Scott Lobdell is, apparently, leaving comics entirely.
The Red Hood: Outlaws writer announced on his Instagram page this morning that he is “stepping away” the DC Comics title “effective immediately.” His last credited story will appear in October’s issue #50. In the post, he wrote, “While I’m profoundly grateful for the last ten years on a book telling the story of a tragically flawed man in search of redemption, I depart certain that my vacancy will be filled by a dynamic new voice.”
Do not mistake this for some sort of victory lap, though. Lobdell is leaving as the industry continues to answer the allegations of those attacked or harassed by various men in the business and is among their number.
In 2013, he admitted to harassing writer and artist Mari Naomi while both were on stage at a Long Beach Comic Con panel, but allegations of unwanted advances and harassment creep back throughout his roughly 30 years in comics. And, as our friends at The Beat noted, new allegations against the writer surfaced today from Tess Fowler, Alex de Campi, and others in the wake of his announcement.
Some also wonder why his name came up so late during the past few weeks when the actions of serial bad actors like Cameron Stewart, Charles Brownstein, and Scott Allie not only came to light (again in some cases), but led to swift change.
As the industry continues to address the harassers and predators who operate within the business, attention must also be paid to those who enabled it. As The Beat points out, it is unclear if DC editor-in-chief Bob Harras will face any consequences for bringing Lobdell into the DC fold ten years ago and continuing to employ him after his 2013 admission; to say nothing of the things spread about via whisper networks. But if change is to come to the industry, examining the tendency to give people like Lobdell — who was reportedly barred from a DC creative retreat after harassing an editorial assistant — safe harbor is the next step.
Lobdell refers to Red Hood as his “only remaining freelance work,” which means he is, effectively, leaving comics. But as he is the credited screenwriter of the Blumhouse hit Happy Death Day and the 2019 Critters reboot, Critters Attack!, he may still find work in another creative industry known for harboring predators and harassers.