It’s been about two years (count em, two years folks) since DC Comics decided to reboot their universe, causing a wave of changes to their superhero families and their status quo. The Batfamily was hit rather strongly with change. Perhaps (not surprisingly) the female members were changed the most and or dispatched of; Barbara Gordon is cured from her lower body paralysis and is Batgirl again, both Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain were wiped away from canon along with Charlie, otherwise known as the heroine Misfit as well as Helena Bertinelli who whilst she was a real person, is now dead and was (most likely) never Huntress. Tim Drake’s personal history was rebuilt from the ground up with rather disastrous results. Dick Grayson has returned back to the Nightwing mantle after a stint as a second Batman. Damian kept his mantle as Robin, that is until this past February when Grant Morrison, his creator, seemingly killed the (chronologically in former main canon) young 5th Robin in the pages of Batman Incorporated.
A lot of fans, well…they’re not liking this entire situation and the route DC has taken their favorites characters in the Batfamily. Even nearly two years later. And the whole “If you don’t like it, why don’t you do it yourself?” reaction from those who don’t mind the new changes and status quo in response to said naysayers? Well, people who are unsatisfied are doing just that and taking some of the closing lines from Stephanie Brown’s Batgirl run; ” It’s only the end if you want it to be” to heart. Whether out of frustration or just pure love for the characters fans are teaming up with their friends and other artists and are taking writing and presenting these characters into their own hands. And it’s not just fanart. Full fancomics and fan series.
I should know, I’m one of those fans doing just that.
I myself write (when not writing for you readers among other secret writerly things ) an ongoing AU fancomic series Batgirl Incorporated with artist Yu Lyn Chen. It stands as a stand-alone universe centered around the female members of the Batfamily presented through an actiony Saturday morning cartoon and retro-anime lens with a sci-fi bent that is intended to be more fun and somewhat more adolescent appropriate and kid-friendly as opposed to the new Batman line (barring the digital Li’l Gotham) which is rather dark and grim, in particular the quite somber Batgirl title.
My own comic launched officially last December and we are currently wrapping up the last leg of Chapter I, posting about a page or two a week. Our site also features a concept art open submission requests to help foster aspiring artists skills and to help build their portfolios. We also feature guest comic strips, including my own collaboration with Mexican comic artist Vicente Rico, whose work everyone should keep an eye on. Our collaboration,” It’s only the end IF you want it to be” are our one-shots starring Stephanie Brown Batgirl set in the pre-reboot world. Our second strip in the series, specifically for summer is currently being done.
Enough of my own stuff, as there are even more impressive work out there and the thing I wanted to feature the most is JunioR a second Bat-themed comic that centers around a still living Damian Wayne, his friends and family (especially him and animals) that is an absolute must read and my top recommendation for everyone this week even if you are not a fancomic fan you should check this one out; it’s good stuff. Sensitive, well balanced and artful these are little comics worth sharing and easy to catch up on.
A comic all about Damian? Really too good to be true. Another plus? Oh god the comic is gorgeous. With art rivaling if not better than what DC has on their own titles, this little comic is a treat to look at each month, which they have impressively delivered a full short comic each month since their launch in March, reaching a lot of attention on tumblr. Speaking of which, the next issue features Stephanie Brown!
The comic takes place in a pre-reboot DC canon. Stephanie Brown is still Batgirl. Nightwing is still in blue. But the stories are softer. More kid friendly. Short monthly touching, funny little stories that are really easy to catch up on. From the words of the creators Vivien Gallasch, Pamela Lovas, Wave & Megan Butler ;
[JunioR is] dedicated to the character of Damian Wayne and his numerous family members, friends, and pets. It’s quite a simple concept. Every month we will publish a short comic with focus on Damian and one other character. The current release schedule is the first Saturday of every month.
We do this because we feel like there are many more stories about Damian to tell, and because there should be a place for lighter and gentler stories. We want to tell these stories and want to share them with the fans.
I am noticing a trend; people who are wanting to do their own series and comics seem to want softer or at the least more fun or balanced stories featuring their favorite superheroes. They want things perhaps younger people can read (god forbid a kid can read about the same character that’s on their shoes or bedsheets). This plays into what I’ve been saying about children’s media the past few weeks as well; comics in particular are unsyncronized with their own merchandise and demographics. Don’t you think that’s a bit crazy? Should we be paying more attention to that?
I know of a third Batfamily series also in development, this one featuring their take on a team featuring Jason Todd and Cassandra Cain as Blackbat and I can’t wait to see that develop and launch.
Do you read JunioR or Batgirl Inc? I personally would love to know what you think of people taking the Batfamily into their own hands both as a reporter, and as a writer of one of said series.
Staff Writer/The Doctor