Friday, June 22, 2007

I'll Say It One More Time About Spoiler...

Does Spoiler/Stephanie/Girl-Robin not have her own case in the Batcave because DC hates women?

She doesn't have a case in the Batcave because DC screwed the pooch and used a female Robin as a quick cheap promotional stunt instead of milking the character for all it was $$worth$$.

A female Robin would have been a perfect subject for the DC promotions dept. to blast press releases up and down the mainstream media.

Picture the headlines:

"Bang! Zow! Robin A Woman!"

"Holy Gender-Switch, Batman!"


It would have been the perfect story for the media to pick up.

It also would have resulted in a bump in sales, some interesting storylines, and lots of licensed product.

But instead, the "Girl Wonder" was conceived as a finite entity, a gimmick, something to be used for several issues and thrown out.

It was an editorial blunder, a wa$ted opportunity. And to have a case for Stephanie in the Batcave would not only remind everyone of the waste, but it would overshadow any future attempts to have a female Robin.

Because say DC decided to do it right. They couldn't damn well have press releases touting: "first girl Robin!" Because they had already screwed it up with Stephanie.

I have no doubt that one day, when sales are low, when pressure to have more female characters increase, when Bats is in another slump, there will be a female Robin. If and when that happens, will there be a female Robin for more than a few years tops?


I'm cynical.

Post inspired far too early in the morning by this post.


  1. not to mention that she wanted to be robin and batman never really liked her...

    tim's not goin anywhere!!

  2. What Sammy says. There's a perfectly good in-story reason Steph doesn't have a monument, despite all of us who want to see one for extra-story reasons. She was never really accepted as Robin by Batman, who thought it was a mistake from the start and only agreed begrudgingly to finally train her. Sasha is rarely mentioned as a Bat

  3. "She was never really accepted as Robin by Batman"

    --true, but that's painful to think about. That Batman would put a teenager that he wasn't even sure of -- that he never even felt a lot of empathy for -- in harm's way. And that in the end, he couldn't even bring himself to honor her.

    It brings up other things too -- how Leslie Thompkins "let" Stephanie Brown die, etc.

    But in the very end, I still think these things are decided at least in part due to business/branding concerns.

    It's like which writers & artists get credits as the "creators" of a certain character/team at the beginning of a book and which ones don't. That's a business/legal decision. It should be simply a question of doing the right thing, giving credit where credit is due -- but it's not. That's how it's handled, as a financial issue. The idea is that if you publically credit a creator, then they will ask for money, back-royalties, a piece of the movie deal, etc.

  4. he doesn't like girls.

  5. Actually I think she doesn't have a case in the batcave because she was created by Chuck Dixon. DC ran a crusade against his contributions to the Bat-universe that I will probably never understand.

  6. Spoiler doesn't have a case because she was killed after Batman fired her and told her to stop crimefighting. It was Bruce being a d*ck when he trained her to be Robin as a ploy to get Tim back, and she failed as she was supposed to. Nowhere in Spoiler's history is she shown as the next great crimefighter, just as someone with the heart but who should probably stay away.

  7. ... to have a case for Stephanie in the Batcave would not only remind everyone of the waste, but it would overshadow any future attempts to have a female Robin.

    Because say DC decided to do it right. They couldn't damn well have press releases touting: "first girl Robin!" Because they had already screwed it up with Stephanie.

    Wasn't Carrie Kelly from The Dark Knight Returns the first female Robin? (In terms of real world publication, that is, rather than the fictional time-line.)

  8. I appreciate the both the principled and the personal objections readers have to the treatment of Spoiler/Robin's death and subsequent remembrance, or lack thereof. Your post made me think of a few side issues.

    1. Is there still a memorial to Jason Todd, now that he's not dead, but instead kind of evil?

    2. DC already got some girl Robin press (as someone else pointed out) in the '80s with Carrie Kelly, so the first female robin thing wouldn't get much traction in the wider media, IMO.

    3. And since I enjoy playing armchair marketing department as much as the next person, I'd bet that Time/Warner would put the kibosh on any significant and prolonged change in the appearance of the Robin character, including a gender change.

    There's a reason Dick, Jason and Todd are essentially identical in appearance: Robin, which is to say white skinned, black-haired, Robin the boy/teen wonder is as integral to the wider Batman brand as is the Batmobile. The rest of the Bat-family don't rate in the same way to the truly global lunchbox and pyjamas market, and any official Robin will need to look more or less the same as he did on the '60s TV show, the '70s Superfriends, etc. etc.

    When trying to guess what moves would or wouldn't make business sense for either DC comics or Marvel comics, I always figure that the actual comics publishing business is a poor cousin, and maybe even a loss-leader, for the wider licensing business. Especially with flagship characters.

  9. E --

    Yes, there is STILL a memorial for Jason Todd in the Batcave.

    And as for the fact that Steph was not "Robin" at the time is ... okay, if Nightwing died, you know there would be a memorial to him in the bat cave.

  10. K:

    You weren't referring to my post, w/r/t the "not being Robin when she died", right?

    And WTF about the Jason Todd memorial? Now that would be an interesting way to handle this: a scene where Bats _replaces_ Jason's memorial with one for Stephanie.

  11. People forget the following:

    DC had decided to clean up the Batman supporting cast.
    Spoiler was marked for death.
    Bill Willingham found out and asked if he could try to send her out on a good note, by elevating her in this way (becoming Robin) before she was killed.
    His editor(s) agreed, with the stipulation that she needed to be out of the Robin costume before being killed off.

    Bill Willingham has fallen on his sword to say all this controversy is his fault, because it wasn't DC's idea to have Steph be Robin. They just allowed a writer that was fond of the character to tell a story that he had an idea for.

    And here we are...