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Saturday, September 11, 2021 

Chuck Dixon disappointed with Robin retcon, and Bill Willingham reveals the Bernard Dowd character was his own creation

To date, following DC editorial's contrived retcon turning Tim Drake bisexual, his creator Marv Wolfman has yet to respond. Chuck Dixon, however, as the writer most significantly tied with building up the character as a cast member of the Batbooks in the 90s, has given an answer, in his 74th podcast: I figure if anybody could give the most straightforward response to this embarrassment, it's Dixon, who made the following points:
Dixon then went on to discuss the retcon. He explained, “Robin is an iconic character. He’s been around forever. I’m not surprised by what happened because this is what they do. It’s disappointing more than anything else.”

He continued, “Because why couldn’t they just create a new character instead of leaning into a question that’s existed for the Robin character almost since his creation thanks to this gentleman, Frederick Wertham, who introduced the idea that there may be some sort of homosexual subtext to Batman and Robin and now they’ve basically confirmed.”
This is exactly why Wertham should be despised. He pretty much put ideas into future leftists' heads (and was one himself), and now we're seeing the very negative results.
“For what reason, I have no understanding. It’s a cynical marketing ploy because it brings attention to the title. What it will not bring to the title is increased sales because these things never work that way,” Dixon asserted.

He then posited, “There have been gay characters in American comics since the 80s. It’s not a new thing. It’s not stunning or brave. It’s just changing things for the sake of changing them. I mean what’s next? Hal Jordan is a cannibal? What are they going to do next?”
After Hal Jordan was forcefully changed into a deranged murderer in Emerald Twilight and Zero Hour back in 1994, anything's possible. If they could allow this repellent retcon to Robin 3, they could go so far as many other horrible ideas.
“This has been the flavor of the month for almost three decades. Is to reveal that a character is bi or gay, which to me is a distinction without a difference,” the Robin writer stated.

Dixon then noted, “I don’t understand the point of it. The character was never written this way, never conceived this way. But this is going to be his continuity from now on even if they retcon it back, even if they do a reboot and he’s no longer bi-curious; he will be bi-curious for the rest of time. This is going to be part of his continuity.”

“I don’t think there’s any real good reason for this beyond a simple marketing ploy. Like I said, these marketing ploys…they don’t work, they’re not effective. They don’t raise sales, but they raise interest from the media and from the peers within the industry. Which I guess is the point, to get your back slapped at an editorial meeting or possibly to get an interview with Vanity Fair. Maybe your name might get mentioned on CNN,” he said.

Dixon contended, “But I think the vast majority of the American public has no idea who Tim Drake is. So now Robin is gay because they don’t know the difference between…They don’t know there’s been three versions of Robin or four or five version of Robin. They just know Robin and the Boy Wonder. So they’re thinking Burt Ward and Adam West and now Robin is into guys.

“But at the end of the day, it’s just lazy writing. It’s like when they used to kill characters to get interest in them and that was the only idea they had for a long time. Now they delve into the character’s sexual proclivities,” he postulated.
This has got to be one of the worst things about the stunt: they rely on the public's superficial knowledge and understanding of any characters who wore the Robin outfit. That's exactly why it'll end up being tainted, and sour the future common sense consumer on the Teen Wonder, while the SJW audience they're aiming for now will never buy it en masse, save for mindless speculators. By the way, if the recent plunging of Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man and Dr. Strange into death-limbo is any indication, it's still considered a legitimate means of "creating interest".
Dixon then explained how he predominantly wrote romantic stories rather than sexual stories, “And for my money and when I was writing comics, and I was writing under the Comic Code, none of my characters were ever sexually active. Now, I wrote plenty of scenes where there was a clinch and a fade out and you could assume that the characters went on to you know do the deed. But I left that up to the reader. You could believe that or you could not.

He elaborated, “It was like the old movies where the leading man and leading lady have a passionate kiss, fades to black, and when we see them again they’re having breakfast together wearing different clothes. So you could fill in the blank between those two scenes any way you wished and that’s where I always left it.”

“The only characters I ever had that were sexually active were Conan the Barbarian and occasionally Frank Castle would get lucky. But other than that I didn’t…I dealt in romantic relationships rather than sexual ones,” he further explained.

Dixon then argued, “But by introducing the idea that a character is gay or bisexual, you are introducing the sexual aspects of it. You are saying the word and I just don’t think it has a place. I know kids don’t really read these things anymore and they’re written for adults, but it just seems like a weird way to go. In a medium filled with characters who run around in masks, and capes, and boots, it just seems to approach the fetishistic to explore their sexuality in any way. Even just to hint at it.”

