'd set an incredibly high aesthetic bar for the popular Kate Kane character, but Reeder stated that "creative differences" had made the situation "untenable." Reeder has commented further on the matter, saying, "I didn't want to let go of [Batwoman] and fought until it was over." Williams has weighed in as well, offering support for Reeder's replacement Trevor McCarthy.Writing on her personal blog last Saturday, Reeder confirmed that she will no longer draw Batwoman issues #9-11 as planned. The artist offered no specifics of the conflict, citing the need to remain professional and not burn bridges, but framed events in decidedly unhappy terms:
...it's complicated enough that I find it difficult (and frustrating) to explain even to friends.
The gist of it, though, was that it was a bad situation, and kept getting worse and more intense until it became impossible. I am a long-term project kinda girl and I was so excited about being on Batwoman...I didn't want to let go of it and fought until it was over.
On his own blog, Williams agreed the "artistic shifts" were "unavoidable," adding, "but that's the thing with monthly comics, things shift before expected sometimes." Williams also welcomed replacement Trevor McCarthy to the fold with praise for his work on Batman: Gates of Gotham and a link to the artist's DeviantArt gallery. Williams didn't reference Reeder by name or comment on the specifics of the situation, except to say "that's the way things work sometimes."
However, elsewhere on his blog, in a section explicitly labeled as "a yearlong blog experiment" and comprised of variously purple and poetic prose, Williams expresses some thoughts that may or may not reference the Batwoman situation. An excerpt from the March 9 entry, "Relief," published the same day the news hit:
Some weighted stress inducing complicated botheration has slid off my very tired back. Dropping to the ground in slow-motion, but with enough impetus to hit the surface, cracking, crumbling into small dusty pieces. That I then can sweep up, carry out of the house, scatter in the garden so they can transform and grow into reinvigorated energy, without anything left of adverse emotions. Disavowed, sifted, filtered, cleansed. Releasing my mind from unnecessary tensions that should never have been there in the first place.
As we've said before, Batwoman is arguably the best looking superhero book to come along in years, and is certainly the most beautiful of DC Comics' New 52 line. An Eisner nominee for her and inker Richard Friend's work on Madame Xanadu series from Vertigo, Reeder's highly rendered, manga-influenced style complimented the innovative visual storytelling that Williams had established with his earlier work with the Batwoman character. As such, the news of Reeder's exit from the book came a shock to fans, who'd also waited an extremely long time to see her work appear in the much delayed series. Indeed, some commenters on our previous post indicated they would actually be dropping Batwoman as a consequence of this news. Reeder addressed her fans directly:
I am always surprised by the amount of support you give me, when you've heard bad news, or good news, or see new art. And especially at conventions...I hate using the word "fans" but mine have always been so respectful and enthusiastic and I always come home feeling pretty great, reassured that the demand is out there by people who really get it. Or even with art sales...other artists have horror stories but I have only ever had great interactions. So the real-time news--despite the fact it's bad news, I am glad to have a moment where we are all at the same place, at the same time.
For his part, Williams also expressed gratitude to readers of his blog who indicated they would remain with Batwoman and welcome the incoming McCarthy:
Support of readers like you mean a great deal. And Trevor deserves to be given the same opportunity as anyone else. And he is really good. I just want the book to do well. And seeing that there is some ugliness being thrown around on other message boards on the creative change is rather disheartening. So again thank you for the support you've shown this book. We all really appreciate it.
Reeder confirmed that pages drawn for Batwoman #9 will not be published, and that her two-year contract with DC expires at the end of March. She concluded her update by reporting that "so far DC seems to want to make things right and find me work. Again, it's all very complex, so all I ask is for your continued enthusiasm and I will get busy finding the right project."