I just learned that Dwayne McDuffie has been fired from his position as writer for DC Comic’s Justice League of America series. The firing comes as a result of comments he made regarding “behind-the-scenes creative discussions” in response to fan questions on Rich Johnston’s column, Lying in the Gutter (More on that in a moment).
This makes me sad for a few reasons:
- I have heard nothing but good things about McDuffie as a person from people who know him (and he always seems like a nice and honest guy in interviews).
- I like his work when he isn’t excessively restrained.
- It has been so clear that DC really did tie his hands on JLA with all of the damn event comics. As a consequence, the run has been weak (when he confirmed this on Lying in the Gutter it wasn’t even remotely shocking).
- The circumstances of his termination seem harsh to me. The guy never had a regular artist, and wasn’t given control over his book. That is a pretty bad creative environment.
Books and their writers suffer when they are stuck writing supplementary content for someone else’s larger story. This is a problem that plagues a lot of Marvel and DC books because they force so many massive event stories.
I give McDuffie a lot of credit for his “Anansi” storyline. It was really cleaver of him to write a story arc about his lack of control over his own book.
In other news, Rich Johnston, the writer of the aforementioned comic industry gossip column Lying in the Gutter is calling it quits after seven years. Johnston’s column has been a staple read of mine for years. I will miss watching him start trouble and fan the flames within the comic industry.
I have no doubt that both McDuffie and Johnston will continue to provide great entertainment over the coming years. I wish them both the best of luck.