Cancelled Trade Cavalcade: Justice League: Breakdowns, Green Lantern: Hal Jordan Vol. 2, and Gerard Jones

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

We've noted for a couple weeks now that it looks like the Justice League: Breakdowns collection that DC Comics officially solicited last month appears to have been cancelled.

It is still on Diamond's release list, but other sources have it listed as cancelled, it has disappeared from online listings, and Bleeding Cool is reporting it's been cancelled due to the recent arrest of comics writer Gerard Jones. Jones wrote the Justice League Europe issues of "Breakdowns" along with Keith Giffen; the Justice League America issues are by J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen.

Also having disappeared is the Green Lantern: Hal Jordan Vol. 2 collection, which would have collected Jones's post-Crisis Green Lantern #1-12. The first volume, collecting the first and second Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn miniseries with work by Jones (also Giffen and Jim Owsley [Christopher Priest]), just came out.

Note that there's also a Wonder Woman and the Justice League Vol. 1 collection currently scheduled for March that collects Justice League America issues between "Death of Superman" and Zero Hour. That book is mostly by Dan Vado, but if it were to get to Vol. 2, then it would contain Justice League International crossover issues written by Jones, and subsequent volumes would have issues entirely written by Jones. This suggests that some if not all of the Wonder Woman and the Justice League collections might be in trouble, too.

Jones also wrote the entirety of the John Stewart series Green Lantern: Mosaic, which I've wanted to see collected for a long time. Gerard also wrote issues that cross over with Mark Waid's Flash that we'd probably see in the next Flash by Mark Waid collection.

Let's establish that obviously the things Jones is accused of are horrific, and also everyone deserves a fair trial and they're innocent until proven guilty. Also, of course stopping wrongdoing and getting justice for victims is the most important thing here. But this is a comics-focused blog and we think about comics-industry issues, and it seems right now that what we have is a large swath of comics material, part of the established DC Universe tapestry -- and much of which that connects with work by other writers -- that's now become something of a third rail, persona non grata in terms of reprinting.

What should happen?

Obviously DC Comics is in a tough spot here, and I don't blame them for putting a hold on the books at least until there's more definitive news about Jones. Paying royalties to Jones for new collections would probably be impolitic, at least, and it's possible DC could get around that difficulty if Jones is criminally convicted.

The fan concern, however, is that DC might might find use of Jones's work so impolitic as to backburner any Jones-related work indefinitely. Again, I don't diminish the charges, but most of the already-solicited works listed above involve material in which Jones was just one of the writers on stories that involved other writers' series or characters, too.

Is there a separation between what Jones might have done and one's enjoyment of Hal Jordan's post-Crisis adventures? Is it possible to still value Breakdowns despite Jones's participation, or do the serious allegations taint it too significantly? Should further collections of "Return of Barry Allen" omit the Green Lantern chapter because of Jones, or does its importance to the completeness of Mark Waid's story overtake that?

I raise these issues because I am myself conflicted. I want to be a good citizen of the world and not support bad actions, but without sounding naive there's also a history of the DC Universe that I enjoy and feel some investment in. I have difficulty shunting my long-standing feelings for that material even as I now have concerns about the writer of said material. I welcome your reasoned thoughts on these issues.
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20 comments:

  1. I would be ok with DC still publishing the material after the case is resolved regardless of the verdict. I have no clue as to what legally the company can do about paying him royalties. If convicted, they could donate the funds to a child abuse prevention fund or some similar charity. If that is not legal, maybe they could just hold the funds until he is released from prison.

    Saying all that, I completely understand why DC has cancelled these books. Right now, this is a fairly quiet story. DC would make it a loud story if they publish the material and the headline comes out "DC continues to pay child pornographer"

    I have no idea what DC will do with crossover material. The books that are primarily Jones material, like Green Lantern, are dead from a publication sense. There is no upside to DC to ever publish this material. It is far removed from current continuity, the audience for it is not overwhelmingly large, and the chance for bad publicity is too great. Maybe if Jones gets a resounding not guilty verdict, DC may come back to his work. Even then, I think they would let several years pass.

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  2. Is very similar to what happened with Justiniano.

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    1. Were books cancelled in that instance? Were those books ever later released?

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    2. https://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/06/22/the-wonder-woman-original-graphic-novel-that-will-not-be-published/

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  3. A bit of detective work on Justiniano, for reference.

