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Nick

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xx In Memoriam - Stephanie Brown
« Thread started on: Aug 14th, 2011, 07:14am »

No she's not "dead" again, thankfully, although to DC she might as well be. But there are some spoilers ahead for those who haven't read the final issue of Batgirl yet.

I think it's clear that this whole DC Reboot was an incredibly rushed decision, you only have to read this interview for that proof: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=33797

Because of this, the last three issues felt horribly rushed. But it is a testament to the skill of Bryan Q Miller that he still manages to make the final issue in particular really pack a punch and make it a wonderful issue in itself. Anybody who loved it too really needs to read this commentary to see what Miller had planned for the future (and he had a lot planned!): http://dcwomenkickingass.tumblr.com/post/8746856416/bg-24


This reboot is clearly all about the money, there is not one supporting argument that it is anything to do with creativity or character issues. I just think it is very sad that DC have rushed it through at such a pace that creators are unable to tell the stories they had planned, and had to seriously truncate their creative visions just to fit in some of the important milestones. The series of splash pages illustrating Miller’s future plans is really amazing and really awful at the same time. Amazing because we get to see all the amazing adventures and happy Steph times he had planned for the future. Awful because DC being a business that obviously needs to revolve around profit means that we’ll never get to read them…

I also have to give credit to Pere Perez. Again, everybody knows I love Lee Garbett’s work on the series. But I really think Perez stepped up his game as the series progressed. He went from being the acceptable fill in penciller, to being a really good lead artist in his own right. Garbett is still my favourite, but I wish we’d been given Perez for all the final ten issues rather than forcing Dustin Nguyen upon us for a few of them.

I like change when it’s handled well. There is nothing worse than a comic or character growing stale, and that’s something DC have had a hundred thousand times. But I don’t like change when it’s not needed. The Batman universe had a wonderful shake-up just two years ago and we started getting fresh and progressive stories. These changes were evolving naturally, so things definitely weren’t getting stale just yet.

Things may be wonderful on the other side of this reboot, but no matter how good those stories may be, we are getting them at the cost of losing some amazing stories yet to be told with the characters we have now. Steph had a lot of life left in her, and once again she is unceremoniously sidelined by the business that simply don’t care about the characters. For a business, at the end of the day it's the money that counts, not love for the characters - I can understand that, I really can, but it doesn't mean I have to like it. And you know what? I think the creators who love the characters too like it even less than the readers.

I’ve said before that I didn’t like Cass as Batgirl because she just popped up out of nowhere, was given an icon that hadn’t been used in years, and suddenly she had her own series. I don’t think she earned or deserved either. I first discovered Steph not long before that during Cataclysm, and all I thought was ‘oh great, yet another unnecessary costumed sidekick’. But over the following few years she really grew on me, and by time she became Robin she’d become one of my favourites, she was just too adorable not to love. She earned and deserved her own series, and it’s very sad to see it taken away from her again. Does Bruce Wayne really need four books about him every month and Steph really deserve to be shelved once again? I think a better balance could should have been found.

I think there were two ways to handle this reboot that are better than the cut-and-paste job we're getting now:

1) Do it Marvel style and create a brand new Continuity to attract fresh readers, and keep the old one untouched for the long term readers = Everybody wins.

2) Plan enough in advance to end the current Continuity and gives creators a year or two to get there. Then start completely again. The final issue of Batgirl was perfect in the respect that it is an epilogue to her series, but we know the character will keep on living. That is how DC could have handled this entire reboot, give all their characters endings like that before starting again - but give the creators time to really set up a fitting farewell without rushing it. Miller did an amazing job working with what he had, it's just very clear he could have done a much better job if he was allowed. And you know what, I think many more people would have been happy with that sort of ending.


---


We know Miller has a project lined up that he can’t talk about yet... Steph in her (K)nightwing costume? If so, sign me up now.

Here's to you Batgirl 2009 - 2011. You were one of the best things to come out of DC in years. You will be missed.


