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It's Only the End if You Want it to Be

Posts tagged steph brown

Dec 5 '13
gabzilla-z:

for kitty

gabzilla-z:

for kitty

Aug 29 '13

30 Days of DC:

Day 10 - Favorite Batfamily Member

Stephanie Brown/Spoiler/Robin/Batgirl

Okay, this sat in my Drafts for months and months, literally, while I tried to find time to write an essay that adequately describes Steph’s amazingness.

And then I realized, darnit, if I keep putting it off posting these until I have time to write a perfect manifesto for every character, I will never finish this meme, and besides, there’s not much I can say about Steph’s character that hasn’t been said before. So I’ll keep this brief:

Steph is such a great character. People talk a lot about how she brought some much-needed light-heartedness and fun to the Batfamily, and that’s true, but she’s so much more than that. She has a core of absolute steel. This girl has been kicked down by life so many times, and she just keeps getting back on her feet because darn it, she’s better than that and she knows it. And yeah, she keeps her sanity and her sense of humor intact through it all, and that’s awesome, but maybe the most awesome thing is the way she keeps her sense of self. She knows when she’s made a mistake and she learns from it, but she never apologizes for who she is no matter how much people try to make her feel like she should. She’s fun and she can be silly sometimes, but mainly she’s just incredibly strong. It’s awe-inspiring.

And yes, the DCU needs her back, but I’m hardly the first to say that, am I?

Jul 26 '13
daggerpen:

jadedgreensage:

daggerpen:


Anonymous asks: hi, i’m new to the dc fandom & i don’t understand why babs is never included in the complete batfam? i see posts with bruce, dick, jason, tim, (sometimes steph & cass), damian, (maybe alfred), but no barbara. i don’t get why if she was batgirl? on that note, why are you anti-babsgirl?

