Saturday 25 June 2016

Thoughts about Earth-2, Helena Wayne, and the Justice Society in Rebirth: An Open Letter to Geoff Johns

Dear Geoff Johns,

Happy Saturday! I hope all is well with you and that you are in good health. I'm writing to you today because I've been thinking a lot about Rebirth this past month, and especially where my favourite characters Helena Wayne, Kara Zor-L, and Hippolyta Trevor fit into a Prime Earth Justice Society. I must warn you though, this letter is very long because it is a lot to unpack. I didn't just address what happened in the last 5 years, but also in the last 30 (since the Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot), resulting in the problems with representation we still have today. I also couldn't address the problems I experienced with DC within this timeframe without addressing the larger real world context that influenced many of the problems I experienced. So bear with me. I don't blame you if you take breaks in between paragraphs, because as I said, it's a lot to talk about.

I actually meant to write this letter four weeks ago around the time that DC Universe: Rebirth #1 was released (I bought three copies, by the way--two print, one digital), but a lot has also happened in the last four weeks that kept my mind occupied, precisely because they do affect me directly. Within just four weeks, an obsessed fan gunned down a female Voice singer, Christina Grimmie, in Orlando, Florida for no real reason. The following day in the same city, a gunman entered the Pulse nightclub and murdered 49 LGBTQA club goers (many of them Latinos and POC) and injured three, possibly more. Then, five days after that, the Labour Party's own MP, Jo Cox, was gunned down and stabbed by a male right-wing extremist in West Yorkshire, United Kingdom. Then, this week, a gunman opened fire at a cinema in Germany injuring 25 people. Also that same day was the European Union Referendum, which resulted in 51% of the United Kingdom stupidly voting out of the European Union to 'prove a point,' resulting in the quickest plummeting of the British economy Britain has seen in its entire history. Guess how quick those same idiots who voted out the European Union regretted their decision yesterday?

The common thread in all of these incidents this month, Geoff, is that they all came from a place of hatred and prejudice. The fact that the things that happened this month can easily happen to me at any time, Geoff, is terrifying. June may have been a great month for DC's Rebirth initiative (which I am happy for, trust me), but a terrible month for people like me who have to live with the real oppressive systems that inspire violence against women, LGBTQA, people of colour, and even immigrants in the real world. As a Latina woman myself who is still under the age of 30, bisexual, and the daughter of two Colombian immigrants, I fall into most of these groups that are targeted for both hate crimes and right-wing politics. The worst part of it, Geoff, is that what happened this month weren't isolated incidents, but only the latest in a long string of similar 'incidents' throughout history, with more to come if people don't start changing the way they think about other people. What happened this month hit the First World very hard in a very short timeframe, but stuff like this happens every single day around the globe in various countries that First World media outlets don't often report on. It's only when we--in the First World countries--are hit with those same painful and often violent reminders of how alive and active those oppressive systems are still today that we engage in these conversations. But they are not new problems, not by a long shot.

Problems with systemic hatred of women, people of colour, LGBTQA, and immigrants have always been here. They are the reality we live with on a daily basis in the real world. These problems are made far worse by right-wing politicians and media that scapegoat other existing problems in order to progress anti-immigration, racist, misogynist, heterosexist, and other prejudiced agendas. When those same bigoted individuals gain enough power through exploitation, media exposure, and persuasion, they can easily persuade less aware, less thoughtful individuals to vote not only against their own interests, but against the favour of people like me. We saw this play out in the United Kingdom yesterday, and the same outcome can just as easily happen in United States later this year in November if more than half of US voters fall into the same idiotic mindset that made Brexit happen this past Thursday to very disastrous results.

Why am I telling you current events, Geoff, when you live in the same world that I live in? Because despite co-existing in this same world together, Geoff, we unfortunately experience the world very differently as a consequence of our membership to the various groups we belong to, and how the systems surrounding our membership into these groups shape our experiences in life. In many ways, Geoff, those same oppressive systems that continue to hurt us today gave birth to the existence of superhero comics nearly 80 years ago. Superheroes provided an outlet for marginalised voices, and iconic characters like Superman, Wonder Woman, and Captain America became power fantasies for groups of people with a long-standing history of being oppressed. It is for this very reason that characters that debuted nearly 80 years ago are still relevant today. They come from a place of desiring a better world where everyone is equally valued and respected, and their life experiences are equally acknowledged and validated.