    Justiniano was arrested in 2011 and sentenced to ten years in 2012. DC has since reprinted 52, on which Justiniano served as penciller for two issues. A 2012 Infinite Crisis omnibus contained his "Day of Vengeance," and a 2013 Teen Titans omnibus contained his four issues of "Beast Boy." He also penciled a few issues of Geoff Johns's Flash, which was recently given the omnibus treatment as well. I don't see any other recent Justiniano work (new or reprinted) since 2011.

    Conspiracy-minded folks might say that Johns trumps Justiniano (indeed, it's a surprising coincidence), but I wonder if it has more to do with cover credit. Justiniano doesn't get cover credit on any of those omnibii, while Johns (and Morrison and Rucka and Waid) does. Gerard Jones certainly would have gotten cover credit, yes?

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    1. I imagine cover credit does play a part. Another aspect is that while it has only been 6 years between the two incidents, the way people react, respond (especially with social media), and what they expect of corporations in these situations has changed greatly.

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    2. Before his arrest, Justiniano worked on a Wonder Woman graphic novel called Hand of the Gods, written by Margaret Weis and Lizz Baldwin, which has yet to see print. I figured DC would eventually hire another artist to redraw the whole thing, but I guess it would be too costly, not to mention the story was apparently set in pre-Flashpoint continuity.

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    3. Let's say DC had decided to publish this book. Wonder Woman by Margaret Weis. Would you still buy it?

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    4. To be frank, I would. Even if they used Justiniano's pages. If I weren't a "separate the art from the artist" kind of guy, I wouldn't even read some of my favorite authors.

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  4. I'm very interested in seeing how this plays out, because if Eddie Berganza gets sued or arrested over his sexual harassment allegations, the damage and confusion will be multiplied by a hundred. Berganza has had an editorial presence in what seems like every Superman story published since the Death and Rebirth, plus numerous other credits all across DC.

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  5. I think they should stick to their publishing schedule, like it was mentioned there were a lot of creators involved to make those comics as well who would be happy to see some income in form of royalties from these reprints.Let justice decide about the allegations that burden him and punish him accordingly.

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  6. Green Lantern #40 was more of a tie-in than a proper "Return of Barry Allen" chapter, which is why it wasn't even included in previous collections of that storyline. As a completist, though, I'll appreciate it if DC does not exclude it from the second Flash by Mark Waid volume. The "Gorilla Warfare" crossover would read awkwardly without the Green Lantern chapters, though, and Jones even got a plot assist credit in the Flash chapters.

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    1. Do not even give them ideas about skipping Gorilla Warfare either in part or entirety. If that happens, I'm cancelling the book and not buying following volumes. And if I had a time machine, I'd un-buy first volume too.

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  7. Don't agree with this at all. Art is art, regardless of who produced it. Rosemary's Baby was directed by Roman Polanski, who most likely raped a 13 year old girl, and it still gets shown on TCM (he did the screenplay as well). I doubt anyone outside of comics would even know who Jones is, so I don't see what the fuss is about. There are plenty of classic works of art that are still out there even though their creators were not the best people around. Plus, as Anonymous says above, it's not as if Jones did all the writing, art, lettering, coloring, and editing all by himself. Not publishing screws the other creators involved, also.

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  8. I'm very saddened about this mostly because of all the comics that are withdrawing. I heard so much great word from JL Breakdowns, and Hal Jordan Vol 2 was on my radar of interest, but this is just very poor timing in my mind.

    I like to separate the art from the artist, so seeing this much being redacted sends a tear down my cheek, only because it feels like if these comics get published again it wont be for a while. I do think DC did a good thing to halt and wait to see how this turns out, but on the other side I just want to read good comics and catch up on my DC history. Very conflicting.

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  9. Does anyone know enough about DC Residual contracts to determine if they can deny residual payments to a convict? Would still love to see the ancillary works collected as it seems unfair to deny payments to other creators because of one bad actors. But even if they can deny him payments, it would still feel icky/wrong to publish something that was primarily made by the offender (like GL Vol. 2 or Mosiac)

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  10. All of this doesn't make DC remove Jones's issues from Comixology though.

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  11. Hey, what about a credit for "The Original Writer" a la Alan Moore on Miracleman?

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  12. I really hope this doesn't influence the Mark Waid Flash TPs. :-(

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  13. It may not even come down to royalties. DC may not want to put Jones's name on their covers, because they don't want to publicly associate themselves with him.

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