DC's mysterious hooded woman in purple (and sometimes red) has been an omnipresent, if enigmatic, fixture in the publisher's "New 52" books since the DC Universe relaunch in September. Leave it to Tiny Titans creators Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani to use this as a teachable moment for readers of their all-ages title, by using her to explain the concept of comic book continuity in a fluid fictional world to young comic readers. The team even goes as far as to reveal the hooded woman's identity (at least in the Tiny Titansverse). So who is the woman in purple and what secrets does this hooded figure hold for the wider DCU? And the hooded woman is....

In an interview with Newsarama, Baltazar and Aureliani joked about the intent of their tale:
We wanted to basically make Dan [DiDio] and Bob [Wayne] liars. They said that she's going to appear in all 52 books, but we wanted to make them liars and make her show up in 53, in our book too. It's 53, at least.
Tiny Titans is a humorous all-ages series that exists outside the world of the regular DCU and tells self-contained stories designed for new readers. As such, it's a perfect place for versions of every DC character to co-exist without conflict. Tiny Titans #46 takes full advantage of this scenario, with a story that's something of a commentary on the history of DC's brief, and relatively obscure Teen Titans leader, The Protector, who replaced Robin in a Keebler-sponsored anti-drug comic (since Robin was licensed by Nabisco).

The comic itself was a tie-in to an animated Teen Titans anti-drug commercial that appeared during programming for kids (Robin was unavailable again, already starring in Super Friends). Robin returned to the team shortly thereafter, leaving The Protector to essentially exit stage left and only appear sparsely in DC stories (mostly as an in-joke for fans) thereafter. If you're doing the math at home, in this particular instance, cookie money and a cartoon commercial dictated the birth of a guy who wasn't as cool as Robin. It's kind of wonderful, kind of ridiculous and totally comics.

The fourth wall-smashing Ambush Bug's tongue-in-cheek inclusion in the tale as both the hooded lady in purple and himself serves as a reminder that continuity is important, but it's not always everything -- especially in amorphous (and for-profit) mainstream superhero comics. That's a reminder fans of all ages can appreciate.

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