“Which I imagine is what this comic is doing. It’s simply hinting at what might happen in between the panels or in between issues. So I don’t see any point to it,” he stated.

“No, I’m not disgusted. I’m not angry. I don’t own these characters they can do what they want with them, but it is just…It’s boring at the end of the day. It’s just boring and a little disappointing,” the creator of Bane concluded.
Yet only the propaganda angle bears meaning to the partisan propagandists who concocted the whole catastrophe, not the least being editor Marie Javins, who obviously greenlighted it from the top. She's already indicated she's a far-leftist herself, based on some of the topics she's approved in the year or so since she became DC's main editor, so this is obviously no shock either. One of the worst things about it is that the emphasis is vaguely similar to the "Aryan superiority ideal" pushed by the German National Socialists during the 1930s: in their bizarre view, a true Aryan male is one who's well over 6 feet tall, and has blond hair with blue eyes. Now, we're seeing the left of the US promoting the idea of homosexuality as a role model for men. On which note, the most noticeable comics characters being turned gay for the sake of publicity appear to be mainly men, if we recall Iceman's tragic retcon at Marvel in the past few years. It's demeaning to make it look as though that's a suitable role model for men any more than women, yet that's the image that's been skyrocketing across the entertainment horizon for the past few years, and Tim Drake's retcon makes him another casualty of this propaganda.

But this isn't the only matter to ponder here. Bill Willingham, whose Robin run is hardly looked upon fondly, revealed the following in his own site commentary:
This recent revelation has been dealt with, both pro and con, to an exhaustive extent in other articles, videos, and so forth, so I won’t retread that here. Even though I wrote the character of Tim Drake for just over a year of his Robin run, he’s not mine. I didn’t create him. Through the retroactive legal magic of Work For Hire DC Comics created him, owns him, and can do whatever, in its corporate wisdom, it wants with him.

But I want to deal just a bit with that other guy — the fellow Tim Drake plans to be gay with. The character’s name is Bernard Dowd and I created him. Here’s his first appearance, in my first issue writing Robin:

Yes, I know, when dealing with Work For Hire it means DC Comics actually created him, as I admitted above. But, before the retroactive reality imposed itself, I conceived the character, wrote his first appearance, wrote many subsequent appearances, and decided who he would be and who he wouldn’t be. Only then, by submitting those stories and accepting DC’s paycheck, the magic kicked in and it turns out DC created everything all along.

As originally conceived, Bernard Dowd was many things, but he wasn’t gay. I can know this for a certainty because, unlike living historical figures, it’s possible to know the secret inner workings of a fiction character, because they are whatever the author wrote them to be. And in this case Bernard Dowd liked girls. He had a crush on Tim Drake’s hot stepmother, and that’s about it for the romantic/sexual front. There were no other deep hidden secrets to uncover. No big deal.
And at the time Willingham introduced him, the Dowd character wasn't homosexual, and he did like girls. So it's all a double-whammy situation, smashing 2 birds with one stone, enforced by far-left journalists who'll obscure the facts, and no chance NPR's Glen Weldon will ever apologize to either of these scribes for his distortions.

This news, however, beggars a query why, though Willingham was permitted to decide Dowd's character structure, he wasn't allowed to decide what he could or couldn't do with Stephanie Brown. Some people in the know might end up deciding Willingham was asking for this as a result, after all the embarrassment he caused by writing up a story where Spoiler was tortured with a drill by Black Mask, to the point where she'd die, and later, Dr. Leslie Thompkins was established as having murdered her, before that whole embarrassment was retconned away in 2007. On that note, when I tried to find any data about Spoiler on Willingham's site, I had no luck. Without some accountability, he's only going to continue looking pretty bad in that regard. Editorial mandates are no excuse.

Don't be surprised though, if this response to the topic has DC editorial decide to throw Willingham under the bus after they're done with the Bigby Wolf crossover. I'll admit, I am pretty surprised he was at least willing to address this latest abuse of property by its own company (he even called out Dan Slott for his abusive behavior to the audience), suggesting he's reevaluating his relations with the mainstream, and who knows, maybe he'll take his Fables material and have it reprinted at some other publishing arm instead. But he still needs to show he can honestly address the issue of Spoiler's misuse at the time Dan DiDio was still running the company into the ground. That counts just as much as this newest fiasco where a civilian co-star Willingham created wound up as much of a victim of PC as Tim Drake did.

I'm certainly glad Dixon addressed the issue. This is just the latest example of DC tarnishing the past work he did, expanding on what Marv Wolfman and Alan Grant previously prepared, and it goes without saying they were disrespected by the publisher too.

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About me

  • 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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