DC Comics Writer Reportedly Quits After Being Asked To Kill Off John Stewart, The Black Green Lantern

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by Tambay A. Obenson
March 21, 2013 4:36 PM
16 Comments
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UPDATE: Well, that didn't take long. Looks like John Stewart will live. Here's the update from Bleeding Cool:

Since that initial article there has been considerable hubbub in 1700 Broadway. And I’m now being told by sources that, as a result of the reaction – your reaction – that this particular plot has been nixed. Maybe it will now be a fake out, maybe it won’t happen at all. But John Stewart, DC’s most prominent black superhero, is not being killed off.

1700 Broadway is the home of DC Comics in NYC, by the way.

Below you'll find the original post....

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I expect a petition or two (or three) will be created, in response to this once the news spreads wide enough. Or maybe not.

From a piece on Bleed Cool's website, titled Fialkov Left DC Comics Over Plans To Kill Off John Stewart, DC’s Black Green Lantern:


Yesterday, Bleeding Cool ran the news that Joshua Hale Fialkov was walking off his two Green Lantern books before a single issue had been published. It was soon confirmed by Fialkov and DC Comics representatives. What wasn’t addressed is exactly why [...] I understand that the editorial input for both Fialkov’s books, and fellow walker-outer Andy Diggle‘s Action Comics, were in direct contradiction of the promises made at the DC Creative Summit by Dan DiDio, backed by Diane Nelson. That once an overview of an arc had been greenlit by editorial, it wouldn’t be changed by editorial. One creator told me that the promise lasted four days. But for Fialkov it seemed it wasn’t so much that there were editorial changes, but what they meant. 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. 


Why DC would want to kill of John Stewart is a mystery to me. This is where I turn it over to those of you who follow the comics closely (because I don't) to chime in with your thoughts on all this, what it could mean, how big of a deal it is to you, etc...

I do recall when the last Green Lantern movie was made - before it was officially cast, many seemed to assume that the film would be centered around the black Green Lantern, John Stewart, and were disappointed to learn that it would instead be Hal Jordan, and were even more disappointed when Ryan Reynolds was given the part. 

I eventually did see the film on VOD, and thought it stunk as a movie - forget that I was new to the Green Lantern universe. 

The black Green Lantern was created in 1971 and was THE Green Lantern for much of the 1980s, says Bleeding Cool, as well as the Green Lantern in the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated series, and was quite popular, contributing to the blow-back that followed after it was announced that the film would center on a white Green Lantern.

Again, why would DC want to kill off a character that, by all accounts, seems to be a high-profile fan favorite, as well as their most prominent black character? Help me out here guys...

Brave of the writer to walk away from the work though, which will apparently continue even in his absence... that is, unless someone, or some folks, take action. 

But this obviously speaks to larger issues of diversity in representation within the comic book universe (both on the page, as well as amongst writers and creators at the most prominent publishers in the country - DC and Marvel.

This also translates to the movie theater screen, when neither Marvel nor DC seem all that motivated to launch film franchises around the black superheroes in their libraries, even though they continue to do so for their white superheroes. 

Read the full Bleeding Cool piece HERE.
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16 Comments

  • CareyCarey | March 22, 2013 10:47 AMReply

    This calls for Blanche on the Lam: Cold Case Files.

    Think about it, only in the land of comic books, fiction and children's fantasys could this ever happen. So Barbara Neely's black female protagonist Blanche White, a middle-aged mother, domestic worker and amateur detective should be assigned to this case.

    The villains: The NRA, The Coalition against Black Gays, and Sergio.

    The storyline...

    Dwayne McDuffie was awarded the Humanitas Prize in Children's Animation for the "Jimmy" episode of Static Shock, about GUN VIOLENCE. He also won Comic Con International's "Inkspot" Award. Hmmmm..... why did Dwayne face so much scrutiny and some say an early death?

    Black Elmo Puppeteer Kevin Clash was "accused" of throwing crystal meth sex parties and several men accused him of having a sexual relationship with them when they were underage. Hmmmmm....

    And, everyone knows Sergio deplores everything related to comic books. He's frequently heard blasting on, as he calls them "momma's basement" comic book geeks and nerds with big thick glasses." So, a deep investigation is in order.

    "The Talented Tenth of the Negro race must be made leaders of thought and missionaries of culture among their people.... The Negro race, like all other races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men and women." ~ W.E.B. Du Bois

    Blanche on the Lam: The Cold Case Files

  • ALM | March 21, 2013 11:18 PMReply

    It's interesting. I remember the uproar during "Justice League" and "Justice League: Unlimited" in which some of the fan boys became angry that John was used as opposed to Hal Jordan. The animated show did a great job giving his back story and placing him in an interesting ongoing love triangle which apparently eventually resulted in a child with Hawkgirl.

    There are only a handful of Black characters in the DC universe, and John was a main member of the "Justice League" team. It never ceases to amaze. There can be 53 White characters, and there are still people who want the 2 Black characters kicked off the show. It's a sad world.

  • JPO | March 21, 2013 10:49 PMReply

    Also the writer didn't quit because they asked him to kill off a black superhero. He quit because they had told him that after his story was green-lit they wouldn't make any editorial changes to his story. They backed out on that deal so he quit.

