Why It's about Time Barbara Gordon Became Batgirl Again

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Posted by No_Name_ (17403 posts) - - Show Bio

Long before I ever started reading comic books I watched Barbara Gordon as Batgirl on Batman: The Animated Series. It was the Batman animated cartoon that introduced me to the world of Batman, the caped crusader, and to Barbara as his feisty sidekick- full of life, ambition and determination. In fact, one of the first graphic novels I ever purchased (and one that remains at the top of my list as one of my favorites) is Chuck Dixon's Batgirl: Year One, published in 2003. This incarnation of Barbara is one of the few that depicted her as Batgirl post Killing Joke. My first encounter with Barbara Gordon was Barbara Gordon, Batgirl. It wasn't until I started reading back issues of the first volume of Birds of Prey that I became aware of Barbara as Oracle.

I think I really fell in love with Barbara after reading her on BoP as Oracle. Her strength both mentally and emotionally, when written to her fullest was remarkable- and it is her story that was the first to bring me to tears over a comic book character. There is something about Oracle that is empowering to many girls- I know she was to me. In a world of female characters who use their sexuality first to get things done, Oracle was starkly different. It wasn't just the fact that Oracle used her smarts first, either. Oracle also became a symbol for a grossly misrepresented part of society- she became a symbol for people who could relate to her because they too suffered some kind of disability. In a sense, Oracle became greater than herself because of all that she represented. A woman who used her intellect and cunning and who refused to ever allow a physical disability to hold her back. Perhaps that's why the decision to make Barbara Gordon Batgirl is such a controversial one.

== TEASER ==

News first broke late Monday morning that Barbara Gordon would become the new Batgirl in an all new series launching fall, 2011. This new Batgirl would be written by Birds of Prey writer Gail Simone with artists Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes. The news was revealed with an accompanying cover by the great Adam Hughes. Simone revealed similar sentiments regarding Barbara as the new Batgirl on the DC Source blog.

"Barbara Gordon is pretty much my everything. Because of the Batman TV show, she was the reason I fell in love with superheroes. Because she was a redhead who could kick ass, she is the reason I fell in love with comics. She was always forward-looking as Batgirl, a girl who was smarter than the male characters, who had class and elegance and style, as well as tough-as-nails grit. For a long time, there was simply nothing else like her in comics, and for me and a lot of other readers, her every appearance was joyful and explosive.

For many years, I got to write the character as Oracle, and there is to this day, no character who means more to me. This is classic Barbara as she was originally conceived, with a few big surprises. It's a bit of a shock, to be sure, but we're doing everything we can to be respectful to this character's amazing legacy, while presenting something thrilling that a generation of comics readers will be experiencing for the first time...Barbara Gordon leaping, fighting, and swinging over Gotham. Now, when citizens of that city look up, they are going to see BATGIRL. And that is absolutely thrilling."

Since the announcement, several people have cited both the controversy in making Barbara the new Batgirl, as well as the weight that kind of change holds; I point to Andy Khouri's blog on Comics Alliance and Jill Pantozzi's blog specifically. I think Batgirl's new writer, Gail Simone is right; Barbara's every appearance is indeed "joyful and explosive" and I hope they will continue to be so under her pen. However, the question remains, is this the right decision for the evolution of Barbara's character? It's true, Barbara has been in a wheelchair longer than she had been out of it, which is partially why this change to her character is so dramatic; but does that mean that in order for Barbara to evolve she must walk again?

When you become a symbol, the changes made to your character weigh much heavier on everyone invested. While Barbara in the black and yellow costume is as identifiable as Barbara in a wheelchair, isn't reverting back to Batgirl a step backwards? Barbara has evolved as a mentor to not only both Batgirl's that followed in her footsteps ( Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown), but also to her teammates. Just because Barbara was confined to a wheelchair, doesn't mean she had any trouble teaching and leading the Birds of Prey. As the Oracle, Barbara was not only a well of information; she was also a fountain of wisdom that guided other characters through their hardships- Oracle helped push other characters. Her inability to race across the rooftops of Gotham meant that she could evolve in ways other comic book characters don't.

