In an announcement to retailers, DC made it official that they are cancelling issues #5 and #6 of Border Town, the Vertigo mini series by writer Eric Esquivel.
Esquivel has been hit with allegations of sexual misconduct, including incidents going back many years, as reported yesterday by The Beat. As the serious charges circulated Border Town’s artist and colorist announced they would be quitting the book.
DC also announced that they are making issues #1-4 of the series returnable.
Border Town launched earlier this year with much fanfare and garnered strong reviews from many quarters. It was also the lead launch from a rebirth of the Vertigo line.
I’m told that inside DC this is seen as another blow against the “mature themed” wing of DC – Black Label, a mature line featuring the main universe superheroes, was already on shaky ground after Batman’s nudity caused concern in the C-suite. I’ve heard many reports of Vertigo titles being toned down to avoid attention. That a talent at the company has been accused of being a serial sexual predator won’t help matters, I’m sure.
But it’s good to note that DC did do the right thing by cancelling the book entirely.
UPDATE: Esquivel has released a statement denying all the allegations:
I was recently accused of misconduct by a former romantic partner. Not recent misconduct. Misconduct which allegedly happened many years ago. Out of respect for her and our prior relationship, I will not publicly name names.
I’ve taken a few days to respond, because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t talking over anyone. We’re in the midst of a very important cultural conversation right now. One I wholeheartedly believe in.
Never in my life did I expect that I would become one of the accused. I will not speculate as to her motivation for making these reckless allegations, but I want to make it clear that they are false. Though our relationship was unconventional, we always treated one another with dignity and respect.
I heavily encourage, and will fully cooperate in, any forthcoming independent investigation of these claims, which I am confident will show that I have been falsely accused.
I have been notified that DC Vertigo has canceled the book I was working on. My heart breaks for the book’s supporters, and my creative collaborators. They don’t deserve to be negatively affected by this unfortunate situation.
Naugle, the original accuser, has also noted that she has a lawyer in a tweet:
I can’t tell all of you thank you enough for your support.
I’m no longer afraid of Eric Esquivel.
To all the women he’s abused, manipulated, or had inappropriate behavior with, he no longer has power over us. pic.twitter.com/PRtpP5QesS
— Cynthia Naugle (@TenTimesATiger) December 15, 2018
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.