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Executive Meddling / Comic Books

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When higher-ups get involved, sometimes the results aren't so funny...

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    DC Comics 
  • Watchmen: Alan Moore's original idea was to use the Charlton Comics superheroes that DC had acquired the rights to, but he was was not permitted to do so because he wanted to kill some of the heroes off. Moore himself has said that he agrees with DC's decision, as his story was much more effective since he was able to do more with his own characters than he could have with the Charlton characters.
  • Green Lantern: The Emerald Twilight story came about because DC Comics executives decided they needed a newer, hipper Green Lantern, so they gave the writer of his series three issues to get rid of the old guy and all related characters. The storyline itself was also changed from its original idea of "Hal Jordan going rogue after the Zamarons took over the Corps" because the editors said no one knew who the Zamarons were. The writer quit, they hired a new writer and reused the story title for the storyline.
  • Infinite Crisis:
    • Nightwing was very almost killed off because Editor-in-Chief Dan DiDio wanted a big character death similar to Supergirl and the Flash to send shockwaves for the DCU in the aftermath. This led to a Writer Revolt as most of the staff, Geoff Johns included, refused to do so.
    • DiDio and the editorial staff had complete control over the storyline for Countdown to Final Crisis because DiDio hated how 52's story got off-track from its original intent to explain the changes that had happened to the DC universe.
    • And Countdown was part of the meddling in Grant Morrison's plans for Final Crisis - they wanted the New Gods to be completely absent from the DC Universe, so that their return in the book they were supposed to die in would be more impactful. DC's response? Put them everywhere, not only in the aforementioned Countdown, but even creating an entirely separate Death of the New Gods series, to the point that when Morrison did start writing Final Crisis, he ultimately opted to just ignore everything that happened in both of those books.
  • Batman:
    • In some very early issues of Detective Comics, Batman would shoot criminals to death on a regular basis. One day, DC editorial director Whit Ellsworth asked the writers to tone it down and make it kid-friendly, leading to Batman's Thou Shalt Not Kill attitude that he holds to this day.
    • In the original comics, The Joker started out as a sadistic serial killer; in the first two years he was used, he killed close to 30 people. Eventually, he became less murderous and more of an Idiosyncrazy villain with a "jokes and gags" theme who robbed banks, built wacky gadgets, and pulled harmless pranks because of the Comics Code Authority.
    • DC insisted Batman have a Kid Sidekick, which co-creator Bob Kane protested for being a stupid idea. He lost the argument, leading to the creation Dick Grayson, the first Robin. Another account claims that Kane had drafted a more fantastical sidekick for Batman, a young boy with the codename "Mercury" who'd wear a special suit that gave him powers. Jerry Robinson then convinced Kane to bring the child down to a more realistic level and suggested the name "Robin" after "Robin Hood" (the bird symbolism wouldn't come into play until much later).
    • From 1995-98, writer Doug Moench and artist Kelley Jones, who were in charge of the main Batman title, where allowed to pretty much ignore the rest of the Bat books and tell their own stories for their first three years of their run. However, on their fourth and last year on the book, editorial demanded that they tied the book with the other bat-titles. Jones revealed in interviews that this caused several cases of Aborted Arc, including one they had been building up to for the last three years about a puppeter holding a Batman puppet appearing in the background during multiple issues being introduced as someone who knew Bruce's identity, was capable of manipulating both him and Batman and has been prepearing to confront Bats on his own terms.
    • According to Tom King, his Batman (Rebirth) storyline was meddled in by Dan DiDio, who heavily pushed for other, more darker events. For instance, Nightwing was shot in the head by the K.G.Beast and was meant to have been healed instantly by Zatanna. Instead, DiDio demanded that Dick be altered by it, thus kicking off two years of the much maligned "Ric Grayson" storyline. As well, Alfred's death was supposed to have been a Scarecrow Fear Gas attack, but was forced to be changed to be real.
  • Batgirl:
    • Despite still selling reasonably well 70 issues in, editorial cancelled Cassandra Cain's book with the justification of "we're launching a new Hawkgirl title and we don't want too many female-led books" and ordered the writers to make her pull a Face–Heel Turn. The turn was eventually reverted due to fan backlash.
    • Gail Simone confirmed that her "Death of Oracle" storyline in Birds of Prey was supposed to lead to Cassandra adopting a new identity and joining the team (partly to offset complaints about the Monochrome Casting in the series). She claims she even began writing Cass' debut issue before being told that Cassandra's return would instead be handled in Grant Morrison's Batman Inc. title.
    • Writer Scott Snyder mentioned that Cassandra was present in his script for the first issue of the New 52 Batman title, but at the last minute his editors forced him to write her out since canonically, she was still supposed to be living in Hong Kong. He was also barred from using Cassandra and Stephanie Brown in his Night of Owls Bat Family Crossover, making them very notable absentees in an event that involved every Bat-book being published at the time except Batwoman. Eventually, editorial decided that neither Stephanie or Cassandra existed in universe at all despite the Bat-History being one of the relatively untouched parts of DC at the time, however they'd later be introduced in Batman Eternal and Batman and Robin Eternal respectively years later.
