- Posted by Johanna on July 9, 2006 at 3:38 pm
- Category: Comic News
I didn’t wind up going to any panels at Heroes Con last weekend. I did try to attend the Saturday 52 panel, but halfway through, I left. I was cold and bored, and while Dan Didio was trying to interact with the audience, I couldn’t hear their responses and no one on the panel was repeating the questions or comments.
While I was there, though, I took notes on a couple of things I found particularly interesting. During the question period, a fan said something along the line of “I find the new Batwoman an interesting character and I’d like to read more about her. However, I also found the new Batgirl an interesting character and I liked reading about her. But you’ve turned her into a one-note villain and killed her.”
Didio started in on his standup act at that point, saying “oh, you think she’s dead?” and talking to the other panelists about how there’s still lots of story to be told. That wasn’t the interesting part (at least, to me).
The interesting part was when he launched into a lecture on how if you don’t know the character’s past, you can’t write stories that make sense in their future. He thought the company went the wrong way making her “softer and smoother”, and they needed to bring her back to her past as the daughter of Cain and Shiva. (Which mention sent Greg Rucka off about how much he hated what’s been done with Shiva, presumably in Birds of Prey.)
Why is it, I wonder, that only female DC characters are defined in terms of their parentage? (Male characters are more often defined in terms of their dead parents: Superman, Batman, Martian Manhunter.) Is it a way of keeping them in a child-like state longer? I can’t even think of any currently active male characters who have superhero or well-known parents.
That emphasis on the past, by the way, explains a lot about DC’s current retro fetish and why so many of their books are currently so unsatisfying.
The second thing I found interesting was Didio’s defensive statement, in response to a question I didn’t catch, that he didn’t have anything against female characters, that he was “an equal opportunity offender” ha ha ha.
Last, there was Didio’s discussion about Batman, in which he talked about how much he despised the relationship with Oracle. According to him, “once he had her talking in his ear, he quit being Batman.” Because apparently, getting help or knowledge from a girl just can’t be done by a hero. Batman, per Didio, works best with Robin, Alfred, and Commissioner Gordon, and he’s got to be scary.
To be fair, it didn’t seem to be so much Oracle’s sex as her omniscience that bothered Didio, but getting rid of her because your guy’s got to be tougher and more alone ignores one of the most unique character concepts in superhero comics today. Oracle was a huge redemption story after Alan Moore used her as nothing more than a plot point in his “all boys together” Killing Joke, and I doubt anyone currently at DC realizes what a terrible signal tossing her aside AGAIN will send.