Rebloggable by request.
Welcome to comics! My advice is to get out while you still can. Failing that, just give the entire New 52 a reboot and dive hard into the archives before the reboot.
To answer your questions, however:
1. Well, Babs’s position in the Batfam is a bit complicated. It’s not that she’s not closely associated with everyone, unlike Batwoman, who’s a bit more loosely affiliated, but she’s neither a Robin nor a Wayne, which are the two Batfam ensembles you’ll see most.
In general, there are a few common subgroups inside the whole Batclan:
1. Waynes - basically, Bruce Wayne + any children of his, whether adopted or biological. This includes Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake (due to later canon), Cassandra Cain, and Damian Wayne. It does not include either Barbara Gordon or Stephanie Brown, who have their own families, and it only recently included Tim Drake, whose father and stepmother were killed not long before OYL, which was a one-year timeskip in comics in the wake of Infinite Crisis that generally fucked shit up. You’ll occasionally also see Terry McGinnis, who, thanks to a vaguely obnoxious retcon, is also Bruce’s biological son, but he exists in a different continuity than the others.
2. Robins. This includes, in chronological order, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, and Damian Wayne. Carrie Kelley was also a Robin in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight, and is thus occasionally included, as is Tim Drake from Batman: The Animated Series, who is called Tim Drake but has a backstory more similar to Jason’s.
3. Batgirls. This is the subgroup that includes Babs! It also includes Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown. This one is a little bit complicated as well- while Babs is the first Batgirl in continuity after Crisis on Infinite Earths, the first Batgirl ever was in fact Bat-Girl, AKA Betty Kane. Betty was introduced alongside Batwoman, Kathy Kane, so that the two of them could serve as the love interests for Robin and Batman respectively, thereby making the Dynamic Duo seem less gay in response to the accusations of Seduction of the Innocent. Ironically, Batwoman was later reintroduced as Kate Kane, who is a lesbian, and Bette Kane was reintroduced as her cousin and sidekick, Flamebird. So sometimes she’ll appear, too, but only rarely. Occasionally also seen is Helena Bertinelli, aka Huntress. During Baman: No Man’s Land, a story arc in which Gotham was struck by an earthquake and then officially declared to no longer be a part of the US and cut off from the rest of the world, Helena chose to stay behind in the city. Because Batman had disappeared for several months during No Man’s Land, Helena chose to become the Bat, wearing her own Bat costume whose design was later reused for Cassandra Cain. When Batman returned, she was given the name Batgirl, but she never chose that name for herself, meaning that she’s also kind of a quasi-Batgirl. Further, you will also sometimes see Nell Little, who was a huge Batgirl fan in Stephanie Brown’s Batgirl run, and who Stephanie, in a hallucination of the future, saw as the next Batgirl. Finally, an additional Batgirl has been introduced in the Batman Beyond continuity, the same continuity as Terry McGinnis and Batman: The Animated Series, but she does not currently exist in the main universe and has only recently been introduced, so she’s not really in any Batgirl stuff either.
Yeah, Batgirls are complicated.
Anyway! The point of this is that the Batfam, being huge, is often broken down into subgroups in various fanworks, only one of which Babs belongs to. In addition to that, Babs for the past almost 30 years before the reboot served in her own capacity as Oracle, managing her team the Birds of Prey and generally ruling over the internet with a shadowy hand, and generally being more powerful than Batman. Because she had her own “team,” she had kind of a dual membership between the Batfamily and the Birds of Prey. However, in full Batfamily portraits, she should absolutely be included.
2. Why am I anti-Babsgirl? Well, to understand this, let’s start by delving briefly into the history of Barbara Gordon.
As I said above, the original Batgirl was in fact Bat-Girl, Betty Kane, introduced alongside with Kathy Kane as love interests for Batman and Robin to try to trick the two into relationships and make them less gay. So when Babs was first introduced, she was progressive as fuck. She was not only a female counterpart to Batman, but incredibly competent. Batman didn’t even know who she was. Half of her entire deal was her incredible intelligence, grounds on which she stood even with Batman. Heck, at one point, she even became a congresswoman.
Shortly before The Killing Joke, and after Crisis on Infinite Earths, she retired from being Batgirl of her own volition - not because she was horribly embarassed or messed up horribly or any of the gross things typically done to drive female superheroes out of titles, or because she became disabled (that happened later), but of her own volition, because she felt she could do more good elsewhere. She became a librarian and retired from Batgirl because she felt it was time.
And then Alan Moore came along, with The Killing Joke. And he had a proposition - he wanted to tell a story exploring the Joker and his backstory, seen through the lens of the Joker trying to drive Babs’s father, Commissioner James Gordon, insane by giving him “one bad day.” 
And as part of this, he wanted to have the Joker shoot Barbara Gordon through the spine, making her disabled, and then strip her of her clothes and take photos of it in order to give her father general man angst. (This phenomenon, FYI, is known as “women in refrigerators”, a common practice in which female characters are killed, raped or otherwise brutalized in order to give male characters angst and character development. If you want to read up more on it, check this out.) What did Alan Moore’s editor Len Wein say in response to this proposal? “Yeah, okay, cripple the bitch.”
Suffice to say, it was not a shining moment of female empowerment.
Yet from this act of callous fridging, something truly amazing happened. Something beautifully and spectacularly progressive, a shining example of what comics could be, solid proof that superhero fantasies could truly be for everyone, not just cishet white able-bodied neurotypical men.
Barbara Gordon became Oracle. And as Oracle, she was so, so much more than she ever was as Batgirl.
To understand how truly progressive this was, I want to have a little bit of a side discussion about something known as ableism. Ableism is, in a nutshell, the belief that people with the most common levels of mental and physical ability are somehow better and more interesting than those with differing abilities; the belief that disabled people are somehow tragic, that their stories are uninteresting and their lives not worth living, that they are somehow less.
And yet… there’s no reason that things should be this way. Why? Because our definition of ability and disability, of what is and isn’t normal, is frankly rather arbitrary. Do people have different levels of ability? Sure. But why is it that, say, being bad at math is considered trivial, yet being bad at socialization is considered to make someone’s life not worthwhile? That no one really cares if you, say, can’t run a marathon, yet if you can’t walk entirely you’re considered worse off and discriminated against? It’s not like we don’t have the capability to make things accessible for everyone. It’s not like we can’t put ramps everywhere, and make the differences in transportation available to people without impaired mobility and wheelchair users trivial? Disability, then, is not really a matter of being disabled so much as a matter of having abilities that don’t really line up with what our infrastructure is built to accommodate.
And yet, disabled people are told again and again that their bodies or minds are somehow “wrong.” They are denied employment, they are pitied, they are mistreated, and sometimes, they are even killed by those they trusted, only for everyone else to look on and pity their murderer for the “hardship” of having to associate with someone who was apparently less than them. Disabled people are told that their bodies are wrong and that they should seek to be “cured,” that they are mistaken if they love their body or have no problem with the level of ability they have, that they are foolish and selfish if they are *proud* of the way they are. They are erased from media except as victims, or, even worse, as villains, when their physical or mental disability is said to have twisted them and made them evil.
This ableism becomes even more bizarre in the DCU, where an even vaster range of abilities are available. People in the DCU can routinely fly, or shoot lasers from their eyes, or see through walls, or lift cars, or run at the speed of light. And yet, the same level of ability considered “normal” in our world is considered so there. Hell, one of the most prominent and powerful superheroes in the DCU is Batman, who has no powers whatsoever, yet rather than being pitied for his lesser ability, it is said to make him more interesting! And yet we still see so very, very few disabled characters. It’s fine if you can’t see through walls, but god forbid you can’t see! It’s fine not to be able to hear people talking miles away, but god forbid you can’t hear at all! It’s fine not to be able to fly, but god forbid you can’t walk! Disabilities are still considered tragic, and even with the DCU’s massively advanced technology, we still can’t get a world designed for everyone to access - though I suppose this, at least, is not a surprise, because the same thing can be said of our own world.
And yet, in Oracle, we had this disabled woman who was one of the most powerful people on the planet. Who flipped ableist and sexist narratives on their heads and said, “Fuck you. I am here, and I am not broken.” In a genre defined by the power fantasies of those who already have more than enough power, we had Oracle, and she was everything. She worked for the Justice League and Batman at the same time, yet alongside all this also managed her own team of operatives, the Birds of Prey, and trained her legacy, the Batgirls Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain.
In fact, let’s talk about that legacy for a moment, and how on top of this already incredible character we got even more. 
When Babs as Batgirl was introduced, she was a very progressive character, yes. She was an icon of female empowerment. But she was also a white, neurotypical, then-able-bodied cishet woman from a middle-class family who interacted mostly with men. When Cassandra Cain was introduced, she was a biracial woman of color with a verbal disability who was taken under Babs’s wing. So in the Babs and Cass dynamic, we had two disabled women, one training the other, and one of them was an Asian abuse survivor. And not only that, but Cassandra was badass. Just as Babs was more powerful than Batman in the sphere of influence and information, Cassandra was more powerful than him in the sphere of combat, and was in fact a better fighter than even her mother Lady Shiva, who had previously held the title of the best martial artist in the DCU. So in Cass and Babs, we had a woman training a woman and generally passing the Bechdel test, disabled characters interacting with disabled characters, and a wildly popular Asian hero with her own book. It was incredible.
Babs’s and Steph’s relationship is also interesting. Unlike so many of the other Bats (except for Jason Todd, the second Robin, to whom Steph bore a variety of similarities and whose history is its own huge topic irrelevant to this discussion), Steph came from a low-income family and generally bad circumstances. When Steph first appeared, she was Spoiler, the daughter of the small-time villain the Cluemaster and his wife Crystal, who was at the time a drug addict. Most of her earlier stuff involved her stopping her father from committing crimes, but she later worked extensively as Spoiler alongside Tim Drake, the third Robin, and dated him for a while. What’s interesting about Steph, though, is that unlike so many of the other Batfamily members, she constantly had to fight for her place in the Batfam. She was discouraged time and time again by Batman and Robin alike, but was supported by her best friend Cassandra and her later mentor Barbara Gordon. So she was a female superhero breaking into a boys’ club who befriended the other women in this boys’ club, and she let nothing stop her. She was a teen mother and yet was not shamed for it. She was poor and yet was not shamed for it. 
Until War Games happened. For a few brief, glorious months, Steph got to be Robin. We got to have Robin, the Girl Wonder, and to see Steph acknowledged by the Batfamily as she’d always wanted to be. We got to see the new Batgirl and Robin, Cass and Steph, best friends, two girls kicking ass and taking names under the direction of Oracle, their own little girls’ club in the boys’ world, populated by a disabled woman, a disabled woman of color, and a woman from a poor family. And then she was summarily fired as Robin, duped into sparking off a massive gang war, and brutally murdered in a highly sexualized, victim-blamey way. Not long afterwards, the OYL event happened, and Cass suddenly went evil, turning from a powerful woman of color whose entire backstory was meant to show that you are not your parents, that abuse does not make you evil, that you can change and decide your own life path into a stereotyped Dragon Lady minus her verbal disabilities, all in order to make her a villain for the sake of White Male Superhero Tim Drake.
And yet, these two women came back from that. Cassandra got to become a hero again, her previous out of character behavior explained (somewhat poorly) as the result of Deathstroke controlling her. Stephanie Brown became Batgirl, supported by the two previous Batgirls Cassandra Cain and Barbara Gordon. While the way in which Steph became Batgirl was somewhat problematic in that it shoved aside her friend Cassandra Cain, swapping out the Asian hero for the white blonde-haired blue-eyed one, the core of Batgirl as a legacy title, of women supporting women, was still there. And while I disagreed with the way in which she became Batgirl, Steph’s ascension to Batgirl was something the character well deserved after all the bullshit she had gone through, after how long she had fought tooth and nail to stand alongside all the men of the Batfamily. Just as Babs did as Batgirl so, so long ago. It was wonderful. It was beautiful. When Cass came back as Black Bat, it was almost perfect.
And then the reboot happened. And in the reboot, we lost all of that. We lost Oracle, the disabled woman who was smarter and more influential than Batman. We lost Cassandra Cain, the disabled woman who could beat Batman in a fight. We lost Stephanie Brown, the woman from a poor background who let nothing keep her down. And in her place we got… Babsgirl. Not even as she had been before, when her introduction was progressive and her identity a mystery to even Batman himself, but as a tame, cheap version of herself, less her abilities, less the legacy she’d built up over almost 30 years, less her power and influence and proteges. And not only do we get this badly downgraded version of Barbara Gordon, but we get it at the expense of Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown, who are being systematically kept out of the New 52.
It used to be that we could look up and see BATGIRL and BLACK BAT, leaping, fighting and swinging over Gotham, then look behind them and see Barbara Gordon, ex-Congresswoman, undisputed lord of the internet and information, backbone of the superhero community, and proud mentor and disabled woman. And it was absolutely thrilling. But now, we look up and just see Barbara Gordon. In this world, where a man with no powers but money is considered equally powerful and interesting as the man who can destroy the entire planet without breaking a sweat, a disabled woman with more influence than either of them is somehow uninteresting and “broken.” Instead of a network of women mentoring and supporting women, we’ve turned the once icon of female and disabled empowerment into one of the sad few 17%, and erased her legacy.
Why am I anti-Babsgirl? Well, she stands for everything that is anti-me and my friends, for everything that tells us that we are not worthwhile, that we are lesser. So why the hell shouldn’t I return the favor?