  • gary | March 21, 2013 9:44 PMReply

    It seems like less an issue of him being black than him being a badass in the DCU..but a good point was made about the willingness to kill off Damian Wayne, why not John Stewart?

  • Mark | March 21, 2013 7:23 PMReply

    Both Marvel & DC kill off popular characters all the time for temporary marketing stunts. Superman? Dead! Wonder Woman Dead! Flash (Barry Allen)? Dead! Green Arrow? Dead! Spider-Man? Deadish! Captain America? Dead!

    All of them take a temporary break and replacement takes up their mantle (or shield or magic ring, etc.). Then, something happens and the hero makes a miraculous return.

    This instance seems VERY different. It seems that DC planned to kill Stewart permanently.

    Therefore, bravo to the writer who quit and got the story out.

    Warner Bros. screwed up and released a crappy movie with Hal Jordan when the comic and the animation studio had spent over a decade making John Stewart the elder statesmen of Green Lanterns. A lousy script for Hal Jordan GL movie has not put hopes of a GL franchise in doubt. Instead of regrouping around Stewart's Green Lantern, Warners is clueless.

    Will Smith as John Stewart (especially after Hancock) would have been a HUGE w/ a great script.

    Instead, Warners still plays second fiddle to Marvel's integrated film universe of Iron Man, Thor, and the Avengers films.

  • Eta | March 23, 2013 5:03 AM

    Uh, Damian Wayne is not the best liked and he happens to be the worst Robin ever.

  • Celo | March 21, 2013 6:59 PMReply

    I really like the black green lantern, but one of Bleeding Cool's statements were clearly ,wrong. Everyone who grew up on 80s cartoon knows that the 1980's Green Lantern the first green lantern was NEVER black, LOL. He was white, Hal Jordan/Green Lantern was on the Super Friends and Super Powers cartoon.

  • CELO | March 25, 2013 6:39 PM

    Of course, BUT...... Bleeding Cool was WRONG about the black, green lantern being apart of the 80s cartoon. Period. That was the point I was referring to.

  • Film 101 | March 21, 2013 11:13 PM

    well if you grew up with the 80's cartoon then you SHOULD already know that there was a black green lantern from the comics, seeing that he was created in the early 70's.

  • Curtis Caesar John | March 21, 2013 5:21 PMReply

    This is no surprise. DC Editorial has been looking for shock value in a lot of its books lately. That, coupled with the fact that DC has been putting John Stewart in the background of Green Lantern Corps, the main book in which he appears (just look at him on the bottom right of this image -- ) and when he does appear has been meant to look like a sucker most of the time (repeatedly sacrificial -- basically a noble Negro) led me to believe JUST UP TO YESTERDAY that they were prepping him for comics limbo. But to kill him off. Shit, that's ballsy - and that's how they would have sold it.

    If they could kill off the new Damian Wayne, the new Robin, the best-liked newest character in their entire universe (and the only reason I bought the Batman & Robin book) I guess they feel they can and should get away with killing any other beloved character - so why not the Negro? Guess with the new Arab GL Simon Baz, you can only have one terran Lantern of color in the group. Yay editors!

    FYI, artists and writers have been quitting and let go from DC like crazy since The New 52 began 1.5 years ago. I let go of a lot of books lately because they lack consistency.

  • JPO | March 21, 2013 5:13 PMReply

    "Again, why would DC want to kill off a character that, by all accounts, seems to be a high-profile fan favorite, as well as their most prominent black character? "

    They've killed off Hal Jordan the "white" GL. They've killed off Superman. They've killed off Batman. etc. etc. etc. This is comics we're talking about here guys. They kill characters off to make compelling stories about them and to make money. The characters never STAY dead. Should a character really be safe from death just because of his skin color? And btw He was only "the" Green Lantern for two years in the 80s. He's also not the most prominent black hero in DC. I'd, personally, give that honor to Cyborg who has been in the Teen Titans cartoon, who has new statues and action figures recently, and is featured in the new Injustice video game.

  • hairscapades | March 21, 2013 7:08 PM

    Exactly JPO. Nothing and no one is sacred in comics. The have killed off everyone and almost no one stays dead.

  • Dee | March 21, 2013 4:56 PMReply

    It's another of a long line of senseless decisions that DC has been taking lately. I am not sure who their target demographic is but I don't think that it's me. I have to thank McDuffie for the work he did on Justice League/Unlimited which brought John Stewart a lot of prominence and popularity. So much so that Stewart was THE Green Lantern for me, who wasn't a die comic book reader at the time. It's when I started reading the books I realised that Hal Jordan was the first Green Lantern of Earth and that he was an asshole. John Stewart is one of their better properties, which, at DC means he must be killed off.

  • Josh | March 21, 2013 4:50 PMReply

    Characters are killed all the time, they just bring them back. Superman died. Only person who is actually "dead" is Uncle Ben.

  • Said in LA | March 27, 2013 9:27 PM

    That would be ill Brandon!

  • Brandon | March 21, 2013 7:07 PM

    You know, you're right. When does Uncle Ben get to come back and serve some justice on the streets of NY???

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