What do you think about the unused "Trinity" of pre-Crisis Earth-2 and New 52 Earth-2: Huntress/Power Girl/Fury? And also about the underused "Trinity of Wonders" of New 52 Earth-2: Green Lantern/Flash/Hawkgirl?
Anonymous

I loved the pre-Crisis second generation Trinity of Huntress/Power Girl/Fury, which is something I wish would’ve been preserved in the New 52.

As for the New 52 Green Lantern, Flash, and Hawkgirl, I still feel they should’ve been the core members of the Justice Society, in addition to Huntress, Power Girl, Fury, Dr. Fate, and the Atom. I also feel that Aquawoman could’ve also been a member, along with many other JSAers that are currently missing in action in the New 52.

Wait! You mean to tell me that, in addition to Huntress, Earth 2 already HAD a new Batman who was black? Fuck, why the hell did DC go with Thomas Wayne then? UGH! It sounds like Earth 2 already had a great roster of characters to work with. Why couldn't they use already existing characters in addition to the new ones they created in the New 52 like Aquawoman?
Anonymous

Honey, you are singing to the choir. No one’s been more vocal about how stupid and unnecessary Thomas Wayne’s Batman was to Earth-2 continuity than me, especially given what Earth-2 already had to offer. :P

That being said, yes, the original Earth-2 did have a new Bat character of sorts in the form of Blackwing. Were there further plans to develop him as a character and as a hero? I don’t know. Crisis on Infinite Earths happened before anything more could be done with the character, sadly. :( 

Do you think Val-Zod would've worked on the pre-Crisis Earth-Two? What identity do you think he would've used pre-Crisis?
Anonymous

I do think Val-Zod would’ve easily worked on the pre-Crisis Earth-2.

Actually, if he had been introduced within the context of this version of Earth-2, it would’ve been far less problematic than the way he was introduced in the New 52, which came at the complete expense of Power Girl as the legitimate successor of Superman.

On the original Earth-2, Kal retired his seat in the Justice Society to Kara, and it was Kara who made the decision to exist as her own independent hero, which is why she chose the name ‘Power Girl.’ She also chose how she was going to protect her new world, and made her own rules.

If Val had been introduced under these circumstances, he would not have been usurping Power Girl’s place on Earth-2, because Power Girl herself had already chosen her place.

Additionally, because the original Earth-2 was about legacy, if he had followed the pattern of all of the second generation superheroes, it’s very likely he too would have chosen his own purpose as a superhero, and his own identity. That’s exactly what all the children of the JSA members did, and even other characters who were not related to the Justice Society.

An excellent case in point was Charlie Bullock, who was Helena Wayne’s associate at her law firm and also a man of colour. Helena was already operating as the Huntress in Gotham when he decided to become Blackwing, citing Batman as his inspiration. He modelled his costume after Batman’s but chose a unique name for himself, just like the Huntress did. 

He actually debuted in a Huntress solo story.

What are your thoughts on Robin's death in A Death in the Family? Do you think it damaged the Batman franchise?
Anonymous

I think Frank Miller damaged what Batman means to people before that story was even written.

If anything, I think Death in the Family is one example of how Frank Miller’s idea of ‘A Broken Bat’ influenced the tone of future Batman narratives, and even the flawed mentality of future writers of Batman.

As you can imagine, I do not like this story for fact that it relies on the brutalising death of a child as a plot device to give Bruce manpain. But this isn’t the only Bat story that has accomplished this. Tonnes more followed like the paralysing of Barbara Gordon The Killing Joke (though this one came before Death in the Family), the torture and temporary killing of Stephanie Brown in War Games, the brutalisation of Selina Kyle in Heart of Hush, the killing of Damian Wayne in Batman Inc, etc. 

A Dating Question

gailsimone:

If you could go on ONE perfect date with a DC character, whom would you pick?

And then same question, with a Marvel character?

Not based on their powers, just who you find most attractive or appealing?

DC Comics: Huntress (Helena Wayne) 

Marvel: Black Widow (Natasha Romanova)

None of these awesome ladies have powers. Just a wide array of skills, cool gadgets, high intelligence, and they fight for the things that are most important to them. Most of it has to do with a love for human life and having a low tolerance threshold for people who abuse their power and hurt others.

