Friday, December 17, 2010

Well That Was Fast! Nick Spencer Off Supergirl


At around 11am yesterday, Nick Spencer tweeted the following.
Okay all, breaking some bad news today-- I won't be doing SUPERGIRL after all. But hey, nobody cry for me! All kinds of cool stuff coming up in 2011, so stay tuned and all that.

Around the same time, this was posted on the DC Source blog. Here is the link:
http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2010/12/16/a-few-teases-for-the-thunder-agents-fans/

On a related note, Nick Spencer will be stepping off Supergirl to concentrate on T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, with writer James Peaty co-scripting issue #60 and then taking over for him from there. (Bernard Chang will stay on as artist for the book.) Here’s what Supergirl editor Matt Idelson had to say about James Peaty:
“When I was deciding who should write this Supergirl arc, I knew I needed someone who could not just write a good story, but bring their  own unique vision to an in progress story. I’ve worked on and off with James  Peaty over the years and had been looking for the chance to do so again. James is no stranger to the DCU, having written adventures for Green Arrow, the Justice League, the JSA, Batman, and Supergirl.”

I think it is pretty lousy of DC to sstick this important Supergirl news at the bottom of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents post, not even mentioning it in the headline. Maybe they were hoping that nobody would notice that the 'hot new writer' they put on the title was leaving before one issue of his 'run' was released. Or maybe they think that T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents is a more important book for DC such that the Supergirl part of the story barely warrants a mention.

But the truth is this completely stinks.

This has nothing to do with James Peaty or his abilities.

It has everything to do with perception.

My perception is that Sterling Gates, who loved the character, was well into a critically lauded run and seemed to have more stories to tell, was forced off the book by DC.

My perception is Nick Spencer was hired as the 'hot new writer' to bring in new readers. And maybe he was stretched a bit thin with all of his creator owned stuff, and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, and Iron Man. And with all thosee things on his plate, the project he decided to scrap was Supergirl. Guess we know where she ranked on his list.

And now Spencer is off the book before the first issue has been released.

Perception isn't always reality. But my perception now is that this book is in a tail spin. And that is sad given that we are just coming off of one of the best years ever to be a Supergirl fan. That it was holding its own in sales during the toughest economic times comics has faced.

Remember when we had all those different writers in the first 33 issues? Loeb, Rucka, Kelly, Palmiotti, Bedard, Puckett, Pfeifer, and Peaty all were there. 8 writers in 33 issues! 8!! Remember how disjointed the book felt? How there was no direction for the character in those issues? How the title seemed on a collision course for cancellation? Doesn't this feel the same way? We had 2+ years of one writer. In the next three issues - 59,60, and 61 - we'll have three.

Seriously, I would love to hear from DC exactly why Gates was taken off the book. Because in retrospect, I bet that looks like a pretty bad decision right now. Because now the book feels like it is in disarray.

No one can say that this announcement is anything but bad news for the book. Now I have to ratchet up the pessimism again.





I will say it again. This is not a knock against James Peaty, who stepped in to finish Kelley Puckett's storyline right before Gates and Igle took over. My perception about the book isn't about Peaty's ability to write Supergirl. Maybe he will hit the ground running and the book will prosper.

But if the new writer DC was trumpeting is off the book before his first issue is even finished, it gives Supergirl a 'lame duck' feel, a second class citizen sort of feel. And the character and this title deserves better than that.

We, as Supergirl fans, deserve better.

My thanks to the many many Supergirl fans who emailed me to make sure that I had heard the news. I appreciate the support for the blog and glad other people care about Supergirl as much as I do!

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

This also makes DC look out of control, like they don't know what they're doing. Did Spencer decide to leave the title, or was it decided for him? The tweet makes it sound a bit like it wasn't his choice, so did someone at DC suddenly change their mind about the direction? Or is this just another prima donna outburst that forced someone's hand? We'll probably never know, and suddenly my glass is half empty again.

This is no knock on James Peaty. I have seen none of his work except the one Supergirl issue he wrote, which wasn't spectacular but shone like a star after what had been going on previously. ANJ, do know what other things he's worked on? I'm going to start hunting through back issue boxes to see what he can do but don't know where to start.

James, if you happen to read this, welcome aboard. There's going to be some unhappy thoughts expressed here and elsewhere today, just know it's no reflection on your skills. It's just the concerned talk of people who are losing confidence in whomever is driving this bus.

Anonymous said...

