Well, things have changed. Bleeding Cool is reporting today that King has been fired by DC from the Batman series. While he had big, big ideas (listed below) for Bats, it sounds like his last issue will be #85, which would get him to the end of 2019. We have no clue if King’s plans to “change the character for a generation” will be affected by his firing but one has to assume it will. Or perhaps the writer who succeeds King will carry on with his idea. We’re just not sure.
DC isn’t commenting on Bleeding Cool’s story so right now this is all rumor but they have several sources stating that DC has in fact fired King due to falling sales. Despite those issues, fans have been on board with King’s work on Batman and I can only imagine DC’s choice, if true, will anger them.
The original story, including King’s controversial quote, is below. Who knows if his best laid plans will happen now.
This could end poorly.
Let me make this clear: I’m not too precious with Batman. I love the character, I have since childhood. But I’m also okay with him being altered from time to time. There are some things I can’t abide by though, like Batman killing people (we still need to talk, Zack Snyder) or, I don’t know, him having eyebrows. So even though I’m a pretty liberal, carefree fan, I also get prematurely nervous when a writer says he wants to change Batman “for a generation.”
That’s exactly what Tom King is doing. King is the current writer for the Batman comic series, which is releasing its 100th issue soon. Damn, that’s no small feat. And to celebrate that success, King told The Hollywood Reporter that he is going to shake things up for Bats in a big, big way.
Here’s what the maniac said:
Okay, I’m nervous.
Do I think King is going to turn Batman into a homicidal madman? No, not really. But I always worry when creators say stuff like this. It makes me feel that they’re about to do something scandalous. They want people talking and what better way to get people buzzing than controversy or something drastic? King is a good writer but I can also see how he could get high on the idea of changing the character for the rest of time. That idea would get me going too. But be careful! Some things are sacred, Tom! Don’t get too carried away!
This is when I need to take the advice that so many people told me in my youth: shut up.
I don’t mean this in a mean way. I am not trying to lessen the importance of Batman to me and to many other die-hard fans. My only intention is to remind myself that in the grand scheme of things, this doesn’t matter. And I don’t mean in the grand scheme of the world and the myriad problems it’s currently suffering from. I mean in the grand scheme of all things Batman. Everyone needs to just calm down. What one writer does or does not do with the character doesn’t change him at the end of the day, it doesn’t vastly transform him no matter what people say. Tom King can do whatever he damn well pleases with Batman and I (and many others) will still care deeply for the character. Only one person has the ability to make me dislike Batman: me.
Now that’s not to say I would be happy-go-lucky if King does attempt something radical like making Batman or killer or something akin to that. It just means that my love for Batman is much larger than a single comic book story arc. It’s also bigger than Snyder’s Batman V Superman or Jared Leto’s Joker or even if they ended up casting Carrot Top as Batman tomorrow. An icon like Batman is bigger than all of that. He has persevered through numerous once-in-a-generation events billed as something earth-shattering and revolutionary. And he’s still here. And he’s still my hero. And that isn’t changing any time soon.
My fandom for Batman has survived Alfred’s brother Wilfred, Bat-nipples, Zack Snyder’s take on him and much more. I need to remind myself — and hopefully others — that nothing can get in the way of my admiration and loyalty to him. Bring it on, Tom King! Go ahead and do something crazy, it won’t shake me. Batman isn’t the epitome of just one person’s take on him, he’s become an engrained part of our pop culture. And whatever King ends up doing will either be good enough to become canon and withstand the test of time or it’ll eventually fade away like so many previous bad ideas.
What do I think King will ultimately do? I’m not too sure but I tend to believe he’ll have Batman reveal his true identity, perhaps leave Gotham or maybe even cause someone’s death in some tangential way. That’s what I imagine. Or that’s what I hope for, anyway. For all my hesitation, I’m not really that nervous. At the end of the day, Tom King is obviously a Batman fan and Batman fans are drawn to the character for some important reasons. I know I am. I like that the dark knight has a moral code and I like that he never stops and, dammit, I even like that he’s mopey and quiet. As long as King doesn’t toy with that too much I’ll be fine.
Hell, maybe he’s just giving him purple gloves again.