Okay, that is really awesome, and if they actually made these I would buy every last one of them for my girls.
"I don’t kill. But I don’t lose either."
In September 2011, DC Comics rebooted their entire main universe, leaving hundreds of characters missing or irrevocably altered. Many of these losses included women, specifically those of color, and characters with disabilities who had come to help develop, in some small way, the world of DC as populated and enriched by more than just white, able-bodied men.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the treatment of Cassandra Cain.
Initially a young woman of color whose disability affected her ability to speak and read, Cass’s first appearance in the Batman arc Mark of Cain signaled a change in the stagnant atmosphere in Gotham and would lead to the young woman’s ascension to the Batgirl cowl. Enriched, but never dwarfed, by a full cast of Batfamily members, Cass’s run as Batgirl didn’t stray away from her abusive backstory nor from her optimistic future. Later storylines would alter Cass’s character in numerous ways—many terrible, some terrific—but the heart of the character and what she meant to so many people would not change.
What has changed, however, is Cass’s presence within the DC world. Completely removed from the main universe, it is up to the fandom to keep Cass alive. It is up to us to be conscious consumers of our fanworks and to demand more Cassandra at every turn. No more Batfamily posts without her. No more stereotyping and making her into a background character.
Just as Cass fought to be more than what her father wanted, so too should we fight an entire system, only exemplified by DC’s tactics, that tells us that Cass’s narrative is not one we should care about, that women of color with disabilities have no worth within a world where humans can fly, and that Cassandra herself is the Batfamily member no one wants.
"You can change. You can.”
WHAT: Cassandra Cain Appreciation Month
WHERE: Here on Tumblr, or on any other fandom channel you commonly use (such as AO3, Livejournal, or Twitter)
WHEN: July 2nd-July 31st
WHY: Cass’s first appearance took place in July of 1999 in Batman #567. This month is also host to disabilityfest, which emphasizes the importance of fictional disabled characters, like Cass. In many ways, it’s a perfect matchup of dates!
HOW: How can you help? It’s simple! During the month of July, consider creating, posting, and reblogging more Cass! Create headcanons, write meta, write a tweet celebrating your love for Cass, or ask questions about her to your followers! Think critically about the presence of the Batfamily in both the comics and in fandom and how your contributions either help or hinder Cass’s presence as a crucial, loved family member! Write fics, do fanart, or make crafts! Make graphics or playlists; change your Tumblr theme and your icon! No matter what you’re good at, there’s something for you to do to let everyone know how much you love Cass!
"Everyone experiences tragedy. Tim. Bruce. You and me. It’s not about the city. It’s about how you choose to see the world. Everything else is just an excuse."
This appreciation month is being coordinated through In the Name of Cassandra Cain. This blog is completely dedicated to Cass, and will host a contest during July with prizes for seven different categories of fanworks!
We do ask that if you will be participating in Cassandra Cain Appreciation Month, that you follow some simple guidelines:
- Don’t post/reblog/support sexist, racist, ableist, or otherwise offensive material under the premise of helping Cass’s cause. Cass wouldn’t support that kind of behavior, and neither should you.
- Don’t character-bash. There’s a strong difference between pointing out meta differences in characters or in characters’ treatment in fandom and hating on a character you don’t like under the premise of defending Cass. Focus on Cass, not other characters.
- Please use tags for all potentially triggering material, especially in your fanworks. While certain materials may not bother you, they could potentially cause very unsafe feelings in others. Tags include, but are not limited to:
- Rape (please note that dub-con and non-con should be explicitly tagged with this)
- Sexual Content
The main tag for this event will be #casscainappreciationmonth, but some other tags you can use here or on other social media and fandom outlets include:
Please reblog this post to spread awareness of the celebration! Let others know that you stand with Cass!
When I first heard that the DCU was going to become the DCnU, I was so excited, but also wondered what would happen to my favorite super heroine, Black Canary. The first set of solicitations had be very nervous because she wasn’t present for any of it. Then there was that leaked Justice League International picture with a black haired woman on the front of it. Some speculated that she was the Black Canary. Then, a couple weeks later, it was announced that Birds of Prey was getting revamped with a whole new history and cast. I waited eagerly to see the cover by Jesus Saiz.
I also found that crime novelist, Duane Swierczynski was taking over and I felt this was exactly what the book needed.
