A Little DC Comics Ire For Your Saturday Afternoon

I hadn’t meant for my first Comic-Con news post of this year (and subsequently this blog) to be an annoyed one, but I suppose that’s what I get for keeping my hopes up.

So last month TV Guide had an interview with Smallville writer Bryan Q Miller about his book, and how he was bringing in former Spoiler, former Robin, and former Batgirl Stephanie Brown (whose most recent series he actually penned and if you haven’t read it, go find it, it’s really fun) to be Batman’s sidekick, Nightwing.

A lady version of Nightwing? And it’s Stephanie Brown, the under-rated can-do go-getter of the Batfamily? How awesome is that?!

Not awesome enough for DC Editorial, apparently. Because as San Diego Comic Con was gearing up this past week, Bleeding Cool reported from an unnamed source that Stephanie was being replaced with Barbara Gordon.

Again.

And the general reaction was “Hahaha Unnamed Source! What a Troll!”

It turns out the trolls work at DC Comics.

Because news out of the con panels says Dan Didio confirmed today that Stephanie was, in fact, being replaced by Barbara Gordon.

There has been much made out of DC’s continued attempts to erase this character, who is a favorite of many female fans. When the character was killed off in the Batman: War Games series (in a truly horrific way), Project Girl Wonder was started by fans to resurrect Stephanie, and it worked. But since then, she has been in and out of comics.

Finally, in 2010 she was given her own Batgirl series, only to have it canceled after 25 issues in favor of Barbara Gordon’s return to the roll in DC’s New 52.

Since then, fans have pestered and asked and wondered when they would see the plucky Girl Wonder again.

Seemingly, that question was answered, but sadly, not anymore.

DC says they want to stick with the “Most Iconic” representations of their characters. The problem being that the most iconic representation of Nightwing is Dick Grayon. Making Nightwing a woman in a comic whose universe is still being shaped and is outside of DC’s mostly mediocre New 52 (at least in my opinion), made it possible to introduce Stephanie, or even the also-still missing Cassandra Cain (former Batgirl, possibly maybe current Blackbat) as a new, fresh character for readers.

There is no iconic female Nightwing. None. Nope. Never has been one.

And it’s beginning to look like the problem is that DC editorial does not want Stephanie to become iconic; that there is something about this character that they just do not want to deal with, and are doing everything in their power to make sure she does not get anymore recognizable than she may already be.

On top of all that, what a terrible way to do business.

Sending your writer out to do an interview, trumpeting the return of this character, and not just on a comics website but on TV Guide? And then yanking it?

Add into that the story of a woman (the same woman from last year who asked about Stephanie’s roll in the New 52) asking if the rumors were true of the Superman panel, and the panelists, which included Scott Lobdell telling her that Stephanie being Nightwing was all rumor, and that she should believe them, and not the official art that was released or Miller’s TV Guide interview, and you have a company who clearly does not know how to deal with PR.

Or people, really.

This all happened last year, when con-goers asked about the absence of not only Stephanie but other “benched” characters (many of whom are women), along with why there weren’t more women working on the books (That, at least, has improved, if only a little with the additions of Ann Nocenti, Amanda Connor and Nicola Scott), and panelists (mostly Dan Didio) were driven to yell at people asking these questions.

To be honest, there are days, quite a few days, when DC Comics seems like a big, hot mess. And no days seem to bring that out more than San Diego Comic Con.

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