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DC Screws With Readers’ Heads With New Batgirl #1

On the one hand, it sure appears to be Barbara Gordon as Batgirl for Batgirl #1

On the other hand, it’s written by Gail Simone, with art by Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes (good creative team). If you would trust any one writer with the proper handling of Barbara Gordon, wouldn’t it be Gail Simone?

Clever, DC, clever!!!

In fact, DC’s The Source blog has the following statement from Gail Simone on the book:

“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.”

How can you read that and not be at least a little pumped?

As for Birds of Prey #1, I love the creative team, but it is definitely one of those “have to see it to see how it is being handled” types of books. But really, Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz? Good team.

Really, the only thing I’m worried about now is the rumors that Morrison’s Batman Inc. stuff is going to be cut short. If that’s the case…wow, that’s dumb. There’s no reason Morrison can’t do Batman Inc. with slight reboot stuff (like Dick becoming Nightwing again) factored in.

151 Comments

I think you said it exactly, Gail is amazing and this concept could either be completely disrespectful or kind of amazing and work out.

I’m personally hoping for maybe a “I act as Batgirl wearing robotic/tech prosthetics but I also operate as Oracle in regular life so I can be Barbara Gordon (usual physical capabilities)”.

I don’t know. I do know I’ll be buying at least the first issue to find out though.

Or. The red hair could be a wig – a la Batwoman – thus a complete red herring so to speak. Could be anybody under there. Well, besides Granny Goodness.

As for ” If you would trust any one writer with the proper handling of Barbara Gordon, wouldn’t it be Gail Simone?”

Not necesserily. Remember that the Barbara Gordon most of us know and love and have been reading for the last 20-odd years is a very different character to the one she was pre-Killing Joke. You know, back before she was interesting and three dimensional.

I have never been into DC due to the constant reboots and every event seeming to be written only to try and fix the continuity and out of whack origins, history, powers, etc, of nearly every character.

Having said that and being critical of yet another reboot, I could get into some of these new #1s. I don’t know for how long, but Barbara Gordon back as Batgirl is intriguing.

Or off to the side! Why can’t Batman Inc just be its own thing like All Star Batman and Robin for a while. Just til he finishes it. It’ll still sell well. It won’t confuse people any MORE than reading a Morrison book would in the first place. Give it a slightly different trade logo and let him finish his six year story!

What Emm said.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 11:50 am

Wow, fanboys will break a hip jumping up and down with excitiement that DC is regressing back to the early 80s.

31 year old comics for all!! yay….

My reaction to this is the same as my reaction to the reboot as a whole. Seems like a dumb idea, but we’ll probably get good comics out of it, so it’s fine I guess.

I think it is pretty obviously Barbara. Simone is OFF of Birds of Prey so I see no reason to think she will be active in both books.

I just saw re DC said it isn’t Barbara.

Wow, is THAT ever stupid. I have faith in SImone, but with one line I have gone from excited about the new book to much less so…

Rollo Tomassi

June 6, 2011 at 12:02 pm

If this doesn’t work, the scuttlebut is that going forward next year, every issue of every DC Comic will be a #1 issue. They’re going to release a constant stream of oneshots every week and month from now on. So as not to confuse readers, every oneshot will rebo..er..I mean relaunch the series’ continuity in an easier to understand and less convoluted manner.
Bob Harras swears by this method.

Huh, Rusty?

Gail has spoken about the book and is pretty clear that it IS Barbara.

That update was added AFTER I posted my message.

Good news though.

Rusty, I’m now even more confused. If you posted your comment BEFORE DC made their announcement that it was Barbara, which announcement were you originally talking about?

Bryan Miller was already doing a great job with Stephanie Brown. I would much rather have Gail Simone keep writing Secret Six.

Instead it’s just like Michael Sacal said: more nostalgia comics.

Gail makes it sound as though Cassandra and Stephanie were never Batgirl in spirit. I’m disagree, because they were. Just as much as Wally West was Flash, Kyle Rayner was Green Lantern, and Linda Danvers was Supergirl. I get that Barbara’s one of her favourite characters, but the way she put it – whether or not she meant to put it that way – was just insulting to fans of the other characters – despite the fact that Gail’s also a self-professed Cass fan.

