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Saturday, June 11, 2011 

DC Comics reverts Babs Gordon to Batgirl

Finally, I'm getting around to addressing one of the most divisive steps DC is taking with the ridiculous reboot: turning Oracle back into Batgirl, after all the amazingly good effort that was made over the years to develop Barbara Gordon into another role that wasn't superheroics per se, but rather, a behind the scenes expert in computers who provides info to crimefighters like Black Canary for combatting more earthbound cases. I sometimes thought of her as making a perfect variation on Ironside, Raymond Burr's second most famous TV role after Perry Mason.

Now, 2 decades are going down the drain because of TPTB's obsession with reverting practically everything back to the Silver Age, but without any real brightness or optimism if we remember what Geoff Johns sunk into. This isn't going without opposition, thankfully: a special blog was launched (also via Newsarama) where people submitted drawings of Babs Gordon in solidarity with the Oracle characterization. But with people as awful as DiDio still pulling the puppet strings, there's no telling if this reversion will ever be reversed and Babs brought back to her depiction from the past 2 decades.

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I have no problem with this. Barbara Gordon was crippled for shock value by DC. If DC wants to right this wrong I have no problem with it.

So your basically saying that Barbra was nothing as Oracle the go powerhouse gal of DC, that she accomplished nothing despite her horrific injury, that she didn't move forward in one of the most awe inspiring ways ever seen. Becoming an inspiration to the millions a symbol.

As Batgirl she was only a sidekick an underling of Batman as Oracle she was a HERO and a powerhouse in her own right outclassing even Batman himself.

"So your basically saying that Barbra was nothing as Oracle the go powerhouse gal of DC,"

I don't think she is the powerhouse gal of DC.

"that she accomplished nothing despite her horrific injury, that she didn't move forward in one of the most awe inspiring ways ever seen."

No, all I see is a character that was paralyzed on a whim for sheer shock value and people trying to retroactively spin what happened to her as a tale of empowerment. It isn't.

"Becoming an inspiration to the millions a symbol."

A million? really? I know you like the character but she is not an inspiration to millions. Also keep in mind that whenever Barbara Gordon appears outside of low selling DC comics it is always as Batgirl. BTAS? She is Batgirl. Batman Beyond? She is Batgirl in the flashbacks. The Batman? She is Batgirl. The only appearence outside of comics was the WB show "Birds of Prey" and it was canned. The majority of all the action figures? The statues? When you take all this into account bringing back Barbara was a no brainer. But hey this is DC we are talking about, so it was only natural that it took them so long to do the right thing

"As Batgirl she was only a sidekick an underling of Batman as Oracle she was a HERO and a powerhouse in her own right outclassing even Batman himself"

Barbara made the decison to be Batgirl on her own. She was never an underling. Oracle on the other hand is an underling. Oracle is nothing more than a superpowered office gopher who cannibalizes everyone's characterization so she can have a niche. I would rather have my heroes figure out things on their own instead of putting the work off on the office gopher.

No comment
Avi, I'm going to walk away on this because it's getting a little too personal.and I don't think you want a flame war on your blog.

Anthony let's agree to disagree.

She's carved out a far more distinct, powerful, and likable character as Oracle than she ever was as Batgirl. You could put almost anyone in the cowl and be fine, since "Batgirl" is a mere spin-off character. But there is only one Oracle.

"She's carved out a far more distinct, powerful, and likable character as Oracle than she ever was as Batgirl."

The thing is Barbara never stopped being Batgirl outside of the comics and to the world at large.She never quit. If this was true they woulnd't have returned her to Batgirl. This is something the pro Oracle group never thinks about.

"You could put almost anyone in the cowl and be fine, since "Batgirl" is a mere spin-off character. But there is only one Oracle."

They DID put almost anyone in Barbara's cowl and it didn't work. Someone at DC finally looked around and saw that Barbara was working just fine in all the other branches of the company and made the right call.

There is a ton of reasons to be mad at DC, but this is not one of them

I'm going with Anthony's first statement in that Babs' being paralyzed was for shock value. So, I don't mind as much about undoing it. However, I did like how they created a successful niche for Babs, post-Batgirl. Like some of the others, it's "why bother doing all that work if you're going to undo it, anyway?" I think both are viable, but as someone said, "many Batgirls; only one Oracle."

Um, in the current Batgirl series, wasn't Wendy (of the Superfriends) paralyzed and friends with Babs? So, there you go -- instant replacement.

Personally speaking, I don't mind the revival if that also means the return of Batgirl's first and most popular foe: my nom de plume of Killer Moth. I'd love to see the Drury Walker version return, as it has been so lacking since his Charaxes form and his later knockoffs.

I know many fans enjoyed Babs as Oracle, but I for one never liked the idea that she was crippled in the first place. I seem to remember a statement of editor Len Wein (normally one of my favorite writers) in which he says "let's cripple the bitch," when he was given the okay to do so. I wonder...in light of the way comics have gone since then, does he now regret saying that?

Alan Moore did relay that in a Wizard Magazine interview. I thought it was Dick Giodiano, or however you spell the name, was the one who said, "let's cripple the bitch."

God, no wonder DC has such low opinion of their characters, if they all think like that privately.

The Killing Joke crippling is pretty much irrelevant to me. It was 23 years ago. If we can get past Emerald Twilight / Kyle Rayner, I think we can get past this.

The conversion to Oracle was the perfect example of making lemonade from lemons, creating a new and interesting character from a blah one.

And, just like with the Barry Allen revival, going back for "nostalgia"'s sake basically invalidates 2-3 decades of interesting character growth.

As far as putting anyone in the cowl goes, the books sold as well (poorly) as anything else in the marketplace. And, frankly, Batgirl has never been a best-seller. They've done the same thing with Robin and Supergirl in recent years, with similar results. I'll be shocked if the post-reboot Batgirl sells diddly as well; I'll lay money it won't match Birds of Prey.

Oracle was interesting because she was unique. Batgirl is just another derivative blah superheroine. Just like restoring Barry Allen invalidated some great stories (past and potential future), restoring Barbara Gordon to the cowl does the same.

Or a better example: the Terry Sloane Mister Terrific was killed off around 1980 for shock value in a crossover (a trend before its time!). The Michael Holt Mister Terrific came about some years later (1997?) and has been an awesome character pre-reboot.

Bringing back Gordon as Batgirl is akin to bringing back Terry Sloane as Mister Terrific.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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