How Do You Really Feel About How DC Uses Jason?

#1 Posted by RedHoodsDen (496 posts) - - Show Bio

Consider this your assignment, Hoodies. Essay form. 
 
Discuss DC editorial's handling of Jason Todd over the last 6 years, providing critical analysis of those decisions citing examples, and how you would have instead utilized the character. 
 
Yes really. I want in your heads.

#2 Posted by RedHoodsDen (496 posts) - - Show Bio

Fine me first. 
 
I think you can look at the handling of Jason during his time as Robin [Post-Crisis] and argue that sensationalism has been part of the Jason Todd dilemma since his inception. The new Robin was reborn under a spectacle of a dead boy wonder. He was dead before he ever really appeared. The Dark Knight Returns was a massive success and one little chestnut in that tale was the Robin memorial. "I will never forget Jason. He was a good soldier. He honored with his service. But the war goes on." With that a seed was planted. Grim and gritty and influential as DKR was, there had to be a feeling of wanting to incorporate something from that series into the mainstream DCU. But that was probably the moment a bullseye was put on the kid's head, in a moment of sensationalism. 
 
Of course, that was before he ever really debuted. The Post Crisis Jason Todd, the supposedly hated one, was destined to die before he ever showed up. That Jason Todd appeared in something like 9 issues total not including his origin by Max Allan Collins, and I think it's rather hard to argue the moments of fan contempt came from what Collins did. Rather it is Jim Starlin, a man who professed hating the very notion of Robin, that was given the charge of fleshing out the new boy wonder. Starlin would admit to trying to get the kid killed at every turn, even going so far as to have him die of AIDS in an issue advocacy piece, sensationalism and the boy wonder yet again. Though if you really look at the 9 issues Starlin wrote, his portrayal of Jason plays the part of smiling wise cracking do gooder with barely any lines in Millenium tie-in issues, a happy little Nightwing teamup, a throwaway line about killing a woman beater,  4 issue KGBeast arc in which he saves the President, and then of course, the famous Diplomat's Son arc in which he may have pushed a rapist to his death. However, we're to believe the character was absolutely hated even before the Diplomat's Son storyline. That all these angry letters came before that storyline. They had to after all, because A Death In The Family came immediately afterwards. It wouldn't have merely been a case of shoehorning a killing onto the mantle of Robin right before the critical vote to garner...sensationalism for the bat titles by enraging Burt Ward fans everywhere would it?  It couldn't be that could it? It has to be that the KGBeast story, the Nightwing teamup, and the issues where he waited in the car, or showed up at the last second in a Kabuki mask incurred the wrath of fanboys everywhere. Because...they all hated him, right? The Cult must've pissed them off too, what with Jason heroically fighting nearly to the death to save Bruce. Had to be that. The Death of Robin was a sensational, talked about- sales bump for the bat titles. So what if the vote was near evenly split and probably represented 3% of all readers and only half that supposedly wanted the kid dead?
  
Sensationalism over substance. Tell the lie often enough and people believe it. He...was....hated....

Nearly 20 years later and a resurrection a wee bit back, very little has changed. Jason Todd is a sales bump. He can be counted on once a year to show up for 3 issues or less, put on a different suit, and be a catalyst for an event. Every writer can have their take, siphoning off a little bit more of life from the living dead. "What if we put him in a Robin suit and fight Tim? Right...k....we went there. What if he puts on a Nightwing suit.and fights Dick?....K now what? Oooooh ooooh oooh he puts on a Batman suit...and fights Dick again....Hmmm.... hmm...hmmm....but what if he made a Red Hood superhero suit now and fights Batman and Robin...with a sidekick....?" In between that were teeny tiny moments of possible growth where he almost becomes his own man to only take his ball and go home straying from his own identity as Red Robin, a handmedown to be sure that was more than fine for Tim Drake, ironically enough, and never capitalizing on the promise there to build his own life as the Red Hood. 