I just hope Supergirl doesn't end up floundering in a bad storyline... Jamal and Sterling made their run worthwhile.. I hope the new writer brings some of that spunk back. We need a character that's no only dealing with the world around her but with herself, and her powers. I've said it before and I'll say it again: We need writers who care about these characters because if they don't, then who will? Answer: We will (in fanfiction-of course ^_^).
-ealperin

Anonymous said...

Anj, unfortunately, I couldn't agree more. I've been depressed since hearing the news yesterday. I hope we'll be pleasantly surprised.

Anonymous said...

I don't know the new guy's work to make a definitive judgement. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, that much is owed.

But...


Mostly my disappointment revolves around the notion of "Who the hell gives up a piece of the Super Franchise for some played out knuckleheads like The T.H.U.N.D.E.R. agents?"
I mean honestly if this was Nick Spencer's call what was he thinking??
I'm also upset with DC's policy changing writers and then changing writers again with all sorts of phony fanfare attending on the process. We've seen too much of this already on Supergirl.

John Feer

Anj said...

This also makes DC look out of control, like they don't know what they're doing. Did Spencer decide to leave the title, or was it decided for him? The tweet makes it sound a bit like it wasn't his choice, so did someone at DC suddenly change their mind about the direction? Or is this just another prima donna outburst that forced someone's hand? We'll probably never know, and suddenly my glass is half empty again.

I think we'll never know if it was his decision, or DC's, or a combo.

But your opening statement is the most compelling. Didn't DC see this might happen? Especially given how dedicated to the book Gates was.

Anj said...

I hope the new writer brings some of that spunk back. We need a character that's no only dealing with the world around her but with herself, and her powers. I've said it before and I'll say it again: We need writers who care about these characters because if they don't, then who will?

I completely agree that the creative team needs to be invested in the character. As readers I think we can tell when someone is going through the motion. Anyways, I am hoping that Peaty knocks the cover of the ball.

Anj said...

Anj, unfortunately, I couldn't agree more. I've been depressed since hearing the news yesterday. I hope we'll be pleasantly surprised.

Again, my feelings are not about James Peaty. This whole turn of events just makes me feel like Supergirl doesn't rate in DC's mind, that she doesn't matter.

And after a year where she clearly mattered, was an important part of the DCU, this feels like a huge setback.

Anj said...

Mostly my disappointment revolves around the notion of "Who the hell gives up a piece of the Super Franchise for some played out knuckleheads like The T.H.U.N.D.E.R. agents?"
I mean honestly if this was Nick Spencer's call what was he thinking??
I'm also upset with DC's policy changing writers and then changing writers again with all sorts of phony fanfare attending on the process. We've seen too much of this already on Supergirl.


Well, you are right on both counts.

Has any version of THUNDER lasted a year?

And after JMS' departure on Superman and WW, you have to question so much of what DC is doing and priorities.

Gene said...

*FACEPALM*

What the heck is going on here?!

DC, just do us a favor and put Sterling Gates back on the book.

Gus said...

It seems by the comments on the comics news sites that it was a decision by DC editorial.
On another note, a change was needed because sales are going down.
I will grant that Gates finish for Supergirl was a strong one, but I don't know if it was the New Krypton storyline that derailed the title, but the title has not been fun at all, and I am actually contrasting it with Superman Batman 77 and Batgirl 16, even Supergirl adventures in the 8th Grade. Those has been terrific issues full of fun even when dealing with what is at the heart a tragic story (teenage girl survives the death of everyone around her, even if she gets superpowers, there is not getting around that everybody she knew, well, died).
I was pretty excited about Spencer upcoming arc, now I am hoping that DC hasn't decided to cancel the title.

Ayhe said...

I am surprised by the sudden change of writter, and initially I didn´t know what to think.
But I remain optimist towards the Supergirl book, and I have the feeling that Peaty will have a better understanding of the Supergil character more than Spencer.
I read the number 33 issue, and he did a pretty good job!
If he was able to bring some rights after so many worngs and made Gate´s entreance easier, then I have the confidence he will make a great job in the near future :D

And about Dc´s editorial moves...I am not really surprised, and from what I heard about Marvel´s ones, they are not much better. I think that sometimes is easy to lose the right perspective when you are too focused in marketing, and forget about the people you are trying to sell the books.
Time will tell, so try to cheer up dear Anj. Despite the sudden changed, I am pretty sure that next year will be a great year to Supergirl fans C:

Anonymous said...

