The creation of Batman Eternal as an almost television-style writing project, with four scripters and Scott Snyder as executive producer, meant that a lot of interviews were given. We've collected here some of the ones that discuss Steph's role.
James Tynion IV interview with Newsarama: "BATMAN: ETERNAL Writer Talks TIM DRAKE & STEPHANIE BROWN" Edit
"Nrama: At New York Comic Con, you revealed that you pitched a New 52 version of Stephanie Brown that's going to show up in Batman: Eternal. Why did you think she would be good in the weekly, and can you reveal anything about her?
Tynion: A lot of it's hard to talk about, because with the series launching in the spring, we're still a ways off. I'd say at the core of it, there is a very specific role in the series that she was just absolutely perfect to fill. And when we pitched that to DC, they agreed, that this was the moment — the moment is now; this is the time to bring Stephanie back into continuity.
Because part of our goal… we love that Stephanie has such a huge fan base, but our goal in this story isn't just to tease that fan base, but also to, like, triple the size of it. We want to introduce a whole new generation of readers who may have never read a Stephanie Brown story before, to see why she has such a huge fanbase and what makes her a great character.
And what we're doing with her, I think, is really exciting and very fitting to who she is, but it's very rooted into the core plot of the series. So I can't hint about it just yet.
Nrama: I think for a lot of these characters that they haven't brought back into the New 52, there's a feeling that they are redundant — Stephanie is like a Robin, but there are already a lot of Robins, and she's like a Batgirl, but there are already Batgirls. But you said there's a specific role that eliminates that redundancy?
Tynion: Exactly. And that was very key to figuring out the best time to bring her back. Because there are so many incredible female characters in and around Gotham right now, so we wanted to make sure when we introduced Stephanie, it didn't seem like we were, you know, doubling-down on any of them.
We also wanted to make sure we were staying true to the core of the character, and that we'd be able to tell a story that would introduce her to everyone.
So I think that's exactly what we're doing here.
I've already written my first Stephanie Brown scenes, and I'm really excited for people to see them."
It's hard to tell what Steph's fanbase is from social media - most fans post about characters they already love, so most of the Steph posts were people who already knew her history and were either happy or upset about the way she was handled (or in a few cases, that she was being reintroduced. Thanks, haters.) Therefore, it's difficult to tell if Steph's fanbase has been increased - but hopefully, once she gets more titles, we'll see her become a character a new generation of fans embraces in her own right, as Tynion hopes here.
Scott Snyder interview with MTV: Spoiler Alert: Fan Favorite Character Comes To ‘Batman Eternal #3′ Edit
mtv.com ran a series of post-issue interviews with writers of Eternal as it ran. Since Steph was a major character in the series, We're going to highlight some of the interesting behind the scenes information revealed here.
"MTV News: Let’s talk about Stephanie Brown’s intro. Why was it important to bring her back this way?
Scott Snyder: The key was bringing her back in a way that would honor her in a way, what she was before the New 52 relaunch, while still keeping her something that has a new purpose, a new status, and a new definition.
It really began with her old title of Spoiler. Back in the day she was referred to as Spoiler because she spoils all the plans of her father and bad guys, and so on. Here, the new definition, the popular definition has so much to do with revealing secrets before you’re supposed to.
We thought it would be great if we could reinvent her with a similar origin, but make her one of the key figures in all of “Eternal” because she knows things before anyone else does.
So as the series continues she becomes one of the most wanted women in Gotham. Not just because of the stuff she learns with Cluemaster here, but the stuff she learns as the series goes on. She becomes an incredibly powerful figure, and a really important character to the entire story overall.
That justified bringing her back here, and I’m really glad DC let us. I can’t tell you how grateful we are to fans for being so vocal about their love for her. Before we brought her back, and now that she’s coming back… It really means a lot to all of us who care about her, too.
MTV: Her lack of appearance in comics for so long has been a hugely polarizing issue at conventions, in particular. So how did she finally end up in the mix here for “Batman Eternal?”
Snyder: We talked about bringing her back on “Batman” about a year ago, and when we started planning “Eternal,” I realized, talking to James [Tynion IV] that it would be a better place to do it there because of the story we were trying to set up, how much more of a role she’d play there, instead of a supportive role in “Batman.”
