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Friday, July 19, 2013 

Chuck Dixon gives a little history of Spoiler, who never got the attention she could've used

Dixon was interviewed by a Polish Batman site about his past work, and he gave some insight into how he'd created Spoiler, only to never see her gain the popularity she could have, in part because DC's top brass never wanted it:
– You have created the Spoiler, a character who has gained cult status among the American fans. What would you say is her appeal? Why did she manage to win the hearts and minds of comic book enthusiasts?

I’d like to think it’s her humble roots. She’s being raised by a single mom. Her dad is a louse. She lives in a lower middle class neighbourhood. She didn’t have a lot of experience or cool gadgets. But she had a lot of heart. I think a LOT of readers identified with her.

– Despite her immense popularity, the Spoiler is (for the time being) abandoned. Would you care to comment on DC Comics’ – and particularly, Dan DiDio’s – approach to this character?

The Spoiler has been actively ignored by DC Comics in general. She has never had an action figure or appeared in any animation. That started before DiDio arrived. He did allow me to bring her back.
But he threw her away again after putting her rather half-heartedly into the Batgirl role at Cassandra Cain's expense, and then obviously never having had the interest in building her up convincingly. This is pretty interesting to learn that Stephanie Brown was one of at least a few superhero characters from the 1990s whom they never had any interest in cashing in on with other mediums like toys and cartoons. It brings to mind another related problem: for many years, DC has never reprinted much of the Robin series from the time. I think the 2 miniseries Dixon wrote preceding it were reprinted in trades, and there was one trade of the first several issues. But beyond that, the majority of what he wrote for Robin was never reprinted, and what did get published in trades has gone out of print. By contrast, at least a few containing Bill Willingham's run on the series - which was unpopular thanks to his own collaborations in the War Games/Crimes crossover - were published, though they might've gone out of print too, as it was otherwise a very poor take on the Teen Wonder, even destroying much of what Dixon established when he began.
– What is your opinion on the current state of affairs at DC Comics and on the reboot of the universe? Do you read comic books they publish?

I haven’t read one. None of them interest me at first or second glance. But I do know, from freelancers I talk to, that the line is micro-managed to death by editorial. You can read the constantly shifting talent line-up and guess that. The only creators in the line with job security are company executives.
And that micro-management will eventually be the downfall of the entire publishing arm.

Dixon's not the only contributor who got shafted: there's even Mark Waid, if any books he wrote at the time went out of print since and they've never bothered to continue publishing them. There's even writers whose work was never reprinted, like John Ostrander's. His Hawkworld run was never reprinted, and come to think of it, neither was his Spectre run. I'd guess this is because, despite all the loads of money WB makes as the parent company, they've become increasingly selfish and don't want to pay any royalties anymore. This has been mentioned by some of the former contributors themselves in some form or other, and it's now pretty clear why they want nothing to do with DC and Marvel in their current management.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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