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McDuffie fired off JLA

May 28th, 2009 by | Tags: , , , ,

Nope, it was my own doing. I was fired when “Lying in the Gutters” ran a compilation of two years or so of my answers to fans’ questions on the DC Comics discussion boards. I’m told my removal had nothing to with either the quality of my work or the level of sales, rather with my revelation of behind-the-scenes creative discussions.

I have to say I’m a bit disappointed, because next summer was planned to feature a JLA-driven crossover, where my book’s story line would have been the driving force. I’m distressed by where I left Black Canary, as my intention was to use the current subplot to strengthen her character and relationships with the new membership, and instead I’m leaving her at the bottom of a hole I’d intended to rebuild her from. I was also just about to get a regular artist for the first time since I’ve been on the book, which would have been nice. That said, I’m sure DC’s going to put together a creative team that will generate major excitement around JLA, which is as it should be.

As for me, I’m still busy story-editing both Ben 10: Alien Force (just nominated for 3 Emmys!) and the upcoming new Ben 10 series “Ben 10: Evolutions.” As far as comic-related stuff, the all-new “Milestone Forever,” is still on track for late this year/early next year, and the Milestone trade paperback program is in full swing, with Static Shock, Icon and Hardware volumes already on the way. I’ve also recently completed a console video game script that I can’t talk about yet, but that will be of interest to anyone reading this thread. I’m currently writing a Direct-To-Video animated feature for Warner Animation, the second of two I’ve taken on this year. Again, I can’t say what they are until they’re officially announced, but they’re likely of interest to superhero fans, and one of them I can’t help looking at as what-could-have-been. You’ll see what I mean.

From McDuffie’s boards, via the homey Uzumeri.

And I mean, I’m not surprised. It’s sad, but I’m very glad to see that McDuffie has plenty of stuff lined up. I wish DC hadn’t hamstrung him right out of the gates, but that’s what happens with top-down editing. I said it in ’07 and it’s still true: DC screwed up. They screwed up hard.

McDuffie show-ran Justice League Unlimited and he’s running Ben10. Those cartoons are rolling in dough. The Static Shock cartoon had better ratings than Pokemon. Why bring him in and then handcuff him? He gave Tom Brevoort gold on Fantastic Four. Fun, all ages comics that had plenty of appeal for everyone.

To put him on JLA, and then tell him “Write these stories,” is pathetic. McDuffie and the JLA is a no-brainer. Everyone loved JLU. That’s why they put him on the book. It’s so simple a child could come up with it. The fact that he had to address the status of the book in public basically means that he was getting no traction behind the scenes, doesn’t it? Doesn’t that sound like some kind of mismanagement?

Firing McDuffie when you still employ artists who can barely draw anything approaching acceptable comics, such as Ed Benes or Tony Daniel, is pathetic. Try again.

DC Comics, and Dan Didio, lost. End of story.


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18 comments to “McDuffie fired off JLA”

  1. Not even a little surprising.


  2. Man! That is total BS! I don’t understand what the hell DC thinks their doing.


  3. It’s funny you bring up Fantastic Four as being good, despite the fact that McDuffie had to work in nearly the same editorial constricted conditions as he did with JLA. Not to mention that they forced him to wrap up his run early just to prepare for Mark Millar to come on.


  4. @Debaser: Marvel asked him to work in two characters, in addition to the main cast, and he knew going in that he was filling space between JMS and Millar. He knew exactly what he was getting into. That’s nothing like JLA at DC, where each new mandate was a surprise and he had characters taken out of his book against his will.


  5. @Debaser: Yeah, he mentioned in an interview that he read the script for Millar’s first issue before starting his run. The difference between DC and Marvel’s editorial mandates is that Marvel seems to plan for longer than five minutes ahead.


  6. It’s sad to see anyone fired for basically telling it like it is. I tracked down the CBR article that was mentioned and it’s almost entirely without candor.

    I have to confess I gave up on JLA after the Tangent crossover issue. There was some nice dialogue, but it was wearying to see it tied into every crossover going.


  7. It’s a shame to lose him. I loved the JL series. Hopefully, wherever he lands next he’ll be given a little more freedom to apply his creative power.


  8. Is it still disappointing if it’s exactly the kind of thing that one expects? That’s my contradictory impulses right there.