daggerpen:

jadedgreensage:

daggerpen:

Anonymous asks: hi, i’m new to the dc fandom & i don’t understand why babs is never included in the complete batfam? i see posts with bruce, dick, jason, tim, (sometimes steph & cass), damian, (maybe alfred), but no barbara. i don’t get why if she was batgirl? on that note, why are you anti-babsgirl?

Rebloggable by request.

Welcome to comics! My advice is to get out while you still can. Failing that, just give the entire New 52 a reboot and dive hard into the archives before the reboot.

To answer your questions, however:

1. Well, Babs’s position in the Batfam is a bit complicated. It’s not that she’s not closely associated with everyone, unlike Batwoman, who’s a bit more loosely affiliated, but she’s neither a Robin nor a Wayne, which are the two Batfam ensembles you’ll see most.

In general, there are a few common subgroups inside the whole Batclan:

1. Waynes - basically, Bruce Wayne + any children of his, whether adopted or biological. This includes Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake (due to later canon), Cassandra Cain, and Damian Wayne. It does not include either Barbara Gordon or Stephanie Brown, who have their own families, and it only recently included Tim Drake, whose father and stepmother were killed not long before OYL, which was a one-year timeskip in comics in the wake of Infinite Crisis that generally fucked shit up. You’ll occasionally also see Terry McGinnis, who, thanks to a vaguely obnoxious retcon, is also Bruce’s biological son, but he exists in a different continuity than the others.

