Batman: Li’l Gotham #1
“There’s no telling who’s real and who’s not. For all I know, most of these costumed Jokers are the real deal.”
So. For people who might not have been around during this whole debacle, this may be one of the most controversial DC comic pages of all time.
Why is it controversial? How can a page full of cameos be controversial? Doesn’t DC love doing this stuff?
Well, my dear readers, this was at a time where Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown were quoted as being “toxic” to DC Editors because their large fan bases were vocally protesting their treatment (or lack thereof) in the then-current administration. And Li’l Gotham – on a page which manages to have multiple Batfamily references from the Ventriloquist to Red Hood and outside-continuity references like Artemis of Young Justice and Jay Garrick the Pre-Crisis Flash – DARED to have Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown cameo in a little off center of the splashpage behind Donner movies Lex Luthor and classic Darkseid.
In the original version, the Steph cosplayer had blonde hair, making her unique Batgirl costume homage all the more obvious, whereas Cass is dressed in an unofficial outfit that her fans would recognize as a style and colors she wears in Nguyen’s unofficial art for her.
This caused such an uproar with the angry editors at DC that they demanded that they change the hair of the Steph cameo so that it would be less of a cameo.
If you poke around a bit you can find lots of editorials and posts chronicling the bizarreness that is the treatment of Cass and Steph between 2011 and 2014, but for Steph there’s a silver lining so far as Li’l Gotham’s concerned – by the last issue, she got a full-on cameo and mention, whereas Cass got one background cameo in another issue with Steph but did not get a mention in the Batfamily history spiel that was given in the last issue that included Steph.
I will leave that rant for another time.