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NaNaNaNaNaNaNaNa BATGIRLS (and others)

November 13, 2008

First off, found object:


(Except for me, replace “porn” with “Chinese food” and “family” with “kid,” except sometimes they’re switched, depending on how long I’ve gone without Chinese food.)


I’m a superhero fangirl who’s a library science major.  Of course I love Batgirl.  She shelves books AND fights crime–it’s the PERFECT LIFE.  But I don’t actually remember having much of an attachment to Batgirl while I was watching the show, as she was way too girly for a tomboy like me.  (Now I covet the Batpurse, but the one they have at Six Flags is just a bit too big.)  Also, her daddy issues were annoying.  It seemed less on the show like she was keeping her identity secret from her father and more that she was lyyyyiiiinnng.  To me, that didn’t seem very heroic.

Okay, so we’ve got a girl with daddy issues.  In various versions, Batgirl is: the daughter of Commissioner Gordon, the neice of Commissioner Gordon, the neice of Alfred Pennyworth, aaaand is that it?  We’re only talking about Barbara, at this point, the redhead that everyone knows.  In the comics, Barbara is eventually shot and paralyzed by the Joker in Alan Moore’s Killing Joke and eventually uses her librarian skills and photographic memory to become Oracle, sort of the switchboard/information base for Batman and other heroes in Gotham.  She then creates her own team, the Birds of Prey, and sends them out on missions and…stuff.

Oh well, I’m trying here.

The reason that a lot of people don’t know about Oracle is because the origin of Oracle is considered too grisly for children.  The Barbara Gordon of The Animated Series (the DCAU) eventually follows in her father’s footsteps and becomes Police Commissioner, which is all well and good, but it’s not exactly stepping out of the shadow of the father.  Oracle, among other awesome feminist things, is a completely separate character, not attached to the Bat legacy, but working with it–and choosing not to, when she believes Batman has gone too far.

Like Robin, the Batgirl mantle is just that, something others can put on.  Briefly, Helena Bertinelli (TALK ABOUT DADDY ISSUES, HER ORIGINAL CHARACTER WAS THE DAUGHTER OF BRUCE WAYNE) becomes Batgirl, but no one wants that because Helena doesn’t know when to stop.  The mantle is taken up then, with Barbara’s okay, by Cassandra Cain, a character I like very much, although she’s best explained by reading her book, because then otherwise I’ll start going off about how “fixing her brain” was lazy writing, and “turning her bad” was a bad call.  A bad, bad call.  But just a quick overview: Cassandra was trained to be an assassin from the time she was very little.  She’s basically a little killing machine, but who’s cool with that?  And eventually she becomes part of the Bat family and then the writers fuck her over.  Oops, I said I wasn’t going to do that.

When you–or I, really–start talking about the women of Gotham, it’s almost like: Hey, look at this, this is almost as good IF NOT BETTER than the guys’ story.  I’ve talked about my Gail Simone love before, and Birds of Prey just got canceled (long after she left it), and I’m fairly certain I’m going to spotlight that entire series at some point so I don’t want to get into it too much.  But once you open the door to discussing these other women characters, it’s like a floodgate.  Barbara, Cassandra, Helena, Dinah/Black Canary, Stephanie, all the way down to Misfit (who I just don’t know very well…yet).  The Batbooks have come to emcompass so much.  It’s not just Batman and Robin, or even Batman, Robin, Batgirl, and maybe Nightwing.  There’s a whole world there, filled with men, women, and monsters.

And yeah, I know, I haven’t even TALKED about Selina Kyle, and I love her so much.

But really, if I keep going on this way, I’ll end up becoming this sort of opinionated Wikipedia on the Batverse, and I don’t want to do that.  I don’t just want to throw facts out along with the occasional “Hey, did you see that Daddy issue fly by?”  (Unless you’re talking about Black Canary, then it’s a Mommy issue.)  What I want to do is spark an interest in those who never made it past the good old days of the Batusi.  So I guess I’ll do that tomorrow, because my ex-bf is back from his trip to the Stanley Hotel and we can sit down and debate the heck out of what’s going on the trades list.  GOOD TIMES!

To close, I give you this, that someone just linked me:



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