Tom King, who has been writing Batman since the Rebirth launch in 2016, will reportedly conclude his run on the title with the upcoming Batman #85, apparently cutting short a run that he and DC had previously said would end around #105. While DC and King have been publicly silent, ComicBook.com heard rumblings yesterday and reached out to both parties for confirmation, but nobody was talking. This morning, Bleeding Cool ran a report that corroborated King's departure with #85, speculating that pressure had come from parent companies Warner Bros. and AT&T after recent reports that King's Batman mega-arc would make dramatic changes to the character. Our sources suggest that this is a purely publishing-driven decision.
While King has not confirmed any information about the move -- which sources suggest was a DC decision, not one by King -- he did come out of a long Twitter silence today to thank fans for their outpouring of support after the Bleeding Cool story ran. It is not yet clear whether King will try to condense his 100-plus issue story to suit 85 issues, if it will be cut short altogether, or whether King will be offered an opportunity to do it in a stand-alone series, a la Grant Morrison's post-New 52 Batman and Robin.
During a recent interview with ComicBook.com, King expressed excitement for the upcoming "City of Bane" storyline, which will apparently be published in its current form, saying that "for 75 issues, that's all I've wanted to talk about. I've been wanting to talk about it forever. When the wedding busts open, I just wanted to be like, 'you got to see what's coming, you got to see this.' I feel relieved; this whole run was just building to this arc. I remember being at the DC retreat and literally drawing lines on the board, and I was like 'when you hit #50, this is going to be Batman's highest moment, this is going to be as happy as Batman gets. And when you hit #75 you'll be as low as Batman gets.' And I just knew those 25 issues would be painful for the audience. They're painful to write, it's painful to see your hero lose. So, it just to me feels like a great relief, which is what it's supposed to feel like to the audience as a storyteller. You're like 'okay, great. Now Batman can start punching back.'"
Sources indicate that King will be leaving Batman proper by the end of 2019. King has a number of as-yet-unannounced projects at DC in the coming year or so, and it is not yet clear whether or how any changes to his Batman run might impact those stories. At least one of them is expected to be done with his Sheriff of Babylon and Mister Miracle collaborator, Mitch Gerads. Mister Miracle was an Eisner winner last year, and is nominated again this year.