The entire Superman franchise is just a mess right now, in my opinion. First, "hot" writer JMS, who insisted that writing the "Grounded" story was the fulfillment of a boyhood dream, abandons Superman after a few issues, leaving someone else to clean up the mess. Second, "hot" writer Nick Spencer is assigned to Supergirl and leaves before his first issue comes out. And as much as I enjoy Paul Cornell's other projects, a whole year of Lex Luthor fighting a villain-of-the-month got old fast. Now I'm just counting the months until "Action Comics" #900 so that we can FINALLY get some real Superman stories again. Unless, of course, DC decides to keep Superman out of "Action" entirely.

I miss the good old days. Peter David, Chris Claremont, and John Byrne knew how to tell a compelling story, and their passion for and commitment to the characters shined through month after month. Sterling Gates told two-and-a-half years of amazing stories, and now we are stuck with the revolving door once again. What a shame. Supergirl deserves better. The whole Superman franchise deserves better.

Aaron

Kandou Erik said...

DC has simply lost all control of the entire Superman line-up. Geoff Johns helped bring the series back to prosperity - and it was riding high off of that for a few years; Superman was actually a good title! And now it's back to square one: "how we ever make stories about a guy who can break planets in half?" - as if that inept and weak perspective will ever bear good Superman stories.

Geoff Johns - since you're now co-editor and chief of DC, I would hope you'd step in and give the Superman line some guidance, if at least getting a damn creative team that will actually do the work!

Martin Gray said...

It's disheartening, but yeah, I'll join fellow posters in wishing James Peaty the best of luck. If Nick Spencer prefers THUNDER Agents, with its array of top artists taking on a bunch of proven failures, super. I tried the first issue and it wasn't my thing.

I must disagree that Supergirl hasn't been fun under Sterling Gates. Even the issues chained to the New Krypton albatross were highlights of my reading month. Gates, with Jamal Igle, saved Supergirl - they made her likeable and credible, and that's why other writers suddenly wish to use her in such books as Batgirl and Supermansymbol/Batmansymbol.

Dave Mullen said...

Perception isn't always reality. But my perception now is that this book is in a tail spin. And that is sad given that we are just coming off of one of the best years ever to be a Supergirl fan. That it was holding its own in sales during the toughest economic times comics has faced.

I don't think the Book was left in a tailspin, Gates & Ingles quality and commitmet to the book speaks for itself and I've never read a bad word against them. I don't think they'd be removed from the book due to any sales issues, it's more accurate to point to the shocking track record this editor has had in retaining any direction for the Superman books and keeping a writer/artist for more than six months.
It's extraordinary he remains in charge when all's said and done.

Now James Peaty I've never heard of, but I have no problem so long as he is actually given a chance to write the book for a lenght of time and that he is a decent writer. I value creative stability over knee-jerk sales gimmicks so while Nick Spenders leaving like this may be one of those things we just have to accept I would expect the Editors to compensate readers by keeping a good stable writer as compensation... it is a basic fact that books that have chronic instability and can't keep writers will suffer in terms of sales and interest.

More and more I'm wondering whether the theory that DC are deliberatly keeping the Superman franchise low key and watered down like this is in order to let others like Green Lantern, The Flash, Batman etc blossom is indeed correct.
On the face of it it's too paranoid and ridiculous a theory but whats been going on with the Superman books overall is pretty hard to believe...

valerie21601 said...

If I didn't know better I could almost swear DC Comics is trying to sink itself for some reason unknown to us, comic book fans. It's almost as if they totally want to forget comic books and concentrate exclusively on tv shows and big budget theater movies.

Anj said...

*FACEPALM*

What the heck is going on here?!

DC, just do us a favor and put Sterling Gates back on the book.


I get the sense that even if asked, that Gates wouldn't come back. And why would he? DC made it clear their feelings about him on the book.

It is a shame.

Anj said...

but the title has not been fun at all, and I am actually contrasting it with Superman Batman 77 and Batgirl 16, even Supergirl adventures in the 8th Grade. Those has been terrific issues full of fun even when dealing with what is at the heart a tragic story (teenage girl survives the death of everyone around her, even if she gets superpowers, there is not getting around that everybody she knew, well, died).

Thanks for the post. I think part of this lack of fun was Gates actually dealing with the emotional fallout of New Krypton. If your family, friends, people have all died, things aren't going to be rosy. Gates next arc (based on the preview page in Superman #700) had Linda starting in college which probably had more chances for fun.