Saying goodbye to Barbara as Oracle will be bittersweet, and I don't know if that's something I'm comfortable with quite yet because I feel her role as a mascot for both young female readers and for people with disabilities is more important than seeing her don the cape and cowl again. Having said that though, it will be nice to see Barbara in the costume swinging across the skyline of Gotham City; something sometimes secretly hoped for, but that I never thought I would see again. Barbara Gordon as Batgirl will give the character the ability to evolve in other ways. Perhaps she may even rekindle the romance she lost with former "Boy Wonder," Dick Grayson. I'd be lying if I said those weren't some of my favorite stories, and I wouldn't want to see that again...

What do you think of the news of Barbara Gordon as the new Batgirl? Do you think her role as Oracle is more important than returning to Batgirl? Are you looking forward to the 52 new titles coming from DC later this year?

Source DC Source

#1 Posted by marvelunivers_deleteme (315 posts) - - Show Bio

she should

#2 Posted by Alch21 (210 posts) - - Show Bio

I loved Batgirl Year one too. Idk about this suit thou

#3 Posted by mark5 (1213 posts) - - Show Bio

No...This is one BIG FAIL!!! 
 
Just my two cents. 

#4 Posted by WolfMonkey (302 posts) - - Show Bio

what's this mean for stephanie? i liked her

#5 Posted by Duo_forbidden (1161 posts) - - Show Bio

It's both great and sad at the same time. Her role as Oracle was awesome, but it would be great for new readers to experience what makes Barbara great as the original Batgirl. With Gail Simone writing it, I know the series is going to be fantastic. 
 
I still wonder what's going to happen to Stephanie tho. She might be Spoiler again, but I was enjoying her run as Batgirl.

#6 Posted by Ultimate_MiracleMan (73 posts) - - Show Bio

What about Steph Brown? She's great as Batgirl. Hope she and Cass get something.

#7 Posted by RedK (2521 posts) - - Show Bio

i really want to see this, but i'm hoping that they don't just say she was never shot, i want an explanation to why she's not in the wheel chair, not just for my own curiousity but i think it would go well with the character, that she appreciates being able to walk again and doing simple things, but also how she's missed the things like jumping off roofs or swing through the streets

#8 Posted by cocoy (2 posts) - - Show Bio

My impression from Morrison is that she'll be the Batgirl of cyberspace. Whether this is still the plan post Flashpoint is... well anyone's guess, but I really hope DC keeps the Batverse alone, or at the very least with little change.  I think the Batverse right now is doing all right.   
 
That said, I kinda like Stephane Brown as the current Batgirl.  I think she's could be as good as Barbara was. I love her story.  We know her as this screwup as Spoiler/Robin, and seeing her character grow so much over the years, and totally own the identity of Batgirl is a far, far more interesting story for me.  I think young girls could relate to her in ways, you relate to Barbara as Batgirl, Sara.   

#9 Posted by jrock85 (2874 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm just glad she's going to be around.

#10 Posted by harleyquinnhawkgirl (336 posts) - - Show Bio

i really dont know how i feel about this. the idea is cool and its cool way to see babs as batgirl again bc i started reading comis with her as oracle so it will be interesting. BUT what about stephanie brown and cassandra. are they even going to exist in this new DC universe????
#11 Posted by longbowhunter (7291 posts) - - Show Bio

Just bought Batgirl and Robin Year One a few months ago. Both great reads. Love Babs, but I've got reservations.
#12 Edited by B'Town (2336 posts) - - Show Bio

You hit every point that concerns me, and yes it is bittersweet. This is one of those situations where I am just glad the character will be in good hands. Simone will give Barbara the respect she deserves. I'm going to keep as open a mind on this as I can. 

 
edit to add:  With this sinking in.  I'm happy about Simone, there is NO one I'd rather have writing this, but I am really really saddened by the loss of Oracle as we know her.  
#13 Posted by Mercy_ (92858 posts) - - Show Bio

This may be my favorite article yet, Babs.

I was so nervous to see that Gail wasn't going to be writing Birds of Prey and saddened when she was assigned to a book that I held no interest in. This more than makes up for it.

Moderator
#14 Posted by ReverseNegative (2729 posts) - - Show Bio

I wanted to see her as Bat-girl in a rocket-propelled wheelchair.

#15 Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt (13414 posts) - - Show Bio

i've read next to nothing with any Batgirl in it before but ill be sure to change that when this comes out.

