Sunday, September 30, 2012

You're not benched if you don't exist...

Toxic and benched are the buzzwords this year for characters like Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, Wally West and Donna Troy.  Well, toxic more for the first two.  Supposedly.  Poor Cass, poor Steph.  Every so often someone writes about the disappearance of these characters, someone asks Dan DiDio or whoever is writing a Bat-book that month about them at a convention.  The word is they'll be back when the new, much younger DC universe ages enough for its overall narrative to catch up to them.  That sounds okay, although it doesn't make much sense for characters whose debuts came chronologically after Cass's or Steph's to exist prior to their re-appearances, or to have 4 different Robins in 5 story-years.

From a story/continuity point, there's no logic to it.  Then you look at it from another angle.  When DC hit the reset button, they deliberately cherry picked the characters they felt would sell the best, and some of our faves didn't make the cut.  And when it suits them, they can backtrack to pick up ones they feel they have a direction for to take a little risk.  That is perfectly logical.  It hurts a vocal minority of fans-- this blogger included-- but it's good for the company as a whole.  It's too bad DC has handled it very poorly from a public relations standpoint, but I doubt anyone's losing any sleep over alienating the 20 odd people who bought Batgirl #1 last month from Comixology or the ten or so who mailed waffles to DiDio.

But even if they were, it's not that big a deal.  A lot of people who are mildly annoyed by the loss of Cass, who were irked when DC announced Steph as Batgirl in that Smallville comic then yanked her, the ones who pine for Wally and Donna are largely still buying DC books because they want to know what's happening.  They are comics consumers with pull lists, so comic books make up a part of their monthly entertainment budget and they enjoy what they're reading more so than they're upset by a few characters dropping out with vague promises of returns.  When an entire universe changes, they want to be in on it.

The pro-Cass people and the pro-Steph people?  We're a minor nuisance.  We generally just annoy the more mainstream reader who's perfectly happy overall with what DC's done, so much so they take to comment sections to tell those few of us to shut up-- like the one on the Facebook feed where I found that article, although the two comments at the site are more supportive (they seem to be just anti-52 in general, actually).

And if you're someone like me who starts a blog to champion one of these discarded characters and who does stop buying DC's monthlies-- to be honest, I largely stopped way before the 52 reboot, more so because I didn't care much for the tone, art or direction coming out of DC at the time than for any character-based loyalty-- you're just too small a fish for DC or the Time/Warner corporate entity to bother with.  I slipped through the net back into the sea and no one even knew I was almost in the boat in the first place.  Now if I happened to be Jaws, and Chief DiDio had to tell Quint Lee they needed a bigger boat...

Then we'd have something!

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