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So. We caught one.. A genuine, real life, stone-cold Cape Killer. Hero-blood under the nails on her dialing finger.

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Meet Dana, aka comicfangirl. She’s 38, a DC reader of thirty years standing. She is a twin, an affliction we have much sympathy for on this website. She killed her first superhero when she was just 18, a few scant years older than her victim. You can find her at one of her secret supervillain hideouts – the DC Boards, or over at Wing Nuts. Born American, she lives as a fugitive ‘in Europe’ – although she is the only Cape Killer brazen enough to be found by the combined sleuthing skills of the Silent 73, she understandably has to remain cagey about her exact location. It’s frightening to think that someone who’s committed such a crime, who was able to strike such a blow against the inviolate Bat, can be so courteous, polite, friendly and charming as she remained throughout our interview. Please welcome her to Mindless Ones Dot Com.

‘…Even lamer than bringing him back…’

Mindless One: I’d like to start by asking you to cast your mind all the way back. What’s your earliest memory of Jason Todd (post-Crisis version)?

Dana: After Crisis on Infinite Earths: That’ll be the ‘new’ origin of Jason stealing the Batmobile’s tires and Batman catches him. That kind of stuck with me: Todd = juvenile offender. A kid ending up as jailbird sometime soon and he gets to be Robin? Come again? You got to be kidding, right? When do we get to see the real Robin, one who can really fill those big elf-boots Dick Grayson left? Well, later we got that with Tim Drake, thankfully. And we got rid of the elf-boots and short pants.
 
After Infinite Crisis: Erm. Well. So they brought Todd back. Lame idea, even lamer story.

Some time later, around One Year Later: Are they gonna do something with Todd? This fake Nightwing thing was even lamer then bringing him back. Hello? Why exactly did they bring him back at all? Oh, yeah I remember – DC (namely DiDio and Winick) wanted to kill Nightwing and replace him with that pretender. (*Growls*)

Where is The Joker with his crow bar when you really need him to put Jason down for good?

After Countdown: “Yawn” So they showed the pretender in the Red Robin costume from Kingdom Come…..so what? He is broadly still Mr. Redundant of the DCU. Needlessly brought back. And again he has to ‘borrow’ something Dick Grayson had before him. Lame.

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MO: I can tell your feelings about the deceased are rather strong. Did you always hate him, or did your homicidal urges develop over time?

Dana: Good question. I guess my homicidal urges did develop in time. I was – and still am – happy for Dick Grayson, the first Robin, to move on to become Nightwing, but I also realized that Batman needed a Robin. So I really had such high expectations of who would be the next Robin…..and then there came Jason Todd.

I felt to him it was all just a game, nothing more. He came across like he never took his ‘job’ as Robin really seriously. I really don’t think that’s the right attitude for any sidekick. And following the rules was never his thing, and that not only endangered him but also the people around him. You can’t have that.

‘…Something wrong with the even numbered Robins…’

MO: Was there any one event which made you say to yourself, ‘This kid’s got to go’?

Dana: I never felt he was really worthy of the Robin mantle. Sounds pathetic, I know, but let me explain. If you think about all the dangers Batman has to face on each patrol, you would want to have the absolutely best sidekick at your side, not the second best who you took in as replacement for the first Robin. And the way Jason became Robin felt rushed and premature to me. The same with Steph later  – must be something wrong with the even numbered Robins.

MO: What were your feelings about the Death in the Family storyline when it started? Did you have any idea what was in store, or did you think it would be just another storyline?

Dana: By the title alone I was worried someone of the Bat-family (Bruce, Dick, Alfred or Barbara) would bite it, and remembering Barry Allen and COIE I thought: ‘Oh no, not something like that again, no more dead heroes.’ Back then I had already more or less given up reading any interviews with comic industry people, so I really didn’t have any more information than the comic books and some media buzz which passed me by, more or less. After seeing the cover of the first part of Death in the Family, I thought Jason would find his real mother and that she would be killed by a Bat-villain. 