It felt more like she’d be brought back and then relegated to smaller status, because of how crowded “Batman” is in terms of the events that are happening. Once the opportunity to bring her back there came along, and we knew what the meaning of her name would be, and how she would work as such a big role in the series, we started lobbying Dan [Didio] and DC when we were pitching the series to let us bring her back early, and bring her back loud.
Honestly, they were pretty receptive from go. A lot of us were bracing for a fight in some ways. We know how badly people have wanted the character back for a while, and it hadn’t happened. I think we expected some resistance internally, too. But what we saw was that they were waiting for a story that would fit who she was now in the New 52. An echo of who she used to be, and something new.
It wasn’t some kind of behind-the-scenes, salacious, tell-all war. I should flip it, and say we’ll release the secrets one day, the black files about how we got Stephanie Brown back, and it’s such a tale. But they were honestly receptive to it once we told them what we had planned.
MTV: Another big scene with Stephanie, she discovers that her father is a supervillain — and not only that, he’s part of a bad guy team. What can you tell us about these guys going forward?
Snyder: They play a really big role. One of the major elements of the story has to do with the criminal that you think of as B-listers, getting to give them bigger roles. That have greater resonance as the story progresses; causing other things to happen as it goes forward like a domino effect. The people at that table aren’t throwaways. They’ll come back in a big way, especially in their relationship to Stephanie and her plot. They’re all major figures in the story."
I think it's really important that a writer who has the spotlight like Snyder chose to make these kinds of statements - about fan love for Steph, about the team on Eternal's love for her. His comments about editorial match the Didio comments here, about how there's no policy against Steph. However, while I think Snyder is sincere here, I have grave doubts about Didio, given his actions in the Smallville Season 11 situation. It is nice that given a creator with enough power, DC didn't throw a fit about reintroducing Steph, though clearly when Gail Simone and Bryan Q. Miller attempted to use her, they were huge jerks about it, either ignoring or quashing it altogether. Once Snyder threw his reputation behind Steph, though, Simone was able to write the Future's End issue, and rope Miller in on consultation for Steph. :)
MTV and Scott Snyder: ‘Batman Eternal #4′ Locks Commissioner Gordon In The Slammer Edit
MTV News: This issue we find out that even Stephanie Brown’s mom is working against her… At this point, is there anyone she can trust?
Scott Snyder: That’s part of the big conflict with her. She has to find somewhere she can go, and someone she can trust. As you saw in “Batman #28″ where we flash-forward and she’s in the clutches of the newly crowned kingpin of crime, Selina Kyle, it’s not going to be easy for her.
It’s going to be a very long road for her in ways that I think will be exciting for people. And also, the people that she meets along the way, or ends up pairing with — whether it’s young characters like Harper and Cullen, or other ones that are new ones you haven’t met before — it will hopefully be as exciting for you to read as it has been for us to write them.
Reading this post-52, it's cool to see that some things were indeed set from the beginning.
MTV and John Layman: 'Batman Eternal #8 Post-Game with Writer John Layman Edit
MTV: When Stephanie gets attacked at the phone, booth, do her parents now think she’s dead? And if her Dad is Cluemaster, who is her Mom?
Layman: Her mom is a lady used to money and the good life, and keeping her good life is her priority, even over her daughter’s well being. Not exactly Mother-Of-The-Year material here.
And clearly some things were not. Either someone messed up, or someone didn't communicate. I'm inclined to say the latter, since Layman left the project very early. It's interesting that Layman at least had the idea of Steph's mom being middle/upper class. Steph from the beginning was a suburban girl, so it's interesting seeing the class issues come up, especially later in the series when her main relationship is with the lower classes.
MTV and Tim Seeley: Batgirl Fights A Lady Scorpion In The Insane ‘Batman Eternal #11′ Edit
Seeley: The ‘legacy” theme of this series gets explored through a variety of characters… Julia, Batman, Stephanie, and now, Selina.
MTV: Stephanie Brown finds out quite a bit about her father this week, and then – I’m assuming – publishes the info online. Is that the smart move for her, given Cluemaster thinks she’s dead?
