Civil War may be a storyline from the Marvel comics and feature films, but it is a designation that could easily apply to something on the DC side of things. That’s because the creator of Black Lightning Tony Isabella, has made it clear that he really doesn’t like Batman. The writer made his feelings about the Dark Knight known on social media, saying:
Here's a tip. Don't ask me to join groups or visit pages that have ‘Batman’ in their titles. He was once my favorite comics hero. Now I consider him one of the most toxic and the ruination of DC Comics. DC hurts their other characters by making Batman the center of their universe.
Tony Isabella, who created Black Lightning alongside artist Trevor Von Eeden in the 1970s, is not mincing words here. Apparently fans were asking the writer to join groups and pointing him to stuff about Batman on Facebook, which isn’t necessarily that strange, he was a writer and story editor for DC and Batman and Black Lightning are both DC characters who have actually shared the page together on multiple occasions. But Tony Isabella was not happy about it.
The writer was seemingly a bit offended ,or at least frustrated, by fans inundating him with stuff about the Caped Crusader. And rather than just ignore it, he let people know not to do it and why. Tony Isabella is not a fan of Batman, so he doesn’t want to hear about him or see him. Although this wasn’t always so. He admits that Batman was once his favorite comic book hero, but no longer.
It seems that Tony Isabella, who has written for both DC and Marvel over the years, on characters like Black Lightning, Hawkman, Ghost Rider, Luke Cage, Daredevil and Captain America, has soured on Gotham’s protector in a major way. He calls Batman toxic and believes that he is the ruination of DC comics. Tony Isabella doesn’t go into what specifically about the character he finds toxic but he does elaborate a bit about how Batman is ruining DC in his mind.
Tony Isabella’s problem with Batman is that DC makes him the center of its universe. He believes that all the focus and energy DC puts into Batman is to the detriment of the other DC characters and the DC comics universe at large. The truth of that will be for the DC comics fans to judge, but it’s hard to argue that Batman is probably the biggest and most popular character at DC, so it’s unsurprising that he gets the biggest push from a business perspective.
However, you could see how Batman getting all the shine would frustrate a writer like Tony Isabella who wants to see other characters succeed as well. It might feel like other heroes are getting the short shrift so all the attention can be on Batman. While Batman is the most popular, I suppose you could make an argument that primarily focusing on Batman, who doesn’t need the help, limits the potential growth of other characters and the brand at large.
It’s kind of like how Wolverine has often been the focus of the X-Men, particularly on the film side of things and while that has worked very well at points, other characters definitely didn’t get the treatment they deserved.
At least on the big screen DC is branching out in meaningful ways. The Batman will be huge of course and obviously Joker and Birds of Prey are Batman-adjacent, but with the success of Aquaman and Wonder Woman 1984 on the way as well as more Shazam! films, Batman won’t be the only one in the spotlight. The same applies to TV, where plenty of characters not named Batman have their own shows, including Tony Isabella’s Black Lightning.
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