Bleeding Cool was the first to tell you that Stephanie Brown had been replaced in the Smallville Season Eleven comic book series, before her appearance as Nightwing has even been published. And it kicked off a shitstorm. Questions were asked at San Diego Comic Con, to which at least one panellist blatantly lied in response saying they didn't know what was going on. In a later panel, Dan DiDio confirmed the news, saying that they had decided to replace Stephanie Brown with Barbara Gordon in the Nightwing role, as Barbara was more iconic and
Smallville used icons. But later it was revealed that this was also a lie, it was the demanded removal of Stephanie Brown that came first, Smallville writer Bryan Q Miller then deciding to use Barbara Gordon in the role. We know that other creators have been forbidden from using her.
So what is going on? Does Dan DiDio actively hate Stephanie Brown as a character? Does he hate her fans? Does he hate you? And is he going on a bitter vendetta against the character and her supporters?
Not a bit of it. Seriously. Why would he?
Because here is what I think is really going on.
DC Comics is planning to reintroduce Stephanie Brown as a major character in the DC New 52. It may well be in the Fourth Wave. The fact that they have been withdrawing her appearance from Batman Inc, removing her from Smallville, and forbidding creators to use her in their stories is to not dilute her actual reintroduction to the DC Universe in whatever form they choose, and to build up anticipation, even desperation, in her fanbase.
They did a similar thing with Power Girl, teasing people by introducing her as a glorified secretary to the New 52, before headlining her in World's Finest and revealing her real motivation.
DC Comics know what they are doing. They will accept the waffles, they will increase the ire of the fanbase, they will make more and more people care and then… give us Spoiler #1 in January. And watch the internet break in half. I wouldn't be surprised if they make that announcement on Stephanie Brown Day in August – or just afterwards.
This is not based on informed sources. This is based on a knowledge of how DC Comics do things. And a gut feeling that knows that Dan DiDio doesn't hate you. He just likes to really really really tease you.
Still the waffles wouldn't hurt. And if nothing is announced by New York, you should rain fiery waffles upon his head.