#16 Posted by cosmo111687 (1489 posts) - - Show Bio

This article was made for you, Babs. :) 
 
I think it's really exciting! Batgirl is in very capable hands and it's nice seeing Barbara return to her roots. Besides, I have little doubt that someday she'll return to her role as Oracle (and hopefully BoP will return to their former glory...). So, for now, we have Barbara as Batgirl again and I say we should just try to enjoy it. :)

#17 Edited by SmoothJammin (2334 posts) - - Show Bio

Batgirl year one was really good, but this just confirms my suspicions that Tim Drake will be the new Oracle LOL
#18 Posted by Baddamdog (2223 posts) - - Show Bio

Great article

#19 Posted by JonesDeini (3620 posts) - - Show Bio

This is a prime example of all things wrong with DC since Johns came to Prominence and Didio let him run wild. Nostalgia obsessed retrogressive story telling. 

#20 Posted by Captain_Shakespeare (28 posts) - - Show Bio

This is kind of ridiculous. If they had a story where Barbara regained the ability to walk (remember, this is comic books) it would be awesome, but just "fixing" it is completely forced.  
 
"A new generation of people can experience Barbara Gordon as Batgirl" That statement is exactly what is wrong with this entire stupid reboot idea. this isn't a reboot for the sake of "new readers" (whoever they are) this is for all the middle aged comic book collectors who can't accept that a character is not "their" whoever. Who cares. Other people have enjoyed other characters. Wally West was shafted because of some desire to have some kind of nostalgia reinstated with a character that i, quite frankly, find pretty boring and has not really deserved to be THE Flash again. This is more of the same. This is the pinnacle of the Nu-Silver Age that has been building for the last few years. This is not progress, this is a cycle. No one has to experience Barbara Gordon as Batgirl because she's a thing of the past, stories continue and evolve, you don't just cut and paste. That's lazy. 
 
This is what happens when you put 1990's Marvel in charge of DC Comics. I have just about lost all faith in Jim Lee and maybe even Geoff Johns. It breaks my heart, I love comics, but this is just nonsensical, confusing and a lie. This isn't about attracting new readers (where exactly are they coming from?) this is about reinstating a continuity that has gone its course and improved back to a safety net. Comics are fun because they basically never stop. They're basically stopping every story and shifting it slightly. They effectively created a jumping off point, not a jumping on point. There are no new readers randomly walking into stores and running away from scary high numbered issues, they do not exist. Make movies, cartoons (DCU cartoon?), video games, anything to draw people into the main media, don't basically throw up a white flag and pretend you're fixing things, you're not. This is really sad. I would have preferred they went ahead with the Flashpoint world, at least it would be obviously that all would be returned, now i'm just not sure what is going on

#21 Posted by shawn87 (2095 posts) - - Show Bio

Im not liking the decision nor the cover. I'd prefer to see her remain as Oracle. DC has yet to announce anything relating to Cassandra or Stephanie but one of them should be Batgirl. They're both young and both make excellent Batgirl's. If anything, Barbara should be Batwoman not Batgirl. She's a grown woman now and has grown so much since first wearing the Batgirl costume. I know there's already a Batwoman (who's awesome by the way) so that just proves the point more that there really isn't a place or a cape for Barbara. Her time should be over as a caped hero. She should keep fighting crime behind the computer. Having her as Batgirl, in my opinion is only taking her character backwards instead of forward. 

#22 Posted by haydenclaireheroes (9183 posts) - - Show Bio

My question is how are they going to change everything and if Barbra is Batgril does this mean she was ever oracle.

#23 Posted by Emperormeister734 (820 posts) - - Show Bio

i hope she surprises the Joker bykicking his butt

#24 Posted by TheIncredibleNightcrawler1999 (84 posts) - - Show Bio

Her story was so sad I hated how she looked when she was killed. She looked scared of the Joker in the closet. 8O

#25 Posted by auntneppy (9 posts) - - Show Bio

We have Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, and Kate Kane if you want a Bat female running around kicking ass. And they have all earned their place in the Bat family.
 
This may sound cruel, but Babs needs to stay in the chair. She's the only one who has Beat the Fridge. Her determination and intelligence is what makes her what she is, and putting her back in the suit would almost be an insult to all the work that Simone and others have done in bringing her to life as Oracle.