I will agree that the 'other' Supergirl appearances have been fantastic.

Anj said...

I think that sometimes is easy to lose the right perspective when you are too focused in marketing, and forget about the people you are trying to sell the books.
Time will tell, so try to cheer up dear Anj. Despite the sudden changed, I am pretty sure that next year will be a great year to Supergirl fans C:


That is a great point.

I just wonder if DC decided to look past the relative stability of the Supergirl sales and market and tried to get a quick bump.

Thanks for the kind words!

Anj said...

Sterling Gates told two-and-a-half years of amazing stories, and now we are stuck with the revolving door once again. What a shame. Supergirl deserves better. The whole Superman franchise deserves better.

I agree that the whole Superman franchise is just crumbling. And I don't know how DC can just sit there playing the fiddle while the character burns.

I just remember that Superman was cresting with the Johns Legion and Brainiac arc and Gates starting on the Supergirl book. And now things have plummeted.

And this is no knock to Cornell's Action which I have come to like. But that could be a Luthor maxi-series. We need good Superman stories again.

Anj said...

Geoff Johns - since you're now co-editor and chief of DC, I would hope you'd step in and give the Superman line some guidance, if at least getting a damn creative team that will actually do the work!

Wow! I can only hope that Geoff Johns comes here and reads comments!

I agree completely though. Johns' loves Superman. I wonder what his feelings are about this whole situation. And remember, he helped get Gates on the Supergirl book. He cares about Kara.

I would love for him to grab the wheel and right the ship here. Because we are listing badly.

Anj said...

It's disheartening, but yeah, I'll join fellow posters in wishing James Peaty the best of luck. If Nick Spencer prefers THUNDER Agents, with its array of top artists taking on a bunch of proven failures, super. I tried the first issue and it wasn't my thing.

Thanks Mart.

I'll reiterate again that I am welcoming James Peaty with open arms and have confidence the book will be fine.

But if you are a casual fan you must think that this book is failing.

And you are right about the THUNDER decision. Why stay on that book? Especially when Supergirl seems like a more natural fit for Spencer's style given his Jimmy Olsen work and (I hear) Morning Glories.

Anj said...

I would expect the Editors to compensate readers by keeping a good stable writer as compensation... it is a basic fact that books that have chronic instability and can't keep writers will suffer in terms of sales and interest.

More and more I'm wondering whether the theory that DC are deliberatly keeping the Superman franchise low key and watered down like this is in order to let others like Green Lantern, The Flash, Batman etc blossom is indeed correct.
On the face of it it's too paranoid and ridiculous a theory but whats been going on with the Superman books overall is pretty hard to believe...


I can only hope that Peaty gets a long chance here. I agree stability and a consistent feel for the character is key ... assuming it the right 'feel'. Hopefully this book picks up right where Gates/Igle left it.

As for your other thoughts, I love a good conspiracy theory. It just seems that Superman is always left behind in the DC world.

Anj said...

If I didn't know better I could almost swear DC Comics is trying to sink itself for some reason unknown to us, comic book fans. It's almost as if they totally want to forget comic books and concentrate exclusively on tv shows and big budget theater movies.

I think that the emphasis right now is to continue to promote and strengthen the 'hot' commodities. So Green Lantern and Brightest Day books are really being pumped up and promoted.

I wish there was a Brightest Day crossover with Supergirl. I mean after her darkest days (New Krypton losses and emotional catatonia) she made it through to a brighter future.

Anj said...

Thanks to everybody for the comments and discussion here!

I needed to hash this out in my mind and this has been great!

Saranga said...

anj said:
"I get the sense that even if asked, that Gates wouldn't come back. And why would he? DC made it clear their feelings about him on the book."

I think I must have missed something - where did DC make clear their feelings? has anything official been said about Gates and Igle leaving? I know Igle said he chose to leave but I hadn't heard about Gates' reasons.

Anj said...

I think I must have missed something - where did DC make clear their feelings? has anything official been said about Gates and Igle leaving? I know Igle said he chose to leave but I hadn't heard about Gates' reasons.

There was nothing official.

But if you are Gates and you are getting critical acclaim, and sales are relatively stable, and DC *still* removes you (assuming he didn't want to leave), I think it is clear that DC wasn't satisfied.

I would love the hear how that conversation played out.

Anonymous said...

If his next project is writing the X-Mensches over at Marvel then I think we'll know the parting at DC wasn't amicable.

:D

John Feer