When readers hear about book cancellations or changes made to creative teams by publishing companies the question of why these changes are made almost always comes up. While more often than not changes made to a book are made for financial reasons, there are times where creators will leave a book because of creative differences. Thing is, the stories about those creative difference are rarely (if ever) divulged for fear of being blacklisted by the publisher.
It's no wonder; really; at the end of the day writers want to be paid for their craft, and with so few publishers and such a tough industry to survive in, often one has to swallow their pride in order to keep food on the table.
Writer John Rozum, however, is one of the brave few to openly discuss a negative experience he had writing at DC Comics. Back in September Rozum first signed on to write Static Shock for DC comics as part of the launch of the "New 52." His initial thought was to reintroduce the character to fans as a very cool, powerful and prominent hero -- but he quickly discovered that the goals he had for Static were likely never to come into fruition. Rozum recently discussed his departure from Static Shock in response to a blog post made by a fan of the series titled 'Not Shocked, By Danny Donovan' Below is a response from Rozum regarding his experience.== TEASER ==
I went into Static Shock with a lot of high hopes. Among them was showing that Static wasn’t simply an A-list character, but one of the most powerful in the DCnU. I really wanted this series to be fun and exciting and to bring the same degree of creativity to it that I put into Xombi balanced with making Virgil’s personal life at least as engaging as his superhero life. I also saw Static Shock as an excellent gateway through which to pull the rest of the Milestone characters into the DCnU.
I quickly learned that none of these plans were going to see fruition. I wound up being shunted to the sidelines as the writer while Scott McDaniel’s “high concept” criminal syndicate made up of Power Rangers and a big monosyllabic thug took center stage and Harvey’s ideas of the 2 Sharon’s and slicing off Static’s arm were implemented as desperate means of trying to draw attention to the book.
I tried my best to keep it from being a total turd, but as I said, I was completely sidelined. My main contributions were the Pale Man character, Guillotina, naming the school after Dwayne McDuffie, and including Hardware, along with random lines of dialogue. I decided it was unethical to stick with a title that a) I thought was garbage b) that people were buying because of my involvement, due to Xombi, when really I had nothing to do with it c) because I wasn’t being utilized on the title.
Frankly, Static deserved a lot better.
Rozum got into more detail about what really happened on STATIC SHOCK in a recent blog post. A decision he made after a publisher other than DC Comics refused to work with him because of his work on STATIC SHOCK. Check it out below.
Initially, I had never intended to openly discuss the reasons why I chose to leave Static Shock. My reasons were my own, and I felt that after expressing them to the powers that be at DC Comics and after discussing them with Bob Harras that the situation was resolved amicably and that there was no reason to say anything further than acknowledging that I had indeed left the series. However, since the announcement that Static Shock would cease publication with issue #8 ( I was only involved with issues 1-4) there’s been a lot of online chatter about why the series failed, and I’ve received a lot of angry email blaming me for wrecking the series, the character, and the opportunity for an African-American character to take center stage at one of the big publishing companies. I’ve had people announce that due to the low quality of comic that they would no longer buy anything that had my name on it. I’ve had an editor at a publisher other than DC say they weren’t interested in having me write for them because they thought Static Shock was a poor comic book series.
To say I was disappointed with how things turned out is an understatement. From the first issue on, I was essentially benched by Harvey Richards and artist/writer Scott McDaniel. All of my ideas and suggestions were met with disdain, and Scott McDaniel lectured me on how my method for writing was wrong because it wasn't what the Robert McKee screenwriting book he read told him was the way to do things. The man who'd never written anything was suddenly more expert than me and the editor was agreeing with him. Scott had also never read a Static comic book, nor seen the cartoon series, yet was telling me that my dialogue didn't sound true to the character and would "fix it."
The issue here is not about whether Rozum can write, as those who have read his work on XOMBI already know; it's about how much creative liberty a creator should be entitled to when it comes to a property. If he is writing a book, he should be allowed to, well, write. Right? What do you think? Check out Rozum's full blog here for the full story.
Source: Robot 6