Scattered stuff from a native New Yorker, disorganized former English Major, film buff, haiku enthusiast, semi-professional photographer and totally amateur fencer.

• Answer Post

Out of curiosity what was problematic about Bryan Q. MIller's Batgirl run. I heard good things awhile back and was considering checking it out.
... and I answered


It was pretty much 99% the treatment of Cass. She basically handed Steph her costume with some bullshit reasoning that without Bruce she has nothing to fight for (contradicting characterization previously established in her series, where she explicitly told Bruce she did not fight for him) and exited stage left. Other than an extremely brief flashback where Cass had told Steph not to follow her, Steph never mentioned her again, and neither did Babs. This was Steph’s best friend who had a huge impact on her life and Babs basically adopted daughter, not to mention an important part of the Batgirl legacy, so it’s pretty egregrious. She was even left out of Steph’s cartoon history of the bat family. Cass was pretty much blacklisted at DC at the time, but that doesn’t really excuse her not even being mentioned- especially since near the end of the series she was no longer blacklisted.

The reason Cass left was later retconned with it being that Bruce told Cass to give Steph the costume, which is almost worse, because that’s not Bruce’s decision to make. He should NOT be controlling the Batgirl legacy behind the scenes. It’s not his legacy and it’s never been his decision who gets the cowl- nor should Cass be made to follow his orders about something so dear to her. It pretty much undermines everything Batgirl’s about. Miller told me Cass wouldn’t have given up the legacy if she hadn’t wanted it too, but that didn’t do much to make me feel better, especially since it was never addressed in the text. I’m am just so tired of Bruce secretly being the God Behind Everything instead of being making decisions for themselves.

Obviously there’s also some unfortunate implications with the half-Asian Batgirl being replaced by a white girl and instantly forgotten too.

There’s some other minor issues- Stephanie talked very disparagingly about her days as Spoiler, basically sometimes boiling her motivation down to “chasing a boy”, which was never why she was Spoiler- she was 100 percent in it to stop her dad at first, and just grew to love it. She even quit for a time and decided to get back into it again during the Quake WHEN SHE SAW PEOPLE IN DANGER. It was never about Tim.

Now, I actually think it’s super in character for Steph to be very disparaging about herself. She doesn’t have great self-esteem or understanding about herself, that’s part of her character. But it wasn’t really ever confronted, though it could have been in the works before the series got canceled.

There’s also the issue that her “hopeful” side was overfocused on a bit. She’s always been an extremely angry person and could even be very cynical, but we didn’t see a lot of that in Batgirl. This didn’t bother me as much as it did others, because as shitty as War Games was, it was still acknowledged as having happened, and in it Stephanie sort of gave up her desire to kill bc idk Batman said so. (and that decision immediately got her killed! The moral is always kill people I guess). Was it good writing? No. But it happened. And I could see her deciding to become a more hopeful person in the wake of what she’d been through. So it didn’t bother me as much, though yeah, I agree I do see her as someone built on bloody determination rather than an inherently hopeful person.

If you don’t have the huge attachment to Cass (which what is wrong with you if you don’t though :P) or baggage w/ the rest of it though, it’s a good read and a very fun series that finally lets Steph shine and be impressive.Her relationship with Babs is pretty great, there’s a lot of disabled characters, and it’s a nice change from the ridiculous grimdark comics that surrounded it- it’s all about hope and reinventing yourself and fun. It was also basically the only period of Steph’s tenure in comics where she wasn’t constantly treated like complete shit by both the other characters and the editorial/writers. That was obviously extremely nice as a Steph fan and something I was over the moon about at the time, even while being down in the dumps because of Cass. It was a very weird time, like being ripped in half between your two best loves. WHY DC. WHY CAN’T I EVER HAVE BOTH.

Also I like that it happened because Fabian Nicieza once told me Steph couldn’t support her own solo series and I was like “HOW DARE YOU YES SHE COULD” and I love being right. 

Agree with all of this - especially of the retcon of the original stupid reason they had Cass give up the Batgirl legacy - because Bruce ordered her (in case something happened to him what?) to help Stephanie. Because Bruce (who in canon we’d all like to forget) left Gotham to a “reformed Two-Face”, took a trip around the world with Dick and Tim and left Cass alone to be drugged by Deathstroke and then take over the League of Assassins.  Yes, to make the Cass Zero Appearance work they had to mess up Bruce Wayne too.

