21 October 2012

Weekly Robin Historical Extra

Some comments at Scans_daily alerted me to a discrepancy in the corporate memory of Stephanie Brown’s brief time as Robin.

Back in December 2005, scripter Bill Willingham gave an interview to Comic Book Resources in which he said:
The death of Spoiler was locked in before I was asked to take over the series, but it was my idea to let her become Robin for a short time before that. My thinking is that it would be nice to give her at least one moment of glory, accomplishment and success, before all of those horrible things that were destined to happen to her.
Newsrama just transcribed remarks by DC Comics executive Dan DiDio at New York Comic-Con on the same storyline:
You know, me and Stephanie, we go way back. The story with Stephanie Brown goes, they came to me as Executive Editor with the War Games story, and said we’re going to kill Stephanie Brown. I knew Stephanie Brown for who she was, and said, “I don’t know, if this is going to be the big ending to your story it doesn’t feel big enough at the time, because the character wasn't strong enough yet.” So I said, “Why don’t we make her Robin for a short period of time, build some interest in her, and then we kill her!”
Big DC and Marvel superhero stories are the products of many minds working together, and scripter Dylan Horrocks has described bad memories of a weeklong discussion of that crossover plot. Undoubtedly both Willingham and DiDio could have had input into the storyline. But did they really come up with the same idea independently?

Willingham’s recollection came much closer to the event, at a time when that suggestion was still quite unpopular with a vocal set of fans and in an interview in which he was happy to state that other plot points were decided for him. I suspect it’s accurate.

I know this is a political period, but I can’t help but be reminded of how in the last Presidential debate Mitt Romney took credit for recruiting women for his gubernatorial administration:
And I said, “Well, gosh, can’t we—can’t we find some—some women that are also qualified?” And—and so we—we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet. I went to a number of women’s groups and said, “Can you help us find folks?” And they brought us whole binders full of women.
But it turned out Romney was actually taking credit for a women’s initiative, as David S. Bernstein of Boston’s Phoenix newspaper explained:
What actually happened was that in 2002—prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration—a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor.

They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.
And ten years later the governor convinced himself that that effort had been his idea all along, that approving an idea brought to him made it his idea. Did DiDio do the same?

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