2. Robins. This includes, in chronological order, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, and Damian Wayne. Carrie Kelley was also a Robin in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight, and is thus occasionally included, as is Tim Drake from Batman: The Animated Series, who is called Tim Drake but has a backstory more similar to Jason’s.

3. Batgirls. This is the subgroup that includes Babs! It also includes Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown. This one is a little bit complicated as well- while Babs is the first Batgirl in continuity after Crisis on Infinite Earths, the first Batgirl ever was in fact Bat-Girl, AKA Betty Kane. Betty was introduced alongside Batwoman, Kathy Kane, so that the two of them could serve as the love interests for Robin and Batman respectively, thereby making the Dynamic Duo seem less gay in response to the accusations of Seduction of the Innocent. Ironically, Batwoman was later reintroduced as Kate Kane, who is a lesbian, and Bette Kane was reintroduced as her cousin and sidekick, Flamebird. So sometimes she’ll appear, too, but only rarely. Occasionally also seen is Helena Bertinelli, aka Huntress. During Baman: No Man’s Land, a story arc in which Gotham was struck by an earthquake and then officially declared to no longer be a part of the US and cut off from the rest of the world, Helena chose to stay behind in the city. Because Batman had disappeared for several months during No Man’s Land, Helena chose to become the Bat, wearing her own Bat costume whose design was later reused for Cassandra Cain. When Batman returned, she was given the name Batgirl, but she never chose that name for herself, meaning that she’s also kind of a quasi-Batgirl. Further, you will also sometimes see Nell Little, who was a huge Batgirl fan in Stephanie Brown’s Batgirl run, and who Stephanie, in a hallucination of the future, saw as the next Batgirl. Finally, an additional Batgirl has been introduced in the Batman Beyond continuity, the same continuity as Terry McGinnis and Batman: The Animated Series, but she does not currently exist in the main universe and has only recently been introduced, so she’s not really in any Batgirl stuff either.

Yeah, Batgirls are complicated.

Anyway! The point of this is that the Batfam, being huge, is often broken down into subgroups in various fanworks, only one of which Babs belongs to. In addition to that, Babs for the past almost 30 years before the reboot served in her own capacity as Oracle, managing her team the Birds of Prey and generally ruling over the internet with a shadowy hand, and generally being more powerful than Batman. Because she had her own “team,” she had kind of a dual membership between the Batfamily and the Birds of Prey. However, in full Batfamily portraits, she should absolutely be included.

2. Why am I anti-Babsgirl? Well, to understand this, let’s start by delving briefly into the history of Barbara Gordon.

As I said above, the original Batgirl was in fact Bat-Girl, Betty Kane, introduced alongside with Kathy Kane as love interests for Batman and Robin to try to trick the two into relationships and make them less gay. So when Babs was first introduced, she was progressive as fuck. She was not only a female counterpart to Batman, but incredibly competent. Batman didn’t even know who she was. Half of her entire deal was her incredible intelligence, grounds on which she stood even with Batman. Heck, at one point, she even became a congresswoman.

Shortly before The Killing Joke, and after Crisis on Infinite Earths, she retired from being Batgirl of her own volition - not because she was horribly embarassed or messed up horribly or any of the gross things typically done to drive female superheroes out of titles, or because she became disabled (that happened later), but of her own volition, because she felt she could do more good elsewhere. She became a librarian and retired from Batgirl because she felt it was time.

And then Alan Moore came along, with The Killing Joke. And he had a proposition - he wanted to tell a story exploring the Joker and his backstory, seen through the lens of the Joker trying to drive Babs’s father, Commissioner James Gordon, insane by giving him “one bad day.” 

And as part of this, he wanted to have the Joker shoot Barbara Gordon through the spine, making her disabled, and then strip her of her clothes and take photos of it in order to give her father general man angst. (This phenomenon, FYI, is known as “women in refrigerators”, a common practice in which female characters are killed, raped or otherwise brutalized in order to give male characters angst and character development. If you want to read up more on it, check this out.) What did Alan Moore’s editor Len Wein say in response to this proposal? “Yeah, okay, cripple the bitch.”

Suffice to say, it was not a shining moment of female empowerment.

Yet from this act of callous fridging, something truly amazing happened. Something beautifully and spectacularly progressive, a shining example of what comics could be, solid proof that superhero fantasies could truly be for everyone, not just cishet white able-bodied neurotypical men.

Barbara Gordon became Oracle. And as Oracle, she was so, so much more than she ever was as Batgirl.

To understand how truly progressive this was, I want to have a little bit of a side discussion about something known as ableism. Ableism is, in a nutshell, the belief that people with the most common levels of mental and physical ability are somehow better and more interesting than those with differing abilities; the belief that disabled people are somehow tragic, that their stories are uninteresting and their lives not worth living, that they are somehow less.

And yet… there’s no reason that things should be this way. Why? Because our definition of ability and disability, of what is and isn’t normal, is frankly rather arbitrary. Do people have different levels of ability? Sure. But why is it that, say, being bad at math is considered trivial, yet being bad at socialization is considered to make someone’s life not worthwhile? That no one really cares if you, say, can’t run a marathon, yet if you can’t walk entirely you’re considered worse off and discriminated against? It’s not like we don’t have the capability to make things accessible for everyone. It’s not like we can’t put ramps everywhere, and make the differences in transportation available to people without impaired mobility and wheelchair users trivial? Disability, then, is not really a matter of being disabled so much as a matter of having abilities that don’t really line up with what our infrastructure is built to accommodate.

