"Part of the Legend": Stephanie Brown's relationship with being Robin Edit
Stephanie: "Was any of it real? Was I ever really Robin?"
Batman: "Of course you were."
Stephanie: "Good. Then I was really part of it - part of the legend. Even if it was only for a little while." - Batman #633 (Bill Willingham, writer)
From her first appearance, Stephanie Brown has been directly connected to Robin, as a foil, an antagonist, a love interests. But perhaps the most important part of her relationship to the Robin identity is the fact that briefly, she was Robin - a storyline that was an integral part of her death, and the fandom that loved her so much that creators finally brought her back and finally gave her a solo title. Without the higher profile that came with being Batman's direct partner, it's likely that fewer people would have known about her and the terrible mishandling of her character.
This article serves as a repository for information and analysis of Steph's time as Robin, both her famous 3-month stint in the tights, and various other alternate universe appearances as Robin.
|World Without Young Justice AU|
|Robin #101||April 31, 2002|
|Robin #126||May 19, 2004|
|Robin #127||Jun 23, 2004|
|Batgirl #53||Jun 30, 2004|
|Solo #10*||April 26, 2006|
|Detective Comics #796||July 7, 2004|
|Teen Titans #13||July 14, 2004|
|Robin #128||July 21, 2004|
|Batman Allies Secret Files and Origins 2005||June 29, 2005|
|Detective Comics #809||August 3, 2005|
|Batman #643||August 10, 2005|
|Detective Comics #810||August 17, 2005|
|Batman #644||August 24, 2005|
|Part of the Timeline|
|Robin #147||February 8, 2006|
|52 Week #8||June 28, 2006|
|Echoes in the Universe|
|The All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold #13||November 9, 2011|
|Detective Comics #42 (Variant cover only)||July 1, 2015|
Steph's Impact on Sales as Robin Edit
Steph as Robin in the World Without Young Justice crossover event (2002)
Robin (101 April 2002 (98 - 43rd, 37,265; 99 - 51st, 34,302; 100 - 47th, 33,514; 101 - 57th, 32,081; 102 - 69th, 29,635)
Young Justice (45) July 2002 (should be April?) (79th, 27,013)
Conclusion - for some reason, the Robin title was steadily losing numbers, and Steph as Robin wasn't interesting enough/too clearly a crossover temporary thing to do anything to sales. But this is a weird thing - even the 100th issue didn't bump sales up.
Reviews at the time were approving towards Steph as Robin, but it was clearly a crossover alternate reality, so no one thought about it as a possible status quo:http://www.comicsbulletin.com/reviews/102019664654654.htm
Apparently, the crossover with Steph as Robin was something Chuck Dixon had pitched to editorial, but was rejected:http://ozandends.blogspot.com/2009/04/chuck-dixon-on-robinand-spider-man.html
Steph as Robin in War Drums
Robin 126 May 2004 (124 - 77th, 29,096; 125 - 62nd, 32,925; 126 - 30th, 49,060)
Robin 127 June 2004 (43rd, 40,750)
Batgirl 53 June 2004 (52 - 84th, 26,405; 53 - 72nd, 30,372; 54 - 84th, 25,907; 55 - 48th, 39,470)
Solo 10 April 2006 (146th, 11,415)
Detective Comics 796 July 2004 (795 - 60th, 34,650; 796 - 47th, 36,807; 797 - 27th, 50,696)
Teen Titans 13 July 2004 (12 - 20th, 66,426; 13 - 15th, 65,661; 14 - 19th, 63,896)
Robin 128 July 2004 (128 - 44th, 37,255; 129 - 31st, 45,643)
Conclusion - Steph provided a massive bump in sales to the Robin title on her first issue, but didn't maintain - by her last issue as Robin, sales had dropped by about 12,000 issues, though they were still higher than pre-Steph!Robin sales. Additionally, War Games bumped sales almost as high as Steph!Robin, and did so across the board for all titles involved. Steph gave Batgirl a bump of about 4,000 issues, but War Games gave a bump of over 14,000 issues, and 9,000 issues more than Steph's bump. Detective Comics got a 2,000 issue Steph bump, but a 16,000 War Games bump.
Reviews at the time indicated that some people viewed Steph as a placeholder (http://comicsbulletin.com/old-site-archive/?review=108763263033957):
"Robin #127 is still annoying me. Batman's casual acceptance of a girlie as the new Robin, Batman's clever-clever fun-loving dialogue exchanges with Robin, Tim Drake's ongoing presence in the storyline - let's face it, we know the female Robin isn't going to hang around for long, she'll probably snuff it in the upcoming crossover, and Tim will be back as Robin before you know it. Because we know this, everything that happens is just marking time."