By and large, superhero stories draw their strength on the idea of promoting and preserving justice and equality. Despite that premise, however, corporations like DC Entertainment unfortunately still exist within the context of a world (and especially an industry) that still discriminates against women, people of colour, and LGBTQA. This unfortunately still reflects in the people who are primarily hired into executive and editorial positions at comic publishers like DC (in this case, white men, including ones with a history of sexual harassment), and which ones get left out because awareness of these existing issues cause publishers to ignore people who speak up against them and demand change (in this case, women, LGBTQA, and POC). This same system that hurts us in the real world also results in a lack of structural diversity in a corporation like DC Entertainment, which influences the kinds of comics that get made, which narratives and characters get the most media exposure, and what kind of image DC puts out.

Nothing epitomised this more than 1985 when superhero comics were brought into the 'Dark Ages' as a consequence of the strong influence Alan Moore and Frank Miller had on the male-dominated industry with stories like Watchmen, The Killing Joke, The Dark Knight Returns (all three of which contain examples of violent misogyny), resulting in DC and Marvel to really lose their way for a little over 30 years. I think the late Darwyn Cooke said it best at WonderCon last year when he stated:

I can’t really read superhero comics anymore because they’re not about superheroes. They’ve become so dark and violent and sexualized. I think it’s a real wrong turn. I don’t know how a company like Warner Bros. or Disney is able to rationalize characters raping and murdering and taking drugs and swearing and carrying on the way they do, and those same characters are on sheet sets for 5-year-olds, and pajamas and cartoons. I think there’s a really odd and schizophrenic thing that’s happened within the industry. Everybody’s writing books for themselves. The median age of a creator is probably between 35 and 50 right now. Once they abandoned the notion that these characters were all-ages characters, they really limited the market. 

For the most part, I think DC Entertainment (and by extension Warner Bros.) has acknowledged this problem and is attempting to correct course with Rebirth. The longterm success of Rebirth, however, does heavily hinge on which lessons the company learned in the 31 years that Crisis on Infinite Earths broke DC continuity, and the way it profoundly changed the tone and landscape of DC narratives that lasted well into The New 52. I do think many people who work at DC are well intentioned individuals who desire to reach the largest audience possible (including diverse readers like myself) in order to grow the market. But without more members of diverse communities being a part of the DC family at every level, Geoff, the current people in charge may have the best intentions in mind, but may not know how to actually develop stories that speak to our experiences, let alone execute projects that result in the longterm success of diverse properties, and not for the lack of trying.

Life experience is everything, Geoff, because they often inform our thoughts, opinions, and attitudes towards various facets of life, the way we interact with different groups of people, and even the reasons we consume the media we consume. The reasons you got into superhero comics, for example, may not be the same as mine, and the characters that inspired you may not be the ones that inspired me, but those experiences are still equally valuable. When it comes to DC's reboots, resets, rebirths, etc, I often find that these initiatives (even historically) are made primarily to benefit the Earth-1 Justice League characters and their derivative properties (the ones that primarily appeal to a white heterosexual male fanbase), and rarely benefit the ones that more strongly draw me to DC Comics.

The characters that are often left out of DC reboots, resets, and rebirths, Geoff, (or worse yet, aversely affected) are too often diverse characters like women, people of colour, and LGBTQA. Whereas DC always finds a place for every son of Batman, every male Green Lantern, and Flash with their origins mostly intact at the start of every new continuity, it is always the characters that diversify DC narratives that get hurt by a universe shift. Examples of these characters include Yolanda Montez, Beth Chapel, Helena Wayne, Cassandra Cain, Renee Montoya, and even Stephanie Brown. No one at DC ever seems to think about what message that sends to people like me, especially when it happens repeatedly following a major reset. And that is exactly what I want to talk to you about today, Geoff. Because the DC property I am most invested in that gets me to buy a DC comic every month that is always hurt by a DC reboot is the Justice Society, which are historically (and are supposed to be) from Earth-2, and also one of the most diverse properties DC owns.