Seeley: Well, as we’ll see, Stephanie’s voice doesn’t get heard in the midst of all the other chaos, and that’s going to be a a theme for her. Has she cried “Wolf!” too many times? That’s something we kind of added to her character as we “rebooted” her. She’s a ‘blogger” in a world where everyone is a blogger, and the truth isn’t always as important as sensationalism.
I think it's interesting how Steph's legacy is a theme for Seeley - Tynion also picked that up with Selina commenting on Steph's daddy issues in issue 43. Having Steph start with internet activism is very interesting as well, since originally she was a letter writer. Having a huge audience dilutes your warnings, while sending directly to the police commissioner in Detective Comics 647 got Batman and Robin's attention pretty immediately.
MTV and Jame Tynion IV: ‘Batman Eternal #13′: Spoiler’s ‘Costuming Moment’ Is Coming Very Soon Edit
MTV: And then there’s Stephanie Brown. We’ve gotten a peek at where she’s going in “Batman #28,” but right now nobody believes her about Cluemaster’s plans, her friend gets blown up, she seems to be at her lowest point. So where is she, in terms of her hero’s journey?
Tynion: Right now, she’s being pushed more towards a path of vengeance, and that’s going to be something that’s going to be problematic for her, at least at the start.
Her father is ripping everything away from her. She’s becoming a non-person, and with no-one she can really trust or reach out to. And now we’re going to see the ramifications of that. We are reaching the moment, the costuming moment, that’s coming up pretty soon.
She’s ready to become something more in order to fight her father, and we’re going to be seeing that shortly.
A nice parallel to Steph's first arc in Detective Comics, where Batman tries to keep her off the path of vengeance.
MTV and Tim Seeley: ‘Batman Eternal’ Ends Its First Act With A Spoiler-Filled Reveal Edit
MTV: Last big reveal, we get to see Spoiler in her costume this issue. How’d she go from blogging, to full on nun-chucked out superhero?
Seeley: We felt like there was enough time between her storyline that, we didn’t want to overexplain. She was wearing a purple hoodie before, and gets militarized. We don’t need to spend a lot of time on that, we just show you this girl made this choice. Let’s kick this into gear, we need to see The Spoiler, lets not make them wait for much longer.
To be fair, Dixon and co never answered the question of "where did she get her gear" either.
MTV and Ray Fawkes: ‘Batman Eternal #24′ Offers Up A Spoiler-Filled Issue Edit
MTV News: This is really the first full issue of Spoiler as Spoiler, so what’s your idea for her superhero character? Who is she, or who is she becoming?
Ray Fawkes: Steph’s a smart, tough, thrill-seeker with a solid sense of right and wrong that gets her into trouble with her Supervillain father. She started out as the girl who knew too much, and is rapidly becoming The Girl who Wrecks the Plan. She might not have the muscle or the arsenal of most of Batman’s allies, but she’s got a few unique tricks up her sleeve.
She’s also much more of an independent operator than most of the Gotham crew – one of the formative experiences of her life was witnessing a nightmarish attack on her father by the Batman (as seen in “Batman Eternal #11″), and she’s never forgotten it. She knows who the good guys are, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t also a little wary of them…
MTV: Let’s talk about the man in the shadows… I’m guessing that’s Hush, but assume he’s shadowed because Stephanie doesn’t know about him yet? Or is that someone else?
Fawkes: Stephanie has never seen or heard of Hush, so she doesn’t know who he is. This encounter is meant to remind Steph of the Batman attack I mention above, so we didn’t want Hush out in plain sight for it. He’s gotta be scary and shadowy… but this time Steph is older, and able to fight the fear...
MTV: What’s next for Stephanie, and Cluemaster?
Fawkes: Stephanie’s starting her career as The Spoiler in earnest – she’s off to throw some serious wrenches into the bad guys’ plans now – and, as readers of “Batman #28″ already know, she’s on a collision course with Catwoman and Batman.
I like Fawkes's conception of Steph a lot here. There are hints here of Steph's terror in 43, but that reveal still seems more than a bit odd given the intervening issues. I do really like the idea of the parallel between 11 and 24, with Batman and Hush. That indicates some careful thought in creation.
