The Spoiler in the family

Check out this fan-designed set of character models for a Spoiler Animated Series. (Which doesn’t actually exist, of course.)

fanmade "Spoiler Animated Series" character designs

For me, one of the strengths of the Tim Drake-era Batman was the way that a set of young characters (Tim, Stephanie Brown, and Cassandra Cain) with strong relationships to each other developed and created the potential for stories involving a generation of the Bat family growing up together. While aspects of something like this were touched on a decade before in Dick Grayson’s transition from Robin to Nightwing and his relationships in the Teen Titans1, the inclusion of Cassandra and Steph added a specifically female element that was often lacking in the immediate Bat family2. It was fascinating to watch the tension between Bruce Wayne and the daughter he wanted (Cassandra) and the daughter/daughter-in-law he didn’t want (Steph)3 as well as the strength of the friendship between Cass and Steph in spite of Bruce’s disapproval.

Cartoon Network’s (apparently soon-to-be-cancelled?) Young Justice series has dealt specifically with these sorts of themes, and by dealing (more-or-less successfully) with the histories of the various Robins in the new timeline, DC’s recent zero month comics even hinted at what they might look like in the New 52. There have been amazing comics in the past that have taken advantage of the fact that Batman’s mythology is so strong that he’s just as good as a background character as in a lead role. DC’s “Young Justice” group of main-universe young superhero titles is soon to be down to a paltry three. (Teen Titans, Ravagers, and the future timeline Legion of Superheroes) Maybe it’s time for something new?

I really don’t actually want to get into an argument over whether Stephanie Brown and/or Cass Cain are the victims of some editorial conspiracy at DC to erase the characters from existence (I don’t think so, but I can understand why some people feel that way) or whether the characters do or don’t belong in the New 52 (if there’s a good pitch and a market for them, I can’t believe they’ll stay out forever, but I’m willing to give it time), but I’ll admit to having a weakness for Stephanie Brown/Spoiler fan art. I love seeing creative expressions of fan fondness for the character, and I’ll readily admit that I would watch a Spoiler Animated Series.

1. And so maybe it’s more that Tim/Steph/Cass were telling the story for what felt like my generation than that what they were doing was so different than what Teen Titans did in the early 80s.

2. Let us not discount either the original Batwoman and Batgirl (Kathy and Betty Kane) or, of course, the Barbara Gordon Batgirl, but the dynamics in those relationships were entirely different, and less immediately familial. The Kanes served as wanted or unwanted love interests for Batman and Robin, and Barbara Gordon, while unquestionably a member of the Bat family, has usually been written as a more independent character (with, importantly, a strong father figure of her own in Jim Gordon) rather than as a surrogate daughter to Bruce Wayne. For a great analysis of Babs, read Matt Santori-Griffith’s “The Girl Most Likely To”

3. Although Helena Bertinelli/The Huntress could fit easily into the “daughter Bruce Wayne didn’t want” category as well. Batman in the 90s just didn’t like women.

3 thoughts on “The Spoiler in the family

  1. Lincoln says:

    If this cartoon did exist, they couldn’t just call it “spoiler.” People would avoid watching it for fear of it being a half hour of ruining things they had not yet had the chance to see.

  2. Becky says:

    Ohly just saw this, I don’t have words for how much i agree, how much i love the idea and how much i love the image.
    Thank You

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