ummm i really really love this
You and I have had our problems, in the past.
You keep telling me that characters I love aren’t iconic enough to be characters in your new universe, or any other universe that you can get your hands on.
You pretend that other characters I adore aren’t even real because it might, you know, confuse “mainstream” audiences.
I decided to test this theory, using your favorite demographic: White, straight male, 18-24 (20), that has purchased DC comics before yet is pretty casual about it so he doesn’t care too much about continuity. He also doesn’t know anything about Stephanie Brown or Casandra Cain.
From Gail Simone.
This is probably what stings the most about the New 52: rhetoric concerning Barbara Gordon. I will elaborate.
Okay, first and foremost though this is a blog dedicated to all Batgirls.
I wouldn’t be attempting to start up my own webcomic fanseries based around them if I didn’t appreciate any of the characters. Hell, I love Barbara Gordon. I am twenty-two and I grew up with her as Batgirl on Batman The Animated Series when I was threeish to five years old and then The New Batman Adventures. Basically my entire childhood there has always been Batman and Barbara Gordon Batgirl. My earliest memories Batman was HUGE with kids older than myself and so omnipresent due to the Tim Burton movies. I saw Mask of The Phantasm in theaters. I was Batman at least twice for Halloween and a literal Bat once.
Being said I dislike the rhetoric that talks as if Barbara Gordon Batgirl as if she ceased to exist after 1988ish when she retired and then was subsequently shot. That her Batgirl went away after that. Well, to be honest; Barbara Gordon Batgirl never ever went away. We have not been without Barbara Gordon Batgirl since 1967. How? Other media. Merchandise. Comics too.
To say a a “generation” of comics readers will be experiencing her “leaping, fighting and swinging over Gotham” is a fallacy. She lived on trough merchandise, debuted as Batgirl in Batman The Animated Series and then in comics was featured in many one-shot or throughout the 90’s flashback one-shot stories, featured prominently in Zero Hour and then was given her amazing Year One miniseries byChuck Dixon. Even as recently as 2011 we were given “flashback” Barbara Gordon Batgirl stories or ones with Barbara walking around and now the Ame-Comi Batgirl figurine has its own comic series. So to count we have since her retirement and then crippling in 1989 appearences as Batgirl in animated media:
Batman: The Animated Series (1992)
The New Batman Adventures (1997)
Barbara Gordon even following the appointment of Cassandra Cain as Batgirl in 1999 has appeared as Batgirl again in flashback of her final mission to rescue Tim Drake in
And then stared in as Batgirl
Gotham Girls (2002)
The Batman (2004)
And since the appointment of Stephanie Brown as Batgirl in 2009:
Young Justice (2011)
Super Best Friends Forever shorts (2012)
She also appears as Batgirl in the videogames
Then remember any accompanying comic series for those series. To say a generation has yet to see her experiencing her as Batgirl for the first time is just not true. It’s just not. In fact they use her too much. She’s the only one they ever use. This generation just grew up with her in alternate media other than comics. I would sometimes look at comics when I was younger and was surprised to learn she was not Batgirl and vaguely remember reading bits of No Man’s Land. So I never even truly knew Cassandra Cain as Batgirl.
Another thing I’ve noticed with Barbara Gordon compared to the other Batgirls: people comment on her appearance. That “Barbara looks hot. Batgirl is hot in this issue.” And quite frankly that disturbs me as she comes off as perhaps the most fetishised of all three main heroines in fanart. Perhaps its due to her character age, her “iconicness”, I mean she was certainly always drawn pretty gorgeous when introduced even if given the “Hollywood Homely” treatment when working as a librarian. Looks like Ed Benes will continue that tradition!
