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John Rozum, “Why I Quit Static”

Back when Static Shock and several other DC titles had their cancellations announced, the obvious reason for all of them to be cancelled was blamed first: their sales rates were too low. But there was also more hinted at behind the cancellations of two specific titles: Mister Terrific and Static Shock. Both series feature African-American protagonists, and this has lead to streams of people yelling at DC and accusing them of being “racist.”

John Rozum, who worked on the first four issues of Static Shock before the announcement of Static’s cancellation, combats this criticism of DC by unveiling the true reasons leading to his departure from the series, and Static’s countdown to cancellation, despite his original wish to keep quiet. Here is an excerpt from his blog post “Why I Quit Static:”

DC Comics New 52 Static Shock #4 (2011)“Initially, I had never intended to openly discuss the reasons why I chose to leave Static Shock. My reasons were my own, and I felt that after expressing them to the powers that be at DC Comics and after discussing them with Bob Harras that the situation was resolved amicably and that there was no reason to say anything further than acknowledging that I had indeed left the series. However, since the announcement that Static Shock would cease publication with issue #8 ( I was only involved with issues 1-4) there’s been a lot of online chatter about why the series failed, and I’ve received a lot of angry email blaming me for wrecking the series, the character, and the opportunity for an African-American character to take center stage at one of the big publishing companies. I’ve had people announce that due to the low quality of comic that they would no longer buy anything that had my name on it. I’ve had an editor at a publisher other than DC say they weren’t interested in having me write for them because they thought Static Shock was a poor comic book series…

I was stunned by how unprofessionally I was being treated by my editor, with whom I’d previously had nothing but a positive working relationship with for the bulk of my career in comics, and by Scott McDaniel, who seemed like a nice, personable guy, and the interactions he’s had with his fans that I’ve read would indicate really is one. My negative experience was exclusively with these two people and not with anyone else at DC Comics, or with DC as a whole…

To say I was disappointed with how things turned out is an understatement. From the first issue on, I was essentially benched by Harvey Richards and artist/writer Scott McDaniel. All of my ideas and suggestions were met with disdain, and Scott McDaniel lectured me on how my method for writing was wrong because it wasn’t what the Robert McKee screenwriting book he read told him was the way to do things.

If you hated the series, and like me, felt that it could have been something much more than it was, I’m sorry. Good, or bad. This is not the Static Shock that I had hoped it would be. It’s not the way I would have written it. I hope this isn’t the last time that Static will be given his own series. Even if he does manage to return, chances are high, I won’t be writing it.”

To view the rest of Rozum’s blog, a great and veritably critical piece that looks at the realities of the behind-the-scenes of Static Shock’s production, click here.

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Meet the Author

About / Bio
An all-around nerdette, I’m a comic book connoisseur, horror aficionado, video game addict, anime enthusiast and an aspiring novelist/comic book writer. I am the head of the comic book department and the editor-in-chief of Entertainment Fuse. I also write and edit articles for Comic Frontline. I am also an intern at Action Lab Entertainment, a comic book publisher at which I edit comic book scripts, help work on images in solicitations and help with other comic book related project. My own personal website is comicmaven.com.

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