This first issue was awesome. It set up a new villain called Choke (remember this name because we will never see it again) which brainwashed people and had them act as soldiers. He could also make their heads explode as well. There was some sinister plans that the Birds had to get to the bottom of. I loved wonder what was next and what clues they were going to uncover. The Birds got so close to the enemy that they found his secret hiding spot; a floor between floors of an office building. I loved the noir feel to the entire book and felt that Swierczynski brought some of his elements from his novels (which are all highly recommended) to the team.
Jesus Saiz art was sexy, but not cheesecake! I loved that all the Birds weren’t falling out of their costumes and Black Canary actually had a practical costume. Don’t get me wrong! I love the classic outfits, but this was more kick ass and ninjaesque.
While I am a huge Black Canary fan, I can’t forget about Swierczy’s greatest addition to the book: Eve Crawford aka Starling. This character had so much potential and I was hoping we would unwrap the enigma that she was. I remember one of the first thing she says (after she drives a car through a church wall) was how do you even begin to confess to a sin like this, or something of that nature. I wanted to know right then and there what the hell was going on with the whiskey-drinking-bustier-wearing-gal.
Then, the unthinkable happened….
The creative team left the book and new creative teams jumped on. Then, the Birds of Prey became a completely different book. I feel like it was a female G.I. Joe book. International terrorists, spies, and military fights broke out almost every other issue.
Speaking of issue, You see that guy in red at the top of the picture? His name is Condor and if you think I’m Black Canary’s biggest fan, well, he has me beat. This guy came aboard and weaseled his way onto the team. Exhibiting stalker tendencies, and even going so far as to almost kill Canary’s husband, I feel that he was forced onto the team to be a love interest for Canary who needed to work on herself before playing birds of feather with this wannabe Falcon.
Another issue I had was that the new creative teams took Black Canary’s mystery away from her, but had her stewing and sometimes (check out the fight between Canary and Amanda Waller) acting like a high schooler.
And before I start on the road to my conclusion, Starling was written out of the book to never make an appearance again. It was revealed that she was working for Amanda Waller. We didn’t even see her in the Suicide Squad.
One of the things that I enjoyed was that Gail Simone had Black Canary guest star in a couple issues of her Batgirl run. Simone presented the Canary and Batgirl friendship that I missed the most. They are friends (and I don’t care what universe we’re in). Contrary to the ending issue which had Canary and Condor fly away together and seemingly broke up the friendship between Canary and Batgirl. Bull Crap! I even liked how Gail finaled her Batgirl issues with a team up of Black Canary, Batgirl, and Huntress. That left a better taste on my reading palate then the Birds of Prey (who scattered to the four winds).
I’m not going to say that we didn’t have our fun times. There was the Gothtopia story line. We got a glimpse into what would happen if the Birds…I mean Wings of Justice, existed in a utopian world (issue 27).
And next month, we will see Black Canary five years later in which she runs the League of Assassins.
I will say that I’m really excited for this one. However, I would have loved to see Black Canary meet Lady Shiva in this universe. Maybe one day we will get a Birds of Prey relaunch with Simone at the helm once again. Until then, I would rather see Birds of Prey disbanded then go through the horrible, post-Swierczy, death.
I haven’t read ALL the issues, but in some ways I am more sad about the cancellation of Birds of Prey than I am even of leaving Batgirl.
Bop was an important book, it’s STILL an important book for comics, it’s been THE gateway title for female readers for much of its run. It is a showcase for characters that don’t get much respect elsewhere.
BOP being cancelled is a big, big deal, and a very sad one.
I hope someone great reboots it, and soon. I would love to see Marjorie Liu, Alex DiCampi, or Marguerite Bennett write it. Restore its importance.
The loss of Birds of Prey is a bigger deal than people realize, I think.
BoP was one of the few DCnU books I had any interest in. I wasn’t crazy about what wass effectively the use of the original Black Canary as part of the relaunch’s blithely exterminating the heroic legacy of anyone not a Wayne, but I loved Starling a ridiculous amount and I really liked the redesign of Ivy that (a) got her out of the leafy-swimuit pinup fashion disaster that’s been her non-Arkham look for far too long, and (b) seemed to cast her in the sort of anti-hero role typically reserved for Selina. Katana I was entirely neutral on, though her oddity eventually grew on me even if her costume never realy did.