Earth-2 and the subsequent Justice Society is the property that means the most to me, Geoff. Earth-2 was the original DC Universe that appeared since 1938, and it was also the universe that changed and evolved over a period of time, effectively establishing a natural sense of history and progression. It was the DC Universe that saw the formation of the first superhero team in existence--the Justice Society--and created a rich history and legacy when those characters were permitted to age and have children of their own to succeed them. I loved the fact that the Golden Age Superman married the Golden Age Lois Lane, and I loved that you established in Infinite Crisis that the couple actively raised Power Girl like their own daughter. That was a very different narrative from the Earth-1 Supergirl and I know I wanted to see more of that story fleshed out. I also loved the fact that the Golden Age Batman was permitted to age and move on from his need of Batman, resulting in him marrying the Golden Age Catwoman, and having a daughter of his own who later became the Huntress. That development actually made him feel like a real person.

I appreciated the fact that, in the late 1970s, DC wanted to diversify the Batman and Superman narratives on their Golden Age Earth to be more inclusive of women. I could especially tell from the comics published back then that DC felt very strongly about Huntress and Power Girl because they were featured very prominently in Justice Society narratives, including the annual Justice League and Justice Society crossovers. I could especially tell the company at the time really loved Helena Wayne because she was the character that appeared the most in Earth-1 stories that were not part of those annual JSA/JLA crossovers. She got to team up with the Earth-1 version of her father and even got to meet the Earth-1 version of her mother. She got to especially team up with the Earth-1 Batgirl and Batwoman, and even got to team up the Earth-1 Wonder Woman in a multiversal story arc that also featured Power Girl, Supergirl, Black Canary, Zatanna, and even Lois Lane.

In addition to DC developing the legacies of the Golden Age Batman and Superman with Huntress and Power Girl pre-Crisis, I also enjoyed the fact that Roy Thomas decided to develop the legacies of the other Justice Society characters as well with the creation of Infinity Inc. The latter team was more than just an Earth-2 counterpart to the Earth-1 Teen Titans, Geoff. They were the children and relatives of the Justice Society heroes, many of whom were diverse characters themselves. I loved that Hippolyta Trevor was Wonder Woman's daughter with Steve Trevor and was a founding member of the team. I felt that in making Wonder Woman's child a woman, DC honoured the legacy of Charles Moulton Marston by continuing what he started with the character. I also loved that she had a relationship with Hector Hall who was the son of Hawkman and Hawkgirl.

Outside of the Golden Age Trinity, I also loved that Jade and Obsidian were Alan Scott's children, the latter of whom was later established as gay in the post-Crisis Continuity. Scott is additionally one of my favourite characters of all time and my favourite Green Lantern. (Sorry, Hal). I also loved that Yolanda Montez was created as a Latina successor to Ted Grant as Wildcat, and Beth Chapel as a black female successor to Charles McNider as Doctor Mid-Nite. I also loved that a new POC character that wasn't related to any Justice Society hero was created to be a part of the team (Norda) and if I recall correctly, a gay character was also supposed to be created around this time as well.

DC was really onto something new and innovative back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Geoff. It's unfortunate that all of the progress DC made back then was eventually undone by Crisis on Infinite Earths in favour of Earth-1 as the single main continuity, but with a much darker and violent premise that was more hostile to women than before. What's more is that this reboot was also originally supposed to erase the Justice Society from existence (in The Last Days of the Justice Society) before they were later reinstated. DC then tried to remove them again with Zero Hour before James Robinson revamped the team and you continued what he started in the early 2000s. You even reinstated Earth-2 and characters that were retconned out of existence like Helena Wayne in your Justice Society of America run (most notably in Thy Kingdom Come), but by then this continuity was no longer considered mainstream for it to matter.

The New 52 was the opportunity to correct course with the Justice Society, and the mainstream reinstatement of Earth-2 was a step in the right direction. The reinstatement of the Golden Age Trinity and the marriages of Batman and Superman were also steps in the right direction. Reinstating the Huntress as Batman and Catwoman's daughter was also progressive, as was the decision to more explicitly establish Power Girl as the adoptive Kryptonian daughter of Lois and Clark. Even creating a black male Kryptonian to be a part of the Superman legacy and rebooting Alan Scott as gay were progressive decisions in their own right, as was creating a more racially diverse Justice Society with a POC Doctor Fate and a Latina Hawkgirl. Where it all went wrong, Geoff, was in the execution brought on by the lack of structural diversity at DC's editorial level. There were zero women, people of colour, and queer people involved to manage the franchise at the editorial level, and the writers that were hired to develop this universe were (with one exception) exclusively men, most of them white. The editors were all themselves white men with a Latino supervisor, Eddie Berganza, who has a history of sexually harassing women. (Which that in itself is a problem).

