DC Has Cancelled Border Town Following Allegations of Sexual Abuse Against Creator [Updated]

Sheriff Arnie Hernandez giving a speech.
Sheriff Arnie Hernandez giving a speech.
Image: Ramon Villalobos, Tamra Bonvillain (DC Comics)

Following allegations of sexual abuse against Border Town creator Eric M. Esquivel, multiple sources reported today that DC Comics has announced its plans to cancel the series—which had been one of the major titles behind the publisher’s push to revitalize its Vertigo imprint.


Earlier this week, toy designer Cynthia Naugle published a blog post titled “X, my experience with my abuser” in which she detailed being “sexually, mentally, and emotionally abused” by an unnamed former coworker (who was her work manager at the time), who’s now in the comics industry. Naugle describes how, for months, her abuser would put her in socially uncomfortable positions, constantly pressure her for sex, and at times become violent with her. She also said:

“3 days ago, I sent him a very long email about what he did to me. It was basically this post.

He responded in less than 5mins. He apologized, said he remembers things differently, and he’ll never see me at any of the same conventions, and he’ll remove me from all social media [sic], and he’s there if I need to talk.

It took him less than 5 mins to read, process, and respond to a very long detailed letter. It took me months, and many rewrites to figure out how to say what I wanted to. Reliving it all, having to go to therapy, having to tell my family and friends about this, talking to the other women he’s hurt, and he barely skimmed through it.”


While Naugle never directly named her abuser, Esquivel’s name soon began floating around in comics circles on Twitter and Naugle retweeted statements positing that she was, in fact, speaking about Esquivel. Following Naugle’s statement, Border Town artist Ramon Villalobos and colorist Tamra Bonvillain have both spoke out and named Esquivel in statements of their own and expressed that they believe Naugle.

DC has yet to put out an official statement explaining exactly why Border Town has been cancelled, but between Esquivel having gone dark on social media as more people have come forward with stories of their own about off-putting interactions with him, it stands to reason that the decision was driven by these revelations and subsequent fallout.

We’ve reached out to both DC and Esquivel directly for comment regarding this story and will update if and when we hear back.


Update 8:30 p.m.: Esquivel responded to io9's request for comment with the following statement:

“I was recently accused of misconduct by a former romantic partner. Not recent misconduct. Misconduct which allegedly happened many years ago. Out of respect for her and our prior relationship, I will not publicly name names.

I’ve taken a few days to respond, because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t talking over anyone. We’re in the midst of a very important cultural conversation right now. One I wholeheartedly believe in.

Never in my life did I expect that I would become one of the accused. I will not speculate as to her motivation for making these reckless allegations, but I want to make it clear that they are false. Though our relationship was unconventional, we always treated one another with dignity and respect.

I heavily encourage, and will fully cooperate in, any forthcoming independent investigation of these claims, which I am confident will show that I have been falsely accused.

I have been notified that DC Vertigo has canceled the book I was working on. My heart breaks for the book’s supporters, and my creative collaborators. They don’t deserve to be negatively affected by this unfortunate situation.”


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I get it, I do. It’s what we do now.

On the flip side, I am thankful that the Autobahn system wasn’t cancelled and destroyed just because it’s creator had other social agendas... Eisenhower based the Interstate System on that initial framework.

Is it possible, in our current social environment, that we will suppress brilliant ideas if their creators have faults? Can we learn to separate the Person from the Idea at some point; or do we stick to our “socially aware” boundaries, come hell or high water?

Can brilliant idiots still help elevate the species, or do we disregard their ideas to make us feel better at night?

Hyperbole aside - All Human Beings have faults, we all have things that we hope never see the light of day. Social Media makes us forget this fact. But many Human Beings have ideas and contributions that we will not recognize in this day and age, simply due to their faults...

Progress?  Detriment?  Jury is out, I suppose.  But, we should all be considering both sides of such situations.  To not consider all possibilities is a disadvantage based on emotions and neu-politeness.