A little something from Mr Garbett:
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« Last Edit: Aug 14th, 2011, 07:17am by Nick » User IP Logged

Geekchic

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xx Re: In Memoriam - Stephanie Brown
« Reply #1 on: Mar 31st, 2012, 1:00pm »

I Thought this was a fitting point to direct you to my Stephanie Cos-play ! Enjoy smiley

http://wearegeekgirls.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/spoiler-vs-penguin-at-mcm-expo.html

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Nick

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xx Re: In Memoriam - Stephanie Brown
« Reply #2 on: Jun 14th, 2012, 6:25pm »

Well this was unexpected:

http://www.tvguide.com/News/Smallville-Season-11-1048845.aspx
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Will

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xx Re: In Memoriam - Stephanie Brown
« Reply #3 on: Jun 14th, 2012, 6:42pm »

It reminds me of the struggles at Marvel with Spider-Girl.

And it's not a bad idea. If Batman is going to have a sidekick onscreen, I've always thought that Robin as a girl was more workable and suggestive. (obviously this is just another comic, but the DNA is from another medium; well, okay, that's an argument that's circular or mathematically squared)
« Last Edit: Jun 14th, 2012, 6:43pm by Will » User IP Logged

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xx Re: In Memoriam - Stephanie Brown
« Reply #4 on: Jul 19th, 2012, 09:42am »

Dead Again! Smallville Season 11 Revamped to Exclude Stephanie Brown

It could be the plot of a young adult novel:

Teenage girl from a broken home discovers that her father is a super villain and decides to be a hero to work against him. She has to deal with other crimefighters who don’t think she’s qualified, an unplanned pregnancy, a horrific torture and beating, a miraculous rebirth to do charity work, and a triumphant return as a respected hero. Unfortunately, that return is abruptly ended at the hands of an all-powerful and unknowable foe.

Not ready to give up, she’s about to escape the banishment when that mysterious foe quashes her down again.

That’s essentially the story of Stephanie Brown’s fictional life.

I wrote last month that after a period of being in limbo due to DC New 52 reboot, Steph, the former Spoiler/Robin/Batgirl was about to return as Batman’s sidekick, Nightwing, in the first appearance of Batman in the Smallville universe, in Smallville Season 11, DC’s digital-first comic.

Steph has been very popular among female fans since her introduction and even inspired a website, girlwonder.org, when she was killed off the first time. Before her Batgirl series was canceled, it was the first title I recommended to parents who want to get their kids, particularly their daughters, into comics.


The cover to Catwoman #0, out in September. Apparently, this is okay for DC fans.
Despite an interview in TV Guide and the release of cover art featuring Steph as the female Nightwing in the story, DC editorial headquartered in New York stepped in and squashed the appearance, replacing Steph with Barbara (Batgirl) Gordon as the Nightwing under the mask.

Apparently, the California office of DC Entertainment which handles Smallville Season 11 because of the television connection, hadn’t realized that New York would object to Steph’s appearance.

At first, when asked about the rumors of Steph being nixed were brought up at International Comic Con in San Diego last week, DC gave a confusing answer, seeming to say that Steph’s appearance was only rumored, despite the TV Guide interview.

It wasn’t until a day later that they confirmed that the change had been made. DC Co-Publisher Dan Didio confirmed at the DC NewWave panel that the change was because they wanted Smallville to use the “most iconic” version of the Nightwing character.

This is a curious answer for several reasons.

The first is that Smallville Season 11 writer Bryan Q. Miller was removed at the last minute from the Comic Con Superman panel, not as his choice, as he tweeted on June 6th:

Bryan Miller ‏@bryanQmiller
SDCC amendment – have just been informed that I will no longer be on the Friday @dccomics Superman panel. Still signing on Saturday, though!

Smallville Season 11 is a consistent digital best-seller through the ComiXology app. In an interview last week, the ComiXology CEO did not provide specific figures on the comic, but he pointed out the site has had 10 million downloads since May and Smallville Season 11‘s issues have always hit their bestseller lists.

With digital possibly being the wave of the future for monthly comics, it seems a curious decision to remove the writer of the bestselling digital comic from a panel discussing Superman, especially one based on a show that lasted for a decade. Attempts to contact Miller or DC Entertainment in California for a reason for the removal had no response.

That leaves only speculation. Perhaps DC didn’t want the controversy over Steph’s removal to become a big deal at the Superman panel. Or perhaps DC Editorial, which has been pushing a new, grittier Superman in the new 52 in which Lois and Clark are separate didn’t want to share the stage with a comic that includes Lois and Clark as a firmly established couple.

The one conclusion that is certain is that whatever was said publicly, it’s clear DC Editorial in New York simply does not want Stephanie Brown to appear anywhere. Checking around with several sources, I was informed both Steph and former Batgirl Cassandra Cain (now known as Black Bat) were considered “toxic.”