What should've been a modern retelling of the Golden Age Justice Society mythology (ala Renae De Liz' Legend of Wonder Woman) quickly became the Apokolips story starring a character that looks like the Flashpoint Batman, and an alternate universe Justice League that culminated in the abysmal (dare I say contemptible?) Earth-2: World's End comic. To add to that problem was the graphic depiction and persistent use of the women in refrigerators trope to progress the story arcs of mostly male characters and for cheap shock value. Female characters that painfully fulfilled this bloody awful trope in the New 52 were Lois Lane and Wonder Woman in Earth-2 #1, Selina Kyle in Worlds' Finest #0, Barbara Gordon, Helena Wayne, and Yolanda Montez in Earth-2: World's End. The one universe that was originally more respectful and inclusive of women was suddenly hostile to women, which was a significant step backwards on DC's part. Additionally, the only male character that fulfilled this trope on Earth-2 was Alan Scott's Chinese boyfriend, Sam Zhao. The fact that he was a gay POC character that was created solely to fulfill this trope, Geoff, was hugely problematic on the front of diverse representation, especially since queer POC people rarely get mainstream representation as is.

Additional retrogressive changes that DC imposed on the New 52 Earth-2 were the deaging of Alan Scott and Jay Garrick, as well as the retconning of many more of the older Justice Society heroes in favour of younger heroes, which eliminated age diversity. In deaging Alan Scott in particular, we lost Jade and Obsidian, and we were effectively robbed of a story of a gay father raising two children, one of which also happens to be gay. Other stories we were robbed of were Huntress and Power Girl succeeding their father and cousin on Earth-2 in favour of a new Batman and Superman. Val-Zod was admittedly the least problematic addition to the Earth-2 Superman mythology, but his inclusion should've never resulted in the removal of Power Girl from her own story.

There was also zero reason to take Helena Wayne out of her own story so that her own grandfather (of all people) could succeed her father as the new Batman of Earth-2. That retcon was especially ludicrous since his death on Earth-2 still drove her father to become Batman. We additionally did not need a random young bloke taking over her family legacy just because he happens to share the same name as Dick Grayson, but has none of his history with Bruce and Helena Wayne intact. Both cases perpetuated sexism, Geoff, and Helena Wayne did not deserve this at all, nor did she deserve to be left off of Earth-2: Society covers and solicitations in favour of this imposter "Batman." (Even Helena Bertinelli gets more respect than this from DC, which is pretty telling, Geoff). Then there's the rebooting of Fury as Steppenwolf's villainous daughter with Wonder Woman, which was very disrespectful of both Charles Moulton Marston and Roy Thomas (who created the character) as this development actively destroyed the legacy and message both men wanted to create with the Golden Age Wonder Woman. All of these decisions were made at the editorial level, Geoff, and the lack of diverse creators did not help to avert many of these problems.

To say that DC took many serious missteps with Earth-2 that culminated in the active killing of the franchise with Earth-2: World's End is an understatement, Geoff. Because what went down with Earth-2 should not have happened under DC's watch, nor should it have resulted in a damaging new status quo for the Justice Society characters to the point of DC abandoning the concept all together by simply creating a new Justice Society on Prime Earth for Rebirth, effectively wasting the time and money fans like myself invested in Earth-2. While Eddie Berganza, Michael Cotton, and Daniel H. Wilson (the editors and writer responsible for Earth-2: World's End) got to move on from this train wreck with their careers completely intact, the damages they left behind remained and the characters themselves never recovered from it. I doubt they will without a major reboot to give them their actual Earth back and get their stories back on track. Additionally, the hurt and anger these three men caused to fans like myself by callously destroying a property we were invested in did not go away, even with an awesome person like Dan Abnett doing his very best to lessen the blow through damage control. I love Dan Abnett as a writer, and I appreciate what he's doing with this Dr. Frankenstein creation that's passing for Earth-2, but it's simply not the same, Geoff. The damage has already been done and none of us are going to forget what came before.