    • In Bryan Q. Miller's Smallville Season 11, previews indicated that Stephanie Brown would show up as Batman's partner Nightwing. Miller even gave an interview to TV Guide talking about Stephanie's appearance in the comic. Editorial intervened and had it changed to Barbara Gordon.
    • War Games was created after someone high in DC's editing department requested a story that would end with Stephanie Brown's death. Then-Batgirl writer Dylan Horrocks opposed the story considerably and refused to have anything to do with it, save having Steph guest star during her time as Robin.
  • Justice League of America: Dwayne McDuffie was not allowed to use any of the Big Seven, and had to constantly rewrite stories around the plots of other books. In one instance, McDuffie was informed that Hawkgirl was to be killed off in Final Crisis, but at the last second was informed that she wouldn't die after all. The latter news came after a scene reacting to her death was both written and drawn, leading to the drawn pages being rewritten but using most of the completed artwork.
  • The Death of Superman: The story was created to fill in a time gap. Clark and Lois got engaged in 1991 so 1992's big event was to be their marriage but by that point, but Lois & Clark was in development and they wanted the couple to get married at the same time in the TV show and the comics. Now struggling to fill the gap in their storyline, one of the writers, as was often the case during story speculation, joked, "Why don't we just kill him?" — he was taken seriously, and the rest is history.
  • The Flash:
    • Bart going from Impulse to Kid Flash was an editorial decision. The writer of the story, Geoff Johns, has openly admitted dislike for being forced to do it, and Bart's creator Mark Waid dislikes it as well. This also applies to when Bart was aged up from Kid Flash to the Flash.
    • When Barry Allen returned in Final Crisis, Wally West was still around. The two had very similar costumes, the only difference being that Wally's belt was the modern "arrow" thing and that he didn't have wings on his boots like Barry. In The Flash: Rebirth, artist Ethan Van Sciver was tasked with redesigning Wally's Flash suit to better distinguish him from Barry. He's said that DC gave him very strict guidelines on what he could and could not do to the suit: the colors had to stay relatively the same, the symbol had to be a familiar Flash symbol and he couldn't have an open cowl. These were all because DC didn't want to come off like they were demoting Wally back into his Kid Flash role or displacing him from the Flash name. Eventually, Van Sciver settled on altering the suit by adding elements of Wally's DCAU suit and Dark Flash: a simpler lightning bolt, white eyes for his cowl and darker red. Ironically, the open cowl design, showing off Wally's red hair, would be used for the character's return in DC Rebirth.
    • Writer/artist Francis Manapul mentioned that he wanted to work in an appearance from Wally West in his new series, but was barred from doing so by editorial. Wally wouldn't return to the Flash book, and the DCU as a whole, until after Manapul and Buccellato left for Detective Comics, and a new team was assigned.
    • When Wally is eventually reintroduced, he is still depicted as being Iris' nephew, but is younger than the rest of his generation (being a teen while Dick Grayson and Roy Harper were adults) and is half-black. Him being black at all was a result of Executive Meddling so that he'd line up more with the West family on The Flash (2014).
    • The original Wally West was eventually reintroduced (the New 52 version was turned into his cousin), and would take up the mantle of the Flash once again. While Wally remembers the pre-Flashpoint timeline, when he forms a new costume, it has silver highlights and an open cowl for his hair. Artist Brett Booth has said that this was because of editorial mandate.
  • Young Justice: Peter David was restricted with what he would do with Tim Drake (who was Robin at the time) during the mid-'90s to early 2000s because the Bat-family comics editors had the final say on how Batman-related characters were used. One of the restrictions put on him was that Robin couldn't be seen in public, as the Bat-family was supposed to be considered an urban legend In-Universe. He mostly parodied the whole idea, with Robin hiding in the shadows even in broad daylight and characters saying things like "we know it's you, Tim."
  • Batwoman: J.H. Williams III and Haden Blackman both walked off because of "Eleventh Hour Changes". These include a new origin for Killer Croc and not allowing Kate Kane and Maggie Sawyer to marry (though they said specifically that it wasn't because they were gay but because of the brouhaha of superheroes marrying that was becoming something of a stigma in certain companies). This caused the last two issues of their run (#25 and #26) to be thrown out by DC, which pushed back the finale of their run where Batwoman and Batman fight to a few months later for the next writer to tie up the loose ends.
  • Gail Simone was fired from Batgirl (2011) on two separate occasions. The first time, it was because refused to write the crossover issues for Death of the Family, with DC eventually bringing her back after massive fanback backlash. The second time, it was because a new editor was tired of the True Art Is Angsty angle going on. Which wasn't even her idea, but the result of previous executive meddling; she's gone on record that the new creative team's Lighter and Softer approach is the book she wanted to write.