@T. I think Rusty means that while the new Batgirl was confirmed with Simone and the rest of the creative team and the image had been released, it still hadn’t been announced WHO Batgirl was going to be. There was some speculation based on some rumors (apparently from DC?) that it was going to be Charlie (aka Misfit), not Babs. But Simone has since confirmed that it’s Barbara.

I have that right Rusty?

Correct… but where I read the Misfit thing it was stated that DC had made an announcement that it was Misfit.

Obviously that was misinformation.

I am happy it was…

Ok, gotcha.

Yeah, what the Dude said.

I’m really conflicted about this “non-reboot”. I like most DC titles currently and don’t see a quality problem with writing or art in general, but I do see the logic of expanding the readership, and nothing pisses off a non-comic fan more than learning that their favorite character was replaced/renamed/killed years before and now somebody else has the title.

I’ve been there myself.

But wiping out the past ten or twenty years of continuity is really desperate. Does this mean there’s no Wally West Flash, for example? What about Conner Kent? Changes like that will make me very unhappy.

This sucks. I was enjoying the Steph Batgirl book.

We’ve only seen 18-20 creative teams or titles. There’s no way they’re putting all their most dramatic announcements up front. That means we have 32-34 announcements to go. I am interested to see if they reveal a book with Elongated Man, thereby indicating Identity Crisis is now retconned. That would be sweet.

I love the way everyone refers to Simone as “Gail”. Are all you guys on a first-name basis? But Morrison is “Morrison”. Hmm.

I would much rather have Bryan Q. Miller writing a Stephanie Brown Batgirl than Gail Simone writing a Barbara Gordon Batgirl.

I’ve never really cared much for Barbara Gordon as Batgirl. Maybe because I came into my fandom during her twilight years when she had essentially retired, before being shot. But, man, did I love Oracle (still do, actually). Seeing a person–a woman, no less–pick herself up and redefine her role the way she did was really inspirational. If Johns, Didio, Simone et al haven’t already come up with a way to work Oracle back into the DCU, they’re going to need to before too long.

After reading that last statement, I want to clarify it. I didn’t mean to imply that most women couldn’t recover from what she went through. I meant to say that, in the DCU, there haven’t been many female characters who have risen to the prominence that she has in the years since Gordon first made her re-appearance as Oracle. While Wonder Woman may have the prestige, I don’t think there is/was any female character that was as integral to the DCU as Oracle.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 1:00 pm

@Paul

“nothing pisses off a non-comic fan more than learning that their favorite character was replaced/renamed/killed years before and now somebody else has the title.”

We are talking about changes that took place DECADES ago, not a few years.

Barbara was shot in the spine in the late 1980s, Wally became Flash in the mid 80s. Byrne introduced a new Supergirl in the late 80s, etc, etc, etc.

These changes took place OVER 20 YEARS AGO. As far as anyone under 20, which should be the target audience for comic books, these changes are not “changes”, they are the “status quo”. THOSE people are NOT whinning about Barbara being Oracle instead of Batgirl, or Supergirl not being Kryptonian, or Barry Allen not being the Flash… it is their FATHER’s and their FATHER’S GENERATION that are doing the crybaby whinning and who are breaking their hips with joy at the news that DC has chosen to cater to their nostalgia instead of create something new for their grandchildren to enjoy.

All other considerations aside, one has to admit that the role of Oracle in the DCU has become dated. A computer hacker who can get into any network without the knowledge of the government or the bad guys…well that rocked in 1995, 2000, *maybe* 2005, but now it’s pretty much a cliche.

So from that perspective I can see reviving her Batgirl identity. Actually I was intrigued by the Stephanie Brown title when Barbara was her mentor – it set up a nice question of “Who is really Batgirl here, anyway?” which they dropped after ten issues…

If you would trust any one writer with the proper handling of Barbara Gordon, wouldn’t it be Gail Simone?

