Vertigo's 'Border Town' Cancelled Amid Sexual Assault Allegations Against Writer Eric Esquivel
Border Town, DC/Vertigo's sold-out supernatural series about an Arizona town that serves as a [...]
Border Town, DC/Vertigo's sold-out supernatural series about an Arizona town that serves as a gateway to a supernatural world, has seemingly been cancelled following sexual assault allegations against writer Eric Esquivel.
DC Entertainment has not yet made an official comment, but Diamond Comics Distributors informed retailers via e-mail today that pre-orders for Border Town #5 and #6 would be cancelled and that the issues would not be resolicited.
Border Town was created by Esquivel and artist Ramon Villalobos, who quit the series alongside colorist Tamra Bonvillain earlier this week after the allegations against Esquivel became public.
Diamond also informed retailers that the first four issues of the series, including the sold-out #1 and its second printing, would be made returnable beginning January 2.
The allegations against Esquivel were posted online [explicit content warning] in a post titled "my experience with my abuser," by Cynthia Naugle, an ex-partner of Esquivel's. While she declined to name the man in question, referring only to him as "X," comics-industry insiders quickly outed Esquivel as the target of the piece.
The post hit on December 9, and included a lengthy and detailed history of sexual and emotional abuse by Naugle's ex-partner. It began circulating among comic book professionals on social media almost immediately.
"Two days ago, I was first made aware of the experiences shared by Cynthia Naugle about her relationship with Border Town writer Eric Esquivel," Bonvillain tweeted. "The way he treated her was disgusting and inexcusable, and issue 5 is my last issue working on Border Town."
She further suggested that there have been other complaints about Esquivel, including some that were reported to DC/Vertigo, but that as far as she was told, those were not related to abuse and were "solvable interpersonal issues."
Bonvillain was joined by artist Ramon Villalobos, who also left the title. In a statement posted to Twitter, Villalobos said that neither he, nor Bonvillain or any member of DC/Vertigo's editorial team were aware of allegations against Esquivel until they became public days ago.
"To know the art that I'm so proud of, and the world I have lived in and created for the last year of my life had brought so much pain to individuals frankly outweighs the joy I know it brought others and that is going to be something that is hard to reconcile," Villalobos said in a statement confirming his exit.
Esquivel has not issued any kind of statement. As of this writing, he has disabled most of his social media accounts and set his Twitter account to private. DC/Vertigo has so far declined to comment to the press.
[UPDATE: A previous version of this article stated that there had been complaints levied against Ramon Villalobos. This was an error. The article meant to state that there had been suggestions of further incidents involving Esquivel. The article has been corrected.]4comments