DC Releases I Am NOT Starfire Trailer, Faces Ugly Fan Backlash

by James Byrd
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DC Comics has released a trailer for their new graphic novel I am NOT Starfire, which was met with some ugly fan backlash.

Paging Holden Caulfield

At first glance I am NOT Starfire seems like a typical coming of age tale of teen rebellion,  but with a superhero twist. Mandy is the daughter of  fan favorite hero Starfire. The bubbly, vivacious alien warrior princess has been an integral part of Teen Titans lore since the glory days of Marv Wolfman and George Perez, and she continues to be the modern idol of many a young heroine, thanks to her starring role in the animated series Teen Titans GO! Mandy seems to be everything her mother; Koriand’r a/k/a Kori is not: edgy, dark, sexually and emotionally insecure, and resentful of the way her mother seems to float fly through life;  Mandy’s all set for a classic bildungsroman that would do Pony Boy proud. In fact, Dark Knight News reviewer extraordinaire, Fay Clark, will publish an in depth review of I Am NOT Starfire in the near future.

Here’s the trailer:

Don’t feed the trolls

Unfortunately, there seems to be a very vocal segment of fandom that is raging against what one would hope to be a wholesome story about growing up and finding ones place in the world. Readers might notice that Youtube comments for the trailer have been disabled. This is because the site is being flooded with other videos disparaging the as yet unreleased graphic novel, and its creators, based solely upon Mandy’s character design, sexuality and teenage struggles. This could just be another example of internet trolling, but there’s also another reason for the Mandy-hate. It seems that her story is upsetting another narrative that many fans have spent years building in their minds.

Ships are for the sea

First introduced in Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ seminal Kingdom Come, Mar’i Grayson a/k/a Nightstar is the daughter of Starfire and Dick Grayson. In Waid’s follow-up limited series, The Kingdom, she’s shown to be in a romantic relationship with Ibn Al Xu’ffasch, the son of Batman and Talia Al Ghul. She notably has Dick’s skin-tone and hair color, but Kori’s powerset.

Fans of Mar’i have been filling the internet with fanart for years, and for a certain segment of fans devoted to “shipping” Kori and Dick, she represents a promise of their eventual happy ending. This even extends, creepily enough, to some Teen Titans Go! fans who would see the cartoon devolve into some sort of rom-com.

Ibn Al Xu’ffasch eventually gained canonical life as everyone’s favorite Bat-brat, Damian Wayne, and some of these fans have been obsessively waiting for Nightstar to get the same treatment. The fact that Mandy has been introduced (in an alternate universe story even!) as Starfire’s daughter has sent them scrambling to hurl as much internet abuse, and tank review aggregators such as Goodreads, as the foundations of their meta-narratives begin to wobble. It’s a rather sad comment on the state of fandom in the internet age. We believe, however, that fans of good stories and diverse heroes should look forward to Mandy’s adventure, and just let the haters stew.

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