What About Steph? The Superheroes That Apparently Never Were
Okay, I apologise if I sound like a conspiracy nut throughout this, but for the past year I’ve been trying to find answers as to why Stephanie Brown isn’t around anymore in DC Comics, and really, all I end up finding are more questions. I’d ask Renee Montoya to solve this for me, but she’s not really around anymore either. Nor is Cassandra Cain, Wally West, and a bunch of other characters in DC’s line-up prior to the relaunch.
For those who don’t know the character, here’s a short synopsis of her history. Originally a vigilante called the Spoiler, Stephanie Brown is the daughter of criminal mastermind the Cluemaster. She quickly allied herself with Tim Drake, whom she had an on again off again relationship with, and temporarily replaced him as Robin when he was forced into temporary retirement, only to be fired by Batman for disobeying orders on two occasions (I don’t see him firing Damian for disobeying orders and killing people, but let’s not open that bag of feral cats). After an incident where she was believed to have been killed, she returned to Gotham originally as Spoiler, but following Cassandra retiring as Batgirl due to disillusionment, Stephanie took up the role. She earned the trust and respect of the original Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, and often-times worked closely with Tim Drake, now Red Robin, and the new Batman and Robin (Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne). Apparently following Barbara’s surgery that granted her the ability to walk again, Stephanie returned the role of Batgirl to her and resumed work as Spoiler, but I only know that because of a tell-all book written on Batman and his allies that was released recently. Otherwise, she has not appeared once since the reboot.
Now admittedly, the current Batgirl title written by Gail Simone is AWESOME, and is worth your time and money. Personally, I prefer her in her role as Oracle, but if DC was gonna put her back in the role of Batgirl, I’m glad Simone is handling that. In fact, I’ve tweeted back and forth with her a number of times, once in particular about Stephanie Brown and if she would consider maybe bringing her back, not necessarily as Batgirl but possibly as Spoiler working as a partner of sorts with Barbara since their duo worked so well. However, she claimed that the character “wasn’t available”, and that she didn’t know anything more on the subject.
That struck as a bit odd. Gail Simone is the writer, right? Aside from making sure her stories stay in continuity with the others, why should DC Editorial care at all if she wants to involve Stephanie Brown in those stories ONLY? And why wouldn’t Simone know anything regarding why the character isn’t available?
Well, some other odd things happened recently too, like the change to the Smallville comics (seriously, Smallville has it’s own comic series, and no, I don’t know why) wherein originally Batman would appear for a storyline that would see him accompanied by a female Nightwing that would turn out to be Stephanie Brown. This was later blocked by DC Editorial and Nightwing was changed to Barbara Gordon. Another odd bit was changes to the new Teen Titans books so that there were no previous incarnations of the group prior to the relaunch and that Tim Drake was apparently ALWAYS Red Robin. And when I say changes, I mean literally that the new comics originally stated that Tim Drake WAS Robin and that there WERE previous incarnations of the group, both of which seem to be backed up by other comics in the DCnU, and yet in the collected graphic novel/trade paperback/whatever you wanna call it, the dialogue boxes were changed to deny these previous facts.
- This Just In: New Development for Tim Drake [Spoiler] (comicvine.com)
The most recent thing that happened that I took note of as odd was the pulling of the DC Nation block on Cartoon Network. Now I’m not really a fan of Young Justice, but I couldn’t help but notice something very interesting about a character that appeared in the episode set to air until it and the block were pulled until January. Fortunately, the episode was released on iTunes, revealing THIS.
And that’s when it finally hit me: There’s some sort of communications issue between DC Editorial and their writers. The reason for the changes to Tim Drake and the Titans is either because DC Editorial didn’t make it clear from the get-go that they wanted those changes instituted from the beginning or because they made the decision much later. So where does Stephanie Brown fit into this? Well, based on what I’ve seen, what I’ve read, and from the newest incident regarding Young Justice, it’s pretty clear that DC Editorial has blacklisted Stephanie Brown and won’t just frigging say it or explain why.
Now, there’s been a number of rumours backing that up, but because these are just rumours, take them with a grain of salt. The rumours suggest that Dan Didio, the man behind the relaunch in the first place, is a HUGE fan of the original characters that took on various superhero aliases and hates their later replacements, which seem to suggest why in the DCnU, Barry Allen is the only Flash and Wally West either never existed or was never either Flash or Kid Flash, the main Green Lantern comic focused primarily on Hal Jordan and Sinestro while the other Earth-born Green Lanterns were instead demoted to side stories Green Lantern Corps and New Guardians, Dick Grayson gave up being Batman and returned to being Nightwing, and oh yes, Barbara Gordon became Batgirl again and her history as Oracle MAY have been retconned (still looking into that), and Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain are nowhere to be found (although Cassandra was last seen operating out of Hong Kong, so I suppose she could still be there and we just haven’t seen her). Now of course, I could bring up how there were characters that took up the identities of Flash and Green Lantern BEFORE Barry and Hal, but I wouldn’t wanna chance it and have THEM demoted as well.
So what does that mean for Stephanie Brown? Well, it means that unless you’re watching the fan series Batgirl: Spoiled, which I admittedly am not all that impressed by yet but if you like it feel free to follow it, don’t expect to be seeing Miss Brown any time soon, possibly ever. This seems especially telling given some other stuff that’s come up as of late, but I’ll get into that some other time. Ja né!
- Stephanie Brown fights crime, boredom in Batgirl: Spoiled premiere (robot6.comicbookresources.com)
Posted on October 14, 2012, in Comic Books and tagged Barbara Gordon, Batgirl, Batman, Cassandra Cain, Cluemaster, Damian Wayne, DC Comics, Dick Grayson, Gail Simone, Green Lantern, Renee Montoya, Stephanie Brown, Tim Drake. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.