Regarding your well-reasoned answer about "World's Finest": I sometimes wonder if DC is ashamed/embarrassed with some of its characters, consequently they release books with them to keep fans, but they don't put a lot in it. By contrast, all the marketing around "Gotham Academy" lately seems to be almost excessive! Idk. As for Levitz, he made the same thing with the recent "Legion of Super-Heroes", a series he wrote very well thirty years ago! New generation? New editorial policy? Who knows!
Anonymous

I honestly think a lot of the problems at DC Comics today boil down to bad leadership at the top level more than anything else, including how any of DC’s executives personally feel about some of their characters. Since becoming DC Entertainment, DC Comics has become a corporation first and a comic book publisher second, a topic more-like-a-justice-league discussed in a well written post here.

With DC becoming a corporation under Time Warner, the business model has changed in such a way that prioritises increasing revenue however which way they can, which has led to a lot of short term strategising. Over the last three years, it’s become increasingly transparent that Batman has become DC’s financial safety net as evidenced by the number of books Batman has in proportion to other characters, the number of narratives that feature Batman at the front and centre, and the amount of marketing Batman gets at the expense of other characters. I equally suspect the ‘only Batman sells’ mentality influenced the decision to bring in Thomas Wayne as ‘the new Earth-2 Batman’ despite this world’s Bruce Wayne already having a successor in the form of his daughter, Helena Wayne, the Huntress.  

The point is DC has consistently demonstrated that they don’t believe their own franchise and characters can sell on their own, which leads to the other problem I’ve been noticing: there is a complete disconnect between the needs of DC executives and those of DC fans. To start with, the current leadership does not understand the value of the characters they own, their respective histories, and what all of these things mean to not just comic book fans, but to people in general.

These characters are iconic for a reason, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that they were created to represent the best of humanity. These characters have endured the test of time because they mean something to people. They give people hope of a better life and future, and these characters even help people cope with their lives when times are dark. To the current DC leadership, these characters are nothing more than fictional characters that exist for profit. But to the general public, these characters feel like old friends to us. That is why when DC guts the very things we love about these characters, we can’t help but to feel hurt in return. We tend to feel like our old friends were taken from us.

With that in mind, the other problem I’ve been noticing as well as that the current leadership does not take criticism very well, and continue to repeat the same problems they’ve been called out on over, and over, and over, and a trillion times over again. As such, it’s been anything but surprising that outside of Justice League and Batman (DC’s default top sellers), the rest of their books have slumped in sales. It’s pretty much acknowledged at this point that the current leadership does NOT know how to expand their readership. They do not know how to strategise for longterm success, and they especially do not know how to market their properties to a wider demographic. It especially doesn’t help in their case that they’ve largely catered to a singular demographic (in this case, the adult, white, heterosexual cismale) and never listen to their more diverse fans (who are also their customers) when problems get addressed. As such, steps are never taken to effectively improve the quality of their product, and diverse fans are often left feeling devalued.

I know this turned out far longer than you probably anticipated, but I am very much convinced at this point that, after three years, all of the problems go back to bad leadership. I think once you change the leadership and hire people who care about these characters and their fans, are more innovative in their business strategy, possess better marketing and PR skills, I think you will notice a huge difference in both the business model and the quality of the books. By extension, even the films, television programmes, and video games. All of these things connect. 

What do you think the best and most disappointing parts of Worlds' Finest have been so far?
Anonymous

The good thing about Worlds’ Finest is that it was a book about two adult women who are the successors of the Batman and Superman of their respective world, and that premise alone had strong potential to draw in a large female readership and be successful.

The fact that the Huntress is the daughter of one of DC’s iconic couples would’ve easily made her a fan-favourite amongst Batman and Catwoman fans, and Power Girl’s family on Earth-2 is a married Superman and Lois Lane. Like Huntress, she too would’ve easily drawn in the Lois and Clark fanbase, which is as large as the BatCat fanbase. These fans alone would’ve been drawn to seeing these families explored and would’ve wanted to see how these relationships factor into the development of these two women. The fact that the book was also centred on the close friendship between these two women was another major selling point of the book, and a major positive development it had going for it.

What went wrong with the book unfortunately boils down to poor marketing, a bad editorial and creative direction, and bad, lazy writing. All of that has been the fault of both editorial and the writer.

By marketing Helena Wayne as being the true identity of the Helena Bertinelli Huntress coupled with Paul Levitz’ decision to kill off the latter as a way of reinstating his original character back into her own identity were developments that offended female fans of Helena Bertinelli. As such the book lost that potential audience.

