New Darkwing Duck Comic As Controversy Kicks Up A Notch


At the weekend, Bleeding Cool ran a post detailing the wishes of writer Ian Brill and editor Christopher Burns for their names to be taken off the upcoming Darkwing Duck Collection for Joe Books, as the solicitations stated that the work would be rewritten in accordance with.

Joe Books publisher is ex-Boom! editor Adam Fortier. Darkwing Duck artist Joe Silviani writes,

Aaron Sparrow, the editor and driving force of the DW comics has gone back and painstakingly rewritten the book to bring it in step with the classic Disney Afternoon series. I also had the opportunity to revisit the art and make this edition the true Terror That Flaps In The Night. This omnibus also features the stellar work of Darkwing creator Tad Stones, artist Sabrina Alberghetti, writer Ian Brill, colorists Andrew Dalhouse and Lisa Moore, letterer Deron Bennett and cover artist Amy Mebberson.

He also says

But the best news of all is this collection will lead right into an all new Darkwing Duck ongoing series coming in 2015 from Joe Books. Aaron and I have already begun and will give more details as soon as possible.

As yes, Aaron Sparrow, the original editor on the Boom! Darkwing Duck books, for three issues before he left the publisher.

Champion of publishing the series as book, he claims to have plotted the first arc of the comic and given concepts for following arcs. Series writer Ian Brill disputes this.

In 2011, Brill told CBR,

"It is baffling that Aaron would claim to have plotting credit on the 'Darkwing' stories. I plotted and wrote all the 'Darkwing' stories and he was my editor. The relationship was never anything more than just writer and editor: I would write the stories, plots and scripts, and he would do what an editor does. He put together the team, put together the book and saw it go out for the first three issues, before he was removed from BOOM!,"

"He can take all the credit for editing the book, which is something he should be proud of. While we were working literally side by side at BOOM! — I was also an editor — he never brought up the fact that he felt he should have some credit for plotting it, he never brought the subject up to me, he had never made any claims of plot credits on any of his internet outlets, any of his social networks. That was only something that he unfortunately made false claims about after he had been removed. He just started making noise in some other places online. Christopher Burns, who was assistant editor under Aaron and then editor for 'Darkwing' after Aaron was removed in June 2010, went to Aaron to ask him to stop making these claims soon after he started making them. Aaron told him he would, but apparently has gone back on that word, which is very frustrating and disappointing to both Chris and me."

Artist James Silvani says Aaron Sparrow assisting him in ghost-writing the series and changing Ian Brill's scripts after Sparrow had left Boom! Studios. Though both disassociate themselves from any writing of the final arc "Dangerous Currency".

Darkwing Duck creator Tad Stones makes public appearances with Silvani, but Ian Brill does not, and has appeared on panels with Aaron Sparrow and others related to the Duck Tales stories.

And last year Egmont released a compendium of several of the Darkwing Duck stories, that credited Aaron Sparrow as a co-writer, replaced Ian Brill's dialogue throughout the book with new words by Sparrow and Silvani and added a new three page introduction by the pair.

While former Marketing director of Boom!, Chip Mosher (now of ComiXology) posted on the Bleeding Cool forums (in a personal capacity, natch),

Aaron was not employed by BOOM! from the time of publication of the first issue. So it stretches credulity that he would have "written" or "co-written" the entire series that ran for a total of 18 issues or basically a full year and a half after Aaron's departure.

For Aaron, as he has claimed numerous times, to have written or co-written the book, even in secret, means that Ian's scripts that were being routed to editor Chris Burns would have then had to be routed to Aaron for him to work on. And then Ian would have to not notice any of Aaron's changes or additions to the script when he reviewed the final product before going to print. A very unlikely and impossible scenario.

Could James, the artist on the book, have communicated with his good friend Aaron about each issue and then incorporated some of Aaron's comments in future issues even though Aaron wasn't officially involved in the series? Sure. I expect as much as they are very close. But that's not "writing" or "co-writing." Ian sat down at his laptop on every script. He broke down the pages and story beats and wrote the dialogue. That's what writers do. They write!

It's always disappointing in comics to see someone take credit for another's hard work. I give Aaron a ton of credit for getting the series going at BOOM! and keeping the Darkwing Duck flame alive for the past three years. But I have real problems with him taking credit for Ian's work and I think everyone who has written a comic would find it painful to have their former editor re-write their work without asking them about it first. It's just a really sad, sad situation.

And still it continues,

Ex-Boom editors at war, creators at war, this is a case for… Darkwing Duck!

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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