This leads me to her new book. I dislike it immensely. It has some of the poorest writing I’ve seen from Gail Simone. No big surprises. Bad art. Bad plotting and villains. Melodrama left and right and possibly the most irrational reaction from a parent ever. And I am not saying this as a fan of Stephanie Brown or Cassandra Cain. Hell even Stephanie Brown’s run had its writing and characterization issues. I am saying this as a fan of Barbara Gordon and from a perspective of a writer who is very dissapointed in her portrayal. Even if degaged and stripped of a certain degree of experience her characterization is terrible, even with the spin of yes having her have a form of PTSD she has yet to show any of her stengths. Gail is failing at what a young person my age is like today. There is nothing joyous or inspirational or anything of “Classic Barbara Gordon” in her new book. And it is such a shame if you think at what it could have been or what they could have done.
Personally, yes the writer in me would probably have kept Stephanie Brown as Batgirl and would have with the reboot made Oracle more of a field agent; more Major Motoko Kunisagi, and of course have her deaged a bit. Then fold in Cassandra Cain Black Bat and retire Stephanie’s Book for Batgirl Inc. Instead of fracturing the fanbase even more, unite them. The excuse Oracle was a stale concept is entirely on the writers; those that helmed her. I can think of 5+ different ways to improve upon her as Oracle that would if used correctly would have been an amazing change. Hence this is why I committed to start my Batgirl Incorporated fancomic but I decided, sure, keep Barbara Gordon as Batgirl in it but model her after my Kunisagi make-over. Because yes, when Barbara as Batgirl is written well, she is amazing. It’s just a shame we are not getting that.
Yes from a monetary standpoint to make Babs Batgirl again was wise, but then again I feel a unified Batgirl book or to coincide with Barbara’s Batgirl solo, the Dustin Nguyen’s Gotham City Boys And Girls Club concept team-book with Damian, Stephanie as Spoiler, and Cassandra as Black Bat would have outsold most likely anything Robert Liefeld is doing for DC Comics right now. It would satisfy a much needed niche and have made the blow to the roster shake-up softer. True Damian may not be in a great place to lead a makeshift team but it is something that could truly do well and should really be considered by DC Editorial.
I would go on about media and how DC Comics needs to realize the internet, animation and both the youth, tween and female oriented market is entirely the way to go and drop the pandering to the 18-65 crowd in a time where Barbara’s Batgirl is selling in the upper 40k range while videos on Youtube and viewers tuning in Young Justice andLegend of Korra every Saturday can be in the millions, but that I will reserve for another post. But yeah, Barbara Gordon as Batgirl fanatics cut the rhetoric out, she is everywhere.
I agree with most of this. One thing I’d like to add:
“but we’re doing everything we can to be respectful to this character’s amazing legacy”
I find this hysterical considering Barbara’s legacy has been practically destroyed post reboot.
Cass is better than all of them.
I love this scene. It also explains why the “I can’t be Batgirl anymore without Brooooose!” scene was bullshit.
Yep. If anyone should have inherited the mantle, it was Cass.
Dick never wanted it, and as much as he brought something new and good to Batman, his nature is being Robin. When Bruce chose Jean Paul the first time around, Dick only got mad for being skipped over because of his personal issues with Bruce. It was his “what am I to you” thing, and not any wish to be Batman.
Tim, on the other hand, would make a good Batman, since he’s more bat than bird. Bruce knew it, and actually planned to make him Batman one day and told him so. However, Tim didn’t want it. Tim never wants to be Batman.
Cass is the only one who feels what being the Batm is about in the same way Bruce does. I don’t think anyone else could understand it in the way the two of them did. Cass is Bruce’s true heir to the Bat. Moreover, she wanted it. She told Babs being the Bat was all she wanted.
So basically DC sucks.
This is the definitive heart of Cassandra Cain’s character and why she should have been the one to take up the Batman mantle post Batman RIP and Battle For The Cowl event in 2009 following the “death” of Bruce Wayne, events she was oddly missing from more or less outside of the concept cut short The Network which in all honesty seemed like a prototype to Batman Incorporated but was never really elaborated on and the issue went nowhere, having her and Huntress squabbling with each other rather than making any actual progress.
The problem with DC is that they didn’t push either Cassandra Batgirl or Stephanie enough even after problems were sorted out.
