espanolbot: (Default)
[personal profile] espanolbot posting in [community profile] scans_daily
This is important. Watch the video (starting around the 34 minute mark), or read the synopsis.

No directly insulting any members of the DC staff either, I want this thread to stay put and not get locked and stuff.

At the Auckland Writers And Readers Fest, one panel saw Adrian Kinnaird, Ant Sang, Chris Slane, Dylan Horrocks and Karen Healey talk about the industry and the artform.

And it got onto sexism in comics. With Karen Healey recounting to the audience the example of Stephanie Brown’s (Spoiler, Robin, Batgirl) death in the DC comics and her lack of memorial case in the Batcave.

Luckily Dylan Horrocks was one of the writers of the crossover event in which this happened, working on Batgirl, and was able to explain the workings of her death from inside the Batwriters meeting held in a New York office over a weekend.

As well as a Dan DiDio impersonation, he told the audience that the writers were told two things about the Batman: War Games crossover event they were writing, that it would “involve some kind of Gang War in Gotham” and that “Spoiler was gonna die”. Thirty-four minutes into the video above, he recounts the experience.

AWRF2011: Graphic Novels, Comics and Cartoons from Auckland Writers & Readers Fest on Vimeo.

What Dylan Horrocks said,
"It was one of the most depressing weeks of my life, because we basically spent the whole week in this horrible office planning how to kill this poor teenage girl who I really liked, I thought she was a great character and she was one of the few friends that my character had, and I tell you the whole thing about her being Robin, was simply a trick.

The whole way through it was planned purely as a trick to play on the readers, that we would fool them into thinking that the big event was that Stephanie Brown would become Robin but we knew all along it was a temporary thing, and she was then going to die at the end of this crossover story.

It was really seedy, and I think about two days into it, I basically said look, I don’t want… because they planned this big long torture scene, I said I don’t want to really have anything to do with that. And there was another scene which was… I was Pilate, I was Pontius Pilate, I don’t want any of that in Batgirl, in effect what I did is I wrote my comic out of the key events in the story, cos I said I didn’t want to have anything to do with the big shoot out at the high school scene, so it was a really strange experience, for me that was the most depressing…

So when there was that big online debate about Stephanie Brown’s death I felt kind of really pleased and vindicated, and the other person who I think was probably happy about that but I don’t think she’s ever said so in interviews was Devin Grayson who was writing Nightwing at the time… she raised several issues during this meeting, she was one of the other writers in the meeting who said how come we’re always killing off the girls, and also how come we’re killing off the ethnic characters,[Karen mentions Orpheus], there was a lot of debate in that meeting, well ultimately it all came down to this is what we’re going to do. The editors I was working with were nice people,…[INTERRUPTION] no they weren’t all white, they weren’t all straight…[Karen asks if they were all men] yes, they were all men, but the writers weren’t all men, but I think the thing is the industry is much more diverse and much more liberal and much more politically liberal than the comics necessarily imply, but there are these kind of commercial expectations on where the stories are going to go and we do get these directives from the head editorial office, the tone of the whole industry has dug itself into a hole, and it means that really decent people who would love to be good stories end up writing these whole…"

Woooooooooooooow. I knew there was a reason I liked Horrocks. And they actually spent a week planning how to torture Steph, the end result involving broken glass, powerdrills and Black Mask basically calling her the Bat Family's whore, while the artist drew her in the positions that best showed off her ass... OW.

You know, I've felt bad about some of the things that I've said about DC falling the Fall of Cass Cain, but MAN!

For legality, the cover of and a part of a page from Horrock's Steph and Cass team-up issue,

Date: 2011-07-16 09:04 pm (UTC)
q99: (Default)
From: [personal profile] q99
Well, good for Devin Grayson too.

Date: 2011-07-16 09:10 pm (UTC)
thehefner: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thehefner
Okay, so we now have a running tally of DC editors being calculating scum. Do I have all these right?

1.) "Cripple the bitch" (citation needed): supposedly Len Wein's words to Alan Moore about Barbara Gordon in The Killing Joke.