  • Star Trek: DC's first run on the comic came to an abrupt end after issue 56 because Paramount decided to exert greater control over the licensing. DC kept the license and launched a second series in conjunction with the release of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, alongside an ongoing monthly for Star Trek: The Next Generation, but DC's writers had to submit their scripts to Richard Arnold's department at Paramount for approval, and characters created in the previous series were barred from being used.
  • Convergence: Despite numerous editing inconsistencies, the staff for the Green Arrow tie-in were explicitly told to make sure Connor Hawke was given the correct skin coloring and racial background. Word of God from colorist Nei Ruffino states the editors were aware that making a mistake with Connor was a Fandom-Enraging Misconception after the numerous screw ups done in the past, so the editors made absolutely sure it was done correctly this time.
  • Wonder Woman: Around the early 2000's, editorial mandated that Artemis Goddess of the Hunt couldn't appear in the book after Artemis of Bana-Mighdall became a supporting character. They thought readers would be too confused by two (very different characters) with the same name. Greg Rucka was prepared to lampshade this by doing a whole storyline where Demeter assumed the Hunt portfolio, but this was cut short by Infinite Crisis.
  • Superboy: During the 2000's lawsuit between DC and the Shuster Family over rights to Superman, a legal tactic used by the opposition brought up the possibility that DC did not own the right to the concept of Superboy they way they did with Superman. Realizing this, DC had a mandatory edict that the Superboy concept, or even name, could not be used to avoid further legal issues. This meant that:
    • After Infinite Crisis, despite the fact that many of Superman's Silver Age aspects were made canon again, they could not reference any Superboy related adventures. After several years, this became relaxed, and Geoff Johns was allowed to reintroduce the original Legion (that Superboy had adventures with), and even subtly declare Superboy canon with ''Superman: Secret Origin".
    • Conner Kent, the clone of Superman and Lex Luthor, was the first, immediate choice as the sacrificial lamb of Infinite Crisis following the rejection of Dick Grayson's death. The death of Conner (and parallel mandated graduation of Bart Allen to the Flash) scuttled most of Johns' plans for Teen Titans, and despite working on the book for a bit longer, eventually gave the book to another writer. Conner could only be referred to by his name and not Superboy until Final Crisis.
    • Superboy-Prime, one of the main antagonists of Infinite Crisis and the later Sinestro Corps War arc of the Green Lantern books, was a Clark Kent from a parallel world, but was affected as well. During the Green Lantern event, he was explicitly referred to as Superman-Prime and did not wear the traditional blue and red uniform he had previously. Following this, he became an antagonist during the heavily executively mandated yearly comic, Countdown to Final Crisis, where he was aged up to adulthood to match his mandated adult name. During this time, DC ruled to legally own Superboy, so during Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds, Superman-Prime was again deaged and referred to as Superboy-Prime, and came into blows with a resurrected Conner Kent, who was also referred to as Superboy.
  • At a convention in 2019, legendary creator George Perez admitted that he was extremely unhappy during his brief stint on the New 52 Superman series, as his scripts were often rewritten without consulting him. He went so far as to say that the incident was the first time in his long career that he simply stopped caring about his assignment.
  • Mark Millar and DC butted heads during his run on The Authority as DC kept insisting and editing or changing things to tone down what he wanted to do, reaching its nadir during the "Brave New World" arc, which was sidetracked with the "Transfer of Power" — and when Millar got the book back, it was after 9/11, so DC now had grounds to force these changes. That said, a lot of the problems are the result of Millar himself as he wasn't easy to work with and a lot of the stuff he wanted to do were arguably tasteless including the Colonel, an analogue of the late Jenny Sparks, engaging in necrophilia with her corpse and the brainwashed and turned into a Sex Slave Swift having her mouth used as an ashtray and lick plates clean in a sexual manner.note 
  • The critically-panned event Heroes in Crisis, written by Tom King, was the result of this with the original idea being more about the hero community reacting and cooping with a tragedy with emphasis put on the characters going to therapy. However, while the editors liked the idea, they also wanted a murder mystery and get rid of some C-List Fodder characters while also push some characters like Harley Quinn who was getting a lot popularity and attention due to her introduction in the DCEU movies. The hasty rewrite of the story including a very notable change in direction mid-story ended up with a lot of Aborted Arcs, inconsistent characterization and the character assassination of Wally West a.k.a The Flash II (a character that editor Dan DiDio has always hated) who is revealed as the responsible of the tragedy that killed multiple C-list heroes (including Red Arrow) and framed Booster Gold and Harley Quinn for inconsistent reasons just to have Justice League hunt them. This event ended up screwing with the plans of some writers who tried to do as much damage control as possible and spent most of the Rebirth Era of DC Comics trying to redeem Wally West. While writer Tom King would constantly claim that he had the story planned during and shortly after the event ended, he would later admit that the editors wanted the murder mystery, were heavily pushing for Harley Quinn in a main role and that he was encouraged (not forced) to use Wally West as the main antagonists of the story.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes: Despite being set in the 30th century, the Legion during the Silver Age featured many aliens but no black characters, be they humans or Human Aliens. Both Jim Shooter and Mike Grell tried many times to introduce black characters, but were always shot down by then-editor Murray Boltinoff, who planned to explain this in a future storyline. That explanation came in Superboy #216, which revealed that all black people on earth had rejected living alongside whites and moved to the isolationist colony of Marzal; their leader, Tyroc, especially despised the Legion and encouraged his people to hate them, but when the Legion proved themselves, he saw how wrong he was and joined up with them. Shooter and Grell absolutely despised the idea, describing the storyline as the most racist concept they'd ever heard. Grell especially hated Tyroc's portrayal as a stereotypical Angry Black Man with "the world's stupidest super-power," so deliberately put him in the most ridiculous costume he could think of as a small bit of revenge.