#26 Posted by ChadwickDavis (445 posts) - - Show Bio

While i personally don't agree with it i will remain objective in regards to how this is played out...For now. I only have one question: if barbara Gordon is the "new" batgirl what happens to titles like the Birds of Prey as a team, Batwoman, Batman inc., etc. This total retcon Idea seems like a bad idea to me but I will keep an open mind.   

#27 Posted by sj_esposito (457 posts) - - Show Bio

A really nice article, Sara. 
 
I'm feeling torn about Barbara's return to wearing the cape and cowl. Bittersweet is a good word for it. I never really read anything with Barbara being Batgirl, but the prospect of it is really intriguing. That said, it sucks to be losing Oracle. She's such an important part of the mythos. 
 
In the end, I trust Gail Simone with whatever character she lays her hands on, and so, I'll be anxiously awaiting this one.

#28 Posted by Transmetal (290 posts) - - Show Bio

This needs to stop...why changed such an amazing charcter...its almost a cruel joke
#29 Posted by They Killed Cap! (2243 posts) - - Show Bio

Oracle is such a important role in the Batman family and greater DC universe ...I am blown away by this change...
#30 Posted by chowy (64 posts) - - Show Bio

I have no doubt we are gonna have a great comic, specially with Simone writting it. But wasn´t it the point of giving Steph the cowl, so we could have a more silver age Batgirl, without throwing away Oracle?

#31 Edited by AlKusanagi (613 posts) - - Show Bio

Will she actually be recovered, or will it be some kind of cybernetic enhancement in the suit that lets her walk (sort of akin to how the Venom suit is letting Flash walk in the new series)? The new suit does have a bit of a tech-like look about it.

#32 Posted by danhimself (22628 posts) - - Show Bio

Batgirl: Year One was the only Year One title that I liked...I actually loved the book but I don't think it's an evolution of Barbara's character for her to return to being Batgirl....Barbara had moved on...maybe she was forced to do so but none the less she had moved on with her life and became a character that was so important to the heroes of the DC Universe that she had to fake her death to protect them and herself....I think that her returning to the role of Batgirl is a step back for her and I think she's the only character that stepping back into a previous role is a backwards step... Dick grew up and became Nightwing...the whole time that he was Batman it felt like he was wearing someone else's shoes....Same goes for Tim if he were to go back to being just plain old Robin then it would be a backwards step...and that goes for Barbara going back to being Batgirl as well...I'm rambling so I'll stop but one last thing....I think that Stephanie or Cassandra should be Batgirl and let Oracle remain Oracle

#33 Posted by Grubich (369 posts) - - Show Bio

About friggin' time!

#34 Posted by iLLituracy (13537 posts) - - Show Bio

What about Stephanie Brown???? 
 
PSYCHE. Don't care.  
 
...Does that make me awful?

#35 Posted by davidkenneth (443 posts) - - Show Bio

If she does appear walking again then they better say why and what happened to Stephanie and Cassandra, also I don't care to see her with Dick
#36 Posted by mbembet (219 posts) - - Show Bio

why is she still considered as a "girl"?

#37 Posted by 672253 (51 posts) - - Show Bio

Barbara Gordon is one of my favorite comic characters, as both Batgirl and Oracle, so I'm not sure how I feel about Babs becoming Batgirl again. Will this mean she was never shot or will there be some sort of surgery involved that repairs her spine? What will happen to Oracle and the Birds of Prey? Will the team have even existed? Will she rekindle the spark between Dick Grayson and herself? There's so many questions.

But at least I can take solace in the fact that Gail Simone will be the writer. I can't think of anyone better suited to write Barbara Gordon.

#38 Posted by Bestostero (5618 posts) - - Show Bio

yes, make it happen already, longggg overdue 

#39 Edited by antiterra (168 posts) - - Show Bio

  This is really the one thing that bothers enormously me about the DC relaunch. I'd argue it's precisely the wrong time to have Barbara magically cured and back as Batgirl.

IMO, it's never been less justified than right now: we already have the plucky, wise-cracking Babs-as-Batgirl, except she has blonde hair and is called Stephanie Brown. However, what we don't have is another Oracle. There simply isn't a single character in the entire DCU that can compare to Babs-as-Oracle.

Since Gail Simone is writing the book, I have faith that I won't be too disappointed, but nobody will ever convince me that it was in any way needed - that it makes any kind of sense - for Barbara to become Batgirl again.