    You know, your recent posting of some of McDuffie’s FF pages got me to buy that volume and really enjoy it (and liking the Storm/Panther thing enough to go on to the wedding volume of Hudlin’s Panther series). I also recently pulled an issue of JLA out of a three-for-a-buck bin, and it was the last issue of a five (?) part storyline that ends with Vixen facing Anansi and a bunch of JLA doppelgangers. Apart from the fact that I can’t imagine how this one issue needed four issues of buildup, it was great — I really enjoyed it, and it had absolutely no visible crossover mandate crap. I want to buy the trade, and still might, whenever it finally comes out (I believe the hardcover is just out now, and I so oppose the over-hardcovering of random storylines … but I digress).

    So, hm. A taste of McDuffie, here and in one random issue, has led me in less than a month to buy one of his trades, a related trade from the same publisher, to want a JLA story in trade (oh, make me wait a year, good idea) and to have been much more willing to check out his JLA work, judging it harshly only against the degree of editorial diktat. Saleable guy, that McDuffie. Yes, let us hobble his creativity as much as possible.

    (I was going to give the Static TPB coming out this week a look. I think I’ll just flat-out buy it to support a creator who’s better than his editorial circumstances. Plus I hear it rocks.)


  9. @Guy Smiley: You definitely, 100%, absolutely want that Static trade. It collects the first Static story and the last Static story from the 2001 miniseries. I wouldn’t worry too much about spoilers and all, because the volume serves mainly as a really good introduction to the Milestone universe. Plus, the stories rule.

    And actually, a segment from it is going to be the final Great Moments in Black History in a couple of weeks.


  10. “Final”?

    Bummer.


  11. @Guy Smiley: Yeah, it’s one of those things where 13 weeks seemed like a good run. I’m going to be replacing it with something else, though.


  12. well at least he still has that Milestone project in the works. that’s something at least…


  13. McDuffie put it best himself:

    “DC is giving the fans what they want, and that’s big event books that have affect the entire line, and promotable events in the main solo titles. When that stuff stops selling better than regular comics, DC will stop doing them. Until and unless, JLA’s going to have to adapt to the times. When this version of JLA launched, it was in a continuity bubble that left it free and clear of the continuity in other titles. As soon as it synched back up with the rest of the universe, we had to pay the tab for that freedom.”


  14. “DC is giving the fans what they want, and that’s big event books that have affect the entire line, and promotable events in the main solo titles. When that stuff stops selling better than regular comics, DC will stop doing them. Until and unless, JLA’s going to have to adapt to the times. When this version of JLA launched, it was in a continuity bubble that left it free and clear of the continuity in other titles. As soon as it synched back up with the rest of the universe, we had to pay the tab for that freedom.”

    Or they can figure out how to do the big event books IN the regular books so people know what’s going on with continuity. Show some organization people! Work with your editors and writers.


  15. I really looked forward to McDuffie replacing Meltzer on JLA. I had anticipated enjoying his run more than Brad’s (not meant as a dig at Meltzer).

    But it quickly became clear that, despite coming from the much beloved JLU, Dwayne wasn’t given half the room to create that Meltzer was.

    Then comes Dwayne’s publicly admitting to not having enjoyed his run on JLA at all.

    At that point, I wanted the two to part ways, but not through a firing over his being open with fans about his work. I wanted Dwayne to realize that sometimes the healthiest way to deal with a battle like this is to just get out of it altogether. Stop making yourself miserable beating your head against that brick wall. Get on to something that you’ll enjoy yourself on. Let some other writer get on the book who might luck out that their ideas are more in sync with editorial’s ever-shifting guidelines.

    But to fire him over his giving fans a peek behind the curtain? Shameful.


  16. […] topic, and talked about hither and yon. I first heard about it at 4thletter.net, which concludes a post about it in…an interesting way (And by interesting, I mean hypnotic. I can’t stop staring at that […]


  17. david, I love you for this. you said all that can be said about this whole sorry affair in the last 3 paragraphs.

    I was really exited back when I heard the guy from jlu was writing jla, then I saw the art, then he couldn’t use the big three. I never did pick up an issue…


  18. I know you were talking about something else but howsabout dc put out just one comic that isn’t tied to big event crossovers, you know, like a little book called all star superman. you may have heard about it. you may have even read it, and found that – “hey, superman isn’t fighting a guy named general zod, who is a different general zod to the one that killed himself or leaving the planet and putting mon el in his place, or moping about a satellite.” this is because comic’s stories aren’t real, and people like nice self contained stories, not made by committee.
    the superman who allowed gansters to die, and the superman who turned into a mantis creature, and the superman who married lois, and the superman played by Christopher reeve, and brandon routh, and tim daly and the superman in the latest issue
    are.
    the.
    same.
    character.
    of course if superman is on another planet in his own book, but in jla is on earth, some losers are going to complain. you simply, as the maker of the comics, say: “its not real. get over it.”
    the end.