MTV and James Tynion IV: A Hush Falls On Gotham In ‘Batman Eternal #26′ Edit
MTV: Spoiler pretty badly has the tables turned on her this issue… Is that Cluemaster’s doing, or his puppet master’s?
Tynion: That’s an excellent question, now, isn’t it? Clearly Spoiler has caught some folks’ attention in Gotham City, and they don’t want her out there anymore. She knows things nobody else is supposed to know, and obviously we’re creeping closer and closer to the events of “Batman #28.” You’ll just have to wait and see exactly how.
The question of Cluemaster's puppet masters is kinda hilarious now. It does pose the question, though, whether it was Arthur or Lincoln who posted the reward. Both of them were aware of Steph's knowledge. It's funny they said they were creeping closer and closer to Batman 28, when in fact it was another 17 issues away.
MTV and Ray Fawkes: ‘Batman Eternal #40′ Post-Game: The Villains Unite To Take Down Gotham Edit
MTV: Catwoman is starting to track down Spoiler… How crucial is the info Stephanie knows to stopping – or at least finding out – what the master plan is?
Fawkes: I know Scott and the others have said this in various places, but I’ll say it again here: Besides Batman, Stephanie Brown is the most crucial hero in this story. Without her, the good guys wouldn’t stand a chance. Watch and see.
Kind of a non-answer, which makes sense, since Steph's knowledge turned out to not really be that important, but her character actions sort of did. Since the choices made in the story meant that no-one actually figured anything out, the villains just chose to reveal themselves and monologue a lot, any kind of knowledge would have to be held back or ineffectual. Kind of frustrating that the fear of spoilers kept Spoiler from being as effective as she could have been. But, as they say, if everyone listened to Jack Bauer, the show would only be one episode long. :)
MTV and Kyle Higgins: ‘Batman Eternal #41′ Post-Game: A New Hero Emerges Edit
MTV: Will Spoiler ever get to take that bath?
Higgins: Weeks of crime fighting in the same costume? God knows she probably needs it!
The people have a right to know!
MTV and Kyle Higgins: ‘Batman Eternal #42′ Post-Game: How Harper Row Made Her Big Choice Edit
MTV: Going over to Spoiler, why does Stephanie trust her mom, after all she’s done?
Higgins: I think it’s more she wants to trust her mom, than anything. I think our natural tendency is to look for the best in the people we love—we want to believe them. We want to give them second, third, fourth chances. We want them to love us and care about us beyond all else.
MTV: And that cliffhanger, with Catwoman capturing Stephanie. We’re finally catching up to that flash-forward issue from “Batman,” so what was it like filling in those blanks?
Higgins: I give a lot of credit to James Tynion, for keeping all this stuff straight. I knew the beats I needed to hit with Catwoman, Spoiler, and her mom, but he still left me room to play. So, yes, catching up to the flash-forward in Batman 28 very soon!
Like, next issue? That was kinda silly, given the "ooh, it's super soon" 17 issues ago, but one issue before, they don't say, "Tune in next week." Ah, well. We do see here that maybe, just maybe, Layman's comments in issue 8 about Steph's mom might still be consistent with this issue, but it still seems like a change in direction.
MTV and James Tynion IV: ‘Batman Eternal #43′ Post-Game: The Big Bad… Revealed? Edit
MTV News: Writing an issue like this must be a little tricky… How did you coordinate between the events of “Batman #28,” and “Batman Eternal #43?” How did you decide what to use from the earlier issue, and what to ditch/skip over?
James Tynion IV: From a writing perspective, I guess I could have gone with the much easier route of repeating a bunch of the key beats from #28, but going into it I knew that it would be cheap to just show everyone what they’ve already read and seen. So I decided very early on that I was only going to double a couple of moments and try to make everything else read completely new.
MTV: It’s also interesting because a fair amount of “Batman #28″ was built for the surprise reveal – Bluebird, who’s in the cave, Selina as crime boss and the reveal of Spoiler. Did that up the challenge for writing “BE #43″ in a satisfying way?
Tynion: I always knew this would be a tricky issue, because we had to properly lay the events of Batman #28 into the framework of “Batman Eternal,” but it was also absolutely crucial that we give people an issue that surprised them. I didn’t want to just run through the exact same events from Batman’s POV entering the Casino rather than Harper’s, just showing things that happened in and around the panels we saw almost a year ago.
