As examples of inequality and abuse within the comics industry continue to be brought to light, writer Mairghread Scott has come forward with her own experience of exclusion that came from within DC Comics editorial. In a series of tweets, she recalls her days writing Batgirl in 2018-2019 and being left out of multiple Bat-Family summits — the major planning events that ultimately determine the overall narrative for every Gotham title.

To sum up, Scott discovered by total happenstance that there was a Bat-Family summit being held in DC’s Burbank offices without her knowledge. She had just started writing Batgirl at the time, and offered to attend future meetings for free, an offer that was declined by her editors. Scott writes that she knows of at least one more summit that took place without her, which resulted in stories she had already written being waylaid for those outlined at a meeting she had no voice in. The expectation, she says, was that she be grateful for the opportunity to write successful men’s stories for a wage so meager that she was forced to quit.

What this meant narratively was that elements of Barbara Gordon’s story would be, without Scott’s input, altered and shoehorned to reflect larger events in Gotham and across the DC Universe. Scott’s tenure on the series began with issue #25, with her last issue being #36, and while none of those issues overtly crossed over with the other Bat-titles, it’s not hard to imagine how changes in some of those other books (like, say, ‘Ric Grayson,’ which hit Nightwing just a few months into Scott’s run) might’ve impacted Scott’s plans for the series.

At the very least, regardless of gender, this is DC editorial excluding one of its team members, on purpose, from a work meeting. At worst, this is performative allyship on DC’s part. By hiring a woman to write a Bat-Family title publicly, but forcing her into creative decisions made exclusively by men, the publisher puts on a veneer of equality contradicted by its internal operations. Although Scott doesn’t name them, the men at this meeting (we don’t know who was there, but we can probably make some educated guesses) are equally complicit.

Rather than making an empty pledge on social media, men in positions of power — whether they’re freelancers or full-time publisher staff — have a responsibility to use their influence to bring women and non-binary folx to the table, or else not participate in them at all. Even if that means losing work. To do otherwise is to perpetuate the systemic inequality that, let’s face it, we’ve all known has been at play in this industry for…ever.

To support Scott, you can buy her work, including Toil and Trouble, several Transformers runs, and more.

Edited 6:06 PM Eastern: An earlier version of this story mistakenly indicated that Scott’s Batgirl run was likely altered to accommodate/align with the wedding storyline in Batman; the wedding issue of Batman was released six weeks prior to the debut of Scott’s first issue on Batgirl.

22 COMMENTS

  1. This starts as a news item and becomes a political call to arms. Would have been more interesting and powerful if there was any actual reporting done. Have male Batgirl writers been invited to summits? Does tenure play into invitees?

  2. She was a hack writer in a subordinate position. And since she’s taken a slight to her self-importance and blown it up into today’s Twitter martyrdom, I wouldn’t expect many people to want her in on confidential meetings in future.

  3. What other platform could she use but twitter? She could got to the news outlets, but they might not be interested, she could come to the various comic book sights but they might not report it. Announcing it on Twitter allows the accusation to become the proof, just as it is for everything else. Even if it is disproved later the slime will stick for some.
    That being said whether she was a good writer or not, wether she is just seeking attention or not; the charge should at least be answered by dc and investigated by some 3rd party before we accept or dismiss it. I’d wager that the author of the article accept her story without question, but that’s the way with modern jounalism.

  4. The comments on here ugh.

    She was hired to write a book which is part of a family of books
    She was excluded from even listening in to what ultimately would inform the stories she could tell.
    This ultimately would impact her overall run.

    Pretty shitty and I am sure if any of you were in her place even as dudes you would be butt hurt.

  5. Gods, Mairghread Scott and a bunch of others sure are imploding and committing career suicide. I get the quarantine was difficult but come on. Only an idiot would trust them to behave professionally after this kind of outburst.

  6. “She was hired to write a book which is part of a family of books”

    Realty: Someone who had been in the comic book business for five seconds got handed a job to write Batgirl, a third-tier at best Bat-book that is consistently among the lowest-sellers in the family. She then complains about being “expected to shut up and execute” and whines about “my characters.”

    Inference: Somebody from the animation world thought she’d make some money slumming it in comics and brought that exact attitude to the job.

    Mike

  7. If you’re wondering what story changes might have been forced on her… see James Gordon Jr.

    I liked her run. Bummed that she had such a bad experience.