For me? It would be Chuck Dixon. And I saw Gail Simone say she runs to Dixon’s Batgirl: Year One for her writing of Oracle.

For me? It would be Chuck Dixon. And I saw Gail Simone say she runs to Dixon’s Batgirl: Year One for her writing of Oracle.

True, Dixon would be way up there, and as you note, Simone’s take is quite close to Dixon’s.

Michael,

DC is looking to pull in a large new readership with digital distribution. I don’t know who is jumping for joy exactly but it’s not going to be the local comic shop buyers because these books seem to be aimed at people with only a vague idea of the DCU. It’s not so much going back to the 1980’s, it’s even worse than that. I call it the “stupidification” of the DCU. Anything that requires more than two sentences to explain is GONE.

Agreed. I think one of the reasons Simone’s Birds of Prey was so good was that it was still the same comic as Dixon created it as. No, “I’m a new writer, so I gotta tear down everything this book was.” She continued the quality.

Is Chuck Dixon working on anything big besides G.I. Joe? Who has Nightwing. . . oh no, I’m gonna have to go to DC’s website. I can’t handle the superficial hype.

And Batgirl: Year One is one of my favorite comics. I think that gets borrowed more than any other book I have.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Old fart fanboys love it when DC does anything that invalidates the changes that took place in Crisis and regurgitates the outdated crap from before it. They’re the ones jumping for joy.

The irony here is that when comics go digital those old fart fanboys will have trouble reading them or even accessing them as the technology surpasses their skills.

Rollo Tomassi

June 6, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Somebody did the math, and if Batgirl was created in ’66 and was shot in ’88, then at most she was Batgirl for 22 years(or less, since she had ‘retired’ way before she was shot), and was Oracle for 23. At any rate, Oracle would seem to be the character she’s known as. MOST(not all) current readers weren’t around for her Batgirl years.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 1:16 pm

@Rollo

Awesome point!

http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2011/06/06/nightwing-1-dick-grayson-is-back-as-nightwing/
NIGHTWING will be written by Kyle Higgins with art duties handled by fan-favorite Eddy Barrows.

Why do they have a comments section if they’re going to keep it closed?

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Dick going back to being Nightwing was a given the moment he put on the cowl, mainly because Morrison was involved and everything he does is eventually dismissed as if it had never happened.

I don’t understand all the talk about Barbara Gordon when it’s clear from the cover that the new Batgirl is the Joker, who’s lit his head on fire as part of a gag. No but seriously, that is an awful eyesore of a cover. It makes the aluminum foil cape on Tony Daniel’s Tec cover look good by comparison.

What I find so eerie is that pretty much everything that’s happened with Captain America has happened with Batman at the same time. They get “killed,” wonder who will wield the shield or battle for the cowl, their old teen sidekick takes over, both are revealed to be lost in time through magic bullets, both struggle their way back to the present and then let their sidekicks keep the role for a while, then some big crossover event happens and they’re back where they started. It’s eerie.

Why do they have a comments section if they’re going to keep it closed?

They used to allow comments, but they got way out of line, so they closed them off. To remove the comment section entirely would require revamping the entire site, and I presume they don’t think that’s worth the effort (I tend to agree).

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 1:35 pm

@buttler.

Brubaker did it first and he did it 1000 times better than Morrison.

I agree. Brubaker did it better.

I’m disconcerted because even though I am a fan of ms. simone , I’m not really a fan of barbara gordon as a character and I rather prefer misfit as the new batgirl. i think she might have had more potential than barbara and i thought she would be an interesting foil for damien but it’s a moot point. I also thought she outgrew the identity like how Dick cant be robin anymore and would have prefered her in another identity but i think batwoman and flamebird are both taken.

I think it would be good if she took some of the z-lister bat baddies and revamp them into true threats because i felt that should be used more and would make an interesting challenge for her because those villains would be a mirror for her. To me, the batgirl mantle would symbolizes validation or her trying to seek validation as a superhero despite various flaws or outside problems. like the past 3 batgirls were the daughters of bat villains and screw-ups. I’m not against her creating new villains but i dont want to see her ignore the established baddies because they are crappy.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 2:12 pm

@buttler

Brubaker’s advantage over Morrison is that he wasn’t working toward pandering to nostalgia for The Batmen of Many Nations he was, so his story stands on more serious ground.

