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Friday, March 22, 2013 

DC plans to terminate John Stewart, and loses writers because of that

Another fallout has taken place for the Green Lantern books very reminiscent of the time Gerard Jones left over Kevin Dooley's editorial mandates, with a writer named Joshua Fialkov quitting 2 books because of a planned editorial mandate to wipe out John Stewart, the African-American GL member:
I have been told by a number of high profile industry sources that Fialkov was asked to change his upcoming story to one that killed off Green Lantern John Stewart, DC Comics' most prominent black character. And that is why he quit.
It's deja vu. First Hal Jordan got thrown under the bus, and now it's John Stewart.

This article does contain some misinformation though about John's past status, and also a pretty surprising claim:
Created by Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams in 1971, he was the lead character in the Green Lantern book for much of the eighties, and was the Green Lantern in the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated series. Such was the popularity of that incarnation that when Ryan Reynolds was announced as the star of the Green Lantern movie, much of the online response was outraged that he was being played by a white actor.
Is that so, or is that just a joke? The first highlighted part is at least half inaccurate, since, while there were some stories where John took the lead during the 80s, Hal still maintained a pretty good presence and while he did momentarily quit the Corps in 1985, he came back and got another ring soon after. Where John definitely was in the lead was a spinoff series called GL: Mosaic in 1992-93, a casualty of the mandate that led to Kyle Rayner.

The second highlighted part is something I don't recall seeing personally, but won't be surprised if there were PC-advocates out there who reacted ludicrously over the race of the star in a movie that was a disaster because of its poor screenplay. The race of the star is not what counts, it's the quality of the storytelling that does.

Fialkov isn't the only writer DC is losing now - Andy Diggle has also quit writing Action Comics, possibly for similar reasons, which could include the endless company wide crossovers they're planning. If DC's planning to get rid of one of the better written cast members of the GL series like John, even temporarily, I'd say that's all the more reason to keep away from them, and something tells me they're already facing a backlash not unlike what followed the desecration of Hal in Emerald Twilight. The difference this time is that there's even less of an audience today than there was back in 1994.

I think this also tells pretty well just how much Geoff Johns cares about even John Stewart - about as much as any other series that went further into the pits after he left it. For example, there's the 2003-2011 Teen Titans, which saw the mauling of twins based on Wendy and Marv from the Superfriends cartoon at the jaws of a demonic take on their pet dog. A perfect disaster, written by Sean McKeever, and Johns went right along with that by the simple tactic of remaining silent. If he has no objections to culling Stewart and no interest in quitting DC's staff in protest, that's all we need to know that he doesn't truly care about the casts of characters he's worked with.

Update: the writer Nick Spencer, who also left DC's employ a few years earlier, explained in part why - because of aborted plans for a Supergirl story that might've served as a springboard for a new Young Justice series. But with bosses like those in charge, there's little chance it would've worked.

Update 2: now DC's staff are doing damage control and claiming they don't intend to do harm to John. But even if that's true, it still doesn't excuse their outrageous editorial edicts.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I do not know if I'll ever be as good as him, but I do my best.
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