On Power Girl’s side, Paul Levitz took one of the most independent, aromantic, and intelligent women of the DCU, scrapped her of her conceptual originality, and reduced her into the offensive dumb blonde, boy-crazy, party girl stereotypes, which also offended and put off female fans of the character.

To top it off, DC editorial removed these two women from their own narratives on Earth-2 and gave those narratives to TWO MEN, one of which is completely undeserving of the narrative he was given. The two most prominent women of Earth-2, and the best thing DC could do with them was temporarily dump them in the mainstream universe to develop TWO MEN in their place, and only bring them home in time to use them as potential casualties of war. Not only did this editorial direction limit Kara and Helena’s story potential, it especially ROBBED them of their own legacy and mythos on Earth-2.

It is offensive what editorial did with Huntress and Power Girl in the New 52, that it leads to the final problem that dropped the axe on the book’s neck in sales. Without a solid editorial direction, Paul Levitz was stuck passing the time, and that is exactly what happened. It showed in his writing. In stark contrast with the way he wrote these two women three decades ago—which was far more engaging and heartfelt—his writing of them this time around was so lazy, you could literally document every cliché and stereotype he used in place of a real story and legitimate character development. That is all that we got in the last three years. His heart was simply not in the non-story DC had tasked him with for three years before they decided when they should come back to their native world of Earth-2.

All in all, the book had strong potential to be something great, but was squandered on poor marketing, bad editorial direction, and lazy writing. A book that should’ve been a top-seller isn’t as a consequence of those three problems. Worse yet is that fans—for three years—have addressed these problems and nothing was ever done to salvage a sinking ship. Fans did give the book a chance. DC, however, did not and that’s what frustrates me the most.

THE BEST OF THE HUNTRESS | The Secret Origin of the Huntress Review.
As promised, before we delve deep into the history of the pre-Crisis Huntress, you must first get know what her pre-Huntress life was like! (It’s actually pretty damn awesome).
A year ago on the pre-Crisis Helena Wayne’s birthday, I did a review of her original origin story. I admit, this story actually involves a fridging (something I failed to acknowledged in the original review—shame on me), but I do draw attention to the fact that the story is centred more on Helena Wayne’s relationship with her mother than with her father. The importance given to Selina’s relationship to her daughter is also acknowledged and explored in another pre-Crisis Huntress story: The Lion Roars at Midnight, which I reviewed for Mother’s Day last year.
Once you’ve gotten to know Helena’s pre-Huntress life, we must next talk the origins of her better half, Kara Zor-L, who becomes the next important woman in Helena’s life once her Huntress career kicks off. Not only is Kara the first JSAer Helena immediately likens to following her first mission with the Justice Society, but this relationship becomes very significant to her later on. Helena is especially intrigued by her new friend’s extra-terrestrial origins! ;)
But again, that is a future discussion. For now get reacquainted with our pre-Huntress. :)
To the Wayne Family Vault! ➔
THE BEST OF THE HUNTRESS | The Secret Origin of the Huntress Review.

As promised, before we delve deep into the history of the pre-Crisis Huntress, you must first get know what her pre-Huntress life was like! (It’s actually pretty damn awesome).

A year ago on the pre-Crisis Helena Wayne’s birthday, I did a review of her original origin story. I admit, this story actually involves a fridging (something I failed to acknowledged in the original review—shame on me), but I do draw attention to the fact that the story is centred more on Helena Wayne’s relationship with her mother than with her father. The importance given to Selina’s relationship to her daughter is also acknowledged and explored in another pre-Crisis Huntress story: The Lion Roars at Midnight, which I reviewed for Mother’s Day last year.

Once you’ve gotten to know Helena’s pre-Huntress life, we must next talk the origins of her better half, Kara Zor-L, who becomes the next important woman in Helena’s life once her Huntress career kicks off. Not only is Kara the first JSAer Helena immediately likens to following her first mission with the Justice Society, but this relationship becomes very significant to her later on. Helena is especially intrigued by her new friend’s extra-terrestrial origins! ;)

But again, that is a future discussion. For now get reacquainted with our pre-Huntress. :)

To the Wayne Family Vault!

SECRET ORIGINS OF SUPERHEROES | The origin of the Earth-2 Huntress.