2.) “She’s getting her spine blown out in ‘The Killing Joke’, so try to make people care.”

3.) "We need a rape": editorial's very words regarding the ideas that led to Identity Crisis, as recounted by former editorial assistant Valerie D'Orazio. I tried to find her original entry, but her whole original Occasional Superheroine blogspot page has been locked. I wonder why? Possibly to keep all that stuff in the actual e-book she published, recounting those stories? Either way, google her name and "We need a rape," and you'll see many mentions of it. If anyone has her whole story, please link.

And now this. Huzzah. Great. That's four accounts so far. Any others?

Date: 2011-07-16 09:12 pm (UTC)
thehefner: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thehefner
Note to mods: if "scum" is too harsh, I'll delete and rephrase. I suppose I shouldn't be so harsh towards people who are just dealing with fictional characters, but this is an ugly pattern which is now only getting uglier.

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Date: 2011-07-16 09:47 pm (UTC)
thebigapricot: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thebigapricot
"Cripple the bitch" is from a March 2006 interview with Alan Moore.
In an interview with Wizard magazine, Moore explains how little care went into making such a series-altering decision: “I asked DC if they had any problems with me crippling Barbara Gordon–who was Batgirl at the time–and if I remember correctly, I spoke to Len Wein, who was our editor on the project, and he said ‘Hold on to the phone, I’m just going to walk down the hall and I’m going to ask [former DC Executive Editorial Director] Dick Giordano if it’s alright,’ and there was a brief period where I was put on hold and then, as I remember it, Len got back onto the phone and said ‘Yeah, okay, cripple the bitch.’ It was probably one of the areas where they should’ve reined me in, but they didn’t.”

Date: 2011-07-18 03:52 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-07-16 09:12 pm (UTC)
crabby_lioness: (Default)
From: [personal profile] crabby_lioness
Thank you for your honest, Mr. Horrocks.

Date: 2011-07-18 04:01 am (UTC)
cleome45: (flight1*)
From: [personal profile] cleome45
Everyone should buy Hicksville, if they haven't yet. My love for that book was, is, and always will be clear off the scale.

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Date: 2011-07-16 09:44 pm (UTC)
genusshrike: Icon of Molly coming down from a tree. (molly in a tree)
From: [personal profile] genusshrike
I am suddenly grateful that the only superhero comic I followed as a teenage girl was Dylan Horrocks' run on Batgirl. That's :-/

Date: 2011-07-16 10:11 pm (UTC)
zechs80: (Mayuri)
From: [personal profile] zechs80
A very interesting look and I wonder if this was pretty much the reason Horrocks left Batgirl?

Date: 2011-07-16 10:12 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: Sad Nightwing (Sad Nightwing)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
That's some unpleasant reading right there...

Date: 2011-07-16 10:21 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] arilou_skiff
Thanks for pretty much stating that your readers are scumbags, DC editorial.

Date: 2011-07-16 11:11 pm (UTC)
tsunamiwombat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tsunamiwombat

Date: 2011-07-16 11:16 pm (UTC)
majingojira: (Kyon Sad)
From: [personal profile] majingojira
I am at a loss for words other than sighing and saying "Wow."

Date: 2011-07-16 11:59 pm (UTC)
blackruzsa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blackruzsa
That's more bullshit than I can handle at 8 in the morning.

Oh DC, I'm glad I don't have a lot of faith in you or I'd be really hurt right now.

Date: 2011-07-17 05:25 am (UTC)
brilliantnova: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brilliantnova
this x a million

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Date: 2011-07-17 12:07 am (UTC)
turtlefu: (Default)
From: [personal profile] turtlefu
I never for once thought that Steph would stay Robin. Call me a cynic, but I knew it would never last. We could never have a girl take the role of Robin, that was just TOO different for DC's stubborn asses.

Even so, this is horrifying, and I applaud Dylan and Devin, even if I was never a fan of their particular writing, their hearts are in the right place.

For all these years, ever since WiR, we have asked the question, and never, NEVER gotten an answer: "Why are all of the women and people of color being killed?"