And yet, disabled people are told again and again that their bodies or minds are somehow “wrong.” They are denied employment, they are pitied, they are mistreated, and sometimes, they are even killed by those they trusted, only for everyone else to look on and pity their murderer for the “hardship” of having to associate with someone who was apparently less than them. Disabled people are told that their bodies are wrong and that they should seek to be “cured,” that they are mistaken if they love their body or have no problem with the level of ability they have, that they are foolish and selfish if they are *proud* of the way they are. They are erased from media except as victims, or, even worse, as villains, when their physical or mental disability is said to have twisted them and made them evil.

This ableism becomes even more bizarre in the DCU, where an even vaster range of abilities are available. People in the DCU can routinely fly, or shoot lasers from their eyes, or see through walls, or lift cars, or run at the speed of light. And yet, the same level of ability considered “normal” in our world is considered so there. Hell, one of the most prominent and powerful superheroes in the DCU is Batman, who has no powers whatsoever, yet rather than being pitied for his lesser ability, it is said to make him more interesting! And yet we still see so very, very few disabled characters. It’s fine if you can’t see through walls, but god forbid you can’t see! It’s fine not to be able to hear people talking miles away, but god forbid you can’t hear at all! It’s fine not to be able to fly, but god forbid you can’t walk! Disabilities are still considered tragic, and even with the DCU’s massively advanced technology, we still can’t get a world designed for everyone to access - though I suppose this, at least, is not a surprise, because the same thing can be said of our own world.

And yet, in Oracle, we had this disabled woman who was one of the most powerful people on the planet. Who flipped ableist and sexist narratives on their heads and said, “Fuck you. I am here, and I am not broken.” In a genre defined by the power fantasies of those who already have more than enough power, we had Oracle, and she was everything. She worked for the Justice League and Batman at the same time, yet alongside all this also managed her own team of operatives, the Birds of Prey, and trained her legacy, the Batgirls Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain.

In fact, let’s talk about that legacy for a moment, and how on top of this already incredible character we got even more. 

When Babs as Batgirl was introduced, she was a very progressive character, yes. She was an icon of female empowerment. But she was also a white, neurotypical, then-able-bodied cishet woman from a middle-class family who interacted mostly with men. When Cassandra Cain was introduced, she was a biracial woman of color with a verbal disability who was taken under Babs’s wing. So in the Babs and Cass dynamic, we had two disabled women, one training the other, and one of them was an Asian abuse survivor. And not only that, but Cassandra was badass. Just as Babs was more powerful than Batman in the sphere of influence and information, Cassandra was more powerful than him in the sphere of combat, and was in fact a better fighter than even her mother Lady Shiva, who had previously held the title of the best martial artist in the DCU. So in Cass and Babs, we had a woman training a woman and generally passing the Bechdel test, disabled characters interacting with disabled characters, and a wildly popular Asian hero with her own book. It was incredible.

Babs’s and Steph’s relationship is also interesting. Unlike so many of the other Bats (except for Jason Todd, the second Robin, to whom Steph bore a variety of similarities and whose history is its own huge topic irrelevant to this discussion), Steph came from a low-income family and generally bad circumstances. When Steph first appeared, she was Spoiler, the daughter of the small-time villain the Cluemaster and his wife Crystal, who was at the time a drug addict. Most of her earlier stuff involved her stopping her father from committing crimes, but she later worked extensively as Spoiler alongside Tim Drake, the third Robin, and dated him for a while. What’s interesting about Steph, though, is that unlike so many of the other Batfamily members, she constantly had to fight for her place in the Batfam. She was discouraged time and time again by Batman and Robin alike, but was supported by her best friend Cassandra and her later mentor Barbara Gordon. So she was a female superhero breaking into a boys’ club who befriended the other women in this boys’ club, and she let nothing stop her. She was a teen mother and yet was not shamed for it. She was poor and yet was not shamed for it. 

Until War Games happened. For a few brief, glorious months, Steph got to be Robin. We got to have Robin, the Girl Wonder, and to see Steph acknowledged by the Batfamily as she’d always wanted to be. We got to see the new Batgirl and Robin, Cass and Steph, best friends, two girls kicking ass and taking names under the direction of Oracle, their own little girls’ club in the boys’ world, populated by a disabled woman, a disabled woman of color, and a woman from a poor family. And then she was summarily fired as Robin, duped into sparking off a massive gang war, and brutally murdered in a highly sexualized, victim-blamey way. Not long afterwards, the OYL event happened, and Cass suddenly went evil, turning from a powerful woman of color whose entire backstory was meant to show that you are not your parents, that abuse does not make you evil, that you can change and decide your own life path into a stereotyped Dragon Lady minus her verbal disabilities, all in order to make her a villain for the sake of White Male Superhero Tim Drake.

And yet, these two women came back from that. Cassandra got to become a hero again, her previous out of character behavior explained (somewhat poorly) as the result of Deathstroke controlling her. Stephanie Brown became Batgirl, supported by the two previous Batgirls Cassandra Cain and Barbara Gordon. While the way in which Steph became Batgirl was somewhat problematic in that it shoved aside her friend Cassandra Cain, swapping out the Asian hero for the white blonde-haired blue-eyed one, the core of Batgirl as a legacy title, of women supporting women, was still there. And while I disagreed with the way in which she became Batgirl, Steph’s ascension to Batgirl was something the character well deserved after all the bullshit she had gone through, after how long she had fought tooth and nail to stand alongside all the men of the Batfamily. Just as Babs did as Batgirl so, so long ago. It was wonderful. It was beautiful. When Cass came back as Black Bat, it was almost perfect.

