Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Tuesday's Headlines | Batman writer James Tynion IV quits DC

DC's Batman writer James Tynion IV has announced that he has turned down an offer to continue on the flagship DC title, and will be leaving it - and all of superhero comics - to work full time on his own comic book projects.

In the August 9 edition of his e-newsletter The Empire of the Tiny Onion, Tynion announced his final issue of Batman will be November's Batman #117, and that he'll wrap up his run on The Joker with April 2022's The Joker #14.

Thie decision comes as Tynion already has four successful creator-owned titles competing for his attention; The Nice House on the Lake (DC/Black Label), Wynd (Boom! Studios), Something Is Killing the Children (Boom! Studios), The Department of Truth (Image Comics), the latter two in development as TV series. 

According to Tynion, his 'exclusive' contract with DC ends this year - and while he was offered a three-year renewal with plans for him to be "working on Batman for the bulk of that time" - he had to choose between that and another contract from the subscription newsletter platform Substack, which recently announced plans to publish original comics through its platform.

Why did James Tynion IV choose creator-owned with Substack over DC?

"[Substack's contract is] the best I've ever been given in a decade as a professional comic book writer," writes Tynion, who has worked for DC, Marvel Comics, Image, Boom!, and others. "A grant from Substack to create a new slate of original comic book properties directly on their platform, that my co-creators and I would own completely, with Substack taking none of the intellectual property rights, or even the publishing rights."

While DC's 'exclusive' contracts generally allow creators to work on outside projects if it doesn't interfere with DC's assigned work (and isn't with a direct competitor), Tynion says he couldn't realistically handle the workload of both.

"Instead, I'm going to dedicate my whole brain to building a bunch of really cool stuff on my own terms, without having to get permission from any publisher to make it," Tynion continues. 

So now Tynion is in effect becoming a publisher himself with his company Tiny Onion Studios. Launched last year to release his horror magazine Razorblades, Tiny Onion Studios will now be publishing that and this new line of creator-owned comics that will debut on Substack but would assumedly, eventually be available in other digital platforms and in print.