It amazes me how insular comic fans can be about initiatives to bring fans of other media in to comics. While Barbara hasn’t been Batgirl in 20+ years of comic history, she sure as hell has been Batgirl IN EVERY OTHER FORM OF MEDIA available.

Barbara has been in multiple video games and every Bat-cartoon released from 1992 onwards. Far more people in the world today would know Barbara Gordon as Batgirl than anyone else they’ve put under the cape and cowl.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Barbara Gordon was not Batgirl in Batman & Robin, and she was Oracle in Birds of Prey, so no, she hasn’t been Batgirl in every form of media.

Your argument would apply to something like Lex Luthor as a businessman and Clark Kent as a strong, confident man, which has been true of both characters in every form of media since 1988.

Nah, there wasn’t any nostalgia for Batmen of Many Nations for Morrison to pander to. He just thought some of the really old stuff was cool, so he brought it back.

This is what I don’t get about the “old fart fanboy” argument. I don’t think many old fans are happy about yet another do-over– I’m sure Geoff Johns himself is thrilled, but it’s not like a whole lot of old Hal Jordan or Barry Allen fans are happy with what he’s done with them. Maybe they’re happy Hal and Barry are back and maybe they’re not, but Johns is about as far from a Silver or Bronze Age writer in tone as you’re going to get. People getting eviscerated-yay? And it’s not like that’s going to change with this latest reboot, either.

I can’t see why anyone who was unhappy about the Crisis reboot would be happy about another reboot doing the exact same thing. It’s just going to cause the same problems. There’ll be a big problem figuring out what’s in continuity anymore and what isn’t, and whatever gets retconned out will gradually worm its way back in because the writers miss it, just like Kara Zor-El and even Krypto did the last time around.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 2:29 pm

You don’t see Brubaker doing Captain America Inc… Batman Inc is a veiled version of Batmen of Many Nations that is as idiotic as the original. Writers like Miller elevated the concept of Batman far beyond a simple costume that anyone can wear and turned it into a physical representation of a child’s grief over his parents’ murder.

Batman Inc/Batmen of Many Nations makes a mockery of that.

Hell, it would make MORE sense for there to be a Captain America Inc than it does in there being a Batman Inc. Patriotism for one’s country is something you can franchise around the world more logically than you can a child’s grief.

I like Bryan Q Miller’s Batgirl series as much as the next guy, but Nick’s hit this one on the mark. Not only is Barbara Gordon Batgirl in every other form of media, she also provides new readers the easiest “in” to her character by virtue of her tie to Commissioner Gordon. I could explain the concept behind Barbara Gordon Batgirl to my grandmother and she would understand it. I don’t think any of the other Batgirls could claim that merit.

Barbara Gordon was not Batgirl in Batman & Robin

Having had the misfortune of rewatching the film recently, I can assure you that you are mistaken.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 2:38 pm

So what you’re saying is that Barbara Gordon as Batgirl is dumbed down enough while any other Batgirl would be too complex.

That’s the problem. Just because they are comics it doesn’t been they need to be stupified for people to understand.

People shouldn’t have to turn their brain off when reading a comic book.

Oh wait, nevermind, you’re right. She’s Barbara Pennyworth.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 2:39 pm

@Cass

“Having had the misfortune of rewatching the film recently, I can assure you that you are mistaken.”

No, I’m not. In Batman & Robin Batgirl is Barbara Wilson, Alfred’s niece, not Barbara Gordon, Jim’s daughter.

So what you’re saying is that Barbara Gordon as Batgirl is dumbed down enough while any other Batgirl would be too complex.

That’s the problem. Just because they are comics it doesn’t been they need to be stupified for people to understand.

People shouldn’t have to turn their brain off when reading a comic book.