 So it is that we are where we are today, some 6 different identities and looks in 6 years, none leaving a lasting impression except perhaps the first Red Hood, which we've been told is in no way more important than Gatman or his Dark Nightwing to DC, not more than Red Robin or Morrison's Red Hood. Because being directionless is where its at. You want a character to not have "any legs". You ever stop and think that there was just about one panel of inner dialogue in all of The Lost Days? Do you find it awkward we're going to change the costume after his biker look was exposed to the largest audience it would ever have? Or that you were told by issue 1 of Lost Days "No, don't go out and buy multiple copies. This will not lead to a series".  Can you ever think of a company being a wet blanket like that before, where the writer himself would say, this will go nowhere. Don't get too happy. 
 
For one minute though, it was possible. Because you can maintain the idea that Jason is Bruce's greatest failure because he became a vigilante who kills. THAT is the failing. Burt Ward turned into Death Wish Part IV. What could've been a raw gritty and realistic urban how to guide to vigilantism with hardcore ties to Batman. What could've been DC's best attempt to carve out an anti-hero for itself in 20 years...turned into the annual costume change. Not since Hal Jordan went mad and turned into the genocidal Parallax was the outcry from fans so ignored by DC as with Jason Todd's fanbase screaming for a return to glory. Of course, you know what the thing about Emerald Twilight and the years that followed was, right?
 
Sensationalism over substance.

#3 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29331 posts) - - Show Bio
@RedHoodsDen: Nice post. Totally agree.
#4 Posted by daredevil21134 (9111 posts) - - Show Bio
@RedHoodsDen said:
"Fine me first.  I think you can look at the handling of Jason during his time as Robin [Post-Crisis] and argue that sensationalism has been part of the Jason Todd dilemma since his inception. The new Robin was reborn under a spectacle of a dead boy wonder. He was dead before he ever really appeared. The Dark Knight Returns was a massive success and one little chestnut in that tale was the Robin memorial. "I will never forget Jason. He was a good soldier. He honored with his service. But the war goes on." With that a seed was planted. Grim and gritty and influential as DKR was, there had to be a feeling of wanting to incorporate something from that series into the mainstream DCU. But that was probably the moment a bullseye was put on the kid's head, in a moment of sensationalism.  Of course, that was before he ever really debuted. The Post Crisis Jason Todd, the supposedly hated one, was destined to die before he ever showed up. That Jason Todd appeared in something like 9 issues total not including his origin by Max Allan Collins, and I think it's rather hard to argue the moments of fan contempt came from what Collins did. Rather it is Jim Starlin, a man who professed hating the very notion of Robin, that was given the charge of fleshing out the new boy wonder. Starlin would admit to trying to get the kid killed at every turn, even going so far as to have him die of AIDS in an issue advocacy piece, sensationalism and the boy wonder yet again. Though if you really look at the 9 issues Starlin wrote, his portrayal of Jason plays the part of smiling wise cracking do gooder with barely any lines in Millenium tie-in issues, a happy little Nightwing teamup, a throwaway line about killing a woman beater,  4 issue KGBeast arc in which he saves the President, and then of course, the famous Diplomat's Son arc in which he may have pushed a rapist to his death. However, we're to believe the character was absolutely hated even before the Diplomat's Son storyline. That all these angry letters came before that storyline. They had to after all, because A Death In The Family came immediately afterwards. It wouldn't have merely been a case of shoehorning a killing onto the mantle of Robin right before the critical vote to garner...sensationalism for the bat titles by enraging Burt Ward fans everywhere would it?  It couldn't be that could it? It has to be that the KGBeast story, the Nightwing teamup, and the issues where he waited in the car, or showed up at the last second in a Kabuki mask incurred the wrath of fanboys everywhere. Because...they all hated him, right? The Cult must've pissed them off too, what with Jason heroically fighting nearly to the death to save Bruce. Had to be that. The Death of Robin was a sensational, talked about- sales bump for the bat titles. So what if the vote was near evenly split and probably represented 3% of all readers and only half that supposedly wanted the kid dead?  Sensationalism over substance. Tell the lie often enough and people believe it. He...was....hated....Nearly 20 years later and a resurrection a wee bit back, very little has changed. Jason Todd is a sales bump. He can be counted on once a year to show up for 3 issues or less, put on a different suit, and be a catalyst for an event. Every writer can have their take, siphoning off a little bit more of life from the living dead. "What if we put him in a Robin suit and fight Tim? Right...k....we went there. What if he puts on a Nightwing suit.and fights Dick?....K now what? Oooooh ooooh oooh he puts on a Batman suit...and fights Dick again....Hmmm.... hmm...hmmm....but what if he made a Red Hood superhero suit now and fights Batman and Robin...with a sidekick....?" In between that were teeny tiny moments of possible growth where he almost becomes his own man to only take his ball and go home straying from his own identity as Red Robin, a handmedown to be sure that was more than fine for Tim Drake, ironically enough, and never capitalizing on the promise there to build his own life as the Red Hood.  So it is that we are where we are today, some 6 different identities and looks in 6 years, none leaving a lasting impression except perhaps the first Red Hood, which we've been told is in no way more important than Gatman or his Dark Nightwing to DC, not more than Red Robin or Morrison's Red Hood. Because being directionless is where its at. You want a character to not have "any legs". You ever stop and think that there was just about one panel of inner dialogue in all of The Lost Days? Do you find it awkward we're going to change the costume after his biker look was exposed to the largest audience it would ever have? Or that you were told by issue 1 of Lost Days "No, don't go out and buy multiple copies. This will not lead to a series".  Can you ever think of a company being a wet blanket like that before, where the writer himself would say, this will go nowhere. Don't get too happy.  For one minute though, it was possible. Because you can maintain the idea that Jason is Bruce's greatest failure because he became a vigilante who kills. THAT is the failing. Burt Ward turned into Death Wish Part IV. What could've been a raw gritty and realistic urban how to guide to vigilantism with hardcore ties to Batman. What could've been DC's best attempt to carve out an anti-hero for itself in 20 years...turned into the annual costume change. Not since Hal Jordan went mad and turned into the genocidal Parallax was the outcry from fans so ignored by DC as with Jason Todd's fanbase screaming for a return to glory. Of course, you know what the thing about Emerald Twilight and the years that followed was, right? Sensationalism over substance. "

