Archive for September, 2006


In this blog entry I would like to talk about the death of a comic book character that once was Robin. No, I am not talking about Jason Todd, who was killed due to a fan phone poll (he’s been brought back to life anyway!), but Stephanie Brown, the fourth Robin.

For those who have no idea who Stephanie Brown was here is her Wikipedia entry.

Project Girl Wonder is another website that looks at the disgraceful treatment that Stephanie has suffered at the hands of DC Comics. They could perhaps articulate things better than I.

Comics writer Gail Simone has made a list of female comics characters who have suffered. It can be viewed at Women In Refrigerators.

One of the things that has struck me about this whole Stephanie Brown ordeal, is not just how DC Comics treats its female heroes, but how it treats its female readers. (You’d think that being a male I wouldn’t know about these things!)

When Bill Willingham started writing the Batman story that became known as War Games, he was told by his editors that Stephanie was to die by the end of the run. Willingham has said it was his idea to have Stephanie accepted briefly as Robin, so that she would have done something memorable in her time as a Batman supporting cast member. I’m not sure if his plan worked too well, as when Stephanie became Robin it created a buzz. People became interested in the Bat comics and it could have created great storylines and a great chemistry between Batman and his new Robin, that had not been seen since the days when Dick Grayson wore the pixie boots. Perhaps Stephanie, with her enthusiastic attitude, could have helped Batman lighten up a bit, since one of the main criticisms of the way Batman is currently written is that he is too grumpy.

If Stephanie had of remained Robin the writers could have allowed Tim Drake, the previous Robin, to gain an identity away from Batman. They could of allowed him to grow up.

However, Willingham and DC decided to keep their plan of killing Stephanie and having Tim return as Robin. Stephanie had to suffer one of the most horrendous deaths after she was tortured endlessly by Black Mask and a cordless power drill. Steph somehow survived this barely, only to have another one of Batman’s allies, Dr Leslie Thompkins, refuse to treat Stephanie’s injuries. She basically allowed Stephanie die just to teach Batman a lesson.

Since then much of Batman’s family have disappeared. Stephanie is dead, Leslie has been exiled, Oracle has quit Gotham City and Batgirl has inexplicably turned evil. (Mmm, it’s just the female Bat characters who have left!) These of course were all editorial decisions and perhaps contrary to what readers really wanted. DC editor in chief Dan Didio wanted Batman to return to being a loner, where if he wants help he will get it from Robin (Tim again) or Alfred. Basically DC are going to give us Didio’s vision of how Batman should be, regardless of whether we want it or not. Personally I think he should just allow the writers to go about writing comic books without any of his editorial interferance, but that is perhaps just my opinion!


The Batmobile

Posted: September 10, 2006 in Batman, Diecast
Tags: , , ,

f230Two of my greatest loves are comics books and cars. For as long as I can remember, I have been a comic book and car nut. With this in mind, it is perhaps no surprise that my favourite comic book character is Batman. Let’s face it, the Batmobile is the coolest car ever made. UK toy manufacturer Corgi have released a range of diecast Batmobiles for collectors to buy. You can view them at Corgi’s website. These look pretty good considering that they are a relatively cheap buy. My favourites are the 1960s Batmobiles. For some reason they just look really good.

As these are based on the Batmobiles from the Batman comic book, you won’t find the most famous Batmobile of them all, the one from the 1960s TV show. Corgi used to manufacture this car back in the 1960s and 1970s, but they are no longer able to due to licencing issues. My cousin used to own one of these and I always wanted one as a kid. I don’t know why my parents never bought me one, but I know if they did, it would probably have ended up being trashed like all my other toy cars. If you want one of these cars now you have to go to ebay and spend at least $200 for one that it is in OK condition. I have seen one TV Batmobile recently, complete with box, for $500. I suppose that the moral of this story is for any kids out there to keep your toys in good condition because you never know how much they’ll be worth in twenty years time.

Finally, I have heard a rumour that Mattel may be making the TV Batmobile. As previously mentioned, the reason this car has not been made since the early 1980s, is due to licencing issues. From what I’ve heard, the issue revolves around who would get any royalties from sales of this car. George Barris, who created and still owns this car, would have to take a cut, as would 20th Century Fox, the people who made the TV show. DC Comics/Time Warner, would also take a cut of the profits, which means that there would be very little money to made by any manufacturer who built this car. I have also heard that DC Comics have always vetoed anything that has to do with the TV show, so as to distance the current grim and gritty version of Batman, from the campy one in the TV show. (Time Warner may also not like the fact that a rival entertainment comapany, Fox, would profit from a character that they own!)

Anyway, it looks as though Mattel has paid off all the interested parties and will make the most famous Batmobile of all in various scales. Mattel already make the Batmobile from the 1989 movie and the one from Batman Begins. They also have the licence to make all the other movie Batmobiles, so this one would be a natural.

Information on Mattel gaining the rights to 1966 Batmobile from DC Message Boards