As I’m sure you all know by know after being announced as appearing as Nightwing in the Smallville comic, Stephanie Brown was removed from the comic and replaced by Barbara Gordon.
The reason given by Dan Didio was:
Yes, that is true. “If we’re going to introduce guest characters into the Smallville universe, we want to introduce the most recognizable characters, like Barbara Gordon, Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne.”
There’s been quite a debate over the topic of recognizable and iconic characters over the last few days. And there’s been a defense of DC’s move to can Stephanie Brown because Barbara is more recognizable and thus likely to sell more comics.
But earlier today Gail Simone posted on her Tumblr that the choice of putting Babs in the book to replace Stephanie was not DC Editorial.
Today, Bryan told me it was his idea to use Babs, when asked to replace Steph.
In other words the excuse given by Dan Didio is untrue. The reason that Stephanie Brown was replaced was not because Barbara Gordon is more recognizable but because Miller was asked to replace her.
But according to Gail Simone’s post he was not directed to replace her with anyone specific.
What does this mean? Basically it means the main objective of replacing Steph in Smallville was to, quite simpley, not have her appear in the comic.
But why? Why keep her out of a comic that is out of continuity and no where near the Gotham City of the Batbook universe?
Corrina Lawson over at Wired has been working her sources on this story and it’s not pretty.
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.”
We know based on comments posted on Tumblr and Twitter it’s pretty clear that Stephanie Brown has been pitched for other books designed to “unbench” her.
Books that after a year are not happening.
We know that Scott Snyder told Crave that Stephanie and Cass are not okay to use right now. Despite the fact that he would love to write both.
And we know that Gail Simone would like to write both.
And we certainly know that Bryan Q. Miller TRIED to write Stephanie.
Seriously, what is the problem?
A while ago I had someone close to DC tell me that “all it takes is one top person to not like a character and that’s it.”
And based on all of this it appears that someone at DC does not like Stephanie Brown.
Businesses who make decisions that are based on the petty likes and dislikes of one or two people are businesses not doing good business.
When Stephanie Brown was last in a book she sold 24K copies a month before the new 52 was announced. And, yes, the current Batgirl sells twice that. But nobody wants that book to go away. I’m talking about incremental money, cash, buckaroonies.
Let’s put the math on the table here. A book that sold just 24K copies a month would outsell the following current titles from DC:
- Blue Beetle
- Savage Hawkman
- Legion Lost
- Demon Knights
By around 4K issues a month
Math time! - that’s 12 x $2.99 x 4000 = $143,520 incremental bucks a year.
And that’s 24K without the benefit of the promotion of the new 52. Imagine if a book starring Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain (who sold 30K in her book) were combined into one title?
As Corrina said in Wired and I’ve said before, they are leaving money on the table.
Look, I can only speculate if and why someone has it in for Stephanie Brown.
We know the character is a favorite of women. We know the complaints about the character’s death and denial of a memorial case after she died was because of women and led to the creation of Girl-Wonder.org. We’ve hear the complaints about the “Stephanie Brown fangirls” who show up at every convention to ask about the character only to be teased by DC.
It’s fair to say the character is closely connected to female comic fans. Not every female comic fan. But a lot who read DC Comics.
I have to ask is there any DC character is who is more connected to female fans especially young female fans?
I don’t think so.
So you have to ask yourself, if a character that is connected to young female fans is being proactively removed from comics and “benched” what could that mean?
I’ll leave that for you to ponder.