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Letter to Bryan Q Miller

I asked for his email, and he gave me it! Then he followed me on Twitter! 8DDD

He really is the best.

So I rewarded him by writing a ridiculously long letter, half of which is adoration, and the other half is well meant concerns.

Here it is:


Dear Bryan,

First of all, thank you very much for giving me your email. That was incredibly kind of you.

Another thing I’d like to thank you for is your work on Batgirl. Stephanie Brown as a character is incredibly important to me, and a lot of other people, so you have no idea what it means to me to have someone write her with respect and care, two things she’s had little of in the past years. Honestly, you get Steph so well and have her voice so perfect, I wonder if you live in my head. I love that you didn’t dismiss Steph as a dumb blonde or a screwup, but saw that she was actually incredibly creative and intelligent in a “thinks on her feet” sort of way.  That you got that what has always driven her is hope, and not fear or vengeance. That you recognized that she had never truly been accepted and often used, and true support was all she needed. That you have not ignored her history as Robin, or the class issues she faces, or the injustices done to her and the mistakes she has made. I love the moments when you call back to the early eras of Steph’s history, it shows you have really done your research to understand her, something all too few writers do. And I love how you seem to have respect for the fans in what you write, for the people who find Stephanie so important, because she really is important to us.

Mostly, I love that you’ve crafted an enjoyable, fun title that isn’t full of the unnecessary grimness and gore and rapemurderdeathfridging that plagues a lot of comics today. You’ve also crafted a title with a strong female protagonists, and one that teenage girls can really read. It is my favorite title right now, and I look forward to it every month.

I could go on forever about what I love about the title- I love how you’ve gotten Steph’s voice and ironic sense of humor, I love her strong relationship with Barbara, I love seeing her carry on and learn from her mistakes, and I absolutely adore her little fangirl, Nell, and can’t wait to see her again. I love seeing Steph get real support and respect both in comic and out, and I love seeing her thrive now that she’s gotten it. I can never thank you enough for what you’ve done for my favorite character, and can never thank you enough. Write Batgirl forever!

I run a Stephanie Brown website- http://stephaniebrown.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page- where I have sort of obsessively cataloged every facet of Steph’s history with my own crazy thoughts occasionally thrown in. People have asked me on several occasions if I think you have visited. I don’t know if you have, but it doesn’t matter because I feel like you have because of your great writing of Steph- and once again, that means so much to me.

Now to end the epic gushing- I’m sure you’ve heard it before- and move on to some questions/concerns I have that you are under no obligation to respond to.

Regarding Cass- I know you’re probably tired of hearing about her. But I want you to understand, I don’t want more presence of Cass in the title just as a Cass fan (though I am a huge one- she is my fave after Steph- actually, I just love every Batgirl unconditionally) but because I feel it does a disservice to Steph’s character to ignore this friendship. Cass has been a huge influence on Steph’s life, and she really is Steph’s first supporter. What’s more, their friendship is one of the strongest in comics- female friendships in comics are rare, and you’ve established some great ones with Babs, Kara and Wendy, but Cass and Steph were the original and honestly, my favorite friendship in comics period. To have Steph ignore such a huge part of her life, to not miss Cass or look for her or talk about her- it just feels incredibly wrong for the character. It feels wrong that Cass is ignored because she is so important to the Batgirl legacy as well.

I have often gone over in my head why Cass is not being mentioned- I figure that Cass leaving might have been incredibly painful for her in an “everyone leaves me” sort of way, and she’s been deliberately trying not to think or talk about her.  Steph can ignore things that are painful for her and cover them up with good cheer (this is why I assumed she ignored Cass and her time as Robin in her truly awesome and hilarious “Bat History” for #15 I just saw on the DC blog!) That’s the only thing that makes sense to me for her character. I hope that Babs at least has been in contact with her and still thinking of her, the relationship between Babs and Cass is another important one that should not be ignored.

Basically, the reason I want to see a presence of Cass in the title is not just out of my love of her, but love of Steph. I am aware that Cass is turning up in Red Robin and probably Birds of Prey, but what’s the most important to me is seeing Steph and Cass’s relationship addressed again so it does a service to both the characters. I love those two as friends, as a team, and would love to see them reunite. People howled when Steph “BFF’d” it up with Kara- I didn’t mind it, it’s not like Steph swore eternal loyalty to her and her only- but it did make me miss the friendship with Cass.