  8. Seems there are issues on both sides here. From DC’s side, this is an awful look, but that shouldn’t shock anyone since Lee, Harras, etc. have shown time and time again to be clueless about a variety of issues. Simply put, DC is not a well-run company and anything good that comes out of it these days seems to happen by accident.

    That said, Scott’s complaints appear to be quite naive. Writers having to deal with messed-up continuity has happened for decades now. She is not the first or last “lower-tier” (in terms of popularity) writer who has had their run on a lower-tier book screwed up because the writer of Batman or Superman wants to go a different direction with the character.

    Frankly, this is why it seems most writers opt to go the Image/BOOM route when they get “big enough” to do so.

    Also as an aside, it would be nice to separate the news item here with the opinion article. The Beat is one of the last good comic book news sites left and with respect to the article author, I don’t see the need for the soap-box speech at the end. Doesn’t mean your opinion is wrong, but it would be nice to see articles like this clearly labeled as news or opinion, rather than melding the two.

  9. How many of her books have actually sold well? Does anyone think this woman is actually talented? How many other women were at the convention? Were there a large gathering of Batgirl contributors at the convention? How are her relations with other writers? Maybe she’s a bitch. Yes, it’s much better to cry “sexism” then to answer any of these questions. Her body of work is so sparse. Smells like the Bubba Smolett of sexism.

  10. I was born with glass bones and paper skin. Every morning, I break my legs, and every afternoon, I break my arms. At night, I lie awake in agony until my heart attacks put me to sleep.

  11. It’s crazy to me that a writer submits a script, then, for no extra pay at all, is obliged to submit an entirely new script. I bet editors would be more careful and reasonable with the writers if comic book companies were forced to pay standard page rates for all the rewritten scripts they order to conform to their yearly stunts and retcons.

  12. Probably worth noting that around this same time, Ben Percy was writing Nightwing and had his run derailed suddenly because of the changes at the top of the Bat line. DC/Bat editorial has long appeared to be a bit of a cluster, but it could be less that DC editorial excluded Scott based on her gender, but more that DC editorial excluded her because DC editorial isn’t good at what they do.

  13. Not everyone gets invited to every meeting. Sometimes its just the Senior level people who do the planning. Like in football, the players aren’t really consulted on game plan strategy even though they are the ones who will be expected to execute.

    Most comic creators have never held real jobs and they don’t understand basics of running a large business or how to efficiently run a planning meeting. More voices get in the way of consensus. Her book was just a satellite title, and while it sucks that she would have large story points dictated to her, that’s the place of that book in the publishing line.

    That being said, it sucks that the leadership roles in comics are always middle aged white men. More needs to be done to change this so that more voices are represented…but inviting everyone to the meeting isn’t the answer either, unless you want lots of people talking over each other and nothing getting accomplished.

  14. Well, I guess that’s Mairghread Scott then! Whatever next – does she think she could just go out and eat pizza with colleagues?

    Comic ‘fans’ bending over backwards coming up with plausible reasons why she shouldn’t have a place at the table, instead of simply admitting that if it was a conference for batwriters, and she was a batwriter, she should’ve been at the table.

  15. She was not the only Batwriter who was not invited to table(at least to the only one that works out timelinewise). The vast majority of the writers not invited were male.

    How is this a news story?

  16. Remco: I think she should have been at the table, I just am not surprised she wasn’t. Many of the mid-to-lower tier book writers tend not to be invited to these summits. I think you can make a strong argument that DC should change its ways on this moving forward. The one aspect I would push back a bit on is that it is inferred in the article and by Scott herself that she wasn’t invited because she is female. That aspect I simply don’t buy since Simone & Joelle Jones have both been a part of these summits and male bat-writers were also not invited.

    I believe we should be careful that we separate legitimate discriminatory actions (which definitely happen in this industry) and actions that do not appear to be discriminatory and simply bad management practices.

  17. In one way this should be simple to solve, simply find out if she was at the meetings or not. If she was, then she is lying, if she was not then DC needs to explain why not. Low level or not Batgirl is part of the Batman title set, there’s no reason to leave the writer tasked with crafting the story out of the loop.

  18. Maybe it’s a not a sexism issue. Maybe DC just don’t care about Batgirl enough. If somebody colud ask Cecil Castellucci (current Batgirl writer, who also happens to be a woman), it would solve wonders.

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