Ideally, Geoff, last year's Convergence should've been the event to course correct everything that went wrong with Earth-2 in The New 52. With the past Earth-2 meeting the present Earth-2, this was the perfect opportunity to reboot the property entirely to not only reinstate Earth-2 as the Golden Age Justice Society Earth (like originally intended), but also develop it more closely to the original in a more modern context. This was the opportunity to reinstate age diversity by making Alan Scott and Jay Garrick older again, and reinstate the other founding members that were retconned back into continuity. By making the founding characters older again, we could've gotten most of the marriages and Infinity Inc characters back, and still keep the other characters that appeared in the New 52 like Val-Zod, Queen Marella, Sonia Sato, Khalid Ben-Hassin, and Kendra Muñoz-Saunders. This was also the opportunity to reinstate Huntress and Power Girl as the proper successors of Batman and Superman on Earth-2, and even reinstate Dick Grayson as Bruce's ward and the closest person Helena has to a sibling. This was also the opportunity to reinstate Fury's original history as Wonder Woman's daughter with Steve Trevor. But that simply didn't happen. Instead we got Earth-2: Society, which basically functioned as a sequel to the much hated Earth-2: World's End comic, complete with the same editors and writer that destroyed the franchise. Trust me when I say none of us who are Justice Society fans felt comfortable with Daniel H. Wilson rebooting Earth-2 for DC You after his complete mishandling of this property with Earth-2: World's End left a bad taste in our mouths. Sales for the new title were predictably low as a consequence.

When Rebirth was originally announced a few months back, Geoff, I felt excited again for the first time since Convergence, especially because I saw Earth-2: Rebirth announced in the initial line-up. I began to speculate in my mind that maybe this would see the return of the pre-Crisis Earth-2 but in the present timeline. Since the characters were existing outside of time and space for a whole year, DC could've easily used the theory or relativity to establish that 1 year on Telos = 30 years on the pre-Crisis Earth-2. I thought there was plenty of story potential in the Justice Society (along with the entire city of Metropolis) disappearing for 30 years for them to suddenly reappear again.

How would the world react the the sudden reappearance of Metropolis and the Justice Society heroes? How would the heroes themselves and citizens of Metropolis react to such a significant time skip? Did the world get better without the existence of costumed heroes and villains? Did it get worse? How would they all adapt to the changes, and what stories could be told with this setting? There's plenty of story potential in that premise alone, Geoff, and it wouldn't have made Convergence a near complete waste of time if more was done with it. When I tuned into the live press conference DC gave at Emerald Comic Con in March this year to learn more details of the new Earth-2, I expected to be pleasantly surprised. Imagine how bummed I felt afterwards to learn that Earth-2 was not considered a Rebirth property and that DC was just going to continue the series both Wilson and Cotton train wrecked?

At this point, Geoff, I don't know what to expect out of the Justice Society in Rebirth, but if they're being reinstated to Prime Earth, it might feel like the post-Crisis universe all over again. Some of the founding members might return, but I'm worried about which characters are going to be left out again. In particular, I'm worried about what this means for characters like Helena Wayne, Kara Zor-L, and Hippolyta Trevor, three Justice Society characters whose existence rely on the existence of the Golden Age Trinity. I'd rather not go the route of changing their origins again to make them fit into a universe in which their parents (including adoptive parents in Kara's case) are the same age as they are. I'm also worried about the status of the Infinity Inc characters if the Justice Society that emerges are the rumoured, time-displaced younger versions that disappeared after McCarthy tried to get them to reveal their identities in the 1950s. At least, this was implied in your one-shot.

The waiting for information is difficult, Geoff. Without a proper Justice Society title to subscribe to at the moment, I didn't subscribe to any Rebirth titles right away, not even Blue Beetle which features another favourite character of mine, Kent Nelson. The only Rebirth title I subscribed to recently was Greg Rucka's Wonder Woman after I sampled both the one-shot and first issue, and liked what I saw. I'm also thinking of sampling the #1 issues for Nightwing (mostly for Yanick Paquette's art) and Phil Jimenez' Superwoman because it's a comic fronted by Lois Lane, and she's taking on a new role she's never taken before. I'm very interested in seeing where this goes and how she interacts with the post-Crisis Lois.