However, some thought she could be a longterm partner for Batman (http://comicsbulletin.com/old-site-archive/?review=108422163659093; http://comicsbulletin.com/old-site-archive/?review=108599336539681; http://comicsbulletin.com/old-site-archive/?review=108919529622257; http://comicsbulletin.com/old-site-archive/?review=109101607347484).
Detective Comics, currently known as "The second Batman title that sells a bit less than Batman," sold under 10,000 copies more than Robin, and way less than Teen Titans. Reviews seemed positive for Steph's one issue, and didn't indicate any speculation that her position was temporary: http://www.jorgo.org/rants-125/review-details-129/2004-07-12_detective-comics-796-2004/; https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.arts.comics.dc.universe/HPc5bMmwFw0
Aftermath in War Crimes and others
Batman 633 October 2004 (633 - 16th, 69,879; 634 - 23rd, 63,767)
Batman Allies Secret Files and Origins June 2004 (101st, 24,936)
Detective Comics #809 August 2005 (808 - 52nd, 37,957; 809 - 41st, 49,083)
Batman #643 August 2005 (642 - 27th, 65,443; 643 - 28th, 66,391)
Detective Comics #810 August 2005 (810 - 45th, 48,266; 811 - 56th, 38,768)
Batman #644 August 2005 (644 - 29th, 65,123; 645 - 30th, 65,977)
Steph's death was the final issue of an event, so there was an immediate slump, but that can't be too connected (and it was a decent death, even if everything that led up to it made zero sense). The War Crimes event crossover got a consistent 10,000 issue bump for Detective, virtually no bump for Batman - but Batman was outselling Detective by about 30,000 normally.
52 Week 8 - part of the timeline given to another character - June 28, 2006
Robin 147 - February 8, 2006 - One Year Later montage included Steph with the Scott design.
THE ALL-NEW BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD 13 November 2011 (12 - 269th, 6,771; 13 - 229th, 7,143; 14 - 233rd, 6,724)
I have no idea how this comic was published. All the Robins did get about 300-400 bump, but the numbers on this title are astonishingly low unless it was digital first, which I don't think it was, based on comixology. Did they just not pay anyone involved any money?
DETECTIVE COMICS 42 July 2015 (41 - 28th, 57,648; 42 - 31st, 50,743; 43 - 21st, 53,576) Fascinatingly, this issue was a valley - the Teen Titans Go variant initiative was significantly less successful than the Joker previous variant, and even the Bombshells following variant.
Costume analysis Edit
Steph's most famous look as Robin was designed by Damion Scott. The hair like a flame and Robin skirt became the most identifiable parts of Steph's costume, as seen in the Brave and the Bold and Detective Comics #42 images. However, each artist who has drawn Steph as Robin has brought their own flair to the costume. Perhaps most interestingly, Steph's alternate universe Robin appearance in Robin #101 prefigures Dustin Nguyen's lower face mask in Batman Eternal.
The New 52 Edit
In the New 52, Steph was never Robin (or "Batman's Partner," as Batman and Robin Eternal called it, to include Tim as Red Robin) in the current continuity. Though the "We Are Robin" movement might have given her a chance to be part of the legend again, Detective Comics: Endgame showed clearly that Steph as Spoiler is an established identity and mentor figure to the Robin movement. Additionally, Steph didn't achieve the same closeness to Batman as she did when her first introduction to him was through Robin - since she first encountered him terrifying her dad for his crimes (Batman Eternal #11), and she spent most of Batman Eternal mistaking Lincoln March for Bruce Wayne, she hasn't shown the same interest in working with Batman as in Post-Crisis continuity.
During the New 52, Steph does not have the desire to be one of Batman's main partners (that desire being taken over by her roommate, Harper Row), and as she was already an established hero, becoming part of the Robin movement would have been a significant step down. The Batgirl of Burnside writing team seemed to be setting up Steph as part of the League of Batgirls in their last arc of the title (perhaps most clearly scene in issue 51), but with Rebirth ending all titles, that never happened in continuity, but only in the possible narrative of Future's End.
Writer James Tynion IV has claimed that Detective Comics in Rebirth will be Gotham Boot Camp for young heros, with Tim, Steph, and Cass forming the trio of students to Batman and Batwoman. This promises a possible redemption of Steph as Batman's partner.