We couldn’t rely on the reveal of Harper in the Bluebird outfit, or Selina as Kingpin of Crime, or Spoiler as the young woman who has all the pieces to put the puzzle together… But still, with this serving the role as the sister issue to that story, those three needed to be right up front and center.
I decided I wanted to make it about the one thing we didn’t get ANY real sense of in #28. I wanted to make it about Stephanie Brown’s relationship to both Selina Kyle and Harper Row. Once I figured that out, and where to lace in the couple of beats from the original storyline, the whole issue fell into place.
MTV: So much changes during the writing process… I know this was always a marker you guys were going to reach, but was there any particular plot point that felt like, a year or so later, it didn’t quite work or make sense? Anything you had to tweak?
Tynion: There were a couple of tiny pieces, for instance, we didn’t quite know that we’d be resolving the Nanotech storyline before this issue… The placement of what is now #43 shifted around a few times over the first part of the year. There’s a line in the original #28 about her brother being infected that’s a little less dire now in the present, since Cullen is up and active (but then again, the criminals that Harper drops that line to in the original don’t know that, so it’s still a valid reason to try and get help from the biggest crime-boss in Gotham).
But in terms of the key plot, the role of this part of the story, down to the last page reveal have been in every iteration of the skeleton document for “Batman Eternal.” There wasn’t a lot of heavy gymnastics needed to make this moment in time work just the way we envisioned it would.
MTV: One of the great runners in this issue is the burgeoning friendship between Harper and Stephanie… What’s it like to write these two characters together? And in particular, it feels like we’re seeing a very different side of Harper.
Tynion: One thing that I think is pretty clear about Harper is that she’s never really had friends. She’s too stubborn and protective. Her brother and her are a tight family unit that she’s not all that willing or eager to open up to outside interference. I think we’ve seen her lean on Tim a bit in the last year, but she’s never really opened up to him, because she doesn’t really know how.
She’s not like the Robins. Her background is much more rough and tumble, and she’s worked her ass off to make sure that she and Cullen don’t end up tossed out on the streets. Friends were a luxury that never seemed important to her, and I think you can see right here, off the bat, she doesn’t take much of a liking to Stephanie at first glance.
But ultimately, they’re very similar. They’re driven by family, trying to escape the lives their fathers left them, and that means Harper can understand Stephanie in a way the rest of the Bat-Family can’t. We’re seeing that start to develop here.
Since this is the first really big Steph issue after 24, it makes sense that there's a lot of talk about her. I liked the "behind the scenes" aspect of the way Batman 28 and Eternal 43 fit together, but apparently some readers still felt it was too redundant. Interesting that though the reveal at the end was set in stone, the focus on the three female characters was done more on the fly. Although the relationship between Steph and Harper has gotten some pushback online, I've found it quite interesting, and sometimes quite engaging.
MTV and Kyle Higgins: ‘Batman Eternal #48′ Post-Game: The Penguin Also Rises Edit
MTV: This is a bigger question, but between Julia, Spoiler, and Harper there’s been a concerted effort to flesh out the Bat-bench with a few more women. Was that something in particular you guys decided to do heading into this book?
Higgins: We’re looking to write and develop interesting characters, plain and simple. I don’t think anyone went into the series with the mindset or mandate of “we need more female Bat characters,” but I am super happy that’s how it turned out. I’ve always been a big Stephanie Brown fan, so getting to bring her into the New 52 has been super cool. And Harper and Julia both have pretty unique qualities and personalities. I think they’re both great additions to Team Batman.
I think it's great that so many of the writers for Eternal were historically fans of Steph, not "Oh, I found out our plans for her and went back and read a lot."
MTV and Kyle Higgins: ‘Batman Eternal #49′ Post-Game: It’s Bane Vs. Bat-Plane With Gotham On The Line Edit
MTV: There seems to be a hint of sadness from Cluemaster when his daughter abandons him… Is there a part of him that’s repentant?
Higgins: Even a bad dude like Cluemaster is going to feel a tinge of regret and loss when his daughter rejects him. This moment is really kind of a goodbye for them. And I think they both know it.
