Artist Darick Robertson has announced that The Boys #43, released last week, is the final issue of the monthly series he'll draw "for a while." He will continue to provide covers for the title.
Robertson, who created the title in 2006 with writer Garth Ennis, pointed to Dynamite Entertainment's shipping schedule as the reason for his somewhat abrupt departure. (He's listed as the artist in the solicitation for July's Issue 44.)
"They make the schedule," he wrote on the Standard Attrition message board. "I made my desires known, and this was what was chosen as best for the title. [...] I did my very best to make the book come out monthly with my art. I never wanted fill-ins. I try to put my all into every issue, and make the series whatever I can make it as good as it could be. However, it takes a certain amount of time to create an issue. Those realities are what they are, and there are different choices with how to make that goal work."
Russ Braun, whose art Robertson describes as "top notch," will be replacing him on interior art. Along with providing covers for The Boys, Robertson will work on the Butcher six-issue miniseries, which debuts in July 2011.
Robertson encouraged fans who miss his work on the title to let Dynamite know. "I would liked to have been the sole artist on every issue of The Boys," he wrote. "That was always my intention."
Update, June 22: Robertson has posted a clarification on the Standard Attrition message board:
I have screwed up. I made several severely off-handed comments here on the "Standard Attrition" forum regarding my upcoming work on The Boys. These comments were born of my personal frustration with the monthly schedule and the pressure I have been under trying to meet it. I need to make things clear.
To begin, I am NOT leaving the The BOYS and I have not been permanently replaced. Nobody at Dynamite wants this and we are continually reworking the schedule and the artist line-up so that I can draw the best issues I can create. Every decision at Dynamite is made with me included.
When I was asked: "Does Dynamite actually have anything to do with it (the decision to go off the book)?" I replied: "They make the schedule. I made my desires known, and this was what was chosen as best for the title." This comment was unfair and misleading as it implied that I have not been included in the final choices on the schedule and that I would not be coming back to the monthly series.
We all agreed that it was best for the title to proceed monthly with another artist so that I can have ample time to draw the Butcher mini series (a hugely important run for The Boys) without the added pressure of the monthly deadline. Doing this IS accommodating my schedule. It is never easy to give up issues. In fact, I hate it. And from that frustration I can say some pretty stupid things.
A fan commented, "I just assumed you had scheduling/time conflicts or something" and my reply was "Or something." I did not want to admit that I have not been able to meet the monthly schedule that I committed to, so in turn, I made Dynamite look to blame. I have tried to get more time to do each monthly book but it is crucial to Dynamite and the fans to have this book in the stores every month on time with the best possible artist. Historically, late books lose readers. Dynamite, Garth and I are ultimately dedicated to the fans and to the retailers.
When I said I never wanted fill-ins, I meant that looking back at the series, I always wanted to draw every page. I have never preferred and will never prefer fill-ins. I was venting disappointment based on my own regret. But again, I allowed my comments to misrepresent Dynamite. Fill-in artists are necessary. Being as tight to the deadline as I am each month puts an incredible strain on the rest of the team, Simon Bowland, Tony Avina, Joe Rybandt, Garth Ennis, and Nick Barrucci, all who really want each issue to be on the shelves on time. That strain threatens the book's quality.
Like anything in hindsight, I realize my mistake and I wish I could undo it. My apologies to you fans who thought I was going for good and supported me with your e-mails. My apologies especially to Dynamite and Garth for having created this mess. I am not leaving the BOYS monthly, and look forward to returning to the monthly title when Butcher is winding down and I can move on without endangering the monthly schedule. Garth's story is so good, that it's well worth focusing on the quality of the Butcher series.
Lastly, I asked people to direct their comments to Dynamite. I don't know why I did this. I am temperamental and don't always think before I type. This is something that I can't take back and I wish I could. I have unleashed a wave of angry letters---letters that fans are writing based on my vague and emotional comments--letters that are insulting to my friends and colleagues. This was a matter that should have always have been handled internally. My thoughtlessness created a mess. It's a mess I guarantee won't happen again as I think a long break from the message boards is in order.
To reiterate, I am going to return to the monthly title. Dynamite is allowing me all of the time I need to draw Butcher, as it's the story that I've wanted to draw from the beginning. Garth accommodated me by delivering scripts early so that if the series takes me eight months to draw, great, and if I need more, it's by my schedule. This is the reason why I don't know when I'll be returning, but I will. The only other choice was to place the book on hiatus for up to a year, and I know that would disappoint the fans. As much as I appreciate the support from fans who love the book and who would wait for it, there are also those who wouldn't. We don't want to lose readers to where The BOYS could risk being canceled. No one wants that, especially me.
The new issue #44 looks great. It is worth picking up The Boys no matter who is drawing it. I have seen Russ Braun's art for #44 and he's doing great looking work, and you can see it for yourselves next month!