During New York Comic Con, Newsrama spoke with DC Comic’s co-publisher Dan Didio. They asked him an assortment of questions, but the one that peaked my interest was about Stephanie Brown. I mentioned Stephanie Brown, the pre-New 52 Batgirl, in my New 52 retrospective, several times. But since the New 52 started, Stephanie has never appeared. Then, when she was finally going to be in an issue of Smallville, a series completely unrelated to the New 52, she was replaced. Stephanie and other characters missing from the pages of the New 52, which include Wally West (Kid Flash and one of the Flashes) and Donna Troy (creator of the Teen Titans Wonder Girl and a Wonder Woman) have been called “toxic” in the past, and many people have taken shots at Didio for their seemingly permanent disappearance from the DC Universe. But in his detailed explanation, Didio said:
"You know, me and Stephanie, we go way back. The story with Stephanie Brown goes, they came to me as Executive Editor with the "War Games" story, and said we're going to kill Stephanie Brown. I knew Stephanie Brown for who she was, and said, 'I don't know, if this is going to be the big ending to your story it doesn't feel big enough at the time, because the character wasn't strong enough yet.' So I said, 'Why don't we make her Robin for a short period of time, build some interest in her, and then we kill her!'"Little did I know... so we did and we wound up bringing her back and the level of excitement wasn't there for what we thought it would be, for the amount people were talking about it. So we went ahead and made her Batgirl, and the stories were interesting but it never really took hold, with the sales, with the expectations we had for the series."And again, I say this for every character that's 'missing' with the exception of Wally West (laughs). No, I'm kidding. I say this for every character that's missing, even including Wally West, including Donna Troy, all of them. The reason why we didn't go out there and say 'every character is dead' or didn't kill them off in front of people is because everyone has potential. And every character can come back if the story is right, or at the right time, with the right environment."Our main goal was never to introduce everyone all at the same time. We can't do that. If we do that, then we're right back where we started, that's the last thing we want. Every character should be reintroduced with story."Even to the point when Stephanie Brown came back from the dead, I'll never forget the scene. Stephanie Brown came back from the dead and she walked into a room and Batman goes, 'oh! I knew she wasn't dead...'"I said, 'that didn't feel right. If this was a big deal it should've felt bigger!' If Batman knew that, then he seems negligent, because he didn't do anything about it. And the levels of that. So I really want to make sure that when we go ahead and do things like that, the teams do it, that they craft it properly, that they take advantage of every emotional beat, they build it for everything it's worth. Because when you do that, people become more invested in the characters, not just about the conversation of them coming back, but actually going to read about them after they do come back. That's the win. Not the fact you're bringing them back, it's actually making them stay, and making people care about them more than just the people asking right now."
“Every character has potential.” That’s something I can definitely agree with Didio on. I’ve desperately been hoping to see Stephanie appear again, and while my wish isn’t guaranteed to be fulfilled, Didio’s words fill me with hope that I’ll see Stephanie gliding over rooftops soon. And hopefully her sales will also glide so she won’t be forced back in the comic book purgatory she’s been in this past year, nor any of the other characters brimming with potential.
An all-around nerdette, I’m a comic book connoisseur, horror aficionado, video game addict, anime enthusiast and an aspiring novelist/comic book writer. I am the head of the comic book department and the editor-in-chief of Entertainment Fuse. I also write and edit articles for Comic Frontline. I am also an intern at Action Lab Entertainment, a comic book publisher at which I edit comic book scripts, help work on images in solicitations and help with other comic book related project. My own personal website is comicmaven.com.