    Marvel Comics 
  • X-Men:
    • Stan Lee originally wanted to call the series The Mutants, but his boss said that very few readers would know what a mutant was. Lee's protest that nobody, including he himself, knew what an X-Man was had no effect.
    • The original conclusion for The Dark Phoenix Saga called for Dark Phoenix being psychically lobotomized; however, then-Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter ordered writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne to come up with something more drastic as punishment for her crimes, and she was killed off. Fortunately, the talent was able to make that work for a powerfully dramatic conclusion and it is generally agreed that it was a superior idea to the original concept.
    • When it was decided to bring Jean Grey back without the Dark Phoenix baggage (by having it be the Phoenix Force impersonating her while the real Jean was being healed in a cocoon at the bottom of Jamaica Bay), it was decided to relaunch the original X-Men lineup as X-Factor. One slight problem - Angel, Beast, and Iceman were tied up in The New Defenders, so that series was cancelled, and the rest of the team killed off in a Heroic Sacrifice, so the trio could be freed up for X-Factor.
    • When writers were forced to kill Jean again, the plans to give her a Final Death were changed to allow her to come back one day.
    • Chris Claremont had to deal with many mandates when he came back to the book in 2000. Exiles was re-packaged as New Exiles and Claremont was told he could only use characters he created or wrote as the protagonists for his first run on X-Men. Igor Kordey was replaced as the artist on New Excalibur while already working on the first issue; nobody informed Claremont, the writer, at the time of the change in artists. During his third, and latest, run on Uncanny X-Men, Claremont had to drop an ongoing plot, namely the formation of a new Hellfire Club, while the story was in full swing. He was told to abandon the story because a different writer at the time professed interest in using the Hellfire Club. Eventually, it turned out to be All Just a Dream, making the forced abandonment of the plot in Uncanny X-Men a jarring example of executive meddling.
    • Chris Claremont originally wanted to reveal that Nightcrawler's parents were Mystique and her female lover, Destiny, with Mystique having used her shapeshifting powers to turn into a man and impregnate Destiny. The higher-ups at Marvel wouldn't allow it.
    • During Byrne's run on the title, he made a habit of having Wolverine kill people off-panel (thought there would always be a veiled reference to it later in the same issue). Jim Shooter had a bad habit of having his assistants read the books, so he wasn't aware of his trend until he actually overheard John Byrne bragging about it to a fan during an autograph session. Jim Shooter then demanded that every character that Wolverine killed off-panel be brought back. Claremont ended up with the unsavory task, and brought them all back as cyborgs, who eventually formed the band of villains known as the Reavers.
  • For a brief period, Joe Quesada at Marvel Comics tried to encourage a "whoever is dead stays dead" policy, in order to combat the increasing perception that character death is meaningless in the medium. It wasn't an editorial mandate as is often mistakenly said (though there probably is some truth that he used the justification not to influence people not to bring back characters he disliked). This policy notably affected several high-profile works for the company: Grant Morrison had to give Emma Frost the diamond mutation to take the place the then-dead Colossus would have played, and Beast played the science-guy role that the then-dead Moira MacTaggart would have had. This edict proved very unpopular with fans, and overturned by 2004 with Magneto being brought back (ironically Magneto was himself labeled "staying dead" even though Morrison always intended on bringing him back). It took four years before fan-favorite Psylocke was brought back to life in 2005 after being killed off in Xtreme X-Men, as she was originally slated to die in the Psi War arc, which was a few years before her actual death. Chris Claremont, though, merely planned for her death to be temporary, with the idea being that when she returned, she would be stripped of all of the Crimson Dawn stuff that had been added to her story (including her facial tattoo) plus perhaps even returning her to her original body (and not the Asian body she ended up in), however Claremont's plans were scrapped. Furthermore, when Joss Whedon took over what became Astonishing X-Men, one of the very few editorial mandates forced upon him was to bring Colossus back to life.
  • Spider-Man:
    • J. Michael Straczynski was on board with the base idea of the story of One More Day (Retcon Peter Parker's marriage to Mary Jane, thus rewriting 20 years of the comic's history, via a Deal with the Devil), but did not agree with Marvel's Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada on the execution. Straczynski had his ideas vetoed, and asked to have his name removed from the credits.