Nice straw man argument. That’s not what I said at all. Having a simple and accessible concept doesn’t make the character simplistic or dumbed down. If my grandmother didn’t know who Batman was, I could also explain his driving concept in a sentence. Similarly, having a convoluted history entrenched in continuity doesn’t make a character complex or thought-provoking. It CERTAINLY doesn’t make a character good.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Why would your grandmother care who Batgirl is? Worry about whether or not your little brother/sister or child can understand it.

Why aim these comics at older people who have an outdated sense of what is and shouldn’t be?

The older the reader is, the less open to change they will be.

Ha ha, I don’t mean specifically old people; I was using “my grandmother” rhetorically. Maybe I’m wrong, but I thought most people’s experience would be like mine in that if you can explain it to your grandmother, you can explain it to anyone.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Everything, no matter how simple it seems at first, can become convoluted once you dwell on it long enough.

Saying that Supergirl is Superman’s cousin can sound simple, until you dwell on how it can be that she survived Krypton’s explosion, at which point your initially simple-sounding explanation becomes convoluted.

Similarly, saying that Barbara Gordon is Batgirl may sound simple, but once you dwell on the explanation long enough it becomes convoluted.

What makes Barbara Gordon simple to explain is NOT the premise of the character, it is her presence in the old TV show.

If characters like the Matrix Supergirl, or Connor Hawke, or Cassandra Cain had the same kind of exposure, then explaining them would be just as simple as explaining Barbara Gordon as Batgirl.

I don’t think anything about this reboot is targeted at existing fans. It’sjust to attact new ones, at the risk of alienating a large chunk of the core consituency, and maybe throw a bone to current fans here and there to keep ‘em happy. So in that sense I think it’s all targeted at younger readers–not “all ages” readers per se, but trying desperately to lure in all those peopel who are going to superhero movie after superhero movie and yet never buy comics.

I don’t think it’ll work, mind you, but it’s not about bringing back the old. It’s about trying to recast everything as new and shiny, and they seem to be doing it by saying “back to basics.” What they think those “basics” are remains to be seen.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 3:08 pm

I disagree on who the targets are. If the targets were new readers – i.e. people who haven’t read comics – then the “reboot” wouldn’t go out of its way to pander to 30 year old nostalgia.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 3:10 pm

If they cared one iota about how the mainstream today perceives their characters as opposed to how they perceived them 30 years ago, then they would have never rebooted Superman to resemble the 70s movie or the 60s comic, and instead would have focused more on making him like he was in Smallville.

That’s cool. You can blame it on the fogeys, and I can blame it on the fogeys trying the lure the whippersnappers.

@Micheal Sacal: Did you read Superman Earth One? Do you see the way he looks now? Did you notice how younger he looks? I would say DC is doing exactly what they hope will draw in the ‘Smallville’ crowd.

They want younger readers. They want new fans. They just don’t know how to get them.

They also want to keep the old foggies. So this is why you are seeing Babs back in the Batcostume. They want both. They would be stupid not to want both.

It’s not about the fogeys or the whippersnappers. The problem is they’re trying to appeal to the worst aspects of both. Nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake is pushed to attract old fans, while the powers that be try to keep it rapey, killey and gorey to appeal to the younger fans who somehow actually like the direction the company’s taken since Identity Crisis.

So now you have this new weird edgy, rapey, murdery Silver Age full of constant cannon fodder, while both sides blame each other for ruining the comics.

They’ve also brought a bunch of Smallville stuff into Clark’s backstory, like Lex’s dad and the de-aged Ma & Pa Kent suddenly looking nothing like they used to. This at the same time that they were doing all the Christopher Reeve callbacks.

I think you nailed it, T.

“You got your rape and gore in my Siver Age nostalgia!”
“You got your Siver Age nostalgia in my rape and gore!”
“Hey, they’re horrible together!”

I never said they got it right. Just that they want both and aren’t quite sure how to go about it.

I’ve always been favorable of the approach where you make good comics first (and killing characters off for drama is cheep tactic in any medium ) then worry about all of that other stuff second. Dan Slott seems to be makin some excellent Spider-man comics that seem to have that Silver Age ‘fun’ and new age violence and melodrama in it. Brian Q. Miller seems to have done a fairly good job on Batgirl with a similar approach.