Everybody needs to read this op-ed - easily the best piece I've read on the subject.

#40 Posted by DeawonCDelaney (64 posts) - - Show Bio

This is flat out depressing I am all for them finally getting Batwoman of the ground but JonesDeini said it best have these decisions are based off pure nostalgia Barbara is a grown woman and I guess its screw Stephanie Brown. And as for Birds of Prey WTF until the world blows up  I don't see Huntress Hawk or Dove, Black Hawk heck I dont I even see Creote or Savate

#41 Posted by Omega-Man (766 posts) - - Show Bio

This is just terrible news, I grew up watching Batman the animated series yes and Babs was the first batgirl I knew of before reading more about Cassandra Cain and recently Stephanie Brown. Babs as Oracle means more to real life as an icon that no matter if you have a disablity you can still push on and be the best you can be.
 
This is a joke, Babs ment so much more as Oracle than as batgirl sure she made a mile stone as batgirl but some readers have to remember Babs wasn't the first batgirl if you go though comic history she is the second. but due to continuity she's the first. But still even though Babs is stepping backward. I feel cheated as a reader plus I prefer both Steph and Cassandra as Batgirl over babs any day. Plus continuity and age wise this makes no sense.
 
Dick Grayson is about 26 and babs is at least a year older than him in continuity now, with the reboot, what does that mean? Dick obviously doesn't seem younger so he's still 26. but Babs for her to be called a girl again must be a teen this really gives me a headache, and for Damian to still be Robin why do I get a feeling that those two are going to have a small relationship of some sort which will be creepy.

#42 Posted by xkoenig (395 posts) - - Show Bio

It will all be back to as it was by this time next year, so don't worry, you'll have Steph back as Batgirl then. In the meantime, enjoy Barbara back in action!

#43 Posted by Omega-Man (766 posts) - - Show Bio
@antiterra
 
Dude that I have to agree, Steph is alot like Babs in a lot of ways
#44 Posted by BlueStarr86 (51 posts) - - Show Bio
ALL OF MY HATE!
#45 Posted by phantom64 (20 posts) - - Show Bio

the only way this won't piss me off is that Cassie and Steph are part of the reboot. I'd like to see a title about the two being a crime-fighting duo, or perhaps a trio if Tim joins them. I'd totally read a comic about those 3 kicking ass together.

#46 Posted by pspin (891 posts) - - Show Bio

What about Stephanie and Wendy, they were becoming interesting characters, this is very iffy 
#47 Posted by DaMacGuy (14 posts) - - Show Bio

The whole point of this renumbering is to bring new readers to these titles unencumbered by previous plot developments. I think DC should hold off on spin-off characters (Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, etc) instead of just shoving a page or two over a few issues of new retcon history. 
 
Let the core pantheon, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, etc, start out as new heros without a new history to only be implied and brought up casually as needed. Let us discover their supervillian foes as they discover them. Let the spin-off heros develop as they would (Let Bruce Wayne witness the death of Dick Grayson's parents, let Barbara Gordon stope a crime while on her way to a masquerade dressed as a female Batman, etc). 
 
Just dumping the readers in the middle of a retcon'ed timeline with issue 1 is no better than just renumbering. Readers are still not going to truly understand why Batman and the Joker hate each other (Batman Begins aside) any better than if they'd picked up Detective 900. 
 
This is just becoming a renumbering stunt. And it's going to succeed to a degree. But the increase in new readers won't appear like they'd like.

#48 Posted by Blindside002 (226 posts) - - Show Bio

What about Cassandra and Stephanie! Where will they go?! 

#49 Posted by MrUnknown (1700 posts) - - Show Bio

Why can't Barbara, Cass and Steph all be Batgirl? 
 I mean it worked in Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman animated movie. If all three of them become Batgirl, it will be hard to discover her identity and they could be in multiple places at once even. But whatever they decide; this is really such an awesome creative team that I'm looking forward to it immensely.

#50 Posted by Omega-Man (766 posts) - - Show Bio

What I don't understand is why boot Steph? Her book is doing well in sales. In fact she out sold other solo female titles, it makes no sense why they bring babs back other than for it to be a stupid stunt of renumbering.
 
And this isn't nostolgic either like I said in a privious post she isn't the first Batgirl in comics history.

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