    • The The Clone Saga has a long and complicated history, but the short version is that high sales of the initial issues led to the marketing department forcibly extended it from its six-month arc to last for two years. Tons of changes were also made to the story during development time by various people outside of the creative team, leading to certain aspects like Judas Traveller that nobody on staff fully understood or knew what to do with.
  • Mini Marvels: A backup feature in an issue of Marvel Adventures jokes that this is what the Skrull invasions of Earth are attempts at — for the Skrulls, Earth is a popular reality show that they've gained ownership rights to, and now they want to exercise creative control. Unfortunately, Earth has turned out to have rather extreme Protection from Editors.
  • Omega the Unknown: Steve Gerber's original idea was about the difficult life of a realistic young man, but Stan Lee insisted he have powers and crossovers with other in-universe superheroes. Eventually, the book was taken away from Gerber entirely, and given to another author who summarily killed the characters off. Then, thirty years later, it was given to yet another author for an update, without so much as informing Gerber.
  • Marvel 1602: Fantastick Four: In-Universe, King James I offers... suggestions to William Shakespeare such as the witches in Macbeth. A couple of actors nearby comment that Will nearly wept when James ordered ghosts put into Hamlet.
  • Star Wars (Marvel 1977): When Marvel got the license after the first movie, George Lucas forbade them to have Vader directly interact with the rebels, as it could interfere with what he had in mind for the movies.
  • Fantastic Four: While Doug Moench was the main writer for about a year (1980-1981), an editorial mandate prevented him from using any of the iconic members of their Rogues Gallery due to the editor thinking they were overused. The result was that Moench came up with two Suspiciously Similar Substitutes: Absolute Xenophobe "Stygorr the Nightlord" stood in for Annihilus, while sentient Black Hole "Ebon Seeker" stood in for Galactus and had a similar origin.
  • Black Panther: The short-lived Kasper Cole version came about because editorial wanted to shake up the book. Christopher Priest claims they began looking for new writers and gave them the task of getting rid of T'Challa and introducing a "hip-hop relevant" Legacy version of the character. The order eventually came back to Priest, who ended up creating Cole, despite not liking the idea one bit.
  • Captain America: Back in 1999, Mark Waid asked for his name to be removed from Vol. 3 #14 because the editors changed the story to the point where it didn't resemble what he had intended. Set inside the Red Skull's mindscape, Waid's point was that, from the twisted perspective of a high-up Nazi, they weren't the bad guys. In the Skull's screwed-up brain, Cap is both the embodiment of evil and - since he won - the new fuhrer. The editors preferred to make the Skull a Card-Carrying Villain (while, paradoxically, removing any suggestion of racism), and Cap simply represented as "that guy the Skull doesn't like because he keeps beating him".
  • Len Kaminski revealed that The Crossing was why he ended his run on Iron Man—the editorial staff was insistent on the story, which infamously attempted to retcon that Iron Man was really a Manchurian Agent for Kang, and in fact, that very plot point is the exact reason why he left.
  • The Avengers:
    • Near the end of Roger Stern's run, editor Mark Gruenwald wanted Captain America to lead the team again, and requested that the current head of the group, Monica Rambeau, be shown as inferior in order to justify Cap's return. Stern refused, as he felt the idea was racist and sexist (since Monica was the first black character to lead the Avengers, and only the second woman to do so), and was fired as a result.
    • Walt Simonson similarly walked away due to the meddling his run received, including editorial giving him permission to have Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman join the Avengers, only to rescind that approval after he'd already written them into the book. Prior to that, he'd also been told he couldn't use Iron Man or Thor, which only furthered his frustration with the gig.
    • Steve Englehart had wanted Quicksilver to become a major recurring villain, as he liked the idea of the Avengers having to face a former teammate who'd fallen from grace. However, a later Retcon established that Quicksilver's villainous behavior was the result of Brainwashing from Black Bolt's brother Maximus, and one of Englehart's West Coast Avengers scripts was even rewritten by editor Ralph Macchio in order to redeem the character.
  • The short-lived 70s book Champions was pitched as a book involving leftover X-Men Angel and Iceman having adventures in Los Angeles. However, a mandate by Len Wein that the team had to have at least five members and "One must be super-strong, one must be female, and at least one must have his own comic." This led to the book also having Hercules, Black Widow, and Ghost Rider on its roster - needless to say, not an especially focused lineup.
  • On a podcast, artist Ryan Stegman mentioned that he was told to tone down the designs on the new characters created for Charles Soule's Inhumans so that they would be easier to adapt in Marvel's live-action TV shows (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Inhumans).
  • Before the 2019 buyout of Fox, Disney and Marvel actively tried devalue the comic franchises whose film rights were owned by the rival company. The Inhumans were the most obvious attempt, with Marvel blatantly making a huge push to try and have them take the X-Men's place as the comics' discriminated superhuman minority. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, popular characters in both the MCU and the Fox produced X-Men films, had their origins retconned, no longer being mutants or Magneto's children in order to disconnect from the X-Men as much as possible. And while Disney has denied claims of giving the Fantastic Four this treatment, it's noticeable that their comic was cancelled shortly before the 2015 movie was released and the team was Put on a Bus from the Marvel Universe as a whole until the buyout was underway.