And then the reboot happened. And in the reboot, we lost all of that. We lost Oracle, the disabled woman who was smarter and more influential than Batman. We lost Cassandra Cain, the disabled woman who could beat Batman in a fight. We lost Stephanie Brown, the woman from a poor background who let nothing keep her down. And in her place we got… Babsgirl. Not even as she had been before, when her introduction was progressive and her identity a mystery to even Batman himself, but as a tame, cheap version of herself, less her abilities, less the legacy she’d built up over almost 30 years, less her power and influence and proteges. And not only do we get this badly downgraded version of Barbara Gordon, but we get it at the expense of Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown, who are being systematically kept out of the New 52.

It used to be that we could look up and see BATGIRL and BLACK BAT, leaping, fighting and swinging over Gotham, then look behind them and see Barbara Gordon, ex-Congresswoman, undisputed lord of the internet and information, backbone of the superhero community, and proud mentor and disabled woman. And it was absolutely thrilling. But now, we look up and just see Barbara Gordon. In this world, where a man with no powers but money is considered equally powerful and interesting as the man who can destroy the entire planet without breaking a sweat, a disabled woman with more influence than either of them is somehow uninteresting and “broken.” Instead of a network of women mentoring and supporting women, we’ve turned the once icon of female and disabled empowerment into one of the sad few 17%, and erased her legacy.

Why am I anti-Babsgirl? Well, she stands for everything that is anti-me and my friends, for everything that tells us that we are not worthwhile, that we are lesser. So why the hell shouldn’t I return the favor?

Jul 19 '13

heartintherightplace:

Was just stumbling along and then I came across this curious pairing:

No like they’re really

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super dorky

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and utterly hilarious

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they have sass competitions to out-sass each other

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they literally worship each other

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my god you guys get a room already look at all the PDA

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even confessing his love in front of Bat-freaking-MAN.

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even when they’re angsty together they manage to be entertaining

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look at this pretty-looking couple sobs at their perfection (and they’re badass together too)

like what a waste DC how could you ruin a pairing like this we could have had it aaaaall

(Source: anditoldyouitwaslove)

May 28 '13

Just some of my all-time favorite DC superhero costumes.

If anyone is wondering why none of the really classic looks like Superman’s or Wonder Woman’s are on here, it’s because at this point I’m just so used to seeing them that I’m honestly not sure if I actually like them, or if I’m just too familiar with them to evaluate objectively. :-P

I’m usually pretty flexible with costumes, although I think the really iconic looks should just be left alone. But sometimes a character just gets a look that I think is just so gorgeous, and so perfect for them, that I can’t imagine why anyone would try to mess with it. And for the most part, that’s how I feel about these looks.

May 25 '13

fragileicicle:

Aw man Pete Woods leaves DC. I will always love his Tim Drake and his work on Robin (at 50+ issues, he was the longest artist to stay on Tim’s solo). Wishing him all the best for his future endeavors :’)

Quick Pete Woods Appreciation Post!

http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100626073709/marvel_dc/images/thumb/e/ec/Superman_0081.jpg/519px-Superman_0081.jpg

fragileicicle:


Favourite Tim/Steph moment: Robin #74

This picture always brings a smile to my face. Also, what happens next is part the reason too XD

http://arousinggrammardotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/lex1.jpg?w=590&h=421

http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ltnioxjGrZ1qkz9yno1_500.jpg

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m1p9gxPimx1qf39z4o1_500.png

http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l7d4p0981B1qbm31uo2_500.jpg

http://25.media.tumblr.com/1ae2e9f71322f0933f4f4e60d26f72b9/tumblr_mhf50kwjTl1qkz9yno1_500.jpg

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-kssV3NdL64E/UL3vSxPnmXI/AAAAAAAAGAc/20qr3nf1N-w/s1600/tumblr_md8xm1CsNE1ruktuho1_500.jpg

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m9gzt8blV91rbg5awo1_500.png

http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100812152554/stephaniebrown/images/thumb/7/74/Robin_116_(01).jpg/500px-Robin_116_(01).jpg

May 18 '13

Impromptu Cameron Stewart’s Art Appreciation Post. Because of reasons.

Note that he is one of the few artists to remember the ethnicity of the Al Ghuls - it even shows clearly when he draws Damian in black-and-white (upper left picture), which I find truly impressive.

Also note Dick’s face. (There isn’t an intelligent comment there. Just… Dick’s face.)

May 14 '13

DC Universe Fancast:

Chloe Moretz as Stephanie Brown

And on the subject of fancasts, here we have my favorite for Steph.

Apr 29 '13
CinderSteph!
Gabzy, have I mentioned that I love your artwork? Seriously, this is adorable. <3

CinderSteph!

Gabzy, have I mentioned that I love your artwork? Seriously, this is adorable. <3

Apr 8 '13

johncougarmellencamp0:

Why

Aren’t

You

Legal

GODDAMNIT

Leviathan Strikes!Steph?

(Source: moretz-moretz)

Apr 8 '13
royalprat:

Drew this on the bus ride to a business competition today uvu

This art is gorgeous! :-)

royalprat:

Drew this on the bus ride to a business competition today uvu

This art is gorgeous! :-)

Apr 8 '13

pollyannatotheend:

fanboywatchtower:

legendaryduo:

daggerpen:

daggerpen:

devotedtosmallville:

“Valkyrie” part 1 of 4! When Lois Lane accepts an assignment outside of Metropolis, she gets more than she bargained for. Follow the Daily Planet’s star reporter to the Congo as she investigates the Angel of the Plateau. It marks the debut of Lana Lang in the Smallville comic!

Buy the chapter on Comixology or DC App now!

… guys…

Guys

GUYS

THE HAIR TIES ARE EVEN THE SAME

YOU GUYS

GUYS IT’S BB STEPH

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it’s official! Yay!

I swear to gawd, Miller will not be stopped!!!! I simply love this man.

