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It seems you just can’t the character down. When Stephanie Brown was murdered in 2005, fans took to the internet and conferences to
request that she, as a former Robin, have her costume put in a trophy case like the other dead Robin.
The back and forth between DC Editors and Creators went on for four years even showing up in the comics themselves as in this editors not from 2007.
Whether it was fan pressure or DC simply waiting for the “right time,” Stephanie Brown returned to comics in July of 2008.
DC made Stephanie Brown the Batgirl replacing Cass Cain a year later when the plan to return Barbara Gordon to the tights were shelved.
The Batgirl book starring Stephanie Brown was one of the best reviewed books of the next two years. But her run would be only 24 issues as DC once again moved forward to return Barbara Gordon to the role as part of the new 52 in September of 2011. Stephanie Brown made one last appearance in December of that year in Batman, Inc.
She then joined Cassandra Cain, the adopted daughter of Bruce Wayne, in going on to the “bench” - characters that would not be showing up in the new 52 for awhile.
The benching of the character was not for lack of trying for a number o creators. During the last two years, several writers attempted to include the character in the books or in pitches including Gail Simone and Grant Morrison. But the character was considered “pitch poison” within DC and any appearance was nixed. When fans celebrated the return of the character in the out of continuity Smallville written by Bryan Q. Miller, the writer of her standalone series. However, in July of 2012, their excitement quickly dissolved when the character was removed from already in production book and turned in Barbara Gordon.
At every comic convention a fan (both male and female) would ask about the return of Stephanie Brown and Cass Cain. The answers would range from polite to downright dismissive. At one point DC joked that there would not be taking questions about the two.
But not this week at NYCC. This week DC planted a question about Stephanie. And the woman who asked it? Kyrax, the Batgirl of SDCC who challenged the publisher on its treatment of female characters. Here’s what really went down.
During the Batman panel Kyrax told me she was approached by Scott Snyder before the panel who told her she “You should ask your question about Steph at this panel.” She answered, “Which question about Steph?” He replied, “If she’s coming back! Here, sit closer to the mic.”
Kyrax, however, hadn’t asked about Stephanie Brown at the last panel. She had asked about the Batgirl who had recently appeared in Batman Beyond. She told me, “They’d introduced a new Batgirl whom I love, partly because she added diversity to the DCU, diversity unfortunately not reflected in their own writing staff, as they have no creators who are women of color. I went on to ask if we would be seeing this new BG again and was told we would.”
Later just before the panel began, John Cunningham VP of Marketing for DC approached her and said, “I’m afraid there won’t be enough time for questions at the panel, so I want you to go to the mic when I put Batman Eternal on the screen and ask your question.” She said, “I can’t do that! Interrupt the panel? That would be so rude!” He said, “No, No, I’ll handle it, I promise. It’ll be great.”
And so she asked the question. And the reply this time was different than the one for the last two years - Stephanie Brown would return in 2014 in a weekly Batman series, Batman Eternal.
But a number of fans speculate that Stephanie Brownmay have appeared already. Earlier this year a poster on Tumblr that Carrie Kelly’s roomate in Batman and Robin # 19 looked awfully familiar. Take a look:
Blonde hair, purple clothing? Hmmmm.
The reaction of fans of the character has been enthusiastic with the Tumblr tag exploding with feels and reblogs and artwork.
But many were guarded based on what happened to the character in the past.
Andy Khouri of Comics Alliance joked about it.
And there were others who, justifiably, left asking about the other Batgirl who is still benched, Cassandra Cain.
And there are others who are just, well let’s just say now i have some dramatic readings for the next “3 Chicks”.
It’s great to see that a fan favorite is returning to comics. It’s great to see that the Batverse now has three young female characters - Harper Row (whose creation was driven by the inability to use Cass Cain), Carrie Kelly and, now Stephanie Brown.
But that’s still a lot of white girls. I was glad to hear the DC tell Kyrax that the Batgirl created by Scott Peterson and Annie Wu would return as she brings a much needed racial diversity to the Batfamily.
So let’s celebrate Stephanie, but keep hope alive for Cassandra Cain.