BLOG Waffles For Stephanie
How many Robins have there been? Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake and Damien Wayne and the mighty Carrie Kelly from Dark Knight Returns, right? Wrong. There’s a sixth, Stephanie Brown.
Initially introduced as a superheroine called Spoiler, Steph was a highly-regarded member of the Batman supporting cast for years, graduating to Robin in the 2004 crossover War Games where she was promptly killed in an editorially-mandated decision that was unpopular with both fans and writers.
For several years, she was a magnet for controversy, with stories implying she was recruited as Robin as a ruse on Batman’s part and no memorial in place for her in the Batcave. This was changed when fans complained and she returned as Batgirl, her death having been revealed to be faked, just prior to DC rebooting their entire universe. When this happened, Steph’s luck ran out again, and she has yet to appear in DC’s New 52. Writers would regularly talk about wanting to bring her back but no firm decision was ever made until, in March of this year, Batman head editor Mike Marts expressly said the character would not be returning any time soon. Once again, it seemed, Steph had been left out of the party, despite her enduring popularity as a character.
The push back against this has been twofold, one arm coming from the last writer of pre-New 52 Batgirl, Bryan Q Miller. Miller is clearly a Steph fan, and is currently writing the DC Digital Smallville Season 11 comics. The story arc coming up in August features Batman finally making his appearance in the Smallville universe, backed up not by a Robin, but by a Nightwing: Stephanie Brown. The final issue of Miller’s Batgirl run featured Steph dreaming about her future as a Nightwing and it’s incredibly sweet that Miller has had the chance to write that story, albeit not in central DC continuity.
The other arm of the campaign to get Steph back in the DCU is the Waffles For Stephanie campaign. Following in the tradition of fan campaigns such as the letters that helped save Star Trek and the bags of nuts that got Jericho its second season, the plan is simple: on 10 August, fans are urged to send waffles to DC HQ with a note explaining why they’re sending them. Nothing belligerent, nothing angry, just a note explaining that they love Steph as a character and they’d like to see her in the New 52.
Why 10 August? Because that’s an important date in Steph’s life. It’s the date her first run as Batgirl began being published and, unusually, it’s also the date when the series would later be cancelled. And it’s the date of her first appearance in the Smallville universe. Big things happen for Steph Brown on 10 August, so it makes sense to have the campaign that day.
Why waffles? Because Steph likes them, they turn up throughout her run as Batgirl and she even refers to them as, “a new kind of bonding”. Plus, there’s maybe an element of poking gentle fun at the fact DC waffled about exactly what their plans are for her for months prior to confessing they didn’t have any.
If you don’t want to, or can’t, spend the money to send the waffles on 10 August 10 (after all, the combination of transatlantic shipping and delicious breakfast confectionary is a tricky one) but still want to participate, the campaign has the answer. On 10 August, simply tweet @DCComics with the hashtag #WafflesForStephanie and if you use Facbook, post on DC’s Facebook page and, if possible, link to the Waffles For Stephanie Facebook page. Again, nothing rude or angry, just the sort of polite, friendly fan activism that can get results.
Stephanie Brown is one of the overlooked heroines of the DC universe and she deserves better. So, on 10 August, if you can, send some Waffles For Stephanie and help one of DC’s finest finally get her ticket to the main event.
(With thanks to DC Women Kicking Ass)