Preach it man
#5 Edited by RedHoodsDen (496 posts) - - Show Bio

Look at what Winick said about the upcoming arc, it's basically the team-up arc. The last bastion of ideas for a character that's not allowed to evolve and has to be "lost". After the team-up, then what? New costume?  I don't think we should beg anymore. Because aside from Damian, Jason is the biggest character in the bat titles in the last decade. Yet I had to patiently smirk for 18 months as Azrael slid to cancellation. You expect me to believe  Michael Lane EVER could've been interesting enough to garner fans long term? Please. Magog. Magog!
 
You ever heard Quesada's analogy about DC and Superman? The whole thing about having the biggest prick in the world and not knowing how to screw with it? That's what this feels like. That or the Hal Jordan analogy where we all screamed "Hero! Anti-Hero! Protagonist! Give him a series!"  and they whisper back "Villain...and no" 
 
It's utterly insane.    
 
Anyone have access to getting T shirts or posters or Red Hood condoms made?  I think we need a guerilla propaganda effort.

#6 Posted by RedHoodJT (527 posts) - - Show Bio

I for one agree with what you are saying about how DC treats Jason. It took me a little bit to realize it but they really do only use the character to boost sales to a specific series or book and its only 3 issues of him. They give him a new suit and a different personality therefore showing the fact that they can't get him right. So they just make up the fact that he has multiple personalities because it fits into what each writer, after Judd, has done with the character. It sickens me to know that the biggest and most loved character in the Bat titles right now is only used when sales seem to slip a bit. If that is the case give him his OWN DAMN book and put a DAMN GOOD writer on it. One that knows the character well and knows how to write a book that will be an ongoing.
 