Beyond these few titles, Geoff, I don't realistically see myself reading the other titles any time soon, namely because none of them are being fronted by characters I actually want to read about. I wasn't kidding when I said earlier that the Justice Society characters are my primary investment in DC Comics, and without them, I rarely buy a DC book outside of a few titles that pique my interest. I also find that I feel more motivated to try other DC titles that are not part of the Justice Society line when I actually have comics fronted by the Justice Society characters, especially Helena Wayne, Power Girl, and Fury. The only book I have right now that's temporarily 'fulfilling' that need is Earth-2: Society, but that's not saying much. Despite Dan Abnett telling good stories with this title, this new Earth-2 and characters still feel completely artificial to me. I cannot connect with any of the characters under the new premise. They lost authenticity with the loss of their original Earth. That feeling is subsequently not helped by DC's recent demoting of them from the mainstream.

The best thing that can happen at this point, Geoff, if we're reinstating the more classic Justice Society to Prime Earth is to go all the way. In addition to reinstating the original founding members, all I ask is that you please reinstate the pre-Crisis Helena Wayne with the Prime Earth Justice Society, along with the pre-Crisis Power Girl and Fury to compensate for Earth-2. Even if they exist as multiverse, time-displaced heroes who have to start over on a new Earth, I don't really care, as long as I can still read recognisable versions of these characters that aren't affected by the scars and fractures of Earth-2: World's End. You already did this with Power Girl post-Crisis, and since both Convergence and Rebirth transplanted the post-Crisis Superman family into the New 52 continuity, I don't think this will be a problem. (You even established the existence of three Jokers in Rebirth, including the Golden Age Joker from the pre-Crisis Earth-2).

I can safely say as many people's go-to person for Helena Wayne and Power Girl in particular that interest in these two characters does exist. Fans just want better stories with these two women, Geoff, and I think fans deserve that. I can safely say they're hugely popular with both older and modern readers alike, and the friendship between these two women especially attracted a female audience, including LGBTQA women. I think DC should do something with that, Geoff, especially since it can make a huge difference for DC. You have Batman and Catwoman's daughter with Superman and Lois Lane's adopted Kryptonian daughter. There's a lot of potential to capitalise on there and these two characters can easily attract a large audience if given the right exposure, a solid direction, and a genuine chance to succeed. These characters don't deserve to fade out of existence again, and neither do their fans.

In addition to the Earth-2 Huntress and Power Girl, Geoff, I think the Earth-2 Fury deserves a new chance as well (again with her pre-Crisis origin intact), as do Kendra as Hawkgirl and Queen Marella, again preferably on Prime Earth. Since DC recently created a new Chinese Superman on Prime Earth, DC should also consider creating a Prime Earth version of Val-Zod so that his fans can get a fresh start with him as well. I doubt Earth-2 will achieve the former success of its predecessor after Berganza, Cotton, and Wilson killed any chances it had left to succeed, so it's probably best to give all of these characters a fresh start on Prime Earth entirely where they are also liberated from the scars and fractures of Earth-2: World's End.

I hope that, as time goes on, Geoff, Rebirth accomplishes more than just restoring hope, love, and optimism to the DC Universe itself. I hope it also helps foster a future that is more inclusive of women, people of colour, and LGBTQA, not only as creators but as editors and hopefully publishers as well. So far, DC is doing better at hiring diverse writers and artists for their various books, but we also need diverse editors and managers as well. While I think constant rebooting has made DC continuity a haphazardly constructed mess (including the current one), I still hope DC gets to a point where good storytelling fosters natural progression that results in organic change over time, as opposed to constant resets and reboots that bring about abrupt changes to characters and narratives that are sometimes (if not often times) damaging. I also hope that DC stops retconning characters out of existence and manages to find a place for all of them so that DC can grow their fanbase over time as opposed to exchanging one group of fans for another, resulting in stagnant sales. I would like to see all of DC's characters treated equally with respect, and I would like to see a genuine growth in sales for DC in the years that follow as opposed to the usual highs and lows within the same fixed central tendency of the last 15 years.