And as a reminder - when this issue happened - Miller’s “Return of Bruce Wayne: Batgirl” one shot - all happened it was an off-hand line by Bruce to Alfred about why Stephanie was Batgirl (so it wasn’t even about Cass). Cass never appeared in it (although she had appeared in Red Robin by that time so the Editorial thing we give Miller a pass for was lifted) and she never explained HERSELF. Also - from the time Bruce returned from the dead to the reboot (which was over a year) he never interacted with Cass once, they never shared a panel, we have no reaction of her to his death OR his resurrection or Bruce’s reaction to her going AWOL again (or what exactly it was he told her to do - like Cass is some kind of slave or something). Miller definitely could have ended that issue with Bruce coming back from seeing Steph as Batgirl to him talking to CASSANDRA instead of Alfred and it would have made the entire Batgirl series come full circle. But it was clear after issue 2 that Miller really just wanted us to forget there ever was a Batgirl between Babs and Stephanie as if it was Babs herself who gave Steph permission instead of you know who. And that can’t all have been Editorial.

And yes, if you don’t feel a twinge at the only Asian superheroine (and only MAJOR woman of color in the Bat-Family) in the Bat-comics getting replaced by a blue-eyed blonde white girl - when at the same time Supergirl and WonderGirl were ALSO blue -eyed blond white girls then you’re missing some “unfortunate implications” (to quote TV Tropes) about diversity in comics and where DC Editorial’s priorities are.

• Photoset Post


Cassandra Cain Has Emotions: Anger ( 3/? )

Wow. So. For reasons I’m sure would be interesting to metatextualize at some point, anger is the one emotion most consistently found in art featuring Cass. This… weirds me out. Because I’ve never read Cass as a particularly angry character? Just passionate and angry as a result of situations which require it.

I should add that I’m trying very hard to pick images from stories where Cass is behaving in character and is, in story, responding with that emotion, rather than just looking angry as a default. Which is unfortunately the conclusion I was coming to for why there are so many canonical images outside of her series where Cass looked so angry.

I also am trying, throughout this series, to pick as many different artists and styles as I can, and use just as many pictures of Cass in costume as out.

And as a side note that I find hilarious: you would be shocked at how consistently angry Cass is in stories where she’s teamed up with Tim for any various reasons. Not always at him. But a lot. It’s like… Tim, what did you do?

• Photo Post



By Chris Sims

Q: Cassandra Cain: WTF happened?@IamMedellin

A: Here’s the least shocking thing you’re going to read this week: I love Cassandra Cain. That probably goes without saying, given that she’s a relatively obscure member of the Batman family that made her debut when I was a teenager, but really, it goes deeper than that. She came out of the gate with a compelling edge, some phenomenally solid storytelling, and a hook for drama that put her in contrast to the rest of Gotham’s assorted heroes and hangers-on, while still feeling like a natural compliment to the other characters. And then, less than a decade later, she’d gone from being a new character with an incredible amount of potential to an also-ran who only really shows up to fill space in crossovers — something that almost never happens to characters in the Batman family, especially when they’ve got 70+ solo issues under their utility belts.

So what happened? Man, I can’t even tell you, I just read the darn things. But folks, it got really weird there at the end.


This is so spot on. DC has never even given an explanation of why they did this!

• Photoset Post


Favorites from Batgirl v1-13 2001-04 digital

Never Bring A Gun To A Cass Fight 1, 2, 3
My Friends? My Friends… Will Find You. 1, 2, 3
My Name Is Batgirl

This is a great, detailed depiction of Cassandra seeing 4 gunman about to shot and her judging their exact firing trajectories by their clothes, facial expressions, body stances, breathing and body micro-movements. This is as close as we get to a superpower for a normal Gotham human.

Also, love, love, love the John Woo style, sideways gun stance Cass uses! And the dialog with the evil, black-ops agent is priceless! He tries to psych out Cass and she just laughs at him and throws it back in his face.

Agent: There’s no place for you to run. We’ll have your address, phone number… dental records and favorite ice cream by the end of the day.
Cass: Chocolate.
Agent: This isn’t a joke. We can destroy you.
We can take your whole life.. your family, friends… and turn them against you.
Cass [smiling hard]: My friends?
My friends…
…Will find you.

This sequence alone should make the uninitiated love her. There may be (possibly one or two) members of the extended Bat-Family who could dodge bullets and talk back to government agents but none with such gusto and optimism in her own abilities and that there are people who care for her and will look out for her (this was a topic DC dropped altogether during the EvilCass! era and even when they made the change over to Stephanie - the idea that no one cared about Cass enough to find out what she was up to).