Interesting that Higgins highlights the "goodbye" aspect, since we know post-52 that they would never meet again. The moment does have a lot more poignancy in the end.
MTV and James Tynion IV: ‘Batman Eternal #51′: One Last Twist, As Batman’s Identity Is Revealed Edit
MTV: The Spoiler/Harper scene is nicely reminiscent of the bike scene with Catwoman and Batman in “Dark Knight Rises.” Was that a touch-point for you at all?
Tynion: I’ll be totally honest, that’s the first time I’ve thought of that comparison! It’s difficult to talk about this scene without the scene that follows it up directly in the next issue, but it’s a key point for Stephanie. I’d say Stephanie Brown is one of the most crucial figures in Issue #52, so people are going to have to wait just one more week to see how it plays out.
The Dark Knight Rises connection was commented on fairly heavily online, so it's a bit disingenuous for Tynion to not notice. This issue caused a lot of frustration for Steph fans, and though this interview did give hope that Steph wouldn't end the series as a punk, it wasn't much comfort.
Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fakes, Kyle Higgins, and Tim Seeley: ‘Batman Eternal’ Brain-Trust Breaks Down The End Of The Series Edit
MTV: Let’s talk about a specific moment right when they take down Lincoln… Spoiler gets to throw the final punch on him before he disappears… Why was that important?
Tynion IV: Well, that was one of the first things readers found out about this series when we first announced it back in October, 2013: that we were bringing in Spoiler. And there was a promise in that, that this would have a very strong
That this would be a story that reintroduces her back into the Batman mythos in the biggest possible way. In the end, it needed to be her throwing that punch because she is the one who’s gone through the most. She represents the cost of people going after Batman, and people who have every right to hate everything that Batman stands for, and not want to help.
She is a good person, but just because you are a good person does not mean you go out there in the streets and start punching bad guys. But this is someone who was able to come together and pull herself to this point where she does want to help — or she needs to help. And you know, we saw her in #51 leave Gotham City just because she’s done her part, and she has given all the evidence she has to the press… She is ready to get out of Gotham City having already been a bit of a hero.
The moment with Harper, Harper isn’t going to back down, she is going to keep fighting even if it means she might die — and that almost doesn’t make sense to Spoiler in that moment… Until it really hits her, and she sees an ordinary person try to save her life, trying to live up to the idea of Batman. That’s the first time she sees the Batman symbol for what it could really be. Although we also see that there is a moment before all of this that she did see Batman that way. All the way back in #11.
Snyder: We saw it where this is a young girl who had this strange vision of Batman in her head, and as this dark force in the city, almost this kind of nightmare — and now she is seeing it the way the Bat-family is seeing it, to step up and do her part. Ultimately the character needed to embody the city, becoming Batman… And it was Spoiler.
MTV: While we’re talking about Spoiler, there is that wonderful little panel where she is introduced to Red Robin and they just silently look at each other for just one second. As a big Spoiler fan, that definitely sent my heart aflutter… Are we going to see that relationship, potential relationship, play out anywhere in the books?
Tynion IV: That is definitely something that is there both for a bit of a tease, and also as a huge Tim Drake and Spoiler fan — and something I think that readers were waiting to see happen. I can’t talk too much about where that story is going to play out immediately, but I think that is a story that readers want to see. But, you know Stephanie Brown is Harper’s roommate, and all sorts of frustrations that would come from that, we’re definitely going to be seeing the windows into that over the next year. You’ll have to wait and see exactly where that will happen.
A jam packed last issue, and a jam packed interview, but some good stuff revealed. It's nice to see Tynion not pin all of Steph's change of heart on Harper, and not blame Steph for being tired of paying the cost of Batman, already being a hero. Also, the careful construction of Steph's journey from issue 3, with issue 11 as a touchstone multiple times, finally embracing the mantle of Batman in 52, is a nicely done arc, with a few hiccups. The Tim/Steph commentary was also great to hear, not only that the fans represented by the interviewer, but also by the writers, and that the thread isn't going to be dropped. Finally, it's really exciting to hear that there are plans to see Steph and Harper as roommates over the next year and see them. Hopefully this doesn't mean Batman Eternal Year Two, but instead the coming calendar year.