First, most of people are aware by now of DC Comics’ big Batwoman debacle this week with its Eisner award winning writer/artist JH Williams III and co-writer W. Haden Blackman both deciding to leave after issue #26 and since said announcement their run is now being cut even shorter.
It has to be said outright; editorial driving away all of it’s A+ talent (and lesser talents but still talent nonetheless) over excessive editorial interference and last minute edicts and bans over the past two years has gotten ridiculous. Since the reboot over twenty artists and writers have burned bridges and left DC Comics due to poor treatment, last minute changes and editorial impeding storytelling. Writer Gail Simone was fired via email and is only back writing Batgirl (an abysmal book in tone and content, the worst writing of her career) because fans had a massive outcry. Add in Dan Didio and Co’s ongoing feud with Batgirl fans over nonsensical edicts barring former Batgirls Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain from canon (a blessing in disguise) and non-canon alternate universe books (seemingly purely out of spite), the decimated state of the Batman family of heroes, the Flash family (care for the Flash title which actually is a terrific book) and so on. So many issues all over the board it is hard to list them all. Above all; the entire DC canon since the reboot, instead of being simpler and easier to understand as intended or touted to being, is a complete and utter mess. Look no further than Superboy’s new time-travel laden origin for an example of the awful and unnecessarily complicated choices DC has made.
Yes they are a company and they aim to make money; but all this dirty laundry and negative press regarding how people are treated there in an industry meant to entertain is leaving overall a negative image of the company and discourages aspiring writers (like myself) and artists to want to work there.
Literally any other company in any other field whose problems concerning the higher ups and that much information being revealed at how difficult and negative everything is working with them, would be toast. Diane Nelson either has a complete laissez-faire attitude, is completely ignorant of her editorial staff and what happens when they open their mouths on twitter, Facebook and at conventions, or is just another loose screw in the entire system. Which is disappointing since we need more women Presidents of companies. However, just because she’s a woman does not mean she is doing a good job. Their inability to really grasp or launch a movie universe franchise, their slow dismantling of Vertigo, the lack of attention to girls as a consumer base, ignoring kids and tweens as consumers in general outside of toys and Lego and DC’s extreme fear of Wonder Woman are just a few problems that plague DC Entertainment outside of their comic line. The cracks are everywhere.
As for DC the editorial staff might as well write all their books themselves if they won’t let anyone tell the story the way they really want to and force so many last minute edicts and moves ultimately chasing everyone away from the sandbox. Many of these edicts appear purely out of spite; for instance at Baltimore Comic Con this past Saturday (the 7th) Dan Didio has just in response to the barring of Batwoman from being married additionally revealed Mera and Aquaman were never married either. Which if you read the newer comics there are many references to her being the Queen of Atlantis as Arthur is King so I don’t know what is going on there. If it is a joke, it’s a stupid low blow. If it’s true then I am left rather speechless.
The only thing consistent about DC Comics is that editorial hates marriages. And they hate marriages because it supposedly “ruins drama”. This is false; characters being married under good writers should never be an issue in keeping superhero narratives fun and exciting. You also don’t need their lives to be a constant drag. That’s not why I read superheroes, but perhaps I am not who they want reading their comics. It’s really not hard. To say otherwise means you are a poor writer or lack creativity.
This is where I shut down and thank the stars, stripes and Wonder Woman’s invisible jet that DC fans are better at handling DC’s characters than their own company. Because where in the reality of DC Comics is negative and grim and full of just awful over in fan-made works there is nothing but mostly love and overall, understanding of the characters.
This is where I happily bring to you Brittney Williams’ concept ‘The Daily Planet Files’ and it is the Superman adaptation you never knew you even wanted.
Fan-work like Brittney Williams has’ The Daily Planet Files’ Superman concept and upcoming one-shot “manga-esque” comic is literally lifeblood for me in its brilliance. For those jaded and sad by all the negativity from DC and miss Superman that is a 100% accurate and true to form. This is Superman done right.
A personal fan project for the character designer and recent story trainee at Walt Disney Animation Studios, Brittney is doing this for herself and it just so happens to be absolutely a pitch perfect rendition of Superman, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and all their colleagues at The Daily Planet. Take a look for yourself:
And that’s just a taste. A word about the series from Brittney’s deviantart (where you can see super HQ big versions of these images) regarding her Superman concepts and the project:
It all began as I was nonchalantly channel surfing one day in early April, and I happened upon Superman the Animated series. Immediately I was thrown back into the early 90′s when I was a kid, and afternoons were spent playing outside then running into the house at 3 to watch Superman. I started to remember how much I actually used to love Superman and I was suddenly inspired to draw.
As some of you may have noticed Lois, Jimmy, and Clark vary a bit with each drawing in my gallery. That phenomenon is due to me never being quite satisfied with their designs. In each drawing I play with different influences, shapes, and styles, but at the same time, I try to stay true to the characters and how I would want to draw them as an artist.
It is actually really cool to see the progression she mentions if you look through her gallery; Clark goes from being super broad and vertical to being a bit more gentle, burly and having a bit of a slouch. The oafish “country boy”. They all get slightly cartoonier and manga-esque. Jimmy is the most obvious in progression if you look through her archive; he goes from chipmunk-y buck toothed duck haired Jimmy to a scruffy hipster with a sparse mustache to then a scrappy greaser-type with a patchy goatee and in another display of art evolution recent pictures feature him a bit more clean shaven and the return of the bowtie to his punkier style. It’s really really cool and it’s amazing how well Brittney gets these characters and yet it be fresh and new.
More from Brittney:
Eventually a story idea began forming in my head. I wanted to draw a little comic, purely for my personal entertainment, but alas the Internet is a dangerous thing. This is where The Daily Planet Files comes into existence. Just a short story about Clark Kent being the protector of the city he loves, and how I perceive the world his family and friends live in, my interpretation. Being one a little too obsessed with manga/anime I instantly knew it would be drawn in my strange shonen inspired style. I’ve always loved Osamu Tezuka, Akira Toriyama, Go Nagai- but yet I digress.
She has posted teasers of pages from the one-shot on her tumblr and I urge everyone to go check it out; some are much too big to put on here it just doesn’t serve them any justice.
In some ways it is disappointing that people like Brittney are not actually in charge or put at the helm of a project or could take her project to DC and it actually become a huge money-making franchise. The want I have for this as an ongoing or a graphic novel series or an animated TV-show (or all of the above) of this is just massive. And it would be popular. Just look at it. You know it would be!
I wish DC would wise-up. Because at the end of the day I love their characters but hate the company. If I had to choose, these days I will always go towards fan-media full of love and admiration for the characters than their own official stories and media dictated by a stale and bitter editorial who are overall stuck in an unfortunate state of absolute disconnect and poor taste.
See you next time!
Staff Writer/The Doctor