• Photoset Post






Cassandra Cain Has Emotions: Happy ( 1/? )

So …

Oh…jeez. Though he didn’t exactly say that, he might as well had

BRYAN Q. MILLER: It all starts with Batgirl’s face – and that simply comes down to the costume. Cassandra kept it all covered up. What worked in Cassandra’s favor is that made her almost spectral, shadowy. Dangerous. But it also detracted from her humanity a little bit. Thanks to Lee Garbett and the host of art folk we’ve had giving him an assist here and there, Batgirl’s hopefully a little more street level, a little more human, and a little more relatable. Is she a bad-ass like Cassandra is? Not at that level, no. But that isn’t what the character of Stephanie Brown is about – she’s about hope in the face of self-inflicted and external adversity.

(because Cass’ story wasn’t about those things at all! psh. right. someone didn’t read Cass-Bat at all, I feel.) 

I…made the mistake of reading Steph-Bat first, then Cass-Bat (at the time I was just coming out of my weeaboo stage in life, but that’s no excuse) While I knew there were issues with Steph-Bat when it came to Cass, I guess I didn’t understand how deep those issues went. As it’s been a while since I’ve read Steph-Bat, imma have to retract any prior statements of support towards that era until I read both of them in full. Because this kind of statement does impact that decision. Like, by quite a bit.

And while he does have an explanation as to why Cass wasn’t mentioned in Steph’s ‘breakdown’ of the Bat-fam,

Cassandra and the Bat-history from #15? The reason she didn’t make the white-board history lesson for Wendy was simply that I didn’t feel it appropriate to poke fun at her. Steph has a smirky little good natured time editorializing the Bat family tree. To suddenly have a serious/tribute panel in the mix would have gotten in the way of the tone of the opening. Now, that’s from the writing standpoint. From a character standpoint, Steph drew for Wendy what she deemed to be the pertinent players on the Gotham board and their connections/histories, given her role as Proxy. You’ll note, she also didn’t mention her own role as Spoiler (though she just couldn’t RESIST drawing that adorable little Spoiler with the broken hearts over in the Tim/Robin section).

I wish that she ‘couldn’t resist’ drawing Cass somewhere in there, if it was just some silly thing. Now that I think of it, was Cass even referred to in Steph-Bat time, other than giving her the cowl? He may have not been allowed to but -sigh-


Well, I appreciate the context.

I’ve read the letter before in regards to the “Bat Family history” and it’s actually my main reason for being unable to complete Steph’s series in the past. It’s… super upsetting to me and is the reason I don’t tend to cut Miller the slack a lot of others do in regards to his cancellation of Cass’ time as Batgirl. He certainly isn’t saying anything about editorial keeping him from using her in that explanation, which is a great “go-to” explanation that probably no one would have questioned.

It’s… honestly why I don’t believe any writer at DC has tried all that hard to bring Cass back — either in the reboot or before it — because everyone says non specifically that they “had plans for Cass” or they “love Cass” and “want her back” but then the second they can get off the Cass subject you don’t hear about them not using her in these situations for that same reason.

I’m frustrated. This is frustrating. It’s part of why I wanted to start making these posts. Hell, making my Cass posts in general.

But let me be clear, guys: being introduced to Steph’s series first or liking it/her/Miller better isn’t a big deal.

Cass was my Batgirl. She’s the Batgirl I started out with when I was knee-high to a grasshopper. Even if I didn’t adore her for the multitude of reasons that I frequently post about and talk about on here, I would have affection for her for that. Even if her series was crap (which it isn’t — it’s so amazing), I would defend how powerful it was to grow up with a Batgirl in my life. (see: my undying love and loyalty toward Spider-Girl)

I fully support Stephanie being Batgirl, being the one Cass chose to succeed her in the mantle. In Steph “growing up” through that series.

I’m just tired of her being swept under the rug to do so. Of her being forgotten to somehow empower Steph and Steph’s claim more. Or. Well. Barbara’s claim, but that’s an even huger issue I won’t go into right now. Point is, they — or specifically Miller in this incident — have done absolutely everything in their power to strip Cass of everything she had left. Which — by DC Editorial’s own calculated decisions — by that point was not much. But mostly they took from Cass her voice.

Miller robbed Cass of the decision to give the mantle to Steph. He robbed her of the opportunity to support her best friend. He robbed Cass of her mentor, her family, and her legacy and, to me, that weakens Steph’s time as Batgirl because it robbed her of her bond with her best friend through all of that. It robbed Steph of the chance to react to this moment.

And it robbed me of the chance to enjoy another Batgirl.