This is why DC's plans of DIVERSITY! are so false. They treat their statement of DIVERSITY just like anti-gay Republicans treat their claims of "having gay friends". It's not about their progressive actions (of which there aren't any), it's what they can use as BADGES to show how wonderful they are!

Date: 2011-07-17 12:19 am (UTC)
tsunamiwombat: (IAmUpset)
From: [personal profile] tsunamiwombat
It is -pretty damn bad- when the internets conspiracy theories (or what could be considered as such) about them purposefully killing off female and ethnic characters turn out to be true.

I am dissapoint.

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Re: Hrrm.

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Date: 2011-07-17 12:55 am (UTC)
punishermax: (Default)
From: [personal profile] punishermax
I think the main, core issue of this is that, if this turns out to be totally true, apparently we have not evolved fully from the Sixties level of female comic character treatment at all, simply risen with the level of acceptable violence and language.

I think a major discussion needs to happen about what we do here. How do we balance the fact that female characters back in comics beginnings right throw to the 80's and in cases such as this beyond were little more than ways to add extra shock (Oh man, not only is this character dead, but because she's a defenseless GIRL, the killer is an extra big asshole because of this) to actions that they want to take and still allowing female characters to face danger and death just the same as male ones?

If the idea of the weird ass torture discussion is true than that means that there exist some fucking weird ass people in some big ass comic companies that are pulling the strings in titles that I think deserve a fuckton better.

I'm usually cynical when it comes to comics, but for fucks sakes, this is so creepy and weird I HAVE to give it the benefit of the doubt and say things are slowly getting better but ffffffffuuuuuuuuck.


Date: 2011-07-17 01:48 am (UTC)
ravenous_raven: Angry Steph Brown aka Batgirl, "Bitch, please" on the bottom (Bitch PLEASE)
From: [personal profile] ravenous_raven
I think Horrocks' statement that "tone of the whole industry has dug itself into a hole" is so true. The audience comics are playing to is getting smaller and smaller and these kind of editorial decisions are not going to gain any new readers. I think that the Big 2 will be finished in a generation or two.

However, that is not to say that we can't have other comic book companies that do not have these kind of misogynistic stories.

Date: 2011-07-17 03:17 am (UTC)
combatsoup: (Default)
From: [personal profile] combatsoup
hey, great characters like the blue beetle and the question come from long gone companies. my beloved characters don't need to come from the big two, just some writers and an editorial that cares about them as much as the fans do :)

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Date: 2011-07-17 05:18 am (UTC)
zechs80: (Mayuri)
From: [personal profile] zechs80
Wow Bleeding Cool really seems pro Steph tonight. First this article and now this:

Date: 2011-07-17 10:04 am (UTC)
celestialchild: (Sokka facepalm)
From: [personal profile] celestialchild
I really don't trust much of anything Didio or any of the editorial says. Quite frankly it feels like DC can't make ANYTHING last anymore. As soon as you get comfortable it's one change after the next.

And anyway their stance on any of the female characters with controversial situations has stunk of BS. They say everything the critics want to hear (Barbara is better as Oracle, good news for Cass this year, Stephanie gets a long-deserved honor and becomes Batgirl) and show no commitment to their statements, going and doing their own thing.

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Date: 2011-07-17 01:04 pm (UTC)
rordulum: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rordulum
Yeah, DC has no class. We've known that for a long time, but this really does show the seedy side of the comic book industry at its worst.

I guess there are all kinds of arguments to be had about immature attitudes to women, assumptions about what male readers in key demographics will respond to and god knows what else. But the blasé attitude that so many of these guys seem to have towards the way female characters is treated is just gross.

I'm a straight guy, I've been reading comic books for years, but I have less than no desire to see female characters killed, raped, mutilated or crippled. In fact, that stuff happening is far more likely to make me just put the book down and never read it again. I struggle to understand the mindset that gets excited by that stuff.

Something else depressing is that, these writers and artists who do try to hold themselves to a higher standard end up getting shafted. Horrocks is no longer working for a big publisher, nor is Devin Grayson. Dwayne McDuffie was fired for being honest about the BS he had to put up with.