Hopefully with more DC properties appearing on film and television in the upcoming years, more people get exposed to DC's other amazing characters, and hopefully attract future comic readers. With you now overseeing both the television and film divisions, I'm feeling optimistic on this front. I know I would like to see the Justice Society characters on the silver screen (preferably on Earth-2), especially Helena Wayne, Kara Zor-L, and Hippolyta Trevor (aka, the second generation Trinity). I also think Per Degaton would be a great villain to use in a film that brings together the Earth-1 Justice League with the Earth-2 Justice Society. (Remember that huge epic Roy Thomas wrote in the early 1980s where Per Degaton recruited the Earth-3 Crime Syndicate to help him conquer Earth-2 in the 1940s, resulting in him destroying Earth-Prime and altering Earth-2's future? Also the Earth-1 Justice League got involved? Fun times).

As for me personally, I look to the future, Geoff, and hopefully it's a bright one. I know I definitely would like to write more about the Earth-2 Huntress, Power Girl, and Fury, and I definitely want to keep writing about the Justice Society characters. I know I would definitely like to stop writing about problems with diverse representation in comics because they are things of the past and because DC has moved on from things like sexism and the invisibility of diverse characters. More than anything, I would like to share my love for the Earth-2 Justice Society characters with other comic fans and help be a part of growing the audience for this property. And who knows, Geoff, maybe once I reach a comfortable place again, I'll be able to confidently check out other DC properties outside of the Justice Society, effectively helping DC's market more.

I realise this was long, Geoff. Kudos to you if you made it this far, even if you had to take breaks from reading. It was a lot to unpack as I said before, and I couldn't address what I'd like to see happen with the Justice Society and my three favourite Earth-2 ladies without first discussing the larger problems that factored into the damages they endured in the last five, even 30 years. Hopefully, since you read this from a diverse DC reader, DC will make more thoughtful decisions in the future.

I remain one of your loyal fans, Geoff. May you have a wonderful weekend and an even more exciting work week ahead.


Diane Darcy


  1. Wow,this was a very powerful letter, as a male,lgbt p.o.c. I can tell you that I am affected in very similar ways that you are reflecting upon in your letter. I wish this letter was given more attention, because I don't know if Geoff will ever see this, but I wish someone in charge, several in charge would get multiple copies of this letter, and if I knew who to send it to I would do it myself. You have put into words many of my own feelings over the years and I am very distressed wondering what will happen to two of my favorite superheroes, Helena Kyle-Wayne and Karen Starr, as well as wondering what happened to Yolanda after Convergence and why it hasn't been addressed yet. I don't see the point of the J.s.A. as a young team, seeing as how they stood out being much older and their whole point of being is to show how superheroes lived after they grew families, without the legacy, they are no different than the J.L.A or any other team. How is it that we had more diversity in the 80's and 90's than now? I also don't enjoy the fact that they think the magic of Birds of Prey is just having A Huntress instead of THE Huntress that made it work in the first place. This new one is in name only and I don't know how they would think a Helena Wayne/Bertinelli fan would just be able to ignore such a huge change, and would they have even thought of doing this if the character were male. I too think, I KNOW if there was more diversity behind the scenes from top to bottom that it would have a great affect on how heroes get shuffled around whenever a universe-zapping event occurs, and characters of different colors, genders, and sexualities would be given a hell of a lot respect. I write a lot to your column even though you have yet to respond (like Geoff in a way), I continue to write because it's nice to see another fan so passionate that really gets and enjoys Helena Wayne like I do. Take care, and I hope one day we can look back on all this and laugh because all of our requests have been realized.

    1. Thank you! I'm glad my open letter resonated with you. I do hope that Rebirth brings back the pre-Crisis versions of Helena Wayne, Kara Zor-L, and Lyta Trevor with the more classic Justice Society, and hopefully Infinity Inc as well. I really miss that classic team! I think the Justice Society as a whole property works better as a multigenerational team dating back all the way to the 1940s. Heroes age, they come and go, but the legacy they leave behind is always very rich. I also like that the Justice Society is often very inclusive of women, POC, LGBTQA, and has age diversity. That's a huge part of what appealed to me about them, in addition to being DC's first characters and history. :)

  2. I apologize, I said you have yet to respond, but I see you have, a while ago, thank you!!!

    1. Yeah, I do reply to my comments, though I do apologise for taking long to respond. I don't check them often because I don't get many to start with, but I do read them when I go to approve comments on my older posts.