So this past Sunday, I attended RCCC, mostly because the incomparable Greg Rucka was there. Last year, I had the opportunity to hear him talk about his writing process, and it changed how I approach the craft, how I see myself as a writer, and the benchmarks I’ve set for myself for my future. I got more out of a brief lecture from him than in the rest of my formal schooling combined. I’m not kidding. I could gush an embarrassing amount about how grateful I am for the advice he gave, really. But anyway! I’d been wanting to thank him for that, since I’d been too shy to say anything before, so I finagled a way to attend one of the two days of the con. I wore my I Believe in Stephanie Brown t-shirt and brought along my HC of the Hiketeia for him to sign.
And this is what he wrote in it, after we talked. Take a wild guess as to who my ‘her’ is.
During our talk, Mr. Rucka reiterated something that has been my internal mantra since the beginning of the reboot: this, too, shall pass. These characters are bigger than their writers and the company that owns them. What they mean to people will endure. They’re heroes. Our heroes. Yes, their stories have been retconned out of continuity, but that doesn’t cheapen them. They still exist, and they’re still wonderful.
I have to say, though, wearing that shirt to RCCC was a trip. Five different people stopped me to talk about Steph/the DCnU—-five white men between the ages of eighteen to forty. Two of them were artists. Three of them were comic shop owners. It was an eye-opening experience for me, because THAT is the supposed target audience for the New 52. They were angry. One shop owner said that the New 52 has been bad for his business, because he honestly doesn’t have much to give parents when they want current comics that are appropriate for their children. He told me that he misses Steph because he knew that he could recommend it to anyone, no matter their gender or age. We’re not the only ones that want these benched characters back.
But it’s not going to happen. I hate to say that, but it’s not. The people calling the shots haven’t been subtle about it—-they consider them toxic, so they’re not coming back. That has become very, very clear. We’re not going to see them back in play until someone who respects their worth—-and what these characters mean to the fans they currently earmark as annoyingly vocal—-is in charge. I don’t know when that is going to happen. I don’t know when things are going to change, but I do believe that they will.
No matter what, I’m going to keep believing in Stephanie Brown.