Much belated, but here’s yet another Cass commission at ECCC 2014 from Marcus To, this time in her Batgirl outfit!
Anon, this is like the most interesting Cass headcanon thrown my way in a long time! Because I adore Billy, I really do, and I guess that Cassandra Cain character’s alright or something. I’ve read a few things with her in them, so I’ll try to give her a whirl ( ;P )
Also, just congrats on breaking my heart. Like seriously. So hurt right now I think I might have to write a fic on this after I … go through the like 30 other prompts I keep promising to do (sorry, guys!)
I also think if Cass had met and interacted with Mary Marvel they would have hit it off. Both are teenage girls of immense power (Cass’s abilities are like a superpower), but who also idealistic and innocent and…they were also butchered by DC Editorial during the same period.
seriously i don’t understand how Cass isn’t being pursued as marketable. She’s “dark” enough for DC’s sensibilities. The “lady raised as a killing machine but now isn’t” thing is something dudes tend to be all over. I can count twenty recent shows on my hand. But she’s a good enough character she…
She’s a Eurasian ninja girl in a badass costume who is also the adopted daughter of Batman, she is the greatest martial artist (or one of them) in the world, she can read body language, she doesn’t need to speak a lot (which would be great in a movie with an inexperienced actress or a video game), she can take bullets and keep on coming, she’s dyslexic and can’t read and yet she’s also sweet, kind and a fish out of water in the sense of social cues.
Cass is so marketable in terms of TV/movies/video games to all sorts of demographics compared to almost all the other Bat-characters its ridiculous.
Only DC (i.e. Didio/Lee) and WB (who I don’t think know she exists as Didio keeps shelling Babsgirl as the “one true iconic Batgirl”) don’t realize this.
Now I can actually lose. Theoretically.
Batman: Gotham Knights (2000-2006) #2
"This new "Batgirl" has genuine respect for life and genuine COMPASSION. She has master-level MARTIAL ARTS skills and remarkable COURAGE. but she also has MEMORIES. Her ability to INFLICT HARM is NOT theoretical. Nor is the EVIL of which she is inherently CAPABLE.”
Yes. Yes. Emphasis on "compassion" but, again, yes.
It’s just… so wildly important that Bruce can already see all of these things in Cass. It’s that bond between them that’s so vital and important to the way their relationship will play out, but it also adds to the curiosity that is Bruce’s acceptance of Cass’ past, or lack thereof.
Bruce does lots of mental flip flops — constant and all the time — to make him the character he is, but the ones he does with Cass are always of interest to me (shocking I know). He accepts so much of her, feels relation to so much of her, and just in general knows she is pained by her past, but he absolutely MUST avoid knowing that Cass has killed. It would fundamentally undermine his understanding of himself and why he hasn’t, say, taken out the Joker despite being fully capable of it and still being defined — by his own stringent definition — a good person and hero.
Batman: Gotham Knights (2000-2006) #2
"…it’s something she REMEMBERS. And the need to swim THROUGH that again, to TRANSFORM that again, to TRANSFORM what she BELIEVES it MEANS about her — THAT is her ALBATROSS."
This memory kills me every time — just the horror on her face as such a little child. guhhhhhhhh
Mm. So I was harsher toward the end of this run than I think I have been on anything since I Rambled on Batman Incorporated #8, which is certainly not what I set out to do with my retrospective on the series when I started.
But I don’t take back any of my criticism, because at the end of the day I’ve shaped this blog up to be a celebration of the things I love about comics, about these characters, and about these stories. And to celebrate everything I love about Cass and her accomplished narrative, I feel somewhat responsible for discrediting all that hurt those two things.
It’s just unfortunate our slippery slope began with her series and this run with Andersen Gabrych that honestly opened with far more promise than the Horrocks run did.
And, despite it all, how do I still say rather comfortably that I would place this final tier of the series (arbitrarily) above Horrocks’ time on the title?
Well, it comes down to the writing.
An excellent series and a great primer to those who don’t know Cassandra Cain and why so many fans of the character are pissed. I don’t disagree with any of your criticisms of Gabrych, I just think it was clear he loved the character, it was clear there was a definite shift towards the end of the title to bring Cass down and that is not something I expect from someone who so clearly loved and understood the character. There can be only one explanation (a glaring and obvious one given what was done to Cass by DC the minute her series ended). I just wish Gabrych had been able to keep developing Cass in Bludhaven with her own supporting cast like Brenda and Onyx and had the same editorial support that Puckett and Scott had when Cass’s title started. I really would have loved to see what could have been - instead of what we got.
You can change. You can.
EDIT: Ahhh that was much longer than I thought it was? lemme readmore that — AND THANK YOU I meant to thank you for the flattering words before I went on my tangent. Thank you, that’s so nice to hear!
This is… a hard question to address, honestly.
I’ve asked professionals in the industry before to explain to me the thought process behind canceling Cass’ series if it was actually selling well and more consistently than several other titles at the same time which were not cancelled. I have also asked why it was decided that, after her series completed, that the direction to take her character was to make her a very shallow villain in spite of everything her character was famous for.
Let me just tell you, there is nothing more frustrating than trying to get a straight answer from professionals on this subject. You will not get one.
I’ve seen fan speculation from “Barbara was set up to become Batgirl again” (haha oh the irony) to “intentional character derailment to give Tim a Talia-esque villain” (which is insulting to Talia’s character btw because holy crap evil!Cass is the most atrociously flat villain in the DCU — and that’s counting the likes of Dr. Light). And I’ve seen professionals get upset with all of this speculation being so “mean spirited toward the industry.”