I don't want some idiot writer like Morrison coming in and taking Jason Todd and saying ok what can we change about him to where I can call him my character. No I wan the Biker outfit wearing I learned from Batman all my skills and abilities Red Hood. I don't want some sad excuse for an anti hero that decides he wants to wear a weird Mysterio looking fishbowl over his head supporting a cape and fight the New Batman and Robin just to be saved by them later on. I want a badass character like he was when they first brought him back. If that means putting Judd on it full time and giving him his own book where he gets to call the shots for Jason then dammit they should do it.

#7 Posted by georgethecat (65 posts) - - Show Bio

Look, we don't know yet if this *isn't* character development for Jason. All we know is that the four characters (Bruce, Jason, Damian and Dick) are going to be forced to fight together.  And it's also going to be written by the best writer for Jason. I'm excited about it, I think it's going to be good.  
Jason is probably going to often flit between the potential for redemption and being an anti-hero. That's one of the things that makes him so compelling. It doesn't mean his character can't develop. And on top of that, Jason is kind of a bit like Cass right now. Fans haven't liked the direction he was going (irredeemable villain -- Battle for the Cowl) and they didn't like the direction Cass was going (villain in the Adam Beechen mini). 
I'm happy just to get well-written Jason and get him back on track. THEN go from there. 

#8 Posted by daredevil21134 (9111 posts) - - Show Bio
@georgethecat said:
"Look, we don't know yet if this *isn't* character development for Jason. All we know is that the four characters (Bruce, Jason, Damian and Dick) are going to be forced to fight together.  And it's also going to be written by the best writer for Jason. I'm excited about it, I think it's going to be good.  Jason is probably going to often flit between the potential for redemption and being an anti-hero. That's one of the things that makes him so compelling. It doesn't mean his character can't develop. And on top of that, Jason is kind of a bit like Cass right now. Fans haven't liked the direction he was going (irredeemable villain -- Battle for the Cowl) and they didn't like the direction Cass was going (villain in the Adam Beechen mini). I'm happy just to get well-written Jason and get him back on track. THEN go from there.  "

agreed
#9 Posted by daredevil21134 (9111 posts) - - Show Bio
@RedHoodsDen said:
"Look at what Winick said about the upcoming arc, it's basically the team-up arc. The last bastion of ideas for a character that's not allowed to evolve and has to be "lost". After the team-up, then what? New costume?  I don't think we should beg anymore. Because aside from Damian, Jason is the biggest character in the bat titles in the last decade. Yet I had to patiently smirk for 18 months as Azrael slid to cancellation. You expect me to believe  Michael Lane EVER could've been interesting enough to garner fans long term? Please. Magog. Magog! You ever heard Quesada's analogy about DC and Superman? The whole thing about having the biggest prick in the world and not knowing how to screw with it? That's what this feels like. That or the Hal Jordan analogy where we all screamed "Hero! Anti-Hero! Protagonist! Give him a series!"  and they whisper back "Villain...and no"  It's utterly insane.     Anyone have access to getting T shirts or posters or Red Hood condoms made?  I think we need a guerilla propaganda effort. "

LOL you crack me up man
#10 Posted by RedHoodsDen (496 posts) - - Show Bio
@georgethecat:  
 
That's the thing in my head as well. I don't expect Judd to make another new Jason Todd but I didn't miss what he said either. Which is Grant's Jason is now apart of his. That his costumes/looks should change. He is this directionless character who can't find his legs. Hero, Anti-Hero, Villain and back again. 
 
That he did say. Which is concerning, it doesn't spell out some alignment that will be good for the character. Moreso the opposite.  
 
And frankly, much as I like Judd, I don't think he's very much the type to argue a path for a character that might be for the best if it's in an opposite position as editorial wants it.
#11 Posted by RedHoodsDen (496 posts) - - Show Bio

Step 1 of Guerilla Propaganda Strike. 
 
I shall use a playing card maker to make....  Jason's Death Cards. Editorial will be getting decks.

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