    Archie Comics 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics):
    • According to writer Ken Penders, Sega started off largely hands-off with the exception of a few moments, including sparing Princess Sally from her death in "End Game". Somewhere along the line, Sega started pushing for more game-centric stuff, which obviously clashed with then-writers Penders and Karl Bollers.
    • The legal case between Archie and Penders. It was said that everything made for the Archie comic was now property of Sega. That meant characters, concepts, etc. Back in the early '90s, it was obvious no one minded the house at Archie and when Penders caught on about 15 years later, he quickly copyrighted his characters, which led to the lawsuits. The problem here was that the lawsuits put Archie in a bind - Sega was adamant that those characters were theirs and if Penders won, then it would go against the mandate and threaten the comic. To save face, all of Penders' characters and concepts (and later, all of those not made by Flynn) were dumped and Penders was given a mandate to cut off all of his characters from everything Sonic, which led to the Continuity Reboot that was Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide.
    • According to conversations with Ian Flynn, one of the big mandates was that the video game characters couldn't have relatives. This would initially led to Sonic and Tails being unable to call their parents by those familiar titles and Eggman's connection to Snively downplayed. When the Cosmic Retcon hit, Uncle Chuck was no longer Sonic's uncle, with the name being just an endearing title to the scientist, and Snively was renamed to "Julian Snively" with no familial connection at all to Eggman. This is despite the fact that both characters were part of the Saturday morning cartoon. This also makes utilizing Sonia and Manic from Sonic Underground harder as many Sonic fans would recognize the two as siblings and expect them to be as such, but they could never say they were.
    • The reason why you don't see characters like Sonia, Manic, Sara and Cosmo interacting with the Freedom Fighters is due to Sega preferring the use of more modern Sonic elements and prohibiting the use of past characters and elements in the comic, with the only reason the SatAM cast stayed was because they were part of the comic from the beginning.
  • Archie Comics's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures: The creative team at the time was preparing for its big epic storyline towards issue #75, "The Forever War", which would have brought back the future "Green Earth Turtles" and showcased the final fight with Shredder. However, the editors at the time balked at this as they absolutely hated the more violent path the comic was taking as well as the "Green Earth Turtles" (it was also because Mirage had started going color around this time and it was taking away from Archie), so they canned the creative team and, ultimately, the title.
  • Archie Comics:
    • There was once a comic called Josie that ran for six years. It was basically a Distaff Counterpart of Archie until the success of the The Archie Show and (more importantly) the success of the hit song from said cartoon "Sugar, Sugar". Hanna-Barbera then approached Archie Comics and asked them about adapting another one of its properties. So in December 1969, Archie retooled Josie. Josie and her friends decided to form a rock band. It was all done so Hanna-Barbera could adopt the then upcoming cartoon as a music-based series.
    • The last two pages of issue 6 of Afterlife with Archie had to be rewritten after the editor found the story to be too dark. Note this is a dark series set in a Zombie Apocalypse that deals with anything from incest to domestic abuse. The fact that the same issue ends with Sabrina about to become the Bride of Cthulhu makes fans really wonder how you could get darker than that.

    Other Comics 
  • Sonic the Comic:
    • The British Sonic book was eventually brought to cancellation because the publishers did not have faith that the book would continue its popularity. Despite selling more than 2000AD at one point, they began decreasing the budget and demanding that there only be one new story per issue, the others being reprints of older stories. Then the comic became 100% reprint, the cover illustrations being the only new thing in them, until finally, the comic was axed completely.
    • Nigel Kitching, a writer for the comic, wanted Amy to be a funny Action Girl who teased Sonic for kicks and giggles. He wanted the two to have a bond similar to the ones in early twentieth century "screwball comedies" like the 1939 film, It's A Wonderful World. A director was fearful this would make her a bad role model, so Amy's personality was changed to be more sensible than the boys. Kitching noticeably had Creator Backlash, saying Amy became a one-dimensional stereotype. He gave up writing her until the final arc, Sonic Adventure's adaptation, where she returned to something more similar to her original persona. It's glaringly noticeable that Amy is less active than usual in that arc.
  • Publishers operated under the bizarre, nonsensical idea that some comics won't last beyond a certain time despite what all sources and sales figures might say; they even considered cancelling 2000AD, Britain's most popular sci-fi comic book and the "birthplace" of Judge Dredd. Fortunately, the computer game company Rebellion bought the title, which continues to this day.
    • Amongst the other comics they did cancel at around the same time was Red Dwarf Smegazine, which was canceled just at the point when a sales spike from the 1993 series might have been expected. In an example of Tropes Are Not Bad, this ended up being the right move, as the 4, 2, and 10 year gaps between each of the next series would likely have killed it off anyways.
  • The Transformers:
    • Bob Budiansky, original writer of the Marvel comic book, was continually forced by Hasbro to introduce new characters during his run. He eventually got burnt out and passed the writing duties on to Marvel U.K.'s Transformers writer Simon Furman.