But these comic book editors really are the perfect example of kids let loose in a candy store. They were fans as kids, and now as adults they can shape the characters and stories they want. But that sort of attitude results in the Silver Age glorification at DC, and Brand New Day at Marvel. They're writing stories to please themselves, not the fans.

Date: 2011-07-17 02:42 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jlbarnett
well the fans of book directly before these guys took over were the people who bought 90's dark age stuff.

Date: 2011-07-17 02:11 pm (UTC)
biod: Cute Galactus (Default)
From: [personal profile] biod
I'm going to keep it for a time when I can deal with something that loathsome.
It was a terrible moment in comics, the aftermath was terrible, and DC buckling under the pressure to bring her back was the best thing they've ever done for her aside from maybe making her Batgirl.
Too bad THAT is soon to be gone as well. I get the feeling sometimes DC tolerates some of its most loved books/characters more than it likes them. Just a quick retcon here, a change in tone there, and WOOSH, there they go!

Date: 2011-07-17 02:40 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jlbarnett
you know I'm looking and the cut text, and I can't believe that anyone thought that Steph being Robin wasn't a temporary thing, even if you didn't expect her to die. She had a viable identity for herself as Spoiler that took no effort to put her back into. Tim however did not. And they plainly weren't going to retire someone they'd put so much time developing.

Date: 2011-07-17 10:59 pm (UTC)
liara_shadowsong: (Default)
From: [personal profile] liara_shadowsong
Thank you, Mr. Horrocks, for this fascinating (and utterly horrifying) tidbit. *shudders*

Date: 2011-07-17 10:59 pm (UTC)
bluestar86: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bluestar86
I cannot comprehend how these people have managed to avoid jail time. I'm not saying that what they are doing to these poor characters in comics is enough to get them thrown in jail, but that people like this can make it this far in life without doing something incredibly illegal, and getting caught (because I refuse to believe that these people are smart enough to get away with it) is rather impressive, in several very depressing ways.

I'm not disappointed, nor am I particularly surprised, if anything I feel justified.

Date: 2011-07-18 03:49 am (UTC)
darrylayo: (Default)
From: [personal profile] darrylayo
Nice reporting.

I don't know what one can do for the betterment of superhero comics, with regard to female inclusion (to say little of minority inclusion). And for that matter, I'm never comfortable with how the onus of this social advancement seems to be placed on DC, when Marvel Comics is just up the road. Both companies succeed and fail in interesting ways, but somehow, I feel like Marvel is completely left out of these sorts of discussions, at least on these internet fora.

Date: 2011-07-18 01:54 pm (UTC)
lencannon: shy guy (Default)
From: [personal profile] lencannon
It is very frustrating, because the DCU is the one where I feel most invested. But this is exactly why I end up feeling really disenfranchised from the entire line. Steph dying was shameful. Turning Cass into a Deathstroke clone was shameful. Harley Quinn's new outfit is shameful. I just want to be able to read comic book stories I feel good about and even the positive things are soured by some real depressing facts about the comic book company I follow.

Date: 2011-07-18 09:49 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] don1138
The other side of all this "fridge-ing" of non-male/non-caucasians is when the majors players attempt to compensate for their fundamental bias by turning the Mary Sue factor up to 11 their "non-male/non-caucasian character empowerment" books. By the end of Hawkeye/Mockingbird, I half-expected Bobbi to drop Galactus and the Beyonder with a mere thought (Who knows the extent her new immortality/super-solidier powers will be? TBD by fan reaction, apparently). Ditto (to a lesser or greater degree) Steph Batgirl, Nomad (Onslaught Incarnate!) and the new Spider Girl.

We've had examples of strong female leads done well. May Parker ABSOLUTELY RULES -- why get rid of her? Palmiotti/Conners Power Girl was the best that character has ever been (I demand they do a Vartox mini-series NOW!). And Secret Six does the über-competent women and big dumb men thing so well it hurts! Some of Buffy and Angel as well.

Ah, the heck with all this marketing-department-driven pandering to tweens. I'm gonna go re-read Beasts of Burden and We3, and the entrenched interests can go to blazes.


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