And to a thing tangentially related to Cass-Bruce actually being the one to order her to pass Batgirl over to Steph. I liked it on one level because it made more sense than Cass throwing a tantrum and leaving- but on the other hand, it felt like it was removing Cassandra and Stephanie’s autonomy there. Batgirl is a legacy of it’s own, and I always felt it should be a legacy shaped by the choices of the women themselves, not because the Big Bad Batman had power over them. Having HIM make the choice of who gets to be Batgirl feels incredibly wrong to me and antithetical to the idea of choice and female empowerment that the legacy represents.

I have decided in my head that this was ultimately Cass’s choice- she might have been tired of being Batgirl already (she’s quit before) and decided she wanted to remake herself anew. She could have easily defied anything Batman suggested if she didn’t feel it was right- she’s defied and disobeyed him for those reasons before- so it was ultimately her decision. And I feel she would have wanted her best friend to has a second chance even moreso than Bruce. She might have taken Bruce’s suggestion- and I feel it might have even been her idea to give it to Steph and Bruce just went with it and claimed it as his own (he can be weird like that sometimes). That’s really the only way I can accept the idea of “Batman pulling the strings on the Batgirl legacy that is not really his decision”- Bruce may THINK he’s pulling the strings, but it was really ultimately Cass’s choice and feelings about her position and Steph that caused her to pass it on. And it was really ultimately Steph’s decision to accept it, and Babs’ decision to accept her. However, that’s a lot of rationalizing for me to do, so I hope this is addressed fully in the future.

One last thing that has bothered me- and so sorry for rambling so long! Occasionally Steph has characterized herself as just “chasing after a boy” as Spoiler. Now, it’s perfectly in character for Steph to think this way, insecure as she is, but I hope it’s not something the readers are supposed to believe. Steph became Spoiler to stop her Dad after all- she STAYED Spoiler partly because of interest in Tim, but I think it’s pretty clear in the Dixon issues she also just really enjoyed the thrill of kicking ass and being a superhero. She also occasionally gave guilt over her father as a reason. But I think by Cataclysm, when she changed into Spoiler solely because she saw people suffering from an earthquake, that she was in it to help people, especially people like her. And I think a part of her realized this. I just hope this insecurity over her past is addressed, and she learns to give both her past and current self credit.

Just one last last thing to mention- people have howled a blue streak over Steph saying to Bruce “War Games” was his fault because they were his plans. I don’t think that’s what she was trying to say, just pointing out that it was sick and careless of him to come up with such plans and leave them exposed and that he does have some responsibility (because look at Brother Eye and Tower of Babel- he doesn’t learn from his mistakes) and actually just pointing out that she was inadvertantly his pawn there too, a pattern she wants to break out of. I feel the more pertinent thing to point out was that Bruce never gave her an iota of trust despite making her Robin and manipulated her so much- that’s why she was hurt and screwed up enough to put that plan effect, and didn’t realize the Matches Malone thing, so therein lies Bruce’s responsibility. He was the adult after all. Just something you might want to address in the future to stop the whining, but are under no obligation to- who cares if people whine? You’re awesome! I would rather War Games be retconned out of existence and never mentioned again, personally.

I’m sorry for being sooo longwinded! You’re a champ if you read all this! Obviously I’m just SUPER passionate about Steph and Batgirls and your great work! I would jut like to thank you again, from the bottom ‘of my heart for all you’ve done for Steph and your excellent title and for communicating with your fans and letting me have my say! You are truly a great guy. Please write Steph forever, and have an illustrious and happy career and life besides!

Yours sincerely and thankfully,


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 8th, 2010 02:36 am (UTC)
Congratulations on the excellant letter and equally excellant reply. It gives me some hope for the comics industry that someone like BQM is writing for it now.
Nov. 8th, 2010 08:23 am (UTC)
Great letter, Nev. You give credit where credit is due, but also address things that are problematic: the very essence of constructive criticism. I hope that Bryan Miller reads it and takes what you say in it to heart.
Nov. 9th, 2010 01:50 am (UTC)
Fantastic letter, you did a really great job at pointing out the good and talking about the problems with Cass and the batdickery.

It is really kind of awesome that you wrote this to him. ♥
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


steph hey you


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