Sometimes a regular PR disaster - such as one of your celebrated creative teams quitting a comic book because editorial has been so heavy-handed and difficult - turns into an extra special PR disaster - like when it turns out one of the things that led the team to quit the book was editorial's decision to not have Batwoman get gay married.
Let's take a step back to explain how DC Comics, lately in the industry news for being one of the most creative-unfriendly shops in ever, stepped into this big pile of shit. Batwoman is a character in the DC Universe and part of the larger Batman family of titles. She made some media noise years ago when it was announced that her civilian identity, Kate Kane, was a lesbian. The book was steered by the great team of JH Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, and Batwoman was one of the most visually interesting titles in the DC line-up.
A couple of months ago Kathy Kane got engaged to her girlfriend, something of a landmark in the world of comics. The creators of Batwoman were working towards a wedding story, and they had their plotlines planned out very far in advance. This was the story they wanted to tell. But then word came down from DC editorial: there would be no wedding. And in fact many of their other storylines had to be changed, last minute, for reasons that had little to do with the book itself. And so, after fighting long enough, the creative team up and quit and JH Williams III posted about it on his site.
And everybody seized on the no wedding thing. And what had been just another case - one of about a dozen since DC relaunched their titles with the 'New 52' concept - of a creative team being abused by editorial turned into a mini gay rights controversy. All of which showed how profoundly stupid DC is these days.
It doesn't seem as though editorial is against the gay marriage so much as it's against marriage; DC editorial is clinging to 1940s storytelling, where Lois and Clark are engaged in an eternal tango of will they/won't they. The prevailing wisdom among the lazy people who too often become the ship-steerers at the two major superhero companies is that married heroes are boring heroes, and so DC is avoiding that. The problem is that nobody thought for a moment what it would look like to deny Kathy Kane her wedding - as well as the huge amount of publicity they were denying themselves.
So, no, DC didn't deny Batwoman her gay wedding out of homophobia. They did it out of good old fashioned editorial stupidity and short-sightedness. They did it out of the creative-unfriendly practices that have led to creatives jumping ship left and right. But the effect is the same, and now we're sitting up and blinking in the light and wondering why in 2013 the superhero world still looks like this.
Just in case they didn't get enough bad press this week, DC also launched a contest that would allow you to draw a page of an upcoming comic book. You can prove your chops by drawing Joker sidekick Harley Quinn naked in a bathtub trying to kill herself. That's been going over like gangbusters online as well. DC, you're not living in 1999 anymore. The times have changed, and so has the face of your fanbase. It's time to make some adjustments.