I’m not saying it’s all Miller’s fault. I’m not saying he’s a bad guy — he’s a great guy from everything I’ve seen — but I’m not about to sing his praises or not point out that this stuff goes against everything I believe in when it comes to comics and fiction and what really empowering female characters should be about.

To quote my favorite lady friends in fiction, Daria and Jane, “Do it for friendship.”

I sometimes feel very guilty for not liking the Steph! Batgirl series more. I really like Steph as a character (and have since she was Spoiler) and there were several issues that were too humorous and light-hearted (in a dark gritty editorial era and company) to not like. 

BUT…the series treated Cass as a non-person. From the moment (in one page) they wrote her out to Stephanie and Barbara’s seeming not caring where she was or even saying her name (the only person who brought up Cass’s name in the entire later half of the series run was DAMIEN - who never met her). This is partly on Editorial, I understand but issues like Steph becoming BFFs with Supergirl (you know the Kryptonian who almost KILLED Cass in her own series) without the previous Batgirl ever being mentioned or Cass never being even name-dropped in the actual Batgirl series while Fabien Niceza was doing it in Red Robin (a book Cass had no connection to) from his very first issues is a glaring elephant in the room. Reading the Steph! Batgirl series it was like they didn’t want the readers to know (after the first issue) there ever WAS a Batgirl between Barbara’s time and Steph taking the mantle. And that was done on purpose.

• Photoset Post




Cassandra Cain Has Emotions: Happy ( 1/? )

So I decided to start a little project of sorts — do something productive and maybe educational for the fandom sphere rather than just whining uselessly on my blog.

You know what one of my biggest pet peeves in fandom and in later canon is? This idea that Cassandra doesn’t have emotions. Some blank ninja-assassin that has the emotional range of turnip.

Cass is perhaps one of the most expressive, loving, and explosive personalities in the Bat Family.

So I’m just going to go through the whole gambit of emotions and give you canon panels of Cass proving that — gasp — she has always been a completely round and fully emotional character.

One of the things Bryan Q. Miller said when the Steph Batgirl series began that really bugged was that Cass was unexpressive and the mask never allowed her to show emotions and readers couldn’t relate to that (though last time I checked Cass still has the DC record for longest-running Batgirl series). Which means he was either blowing smoke to promote HIS Batgirl or like a certain writer who shall go nameless never actually read the Cass Batgirl comic.


Was that a thing that was actually said?

Because… as petty as it may sound, that’d be the tipping point for me to stop forcing myself to read that series. I would honestly drop where I am right now and never look back with a hinge of remorse. Because I have no patience for that. None.

I am tired of Cass being thrown under the bus for others. And I have no tolerance for “promoting” someone by falsely slandering another.

I’ve called it out before when its been used for my favorite characters. And I absolutely will not stand for it to be said with callous disregard of the facts for characters that matter so much to me.

I’ve never heard Miller diss Cass herself as a character but the full-face mask she wore (and the lack of emotions/reader identification with it): yeah. I forget the exact quote but its probably online still and was back when the Steph Batgirl series was launched. It is probably is part of a DC mindset. Look at how Morrison/Burnham when they refashioned her as Black Bat made a point of giving her the original Batman domino mask (which is almost the same as the mask he had Dr. Hurt wearing!) so more of her face could be shown. And she would pretty much be like all the ret of the Bat-Crew.

It still rankles though. Anyone who’s read (or heck even scans seen scans of pages) from Cass’s Batgirl series knows that many artists (particularly Damion Scott and James Jean in his covers) managed to make Cass’s facial emotions VERY clear through the full black face-mask.

• Photoset Post


Favorites from Batgirl v1 #6 2000-09 digital

Batgirl Stopping A Thug’s Heart 1, 2
Batman to Batgirl: “Don’t Teach Him Any Lessons”
Bullets Can’t Stop Cass 1, 2, 3
Cassandra Cain: “Instinct…”

Batgirl #6 is fantastic for showing Cassandra’s intensity for no one dying, even thugs and mercenaries who will recklessly kill their own.

When she’s punishing a thug by temporarily stopping his heart, Batman tries to intervene but Batgirl throws up her palm at him as if she’s yelling “wait!” And then she restarts the thugs heart to end the lesson.

And with the mercenaries, she runs at a gunner who was carelessly shooting at her when his partner was behind her in the line of fire. Cass purposely takes 4 shots to save the other merc and then disarms the gunner before passing out.

And why? She says “Instinct…” as Batman beams in approval. Perfect Cass Cain!

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