    • Writer Simon Furman spent a few years writing a series of epic Transformers stories for IDW publishing that featured Loads and Loads of Characters, as well as new concepts like the Dead Universe and a plausible Decepticon invasion plan that made vehicular disguises relevant to the story. Then, due to falling sales, IDW decided to truncate Furman's twelve-issue Grand Finale into four issues of the "Spotlight" series (necessitating each chapter focusing on a single character's thoughts in addition to all the action), and a five issue "Maximum Dinobots" series so that they can put their publishing power behind All Hail Megatron.
    • In 2010, the Transformers Collector's Club dropped their "Nexus Prime" plotline which had been running for about five years across various continuities. This is because Hasbro themselves have taken charge of stories regarding the Thirteen original Transformers.
    • The very graphic death scenes in The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers were, according to Nick Roche, put in at Hasbro's request, who had apparently grown tired of how easily resurrectable Transformers were starting to be shown and wanted some definitive kills to show that death still meant something in Transformers. According to the trade Springer, Kup, and Perceptor were all going to die in one version. Hasbro vetoed one, IDW another, and the writers didn't go through with the last one.
    • Hasbro has, over the years, forced numerous characters to change their names when the original G1 name either fell out of copyright or they were unable to secure it. This is why, for example, Hot Rod changed his name to Rodimus. However, the weird example is Slag the Dinobot. "Slag", as it turns out, is an extremely offensive term for a sexually-immoral woman in certain parts of the English-speaking world. Hasbro decided to change the character's name to Slug. IDW's comic did not handle this transition well. Arcee told Slag that his name meant something crude and offensive. Slag, who was characterized as making a point of being crude and offensive, responded by agreeing to change his name to Slug.
  • The Muppet Show Comic Book: The Family Reunion arc (which involved the reintroduction of Skeeter, Scooter's twin sister) had to be pushed forward because the "Guest Stars" arc was scrapped on a veto and there was a gap that needed filling. However, the Disney executives had not decided whether to make Skeeter a full cast member, or to bring her in at all, so they told the writers to make the story ambiguous. The arc was framed by two celestial beings, who are NOT Statler and Waldorf, who throw in various characters as a way of livening things up a bit, leaving its status as canon murky.
  • Werner:
    • The title of the sixth book, Besser is das!, had to be censored after the first edition because the Flensburger brewery understood it as comparative advertising in favor of Werner's recently launched own beer brand, "Bölkstoff". Werner had been drinking Flensburger beer all the time before, in fact, he was the reason behind the immense increase in popularity for the small brewery near the Danish border in the 1980s.
    • Merch with the "Red Porsche Killer" on it had to be censored upon request by Porsche. The book Das Rennen names it "Red XXXXXX Killer".
  • The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck: Writer Don Rosa dropped a seven-page prologue of dense McDuck family history and to completely rewrite chapters 3 and 8 on requests from Egmont editor Byron Erickson.
  • The Simping Detective: Originally envisaged as one of many stories of a strip called Mega City Noir (the first story, Gumshoe, is under the MC-Noir name) which was to be a Sin City-style strip featuring various characters around Angeltown and their dealings with both sides of the law. Megazine editor Alan Barnes felt that Jack Point was simply too good to be wasted as a One-Shot Character and he was given his own series. Mega City Noir was given a second story, which explained what happened to Muggro Keevish after the events of Crystal Blue and focused on mob enforcer Gaz. Unfortunately, it wasn't anywhere near as good as The Simping Detective and further plans for any more Mega City Noir stories have been indefinitely postponed.
  • Done in-universe in a Mickey Mouse story dealing with the in-universe tv series Bolton (a counterpart to Columbo), showing both the bad and the good of this trope:
    • The bad: When the writer disappears (as he, the director and the main actor all feel that the series has gone long enough and would like to do something else but the producer is forcing them to continue, so they hope to kill the series and replace it with their new project this way) both Mickey and Mortimer are brought in as replacements, with Mickey writing scripts that could be mistaken for being written by the original writer... Except Mortimer, who didn't even see an episode before joining the staff, convinces the producer to dumb down Mickey's scripts, introduce nonsensical magic and science fiction elements, turn the main character in a goof and generally Jumping the Shark. This gets the original fans to leave and get replaced by teenagers who treat it as a comedy (instead of the adventure series that Mortimer intends) and the director, the main actor and Mickey leaving in disgust, with the latter deciding to track down the original writer to save the show (only to change his mind when he succeeds and finds out why).
    • The good: As the first episode of Mortimer's run as the director, writer and main actor is aired, he and the producer find out that the original writer, director and main actor, together with Mickey and his friends, have literally stole away both the original fans and the new ones with the fan-financed pilot of a new adventure series. The sponsors, already enraged by getting the original crowd replaced with fans that won't buy their adult-targeted watches, aftershaves and similar products (with the original fans not wishing to be associated to a moron), takes this as the last straw and intervene by killing Bolton, replace it with the new show, and force Mortimer to star in a last episode written by Mickey in which his version of Bolton is declared an imposter and kidnapped by a robot that wants to go back to Mars as punishment for ruining the old show.