So much love for this man. <3

I love that it’s not just an unspoken cameo, either. She gets to have an actual conversation with Lois, and her personality is spot-on for bb!Steph, too. I love it. :-)

As a longtime Smallville fan, I also have to give Lois major credit for the fact that her skills in interacting with children have improved a LOT since the days of the show. xD

Also, <3 over what Lois says about Clark.

Apr 5 '13

geekeen:

fyeahlilbit2point0:

Katana gets her own book and a role in a cartoon. UNACCEPTABLE BECAUSE CASS AND STEPH ARE IN LIMBO.

Batwing gets a book. UNACCEPTABLE BECAUSE CASS AND STEPH ARE IN LIMBO.

Carrie Kelly becomes canon. UNACCEPTABLE BECAUSE CASS AND STEPH ARE IN LIMBO.

Harper Row exists. UNACCEPTABLE BECAUSE CASS AND STEPH ARE IN LIMBO.

Anything good happens to any other fictional character. UNACCEPTABLE BECAUSE CASS AND STEPH ARE IN LIMBO.

Someone breathes. UNACCEPTABLE BECAUSE CASS AND STEPH ARE IN LIMBO.

I love Cass. I love Stef. Not everything is about them.

^This. Believe me guys, I hate how DC’s treated Cass and Steph and I really wish they could come back.

But you know whose fault that is? The fault of Those Idiots in Charge who are refusing to let them come back, to the point of turning down well-respected and successful writers who have begged to be allowed to use them.

You know whose fault it isn’t? The fault of other fictional characters, who have no say in this at all. At least they’ll have a chance to shine, hopefully, even in Cass and Steph don’t. In my book, that’s a good thing.

(Source: fyeahlilbit3point0)

Mar 18 '13

fragileicicle:

All this talk about Steph being Tim’s Robin is so enlightening to me. Like, everything falls into place now. Why they worked so well together, why their partnership was so great even though they weren’t really equals.

Tim/Steph are basically a romantic version of Batman and Robin, deconstructed into a teenage relationship.

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Really? I have to say, I really dislike the comparison. And I felt the same way when Bryan Q. Miller made the same comparison with Clark and Lois.

Because here’s the thing: Two people in a romantic relationship should be equals. And Batman and Robin are very fundamentally not equals. Bruce does treat his Robins with respect (depending on how much of a Batjerk he’s being written as, of course), but the power is unquestionably his and not theirs. I’ve spoken in the past, in fact, about how the implications of that really bother me when it comes to Dick/Bruce as a romantic ship. The Batman/Robin dynamic is arguably unhealthy enough even as a mentor/student relationship, but translated into a romantic relationship? It’s downright abusive.

And when people talk about Steph being “Tim’s Robin”, whether they mean to or not I think they’re calling attention to one of the most unappealing aspects of the Tim/Steph ship: That, perhaps, Tim had more power than he should have in this relationship. That he didn’t always treat Steph as an equal partner. And that’s not a good thing about them as a couple.

And here’s the thing: Steph ISN’T Tim’s “sidekick”. She’s a separate hero in her own right, and she should have been treated as such even back in her Spoiler days. The fact that she wasn’t always is a flaw of the narrative, and the fact that Tim didn’t always relate to her that way is a flaw of his.

And I think that’s true even if they’d just been friends, frankly. But especially if you’re talking about a romantic relationship. Because a romance where the two people are not equals - where one is treated as the “sidekick” of the other - is a deeply unhealthy thing, and I don’t consider it a compliment to refer to a ship in those terms. For Tim and Steph to work as a couple, they need to be on equal footing. Period.

Mar 17 '13
teland:

discowing:

This scene is great:
At this point, she’s untrained, yet she takes down her pro villain dad.
Knows how to use her environment even before Batman taught her to.
I’m pretty sure she never wanted to kill Cluemaster, only hurt him, and she’s very emotional here, but still she knows Batman is right in this case, so she releases him.
[Detective 649]

Yessss! I don’t half get tired of watching Steph beat the unholy hell out of her father. I *love* her anger — and I love the fact that, in the end, she’s built more on Batman’s mold than on the she-Jason mold that everyone sees. She *does* have a lot in common with Jay, but, damn it, my Steph never gets closer to crossing the line than this, and she damned well *sees* the line — and believes in it.
More than any of the other Robins, I think.
*smacks Bruce on general principles*

I do think at the end of the day Steph believes in that line more than Jason does, but I also think it&#8217;s interesting that for someone who gets characterized as the &#8220;light&#8221; side of the Batfamily so often, she has more doubt about it than some of the others. Look at how she recaps this moment in Secret Origins 80-Page Giant:

"Batman convinced me not to kill him. I guess it was better that I didn&#8217;t."
To me, that doesn&#8217;t sound 100% sure, especially the &#8220;I guess&#8221;. And who can really blame her? She&#8217;s seen how much pain her father&#8217;s caused her mother (and her) over the years. I don&#8217;t believe it would be right, but it&#8217;s hard to condemn her for just wishing he&#8217;d be &#8220;out of Mom&#8217;s life for good&#8221;.
And she questions that line again even more strongly in Detective Comics #796, during her Robin days: 

As Bruce himself points out, Steph didn&#8217;t consciously &#8220;go for the kill&#8221;, but once he points out what she did, she doesn&#8217;t seem the least bit apologetic or regretful about her actions. Indeed, she seems downright confused by Bruce&#8217;s condemnation: &#8220;I don&#8217;t get it. I really don&#8217;t.&#8221;
My take has always been that Steph, unlike Jason, will willingly abide by the &#8220;No kill&#8221; rule - can see the wisdom in that approach, even - but she doesn&#8217;t, perhaps, inwardly embrace it quite as wholeheartedly as some of the other Batfam clan members.
And I think a large part of that comes down to the fact that Steph grew up with a huge distrust - even an outright dislike - of the legal system. Remember what she says to Tim in Robin #111 when she&#8217;s explaining why she never reported the guy who sexually assaulted her to the cops?

