A modest proposal of a fan day for a character that rightly deserves it.
It's been over one year since the character of Cassandra Cain made her final “canon” appearance in Batman: Gates of Gotham #5. Since then, there have been random reasons (that are mostly rumor and hearsay) put forth as to why the character hasn't appeared since the New 52 started. There are some that say the character, along with another, is “toxic”; someone within the company has a long standing grudge against the character, or maybe they're giving the character a rest so the others sort of like her (Barbara Gordon, Katana, and Lady Shiva) can flourish more in their uniqueness. The official word is that the character will be introduced in due time. Alas, I wish to believe this but being a fan of this character, I'm wise to this “game” DC has played.
Now why am I giving such a damn for this character, and not the others? Well, fans of the other “benched” characters: do read on. I almost hope this proposal works well enough that you do something similar. As for why this specific character? Well it's due to the fact that I'm pushing the cause of minority characters. Cassandra distinctly is a minority on multiple levels. She is a female character who is an ethnic minority, and she conquers a disability everyday. Her seventy-issue ongoing series was cancelled not due to low sales, but due to the company's will and policies. They thought having two female Bat characters having an ongoing would be too many (ironically, the first Batwoman title was scuttled for years until the New 52 relaunch).
Let's put things in perspective: Jaime Reyes, another minority and the current Blue Beetle? His first series lasted over thirty issues. His New 52 series lasted just over ten. That's how hard it is for minority character to hold a solo ongoing book by themselves. Add with the character being female to boot? One has to ask the question why DC isn't pushing this particular minority character more since they know there's money that can be made with this character? Of course there's also the easy answer as to why I care so much: amongst the benched DC characters, Cassandra Cain has gotten a raw deal. Again, all you have to do is see the various games DC Comics has played with her fanbase. A list so long that I'd rather point again to this link than go off in a tangent.
Yes, this is another Cassandra Cain movement. Yes, there already was a similar movement that was thought up this past August. It had good intentions, but the event suffered from three key problems: 1.) it lacked a reading list beyond the first issue of the character (which for new fans you can find here), and 2.) it was chosen during a weekend which saw multiple sales at Comixlogy involving various comics, so you couldn't really tell if fans made a difference or not, and 3.) The result would be the same: nothing could be gained, DC Comics will just continue turning a blind eye.
So why try this sort of thing again? It's a just cause that should be tried again. I've already said before that this is a game to DC. I do enjoy games, and I feel the wrong one was played. So let's change the game shall we?
Frankly, I think Cassandra Cain's fanbase gets a bad rap. Then again, a lot of the fanbases of the various characters currently lost have gotten reputations they don't deserve. Yes, two of the fan-bases are VERY vocal. I admit that freely. Maybe that's the key to why DC considers them toxic (if we're to believe this rumor): whatever they do, it won't satisfy these select bunch of fans. Regardless, the fan attitude of the characters hasn't reached H.E.A.T. (Hal's Emerald Advancement Team) levels of insanity. This is why I want to somewhat change this little game of the mice trying to gain the attention of the cat.
I want to do this event to prove to people that this fan-base is different from that. This is why you won't be finding me pleading you to flood anything DC-related with pleas of bringing this character back or giving you various e-mail addresses, Facebook, or Twitter links to DC Comics. Really, I believe this is the heart of the issue, so I say this to the fans of Cassandra Cain: if the company that owns the character won't throw us a bone, I say we throw one to ourselves.
On January 26, 2013 I want fans to celebrate the character of Cassandra Cain in their own way. One major suggestion is to buy Batgirl #37 via Comixlogy. Why this particular issue? It's the final issue of Kelley Puckett and Damion Scott's run and the day itself resonates with the character. It's January 26, Cassandra's birthday and David Cain has broken out of Blackgate Prison and simply walks back in. Why? To deliver a special gift to Cassandra. If I say anymore it spoil emotional resonance of the issue. Though for those who did participate in the Support Cass! movement, and downloaded #1, you'll get an extra dramatic punch.
It will give some kudos to the creators of the character: Kelly Puckett and Damion Scott. Yes, others should get a lot of credit as well, however it is their run that is most remembered and two of the creators who made the character what she is (other major contributors being Alex Maleev, who designed the Batgirl costume, and Chris Burnham & Grant Morrison, who came up with the Black Bat identity which the character had used before being wiped clean via Flashpoint).
Now if you don't want to buy the issue, there are other ways to participate in this event. I want fans who are artists and writers to do their thing. Draw the character. Write a story or an article. Do something in Photoshop. Make an amv, or a short fancomic of the character. Post about the character on a forum, or on Tumblr, and Twitter. Reach out to various people who have done so in the past (Espanolbot's Cass Toons or Kiarou's Red/Black series I'm looking at you). Give those people the due they deserve for giving us these wonderful little fan series.
My intention for starting this movement is simple. This is publicity for the character for newbies who never heard about her and to give the fan-base a chance to show they aren't this radical group that would doom a book. This isn't to stir the hornet's nest or plead to the higher-ups at DC. Again, DC doesn't care if you spam their Facebook, and e-mail, or if you mail them pleading to bring back the character. What they care is the dollar (see Didio's comparison of Gotham Central and Superman/Batman). It is the sad hard truth, but it is fact. What I do want is for DC to turn their heads and see the profit that could be their's.
Thus the two goals of this proposition. If this is a success, maybe there's an off-chance someone in those offices can use this event and say, “You see this? We could be getting money from this fanbase. Why aren't we?” Or we can provide whatever fans of the character that are within DC (and there are some) that they have something to show to upper management: a reason to bring the character back. I truly want to see the current mindset of DC to change from believing that Cassandra is “toxic” and only has a readership of 20,000 or less. That's the stat they're most heavily invested in since that would be sales on Cassandra Cain's last mini-series, Batgirl Vol. 2 #1-6. If anything else, let's prove them wrong. But also this is win win for the fan-base. Like the character herself, we do what we do best. We fight on.
Prove to them on January 26, 2013 that this character's fans (and fans of characters like her) do have a voice. Not a "toxic" one, but a positive one. Maybe even prove to them that the character can still be profitable. If not, then at the very least, we the fans of this character did something to honor Cass, something the company who owns her hasn't done in over eight years: treat her with the respect she deserves.
The Outhouse is sponsored this week by Late Nite Draw. Recently featured on ComicsAlliances' Best Art Ever, he is a Chicago-based commissioned artist with a self-published Digital+Print one-shot coming out in October about the abominable snowman called ABOBAMANIMABBLE, and is also available for commissions. Check out some amazing art by clicking here or by clicking the banner at the top, and support the people who support The Outhouse.
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About the Author - Zechs
Zechs is the lord and master of The Toy Shed, Character Spotlight, and Cartoon Reviews. He's also an aspiring comic book writer trying to get some of his works published on the Outhouse. If there's any greater quality to Zechs, it's that he's an avid fan of comic book characters and would defend them to the bitter end against the companies that use them wrongly. Zechs walks the lonely path in Chicagoland area.
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