But I dropped the book when Babsgirl became part of the roster because I fundamentally loathe everything Barbara’s return to the identity of Batgirl represents. Even Starling being revealed as queer couldn’t overcome the sense of betrayal I felt at DC trying to rub the erasure of Oracle and her daughters Cassandra & Misfit in my face. A feeling only compounded by the introduction of the not-Cass known as Strix.
And it irks me when DC put men on the team roster. They just don’t belong there. I mean, call it Grrl-Power or Girl’s Own, but as I see it the whole point behind the Birds in the first place was escaping Bruce’s shadow and building the sort of female relationships absent pretty much everywhere else in superhero comics.
But what really saddens me is that in the DCnU, the Birds will never be Oracle’s own fantastic powerful creation. Even when they inevitably come back to keep the trademark fresh, they’ll just be another superteam that may only have the most tenuous legacy of the original.
I love Wonder Woman for what she embodies/represents. She is my favorite DC female and superhero.
Wonder Woman for the latest Sketch Dailies challenge.
And here is the Amanda post:
How I feel about this character:
FuckYeahAmandaWaller.tumblr.com <— my first tumblr, offered as a hint on my position.
I have a fierce, unwavering loyalty for Amanda Waller (which ftr is not the same thing as believing she is usually correct).
This is what I tell people who disagree with me:
Amanda Waller is Reverse Batman, okay, stripped entirely of the rich dude noblesse oblige. She starts out stashed away out of mind in the Chicago Cabrini-Green projects. And there she loses half her family - two kids and her husband - and goes from “poor” to “homeless with young children”.
And she climbed out of *that* hole with her fingernails and teeth, and got her babies enough of a headstart to be adults on their own terms, and went like: No.
This shit is unacceptable. The world is going to be a better place, or else.
Ah, but the villains in this world are a banal, cowardly lot. She must be able to strike terror into their hearts. She must become a creature of the shadows, black, terrible…
The thing which has screwed over her and hers.
She must become.
This morning DC Comics unveiled a respin/refresh of the Batgirl book. Gail Simone who has been the main writer on the book for the past three years is leaving. Cameron Stewart, mainly known by DC readers as an artist, will co-write along with Brenden Fetcher who is also co-writing Gotham Academy. Art is by Babs Tarr bringing a new full-time female artist onto DC Comics just as Nicola Scott has announced she’s leaving the publisher.
Just last week I wrote about the announcement of Gotham Academy and wondered if it finally meant that DC is targeting female readers. This week we see this Batgirl respin that I have been told by sources close to the book is aiming for the female audience.
The “refreshed” Batgirl has a new costume, new town and will have a new supporting cast although some of her current cast including Alysia Yeoh will be seen. The costume is very cool if you haven’t seen it.
Given the house style that is preferred by senior management at DC Comics (i.e. Jim Lee and David Finch) it is a treat to see an artist as different as Babs Tarr on-board at DC Comics.
The book’s creators said in the official PR interview that the book mixes the best elements of “Veronica Mars” and “Girls,” with a dash of “Sherlock” thrown in for good measure.” And the tone?
"We really wanted to make this a book with a light tone, of fun and adventure and mystery, and let the rest of the Bat-family deal with the darkness. She’s got problems, and conflict, and enemies to fight, but our priority was to make this a really fun, rollicking read."
I haven’t read the current Batgirl run except for the previews and my feeling and of those that have read it, is that it was a fairly dark book that reflected Dan Didio’s statement about the Batfamily last year
"They put on a cape and cowl for a reason. They’re committed to defending others — at the sacrifice of all their own personal instincts. That’s something we reinforce. If you look at every one of the characters in the Batman family, their personal lives kind of suck…
Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon, and Kathy Kane — it’s wonderful that they try to establish personal lives, but it’s also just as important that they put it aside as they know what they are accomplishing as the hero takes precedence over everything else. That is our mandate, that is our edict, that is our stand with our characters.”
So now we have a book with a young Batgirl that has a lighter tone and is likened to Veronica Mars … just as we did three years ago with Bryan Q. Miller’s run on Batgirl.
I was a big fan of that Bat-book not just because of its writing but because of the opportunity I thought the book presented.