You can get it right. And I think DC wants to get it right. They just don’t know how.

I think you nailed it, T.

“You got your rape and gore in my Siver Age nostalgia!”
“You got your Siver Age nostalgia in my rape and gore!”
“Hey, they’re horrible together!”

Oh dude, that was comedy gold.

Although I think the fact you made that reference and I recognized it exposes us both as fogeys.

I never said they got it right. Just that they want both and aren’t quite sure how to go about it.

If this is directed at me, I got what you were trying to say and wasn’t disputing it. I was aiming it more toward Michael Sacal.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 3:37 pm

“@Micheal Sacal: Did you read Superman Earth One? Do you see the way he looks now? Did you notice how younger he looks? I would say DC is doing exactly what they hope will draw in the ‘Smallville’ crowd.

They want younger readers. They want new fans. They just don’t know how to get them.

They also want to keep the old foggies. So this is why you are seeing Babs back in the Batcostume. They want both. They would be stupid not to want both.”

No, I haven’t had a chance to read it. I saw some initial previews that reminded me a lot about Byrne’s World of Metropolis.

Bringing in Smallville NOW is ten years too late. Smallville is over. It’s time for the next best thing.

The problem with the fanboys in charge at DC is that they look down their noses at anything post 85 and have a shrine to anything pre 85, which is why when they bring back anything from before the Crisis they try ti pass it off as being cool and edgy, while for them anything post 85 is canon fodder to be destroyed.

For them, and their fanboy followers, if something is 40 years old it’s groovy, while if something is 20 years old it’s bad.

They have a shrine to the 60s and 70s and an effigy for the 80s and 90s because those two eras disregard everything they hold dear and holy.

I got the Reese’s ref. And I’m 22. So I don’t think it means you are a fogey.

@T.: It’s alright. Just makin sure. :)

I think there is definitely a bias (both editorial and creators) to keep the things that they loved as a kid. All of these guys are fanboys. But they are also out to make a buck.

I don’t see putting Dick as Nightwing as “if its 20 years old its bad.” DIck became Nightwing in 1996. That was what, fifteen years ago? I cant count backwards…

They definitely want these characters in the capes that they are best known for, and what with all the Robins running around, having Dick as Nightwing is really the most stable thing for the character. It is a better brand for him. Having him be ‘the second Batman’ is a bit confusing. And what with him being as old as he is its hard to sell him as robin. So. Nightwing.

DC is a business. Cash is king. Not nostalgia. Though it most certainly plays a role.

I don’t see putting Dick as Nightwing as “if its 20 years old its bad.” DIck became Nightwing in 1996. That was what, fifteen years ago? I cant count backwards

Dick became Nightwing in 1984. Pre-Crisis it was partially a tribute to Nightwing and Flamebird, heroes of the bottled city of Kandor. Post-Crisis they didn’t exist anymore (until recently), but Dick went on being Nightwing anyway.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 3:58 pm

See, we accept Dick as Nightwing now. Only real hardcore fanboys would want him to regress back to being Robin.

It wouldn’t have been that difficult to accept him as Batman too, given enough time and enough exposure.

Same goes for Wally as Flash, or Matrix as Supergirl, or Kyle, Connor, and Conner as Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and Superboy respectively.

Hardcore fanboys may want Clark to be Superboy like he was in 1984, 27 years ago, while newer fans would accept Conner, his clone, as Superboy after seeing him in Smallvile and Young Justice.

Exposure is everything.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 4:01 pm

It’s been over a quarter of a century since Crisis on Infinite Earths.

At what point does wanting to go back to how things were in the past make good business sense and at what point it’s just plain old fanboy obsession?

I love the way everyone refers to Simone as “Gail”. Are all you guys on a first-name basis? But Morrison is “Morrison”. Hmm.

She interacts with fans a lot more directly than he does, so yeah, people do kind of feel like they’re on a first-name basis with her. Also, if they called Morrison “Grant,” there’d be too much confusion about which Grant they were talking about: Alan Grant or Steven Grant?