The Huntress!Earth-Two’s newest heroine begins her career right here! Learn why the Golden Age Batman retired—who he married—and what his connection is to the raven-haired avenger who is DC’s latest and greatest star!—DC Super-stars, Vol. 03, No. 17, Nov-Dec 1977

Before the New 52 destroyed everything that was great about Helena Wayne (first by having her usurp the identity of Helena Bertinelli and later by having Thomas Wayne usurp her place on Earth-2), there was a time when DC Comics actually treated women with more respect, and even attempted to be more inclusive of women.
By the 1970s, the second wave of feminism hit a cultural peak in the United States (and possibly around the world as well), and this cultural revolution found its way into the offices of DC Comics. The first product of second wave feminism resulted in the creation of the Earth-2 Kara Zor-L as Power Girl, who was originally characterised as a strong advocate for female emancipation. The second was the creation of the Earth-2 Helena Wayne as the Huntress, who was also originally characterised as a strong advocate for women’s rights and of the poor. 
As evidenced by the advertisement above, DC Comics in 1977 felt very confident about their newest addition to the Earth-2 (and ultimately, the Golden Age) mythos, so much that they described her as ‘DC’s latest and greatest star!’
Since I’ve already announced a much needed six-month hiatus from the New 52 (I really do need to detox, guys!), I may as well fill the void with something else fans have asked me to do in the last three years: reacquaint them with the original Helena Wayne!
Over the next six months, I’m looking to cover:
The pre-Crisis origin of Helena Wayne (which I’ll post shortly)
The pre-Crisis origin of her better half: Power Girl
Helena’s first case with the Earth-2 Justice Society
Helena’s first meeting with the Earth-1 Batfamily (which I already reviewed)
The Death of the Earth-2 Batman
The Justice League/Justice Society crossover to Apokolips
Huntress’s team-ups with Power Girl and the Earth-2 Robin
The foundation of Infinity Inc (which I started reviewing a while back)
America vs the Justice Society
The best stories of the Paul Levitz and Joey Cavalieri eras
I have a lot of reading (or re-reading in some cases) to do.
SECRET ORIGINS OF SUPERHEROES | The origin of the Earth-2 Huntress.

The Huntress!
Earth-Two’s newest heroine begins her career right here! Learn why the Golden Age Batman retired—who he married—and what his connection is to the raven-haired avenger who is DC’s latest and greatest star!
—DC Super-stars, Vol. 03, No. 17, Nov-Dec 1977

Before the New 52 destroyed everything that was great about Helena Wayne (first by having her usurp the identity of Helena Bertinelli and later by having Thomas Wayne usurp her place on Earth-2), there was a time when DC Comics actually treated women with more respect, and even attempted to be more inclusive of women.

By the 1970s, the second wave of feminism hit a cultural peak in the United States (and possibly around the world as well), and this cultural revolution found its way into the offices of DC Comics. The first product of second wave feminism resulted in the creation of the Earth-2 Kara Zor-L as Power Girl, who was originally characterised as a strong advocate for female emancipation. The second was the creation of the Earth-2 Helena Wayne as the Huntress, who was also originally characterised as a strong advocate for women’s rights and of the poor. 

As evidenced by the advertisement above, DC Comics in 1977 felt very confident about their newest addition to the Earth-2 (and ultimately, the Golden Age) mythos, so much that they described her as ‘DC’s latest and greatest star!’

Since I’ve already announced a much needed six-month hiatus from the New 52 (I really do need to detox, guys!), I may as well fill the void with something else fans have asked me to do in the last three years: reacquaint them with the original Helena Wayne!

Over the next six months, I’m looking to cover:

  1. The pre-Crisis origin of Helena Wayne (which I’ll post shortly)
  2. The pre-Crisis origin of her better half: Power Girl
  3. Helena’s first case with the Earth-2 Justice Society
  4. Helena’s first meeting with the Earth-1 Batfamily (which I already reviewed)
  5. The Death of the Earth-2 Batman
  6. The Justice League/Justice Society crossover to Apokolips
  7. Huntress’s team-ups with Power Girl and the Earth-2 Robin
  8. The foundation of Infinity Inc (which I started reviewing a while back)
  9. America vs the Justice Society
  10. The best stories of the Paul Levitz and Joey Cavalieri eras

I have a lot of reading (or re-reading in some cases) to do.

Beause there is no such thing as excitement in perpetual pessimism.