Greg Rucka, the well-respected comic writer responsible for popular runs on Batwoman, Wonder Woman and currently The Punisher, has announced a split from the major comic publishers, DC and Marvel. In what seems to be an ever increasing trend, Rucka seems to have become disillusioned with the companies and their “gross Hollywoodisation.” In an interview with Mark Millar’s CLINTmagazine, the writer comes clean about his view that the big two care less and less about their creators and more about profit. “There was at least a period where I felt that the way they wanted to make money was by telling the best story they could; now the quality of the work matters less than that the book comes out. There is far less a desire to see good work be done.”
His accaimed run on The Punisher comes to an end with issue #16. “I’m enjoying The Punisher, but that’s not mine, it’s Marvel’s, and l knew that going in… My run on Punisher ends on #16, and we are then doing a five-issue mini called War Zone and then I’m done. That’s it! The Powers-That-Be at Marvel, without talking to me, decreed that he’s going to join a team on another book.” (If I had to guess, as unlikely as it sounds, I think he might be one of the “surprise” members of The Avengers.)
He also describes his less-than amicable split from DC. “Dan DiDio has gone on record… telling people what a great book Gotham Central was, but it never made any money.
Well, take a look at your trade sales! That book has made nothing but money as a trade. What I’m now being told is, ‘lt was never worth anything to us anyway.’So, you know what? They can stop selling the Batwoman: Elegy trade and stop selling the Wonder Woman trades and everything else I’ve done, because clearly I’ve not done anything of service and those guys aren’t making any money off me.
Right now, where the market is, I have no patience for it.” (Source, Comicbookmovie.com.)
This sadly affirms other recent statements made by former employees of DC. George Perez said of his departure from Supeman, “Things are being second guessed left and right, a case of too many chiefs, not enough Indians now. Whether it will work? Who am I to say. They want it to be like Hollywood, and it’s becoming like Hollywood, in producing comics, and what you have is a corporate room deciding where things are going to go. And part of the reason for me leaving Superman is that I had certain ideas I wanted to do unfortunately, stuff that they okay one day, they would change their mind the next day, and it was becoming way too difficult, slowing us down. That was unfortunate. I hope they succeed for the industry’s sake. In the case of Superman they didn’t want a writer, they wanted a typewriter. They have to deal with people producing the movie, who also had a say in what’s going on in the comic as well. My one fear, I’m not producing a comic, I’m producing a storyboard for a movie, that’s not what I wanted to do.”
Rucka made similar statements regarding Warner Brothers’ involvement. “At the end of the Harry Potter franchise, they went “Oh, crap, we need something else fast’, looked over at Marvel’s very very successful film program. DC are playing catch up with Marvel, because of things like The Avengers breaking six hundred million domestic.”
Writer/artist Rob Liefeld made an even noisier exit when he quit Hawkman and Deathstroke, going on a Twitter rampage with such tweets as: “Massive indecision, last minute and I mean LAST minute changes that alter everything. Editor pissing contests… No thxnjs” and “I had at least 20 editorial battles and won 80% but those battles wear you down.”
As a reader, I hate hearing such nastiness is going on behind closed doors. It sounds like Warner Brothers is doing what comic fans have feared for years, exploiting the comics– a niche hobby to be honest– in order to make (hopefully) profitable live-action movies. And in doing so, it sounds like they are driving away passionate, talented creators who want to deliver solid comics. But it sounds like the comics aren’t what’s important to the parent companies anymore.
Rucka’s Punisher has been absolutely fantastic. Luckily, he has other comics work to be enjoyed including the just returned Stumptown. But the loss of his work in the realm of mainstream super heroics will be terrible.
How do you feel? Does knowing what goes on behind the scenes effect your enjoyment of comics? Do you feel comics are becoming less important to the major publishers, who seem more interested in adapting these concepts to the big screen? Share your thoughts in the comments below!