Matrix as Supergirl is tough to sustain. The concept was just too weird. I loved the Peter David stuff she was in. But I’m happy she is just ‘Superman’s Cousin’ now.

Conner as Superboy is fine. Sure he’s a clone but so is everybody and his most successful appearances are when everybody forgets that fact anyway. His concept is not that hard to get. “Who is Superboy?” “Superman’s clone.” Easy.

As for ‘thing going back to how they were before crisis’ almost nothing is doing that. Batgirl walking again may be the one exception. But we don’t know if that’s because of retcon or magic or science… we will just have to see.

Wonder Woman is definitely NOT how she was Silver Age. What with the pants and bloody sword… I’m not seeing this reversion to the good old days that you are…

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 4:13 pm

“Who is Supergirl?” “Lana Lang’s clone”

It’s just as simple, until you dwell on the minutia.

“Superboy is a clone of Lex Luthor and Superman”

“Supergirl comes from an alternate universe”

“At first Superboy had tactile tk, but then he developed Kryptonian powers”

“At first Supergirl had mental powers but then she developed flame vision”

“At first Superboy thought that he was a clone of Superman and a guy called Westfield”

“At first Supergirl was a creature made of goo, then she merged with Linda Danvers and became an Earth-born angel”

Kara Zor-El is a worthless character. Her short bio in the Legion comic she was on reads like an insult, “all the powers that Superman has”. It’s like she’s not good enough to be worth her own bio. Light Lass, who at first had the same powers as Livewire, had her own bio, not a repeat that said “the same powers as her brother”.

Firestorm and JLI are also definitely nothing like the old days. Other stuff may be, but probably not.

Yeah. Pretty much everyone talks about/to Gail Simone with just ‘Gail.’ She hasn’t ever objected to it. (to my knowledge) And I think it fits the way she interacts with the community. She is a very friendly and personable individual.

Everybody calls J Micheal Strazynky, JMS for a similar reason. Its just what he is known as…

*Shrugs*

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Hmmm… now that I think about it one story arc in Smallville involved Lex cloning Lana. Damn, that would have been a great opportunity to introduce the Supergirl clone, a clone of Lana and Clark.

I still don’t get why Steph had to go. I’m not really invested with the Batgirl brand, but unless Barbara is healed instead of retaking the mantel then this is just a mess. o we have Batman & Son but Barbara is a new hero?

Barbs as Batgirl beside the demotion it seem has not hook. For Steph, you could reboot it so that she took up the mantle to keep her Dad from going back to crime and then do a twisted Bruce & Damien set up where Dad is a criminal attempting to reform and his daughter is a superhero and they live together wackiness & what ever ensues. Now that’s a hook for new readers. My wife loves the superhero movies but doesn’t read comics. There’s no hook here (and in most of these solicits) to even make her somewhat interested.

Also, to add @ the people saying Barbs is Batgirl because it’s in all the media. If that were true than John Stewart would be THE Green Lantern but we’re definitely not seeing that so I think it’s not a very convincing argument unless the corollary is that DC is going with the major media takes only on the characters that have changed since the 1980’s.

Supergirl’s first appearance has her saying “And I have all your powers!” It’s kinda her thing. It was her first cover. She’s Supergirl. Superman’s cousin. It’s easy and attractive from a corporate standpoint as well as a writer’s standpoint.

Of course once you go into details it get worse (all comics are that way including Batman, Superman etc). But the less fussing you have to do, the easier it is to sell. Why do you think X-men does so well? The concept is simple. Mutants. No other explanation is needed lets get to the story and the people that shoot lasers out of their eyes.

Yeah, as far as the actual topic goes, I’ve been a fan of Babs since her Batgirl days and never really got interested in either Cass or Stephanie, but I think making her Batgirl again sounds ridiculous. Of course, I thought bringing Bucky back sounded ridiculous too, and somehow Brubaker pulled that off. I do like and trust Gail’s writing, so it’s one of the few books in this reboot that I’ll probably be reading. I’d still rather keep Steph as Batgirl and Babs as Oracle, but I’ll check it out for curiosity’s sake.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Johns once said that he wanted the adaptations in other media to reflect the comics. This seems like the opposite of that.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 4:27 pm

@dsword

You might as well as simplify it to “she’s Superman but with a skirt”, in which case it wouldn’t matter one iota whether she was his cousin or Lana’s clone from another universe.