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MO: I guess the hype machine for these events back then was kind of different to today – how does it compare to how crossovers etc. are handled now?

Dana: I think the crossovers today are certainly over-hyped. I understand why comic companies do so: they try to sell as many copies as they can, but I doubt that will really gain them more long term readers. The story itself should be compelling and entertaining – that will bring in readers, not the hype. DC has this mega-hyped Final Crisis ‘event’ now. And simultaneously Batman RIP and The Dark Side Club and Reign in Hell; oh, and Faces of Evil is already knocking at the door. Nothing against crossovers and events , but that’s really too many in a too short period of time for my taste. Maybe concentrating on one event at a time and doing that one right without delays or plot holes would be the better choice.

Not to say back then crossovers or events weren’t hyped, but looking back it wasn’t that crazy like today. A few ads, some interviews and that was it. Of course Death in the Family got more attention, since people thought Dick Grayson’s life was at stake, so Time Magazine and Newsweek  also covered the event.

MO: What about the big day of the phone in?

Dana: To tell the shocking truth: Haven’t thought about that day in September 1988 in ages.

MO: Where were you? What was the weather like?

Dana: I was at my parents’ house, in my room. About the weather, I don’t remember -  it was rather late in the evening when I made the call, and while I called I constantly heard the annoying sound when someone else tries to reach you on the other line. Turned out later it was friend of mine who wanted to know if I already placed “the call”.

‘…My displeasure with this pretender…’

MO: Were you excited about making the call?

Dana: Actually it was more like: ‘Let’s get it over with, they won’t let him die, they’ll chicken out. But at least I voiced my displeasure with this pretender.’ Well, turned out DC really did chicken out, some years later. Cowardly lot. :-)

MO: Was there ever any doubt what your decision would be?

Dana: No. As soon as I saw the ad I knew exactly that I would go home, get my phone and vote for him to die. No question about that. I just never thought that many readers would agree with me.

MO: And the call itself. What was it like?

Dana: I was expecting the line to be busy, given that the poll only lasted somewhat 36 hours entirely. But I was put through rather quickly.

MO: Was there a recorded message on the other end? Can you remember what it said?

Dana: Not really, something like: ‘Thank you, your call has been counted.’

‘…unwanted middle-child of the Batclan…

MO: Did it say, ‘Congratulations, you have killed Batman’s best friend’?

Dana: Not that I remember, and Batman’s best friend – that would be Dick Grayson, and his life wasn’t at stake back then. That became an issue with the people DC employs these days, like DiDio and Winick. I really don’t understand how someone working for DC can’t see that Dick Grayson is Nightwing, and that doesn’t mean he is a second rate Batman, or the unwanted middle-child of the Batclan. That’s the damn redundant Todd. Nightwing is not redundant in the DCU, Todd is! And it also doesn’t mean Dick Grayson is an overgrown Robin, not knowing what to do with his life. He is Nightwing for god’s sake! He’s his own man, but he will forever have ties to the Batclan – they are this family. What’s there to not understand?

Whoops, sorry about my little rant, but Nightwing and the mentioning of death does that to me. What do you expect from someone who writes as ‘comicfangirl’ on comic boards? :-)

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MO: No comment. Would you do the same today?

Dana: Of course. Given the opportunity for another phone call I would kill Jason Todd again, especially with Battle for the Cowl in the wings, written by Winick. Now that leaves little to the imagination who will wear the cowl, right? Without any remorse or second thoughts I would kill Todd once again. Once a cape killer…….always a cape killer. LOL.

I doubt there will be another vote, so I’ll get new comics with redundant Todd out of the 50 cents bin at my LCS, since it’s still Batman related, but certainly it’s not worth paying the full price to read.

‘… Once a cape killer…….Always a cape killer…’

MO: By my reckoning there are only a few thousand of you cape killers alive in the world today – are you proud of what you did?