If DC comics is seriously interested in gaining new female readers, particularly younger ones, this book may not be the key but it is damn close. Gail Simone has often said that Birds to Prey is an on-ramp into comics for women. I took that on-ramp and agree. I think that this version of Batgirl* can do the same thing for a younger female audience.
That post outlined a series of ways Batgirl could be used to outreach to female readers and to my non-surprise absolutely nothing remotely like any of of those ways were pursued.
Now, I am happy to see DC Comics bring books like Batgirl and Gotham Academy that are targeted to female readers who are as I have repeatedly and repeatedly the fastest growing demographic in comics.
Given Marvel’s success with Ms. Marvel, I’m not surprised to see DC offer up a book with a similar feel. (But I do wish they could have realized they had it three years ago and without ditching Stephanie Brown as Batgirl and Barbara Gordon as Oracle).
I hope that both books are great and do great. If they are could lead to more books that aren’t grim and gritty and targeted to the “core” audience of males but rather hit that growing demographic.
What do you think of the respun Batgirl?
The height of comic book popularity coincided with World War II, an era that saw the creation of Superman, Captain America, Batman, Green Lantern and the Flash. In a world ravaged by war, these powerful men fought against the forces of evil. Lionizing the battle of good versus evil was not just for kids: Enlisted men requested comic books in great quantities. In fact, one-fourth of all the magazines military men received during the war were comics.
But what these men found in those comics often reflected their violent lives. Harvard psychologist William Moulton Marston, claimed that “comics’ worst offense was their blood-curdling masculinity.”
That’s when he struck upon the idea of creating a female superhero who used love as well as strength to conquer evil: Wonder Woman. She made her first appearance in 1941 in All Star Comics #8. Soon after, Wonder Woman won a fan poll as the best new comic book character. This popularity led to her own comic series.
Happy 4th of July America with Wonder Woman, a Feminist
Equality is a core, fundamental belief at the heart of the Declaration of Independence which was signed 228 years ago today. Yet equality seems to be a court ruling away for anyone who does not resemble those that signed out - white men.
This week saw the United States Supreme Court open the flood gates to vague religious “objections” trumping the rights of women who need perscribed drugs.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote that ”The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield” due to the Hobby Lobby ruling.
She’s right. And that minefield will be filled with bloodied dead rights of women. And now we have seen this ruling quickly being used to enable employers to deny gays employment.
Which is why I love this portrait of Wonder Woman flying over the United States Capital. I can imagine that she’s flying to have a word with the non-female court justices who voted for the small-minded hypocrites of the Hobby Lobby.
Of course, this won’t really happen.
Wonder Woman is, we know, a fictional creation. She and her likeness is owned by a large multinational corporation who can choose to do with her what they wish.
But you can’t have things both ways.
Wonder Woman is not just a “superhero” in the same way that Batman and Superman are. She is more than that and they know it. Her likeness is sold to hundreds of companies around the world to be emblazoned onto merchandise targeted and sold to women and girls bringing in invisible planes full of cash.
The reason they can do this and do do this is because Wonder Woman is viewed as a sign of female empowerment and equality.
She is a symbol that says women are equal to men.
She says that women can do what men can do.
She doesn’t Lean In, she breaks the door down and cracks the ceiling.
She is a feminist.
Denying this denies the DNA of the character.
Side-stepping this or attempting to not say “Feminist” communicates a lack of understanding of the character and suggest some concerning issues around a view of women.
This is not about one writer not saying one thing.
This is a larger issue of seeing the connection of feminism with Wonder Woman as a problem.
By not using and avoiding the word it supports the demonization of the word. It helps give life to the concept of things like “Femi-Nazi”
And people who own the character and reap the rewards of marketing that character as an embodiment of female power and equality of should realize the hypocrisy of this.
I don’t want to hear about a Wonder Woman is strong and beautiful and wise and loving and fierce without hearing the word feminist too.
I’ve heard and read some horrible things about women and the concept of feminism over the last few days both on my blog and on other sites. Not only about Wonder Woman issue but the Supreme Court’s ruling as well.
What better way to communicate the positive aspects of feminism than to reinforce that the pop culture symbol of female empowerment is a feminist by having the executives of the company who own her simply state it.
I’ll be here waiting.
Portrait of Wonder Woman by Steve Rude