"I didn&#8217;t like my dad, but I grew up in his world. On a gut level, I still knew the police, all authorities, as something to be avoided.&#8221;
Now, many assault victims never report the crime, for a variety of reasons, but it&#8217;s interesting that this is the explanation that Steph gives. She doesn&#8217;t say that she never went to the cops because she was ashamed, or because she was in denial about what happened, or even because she thought it would have further negative consequences. She says she didn&#8217;t go to the police because she saw them as the bad guy, &#8220;to be avoided at all costs&#8221;.
And I do think Steph grew out of that mentality to some degree - note that she talks about it in the past tense, and she certainly seemed quite friendly with Detective Gage during her Batgirl run- but not entirely. Look at what she says to Cass here in Batgirl #53:

She starts out talking in past tense once again - &#8220;I didn&#8217;t know who to hate most&#8212;Dad or the cops&#8230; or just the whole damn world for letting it happen&#8221; - but then brings things starkly back to the present, asking &#8220;When&#8217;s it going to stop, Cass? What&#8217;s it gonna take to get people like the Penguin out of our lives?&#8221;
Quite clearly, she doesn&#8217;t think the answer to that is the legal system, and while I certainly don&#8217;t think she&#8217;s suggesting that the answer is to kill people like the Penguin, you do get a strong sense of her frustration with the status quo, and with the system that allows that status quo to remain.
The thing is, there&#8217;s a strong cynical side to Steph, and when people erase that in favor of painting her as all sweetness and light, they&#8217;re oversimplifying her, IMO. Steph&#8217;s positivity and optimism are essential parts of who she is, but so are her anger and her frustration and her instinctive distrust of authority. It&#8217;s all part of a much more complex picture than fandom sometimes sees, I think.

teland:

discowing:

This scene is great:

  • At this point, she’s untrained, yet she takes down her pro villain dad.
  • Knows how to use her environment even before Batman taught her to.
  • I’m pretty sure she never wanted to kill Cluemaster, only hurt him, and she’s very emotional here, but still she knows Batman is right in this case, so she releases him.

[Detective 649]

Yessss! I don’t half get tired of watching Steph beat the unholy hell out of her father. I *love* her anger — and I love the fact that, in the end, she’s built more on Batman’s mold than on the she-Jason mold that everyone sees. She *does* have a lot in common with Jay, but, damn it, my Steph never gets closer to crossing the line than this, and she damned well *sees* the line — and believes in it.

More than any of the other Robins, I think.

*smacks Bruce on general principles*

I do think at the end of the day Steph believes in that line more than Jason does, but I also think it’s interesting that for someone who gets characterized as the “light” side of the Batfamily so often, she has more doubt about it than some of the others. Look at how she recaps this moment in Secret Origins 80-Page Giant:

"Batman convinced me not to kill him. I guess it was better that I didn’t."

To me, that doesn’t sound 100% sure, especially the “I guess”. And who can really blame her? She’s seen how much pain her father’s caused her mother (and her) over the years. I don’t believe it would be right, but it’s hard to condemn her for just wishing he’d be “out of Mom’s life for good”.

And she questions that line again even more strongly in Detective Comics #796, during her Robin days: 

As Bruce himself points out, Steph didn’t consciously “go for the kill”, but once he points out what she did, she doesn’t seem the least bit apologetic or regretful about her actions. Indeed, she seems downright confused by Bruce’s condemnation: “I don’t get it. I really don’t.”

My take has always been that Steph, unlike Jason, will willingly abide by the “No kill” rule - can see the wisdom in that approach, even - but she doesn’t, perhaps, inwardly embrace it quite as wholeheartedly as some of the other Batfam clan members.

And I think a large part of that comes down to the fact that Steph grew up with a huge distrust - even an outright dislike - of the legal system. Remember what she says to Tim in Robin #111 when she’s explaining why she never reported the guy who sexually assaulted her to the cops?

photo secrets_zps7802220e.jpg

"I didn’t like my dad, but I grew up in his world. On a gut level, I still knew the police, all authorities, as something to be avoided.”

Now, many assault victims never report the crime, for a variety of reasons, but it’s interesting that this is the explanation that Steph gives. She doesn’t say that she never went to the cops because she was ashamed, or because she was in denial about what happened, or even because she thought it would have further negative consequences. She says she didn’t go to the police because she saw them as the bad guy, “to be avoided at all costs”.

And I do think Steph grew out of that mentality to some degree - note that she talks about it in the past tense, and she certainly seemed quite friendly with Detective Gage during her Batgirl run- but not entirely. Look at what she says to Cass here in Batgirl #53:

She starts out talking in past tense once again - “I didn’t know who to hate most—Dad or the cops… or just the whole damn world for letting it happen” - but then brings things starkly back to the present, asking “When’s it going to stop, Cass? What’s it gonna take to get people like the Penguin out of our lives?”

Quite clearly, she doesn’t think the answer to that is the legal system, and while I certainly don’t think she’s suggesting that the answer is to kill people like the Penguin, you do get a strong sense of her frustration with the status quo, and with the system that allows that status quo to remain.

The thing is, there’s a strong cynical side to Steph, and when people erase that in favor of painting her as all sweetness and light, they’re oversimplifying her, IMO. Steph’s positivity and optimism are essential parts of who she is, but so are her anger and her frustration and her instinctive distrust of authority. It’s all part of a much more complex picture than fandom sometimes sees, I think.