Chuck Dixon, the co-creator of Stephanie Brown, says it sure seems like someone doesn’t like the character, despite the critical acclaim of her solo series as Batgirl by Smallville Season 11 writer Miller.

“Someone at DC does not like Stephanie Brown. They killed her and now they’re removing her from books,” Dixon said. “I don’t mean to be paranoid but the Spoiler’s never even had an action figure and Mister Terrific has had two. (if you just asked yourself “Who?”, you’re not alone) I only created Steph as a plot device for an arc in Detective Comics. But the fans asked for more in in fact ASSUMED there would be more. And fan assumptions are a powerful force.”

[...]

Steph is a character perfectly designed to bring in the young female audience, such as those who attended ConnectiCon last weekend. It was my first time there and I was impressed that the anime-flavored con had an even gender split and even more impressed at the varied and wonderful costumes worn by the female cosplayers. This is an audience ripe for a new generation of DC characters like Steph that appeal to them. An appearance in a digital-first comic based on a long-running television series is the perfect avenue to get their attention, bypassing the traditional direct market in which women are only a small minority of customers.

By ignoring these potential new customers, DC is leaving money on the table.

[...]

The other issue is the iconic designation.

Given that Smallville features a Flash who is Bart Allen, a Green Arrow who’s married to an original character created for the television show, several original characters, including Lex Luthor’s sister Tess (now appearing as a ghost..perhaps), and a Stargirl who fought crime before Superman donned his cape…wanting an “iconic” Nightwing with Barbara Gordon seems odd, given Babs best-known identity is Batgirl. not Nighwing.

But perhaps Didio hopes that fans will read about Babs in Smallville and check out her solo New 52 Batgirl comic. I like the Batgirl comic very much but it features Barbara as slowly recovering from a serious spinal injury and struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. This is not a character in synch with the happy-go-lucky Nightwing who will be in the Smallville book.

Also, “iconic” seems to mean whatever the heads of DC Editorial want it to mean, despite how the world views the characters.

Wally West is the most well-known and popular Flash but he’s been sidelined, like Steph and Cass, to make way for the Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen. Harley Quinn, a tremendously popular character created for Batman: The Animated Series, has had a personality and costume makeover in the New 52, despite the fact her old costume is instantly recognizable. Robin is currently Bruce Wayne’s son, Damian, not Dick Grayson.

http://www.wired.com/geekmom/2012/07/nightwing-swapped-out-in-smallville/
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Nick

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xx Re: In Memoriam - Stephanie Brown
« Reply #5 on: Jul 21st, 2012, 05:22am »

While I like that article (a lot), Gail Simone has put her thoughts into it that make the whole thing even more worrying:

http://gailsimone.tumblr.com/post/27500730809/this-steph-thing

Simply put, Bryan Q Miller wasn't told to put in Barbara, he was told he had to take out Steph and replace her with just about anyone. Chuck Dixon is absolutely right, someone at DC has a massive hatred for Steph, and is actively keeping her out of books.

DC's #1 Plan: Make Steph Batigirl to prove she sucks and can't sell books. When this fails move on to;

DC's #2 Plan: Make sure Steph never appears in any other books to prove she sucks and can't sell books. If she's not there, she's not selling, proving she sucks.

DiDio logic?
« Last Edit: Jul 21st, 2012, 05:22am by Nick » User IP Logged

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xx Re: In Memoriam - Stephanie Brown
« Reply #6 on: Oct 18th, 2012, 04:56am »

http://www.newsarama.com/comics/dan-didio-stephanie-brown-full-answer.html

You know, me [DiDio] and Stephanie, we go way back. The story with Stephanie Brown goes, they came to me as Executive Editor with the "War Games" story, and said we're going to kill Stephanie Brown. I knew Stephanie Brown for who she was, and said, 'I don't know, if this is going to be the big ending to your story it doesn't feel big enough at the time, because the character wasn't strong enough yet.' So I said, 'Why don't we make her Robin for a short period of time, build some interest in her, and then we kill her!'
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xx Re: In Memoriam - Stephanie Brown
« Reply #7 on: Oct 18th, 2012, 05:07am »

What Idio(t) didn't say:
"She's staying gone so we don't have to pay Chuck Dixon. I hate that guy."
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