Once they reinstated Cassandra Cain as Batgirl after her stint as being brainwashed and evil they hardly used her outside of Chuck Dixon’s short Batman & The Outsiders (a perfect role for her) book before he left DC under less than good standing. She was conveniently missing from the title ‘Battle For The Cowl’ event as a contender and instead featured the “sons” of Batman more or less fighting over the Batman mantle. Her status as an adopted daughter a plot point that was stated before Batman RIP on the last page of her mini was never brought up really again.
Stephanie Brown’s Batgirl was spun out of this event with Cassandra after being in semi-limbo dropping the mantle but unlike the new status quo that was rolled out of that event during the summer, Stephanie’s launch as Batgirl was delayed until August, and while there was a giant tease about who the new Batgirl would be (Their character board showed Misfit would be a supporting character in the fall book, though she never appeared. However the purple background to the first issue cover was a giant clue as was the smile and body language) her book was certainly not advertised as heavily as it should have been for a relaunched character and a new Batgirl. To compare the press and pushing DC has done for Barbara Gordon in her new and rather trite book is astounding as are her immediate or near immediate cross-overs and feature issues in other books.
While Stephanie had good reviews and only got better as a Buffy type take on Batman, DC did not really try very hard to integrate her Batgirl into the DCU. Her appearences outside of her comic were scant and hardly showed up if at all in Batman & Robin or Birds of Prey.
Her subsequent cross-overs were few, only appearing before the change as Spoiler in the parallel book Red Robin and later a mini cross-over with the same book as Batgirl. She only really only guest starred in the extremely low earning The Web series. She appeared as a background character in the special issue 600 of Wonder Woman as one of Wonder Woman’s female hero soldiers and also on the monitor as a target in the last few issues of Secret Six. She was not integrated nor present in the Blackest Night one shot either. Her issue of Batman Inc was suspended until a December one-shot due to the reboot and placed as a “pre-Flashpoint” adventure thereby possibly invalidating the entire adventure and her run as Batgirl.
While DC put Dustin Nguyen on art duties for her Batgirl to draw sales DC was not very attentive to her Batgirl no mater what Gail Simone may claim to make the book successful. They did not do enough. And they failed Cassandra Cain too. And the obvious favoritism and push for Barbara Gordon Batgirl now in the Nu52 canon is pretty disheartening as they could have easily done the same for the other girls. Their benching too is very telling as they legitimately threaten the validity of DC’s choice to reinstate Barbara Gordon when there were two girls who were better at the role than she current is.
I do hope if Cassandra Cain returns as Black Bat soon in regular canon they can clean-up her reasoning for shedding her “temporary” status as Batgirl as that once Bruce disappeared and Barbara Gordon went to Africa for her year of surgery and rehab, she decided to become literally Batman, the Black Bat and taking her concept The Network, took the Bat symbol to Hong Kong while Dick Grayson took the Batman mantle for Gotham and together they effectively started up what would become Batman Inc.
While Cassandra Cain will be starting from fresh in Batgirl Incorporated like Stephanie Brown,her adherence to the symbol will be foremost integrated into this personal canon I can assure you. It will also be fun, something that is entirely missing from the current Batgirl series.
I agree with all of this, especially the bolded.
Compare the amount of press, merchandising and guest starring the new Batgirl got with what Cass (in TEN years) and Steph (in 2) got.
Other than multiple appereances in other books, Barbara as new Batgirl has three figurines, is featured in Batman lego, is starring in one Ame comic book and is part of the new team in Young Justice (the last three are not part of the DCnU, but it increases her visibility). In less than a year Barbara Gordon got more publicity than Cassandra Cain in ten years.
You can’t blame the characters for not being popular when you don’t do a real effort to advertise them.
Hey guys, this isn’t our first article… Well, at least not our first fan one, since I made this myself. Spoilers for those who haven’t read Supergirl #10. Anyway, here we go…
5. More of Stephanie’s Doodles
I found the doodle that Stephanie did recapping the Batman family’s history to be…
Batfam bookmark!! Left out some characters though ;;;;