‘Border Town’ Cancelled After Creative Team Quits

Another incident of abuse has arisen in the media, this time involving Border Town writer/creator Eric Esquivel. The Vertigo series had been acclaimed, but it’s short life has come to an end after the entire creative team quit the book.

Over the weekend, toy designer Cynthia Naugle posted a harrowing account of her abuse at the hands of a man she called “X”. According to her post, “X” began an abusive sexual relationship with her when he was her manager at a comics shop in Tucson, AZ. You can read the entire account in the link, but trigger warnings are definitely called for, as the extreme physical and emotional abuse she describes is truly disturbing.

While Naugle did not name “X” in her blog post, the details matched only one person: writer Eric Esquivel. Naugle later confirmed his identity with other sources. According to her post, she had written to Esquivel to confront him about his actions, but his reaction was to write a hasty and trivial apology. He then deleted all of his social media accounts except his Twitter, which he turned private. It was after this that Naugle took her account public.

As the account circulated on Twitter, several other people stepped up to say they also had had inappropriate interactions with Esquivel and that rumors had been circulating about him for a while. In addition, several incidents involving misconduct by Esquivel were posted on Facebook, adding to the picture of someone whose troubling behavior had been circulating for some time.

Border Town launched earlier this year to general acclaim. Drawn by Ramon Villalobos with colors by Tamra Bonvillain, the series dealt with racial tensions, a supernatural invasion and the Latinx experience. While Esquivel has been on the comics scene for quite a while, the book was seen as a huge break for him. As year-end lists were compiled, he was being named a future star.

All of that has ended with the growing list of misconduct by Esquivel.

While neither DC nor Esquivel has responded to the allegations, on Wednesday night Bonvillain and Villalobos spoke out on Twitter and announced they were leaving the book. Bonvillain announced that she would no longer be working on the book.

In her Twitter stream, Bonvillain also revealed that Esquivel had been the subject of a prior complaint.

Artist Ramon Villalobos also spoke out:

And Bonvillain continued:

And now, DC has seemingly put a halt on issues #5 and #6 of the acclaimed Vertigo title.  DC has not offered any comment on the situation or given definitive word on the status of the series, however their latest retailer mailer included a note cancelling orders for January’s Border Town #5 and February’s Border Town #6. Additionally, it has made issues #1-4 of the series returnable by retailers starting January 2.

We will keep you updated as more comes out about this story.