Robert Venditti Off Constantine And Jim Zubkavich Off Birds Of Prey Already (UPDATE) – Make Room For Jeff Lemire, Ray Fawkes And Christy Marx

Robert Venditti Off Constantine And Jim Zubkavich Off Birds Of Prey Already (UPDATE) – Make Room For Jeff Lemire, Ray Fawkes And Christy MarxWe told you a week ago that DC was going to have to start announcing that a number of people had been taken off books, even before they started – with the unfortunate problem that solicitations had run and PR had been issued.

In a PR-arranged conversation with CBR, Bobbie Chase and Bob Harras announced that Robert Venditti and Jim Zubkavich has already been taken off their respective new comics in the DCU before their first issues had shipped. That Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes would be writing Constantine – if you remember, Ray Fawkes was to have taken over Batgirl before that decision was reversed – and that Christy Marx is to write Birds Of Prey – the first time a woman has written that title since Gail Simone.

Here's how they explain it;

 Robert came to us with a fantastic pitch for "Constantine;" we really loved what Robert's doing — he's working on "Demon Knights" now, and he's also working on another project for us that I really can't go into which is a big deal for us. But at the end of the day, Robert and Dan [DiDio] and I spoke, and "Constantine" was, for him, one book too many. It was the one thing that we had to go, "If we want you to focus on this one project, maybe we should make a change on 'Constantine.'" Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes very professionally, very nicely stepped up to the challenge [of launching "Constantine"].

Harras: Jim had a great pitch for "Birds Of Prey," but as things came together in discussion and the creative churn, we all saw what Christy was doing on "Amethyst," and we were looking at "Birds Of Prey" and internally and editorially we were thinking of taking it in a different direction. The decision was made that we were going to go in a different direction than what Jim had originally envisioned. We definitely, definitely want to continue working with Jim, but at this moment, we wanted to go in a particular direction. Bobbie started working with Jim months ago —

Chase: He's a great writer. He's a great idea guy, and I look forward to working with him again.

Harras: In the creative process, these things sometimes happen and he totally understood. Obviously, he was a bit disappointed, but he understood. We hope to work with him on another project.

To have to switch creative teams on a project that's already been solicited once may seem unfortunate. To do three times looks like… something's up. A lot of this is specific choice of language and reflective of larger editorial changes coming down from above. But there's one back and forth that cannot be explained by mere disengenousness.

Since we're on the topic of creative changes, one of the things that was a big discussion point for a while was Gail Simone being on and off "Batgirl." With Gail now reinstated on the title, I have to ask — how much was fan outcry and fan support part of that creative editorial decision?

Harras: What we had was Ray [Fawkes] coming on for two months to help out, schedule-wise. We're very happy Gail is back; she's on the book moving forward, so to me, that was a moment in time where we were just looking for Gail's next plot to come in and we're moving forward.

Now. Hmm. Ray was brought in for two issues, true. But then, Gail Simone was fired from the book. I was told that Ray was then to continue writing the book until that changed and DC reversed its policy.

A good chunk of the interview could be seen as disingenous. But describing Gail's firing as "looking for Gail's next plot to come in"… well something tells me that could be our next comic book industry euphemism meme.

UPDATE:I understand Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes will co-plot Constantine, with Ray scripting and art by Renato Guedes


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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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