  • This trope led to the Creator Killer of Take-Two Interactive's own comic company, Double Take. Take Two had hired former Marvel Comics editor Bill Jemas (who was also responsible for the tripe that was Marville) to create a new comic universe and planned to do so using X-COM, Civilization and BioShock as a massive Shared Universe (how that would have worked is really unknown). However, the games division was really protective of their franchises and didn't want this "outsider" messing with them, forcing the entirety of Double Take being yanked out of Take-Two's offices and into a new office. Scrambling for something to replace what they lost, they decided to focus on Night of the Living Dead (1968) and try to turn that into a superhero universe. However, that was met with incredible disappointment and the company would ultimately fold without really getting it's foot out the door.
  • Mortadelo y Filemón: A lot in the early years - the Bruguera company even tried to "steal" the characters from Ibáñez and give them to other authors a couple of times. He also had to deal with the Francoist official censorship, which was pretty hard at suppresing Toilet Humor and anything that denoted "subversion". For instance, the cops are called "gendarmes" and their uniforms and cars do not look anything like the Spanish police ones of the timenote ; when a character made any reference to the Spanish Civil War it either disappeared or was changed to "the '14 war", a war in which Spain never took part, and so on. One character of 13 Rue del Percebe (another comic strip from the same author that sometimes Cross Overed with Mortadelo y Filemón), a parodic Mad Scientist that built monsters for a living, was eventually written out and substituted by a tailor because the dead-hard Catholic government thought that "Only God can create life". This is also why women do not appear at all in late 50s strips - each time Ibáñez drew one, the censors eliminated so much in the way of curves that it ended looking like a broomstick.
    • Even some dialogues had to be changed because censorship. In one instance, Mortadelo sees a monster, and runs to Filemón in panic, trying to alert him. He tries to say "¡Un monstruo!" ("A monster!") but he's so scared that he can only babble: "¡Un mo... un mo...!". Filemón thinks he's trying to say "un moco" ("snot") and says "Si tiene un moco, suénese" ("If you've got snot, blow your nose") as he produces a handkerchief. "Moco", though a quite colloquial, innocent word, was such a profanity for some censor that Filemón's answer was rewritten as "¿Un mono? Aquí no hay monos" ("A monkey? There are no monkeys here"), making the gesture of producing the handkerchief completely absurd.
  • The publication of “Little Annie Fanny” in “Playboy Magazine” was often met with this. According to comic historian Paul Buhle, Harvey was ever more frequently kowtowing to the demands of High Hefner for more nudity and titillation in place of stories centered around current events.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • The Far Side: A few strips were never published due to fear of their bizarre content causing backlash, such as one strip that appears to have a dog humping an upside down car due how the artwork was done, while others were given edits without creator Gary Larson's permission. In the The Prehistory of The Far Side book (which contains the unpublished strips) Larson admitted that he would occasionally go a bit overboard, but he did have a small gripe about the changes being done without his input.
  • Pearls Before Swine: Creator Stephan Pastis has talked about several strips over the years that his syndicate has asked him to change for one reason or another, and he had usually agreed due to the strips in question being so edgy that the risk outweighs the reward. In the treasury Pearls Sells Out, Pastis writes about a particular strip that his syndicate wanted changed because it showed the characters drinking beer. Pastis flat-out refused to do so, arguing that he wasn't "gonna keep looking over...[his]...shoulder" every time he submitted a strip and worrying about their attitude. With the exception of a few minor edits, Pastis says that the syndicate has since left him alone and that he understands most other syndicates wouldn't have even published Pearls to begin with.
  • Dilbert:
    • In the early days, Scott Adams was planning on adding Satan to the strip's cast. The syndicate wouldn't let him, so he ended up creating the character of Phil, Prince of Insufficient Light, the ruler of "Heck". Adams later said that it turned out much funnier than his original plan.
    • Played for Laughs In-Universe in a strip where Dogbert tells a writer to make a few changes to his manuscript so it can be more publishable:
      Dogbert: Make the main character a purple dinosaur instead of a detective. Add some upbeat songs and eliminate the murder.
      Writer: It's a murder mystery!!
      Dogbert: Oh, that's original.
  • The Perry Bible Fellowship: A couple strips were removed because they were offensive.note 
  • Liberty Meadows, during its syndicated period, was heavily censored. The strip relies quite heavily on sexual allusion and was more than willing to nudge the line between PG-13 and R whereas the executives wanted something "five-year-old-friendly". This eventually led to the artist Frank Cho dropping syndication altogether. However, Cho has stated that he is still grateful for the suggestion to change Leslie into a frog, instead of keeping him as a talking lima bean.
  • Garfield: Jim Davis was told by his syndicator to change Odie's ears from black to brown a year after he was introduced to the strip. Apparently, readers were confusing Odie with Snoopy.

Alternative Title(s): Comics


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