Dana: I wouldn’t say proud, but I still stand with my decision: A dead Jason serves the Batman cause, or crusade if you like, as a symbol. A resurrected Jason is a joke without punchline, he is redundant. Period.

MO: What about the method of Jason’s demise? After the gruesome beating the Joker gave him, didn’t you want to give the kid a break?

Dana:  The method was gruesome, I agree. And that had me wondering if killing him off wouldn’t be a little bit cold on my part, but then I thought: ‘At least that makes sure he is really dead. Again he just can’t listen to Batman’s orders to stay behind. Serves him right to bite it. And dying heroically trying to save your mother, isn’t that bad of an exit to make. ‘Little did I know then that death in the DCU would become a travesty in the future.

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MO: Maybe I’m way off the mark here, but I get the feeling reading Death in the Family, and the stories preceding it, that Jason was being set up for a fall, in a way that was quite manipulative, even exploitative, of the audience at the time. Almost as if the readers weren’t actually being given any choice at all (I’m especially the infamous Jason ref. in The Dark Knight Returns here) Do you think there’s anything in that?

Dana: Absolutely. For me it wasn’t that much the reference in DKR (now we know Miller isn’t that fond of any Robin) but in the regular Batman comics. Jim Starlin (who also wrote Death in the Family) wrote the following which you can see as comments on Jason being Robin. Batman #416 opened with Batman telling us:

‘One Year ago. No matter what I say, Robin likes to go on his own whenever he gets the chance. The trouble is that he is nowhere near as good as he thinks he is. He’s new at this dangerous game. There are still a lot of tricks he’s got to learn.’

Nightwing has to rescue Jason in this issue, and Bruce and Dick have a talk why Bruce made Jason Robin. It takes three attempts, but Bruce finally admits to Dick why Jason got that fast into the Robin mantle: ‘I admit it. I was lonely. I missed you.

Does this really justify letting loose a Robin who isn’t ready, Bruce? Not in my book.

Batman #422. After Jason beats up a pimp, Batman has to stop him from beating the guy to death, and Batman wonders: ‘What is going on in that head of yours, Jason?’

*Sigh* No self-control this Robin has.

Batman #424. Jason might have killed this rapist who was protected by diplomatic immunity by his father being a diplomat of ‘Bogatago’. The end was left ambiguous, but to me Jason pushed him. An understandable urge, but the day you appoint yourself as judge, jury and executioner you can no longer pretend to fight for justice, and therefore you are Robin no more, since you broke not only Batman’s rules but have become a murderer. So to me Jim Starlin worked towards Jason being Robin-no-more in the very near future, by putting clues here and there.

In Part 2: More insights into the fiendish workings of the Cape Killer’s mind. Dana talks Tim, hurting Batman’s feelings, superheroes, and The Black Glove.

7 Responses to “Interview with a Cape Killer (part 1)”

  1. Dan K Says:

    That’s one stone cold killer.

    Her fixation with even numbers seems to me to be a classic serial killer tell and her sense of injustice at Jason “usurping” Dick’s position is reminiscent of that Steffi Graf fan who stabbed Monica Seles.

    Also, apparently no sense of irony:

    “the day you appoint yourself as judge, jury and executioner you can no longer pretend to fight for justice”

  2. Neon Snake Says:

    “The method was gruesome, I agree. And that had me wondering if killing him off wouldn’t be a little bit cold on my part, but then I thought: ‘At least that makes sure he is really dead.”

    …good Lord…

    Dana is TEH EVIL!!!111!

  3. Zom Says:

    Poor, Dana.

  4. bobsy Says:

    Poor Dana?

    Poor JASON!

  5. Tex Says:

    They shoulda left the sap in the grave where he belonged.

  6. bobsy Says:

    Tex, haven’t you heard?

    JASON NEVER DIED

  7. Zom Says:

    Ya see, I’m inclined to agree with the sentiment that they should have left him in the grave – like Dana says, Jason Todd is completely redundant in today’s batverse. Where I lose you guys is the idea that Tim Drake is a more worthwhile character, hence the Silent 73.

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