I think the reason you won’t get a straight answer about Cass is that no one in the industry (who wants to keep working) will say the obvious - Didio doesn’t like the character and wanted her gone. Period. Exclamation point. This is quite clear and obvious whenever his name is brought up to him. Sometimes the simplest answers are the correct.
Batgirl (2000-2006) #73
"Once upon a time… there was a girl. Born to be something unlike the world had ever seen. A dancing hunter. But she didn’t want that. And so, she ran away. Hungry and desperate, she found salvation in the dark flap of wings. She thought she was a bat. But she came to find she wasn’t that either. She was only a runaway girl… named Cain."
She thought she was a bat. But she came to find she wasn’t that either.
I won’t lie. This ending gets worse every time I read it.
To come back around to what I was saying in the first post for this issue, it’s always unfortunate when a series, for whatever reason, is being cut short. It just is a sad set of circumstances, especially in long-form comics like superheroes where, for the most part, they are written with the mindset that this character and their stories must continue forever with no ending.
But when a series does end, and that is such a possibility in the market today that it should at least be in the back of every writer’s mind as they construct their narratives, it has the responsibility of being the last glimpse of our character and their story for the knowable future.
Unless fans really enjoy a particular series or are neurotic to the point I am and go back and reread things ad nauseam, this will be the last impression someone will have of a character and the series as a whole. This will be their final address of the series.
Ideally, you would want the ending of a story to reinforce the beliefs and themes of the character while closing up any remaining threads. You can end it by promising future adventures in the same vain of this one are always a possibility for the readers to dream up on their own. You can make the promise that, even if it’s not with this character, their legacy and beliefs will live on. You can even give a cathartic ending where the final stand for what the book believed in takes everything and more from the character, leading to a sad but inspiring death for what they believed in.
But this? This? This kills everything I love about Cassandra Cain and Batgirl as a series.
And that’s just a cruel image to end the relationship of Cass and Shiva on, too. Just. Agh. I hate everything about this. More and more every time.
Cassandra Cain is Batgirl. No one understands what that even means more than her, and it’s insulting to the series to end on a note so cruel and demeaning of that belief. I wish it had ended almost any way but this.
The only way it makes sense for me is that Anderson Gabrych (who obviously loved the character) was told by Editorial to put Cass in the worst place possible and to have her stop being Batgirl (remember the series was canceled to make for a Batwoman one that NEVER happened and DC didn’t think there should be two Bat-females at the same time so they obviously planning already to make her a villian when this was ending) and Gabrych was trying to do that with at least as much lee-way as possible to keep Cass as a hero.
Or else it just sucks.
I desperately want to believe that Gabrych had as little to do with these decisions as possible, but it’s just… such a mean spirited way to end the series one way or another, y’know? Like, even if he was told exactly that he had to have Cass quit being Batgirl, it just feels like this was the absolute worst way for it to have happened.
I also find it ironic that Cass, a Eurasian woman with a very distinct costume design unlike any of the other Batgirls before or since, was supposedly going to confuse fans too much if she was working in tandem with Kate Kane who was an adult, red-haired, white female hero with a more traditional, free-haired costume. Yet in the New52 we have two and only two (currently) female characters with the bat symbol and they’re considered to be individual and unique from each other with no way they could be confused by the fans — and they’re both white, red-haired females that are nearly the exact same body type and the biggest different in their costumes is color scheme.
Yeah, I don’t… I don’t know. I genuinely like Gabrych’s writing most of the time. I like the first arcs of his run a lot and he wrote an amazing Cass in his time on Detective, but it’s hard for me to see this ending and see anyway that Cass’ character was supposed to be salvageable?
A lot of that is just knowing what was to come, I guess. I don’t know. I’m not big on reading up interviews and things most of the time to get a feel for the environment behind the books. So I have no idea what he’s said, if anything, about his time with the title. I tend to judge stuff based on the outcome. So it’s hard for me to make sense of this with someone I had seen get Cass before. It leaves me just kind of disheartened. :(
I don’t think Gabrych has ever commented like Horrocks has on his “issues” writing Cass. He pretty much dropped off the face of the comics writing world. I just remember that when he WAS writing Cass he used to frequent the DC Message Boards and his love of the character shown through and he was very excited about writing her and liked fan feedback.
As for the way Cass was treated to the way Barbara was treated, yeah it was garbage. Fun facts: Kate Kane is a white redhead because the initial design for a Batwoman character (with a suit and in-costume hairstyle that looks very much like the one Kate rocked when she debuted) was designed for Alex Ross FOR Barbara when DC toyed with the idea of making her Batwoman (this was during the Kingdom Come-era I think). So when they came up with Kate Kane they kept the look, red hair and all (and let the writers create the backstory).
Also when DC made Stephanie Batgirl, sidestepping the only WOC in the inner ranks of the Bat-family and a character (Cass) who was created purposely to diversify the Bat-titles, it led to a situation where for several years Batgirl, Wonder Girl, and Supergirl were ALL blue-eyed blond white teenagers. It was like an Aryan wet dream or something. Which means that they actually made the three most well known DC heroines (after WW) LESS DIVERSE in terms of race and looks than they were even in the 60s-70s (when you had a redheaded Batgirl, blonde Supergirl and brunette Wonder Girl). DC Editorial of course never seemed to realize this even though the unfortunate racial implications were clear to the readership.