If all that Supergirl can boil down to is “she’s Superman’s cousin” then she’s not a good character.

Wally West spent the early part of his career running from Barry’s shadow, to establish himself as his own man and not as a second rate Flash or as Kid Flash but older.

Supergirl, the Kara Zor El verison, could not do the same thing and run away from Superman’s shadow and her status as his cousin because, according to the arguments made her, that is all that she can aspire to be, Superman in a dress/Superman’s cousin.

If she tried to be someone different, she would no longer be “marketable”.

Can you picture Kara Zor El becoming an Earth Born Angel?

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Can you imagine Supergirl becoming a different character like Dick did when he became Nightwing?

No, because then she would be too complex to grasp.

When it comes down to it, “Superman’s cousin” sounds a lot less derivative than “Superman’s clone.” Same with Wally having exactly the same accident as his uncle-in-law. The question is what you do with the character. Kara’s no more inherently limited than Connor is–and with Connor actively imitating Superman’s life right down to living in Smallville at the Kent homestead, in practice she’s much less so at the moment.

Um. @buttler: For reals.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Conner imitating Clark’s life is Johns’ doing. Conner’s creators, Kesel and Grummet, went out of their way to distance the character enough from Superman so that he could stand on its own feet. Remember that he used to live in Hawaii, not Kansas.

Conner’s problem is not that the character is limited to how much he can grow, is that the writers limit him because their understanding is grounded in the 60s. They think that “Superboy” can only live in Smallville and can only accomplish certain things.

Someone once said in jest in the old CBR chat room that he thought it was incredibly coincidental that once Superboy moved out of Smallville (that is, the Clark version in the 60s) all the strange crap he put up with suddenly stopped.

I had a similar thought when the current Superboy series began, how once Superboy moved TO Smallville a lot of strange crap started to happen.

That’s due to the writers and editors wanting things to be how they were in the 60s, whether Superboy is a clone of Clark or Clark himself.

Yeah, and if I recall correctly it was also Johns who made Conner’s powers more Superman-like a while back. But the answer is sure, Kara could take on a new role as easily as Babs or Dick or Conner or Stephanie or Mary Marvel or anybody. Being related to somebody doesn’t change that. Having the same powers doesn’t change that. Being a teenage girl doesn’t change that either.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 4:46 pm

And yet, it hasn’t happened, and it probably never will.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 4:50 pm

If Kara were someone other than Supergirl, then the entire argument made here, that Supergirl must be Superman’s cousin, crumbles.

The argument is not “Superman should have a cousin that is also a superhero”.

But why does she NEED to be something other than ‘Superman’s Cousin?’ That is the role she fills. She is a GIRL (not a woman) so that GIRLS can identify with her. And she has all of Superman’s powers so that… well, girls can pretend that they have all of Superman’s powers.

If you want a character that is a female and is her own thing… well… you have Wonder Woman.

Supergirl fills a niche. Why make her something else? If you want an earth-born angel… write a darned earth born angel. Peter David certainly did after writing Supergirl….

If Kara were someone other than Supergirl, then the entire argument made here, that Supergirl must be Superman’s cousin, crumbles.

That’s a circular argument that you’ve constructed out of your own inferences. You said “If all that Supergirl can boil down to is “she’s Superman’s cousin” then she’s not a good character.” I’m just saying there’s no reason that’s why that’s all she can boil down to, any more than Barry’s nephew or Garth’s sister or whoever.

Nobody said that Supergirl must be Superman’s cousin. They did say that “Supergirl is Superman’s cousin” is a lot easier to understand than “At first Supergirl was a creature made of goo, then she merged with Linda Danvers and became an Earth-born angel,” and that’s just like saying that water is wet.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Because, for one thing, Superman should be the only Kryptonian, That is the character Siegel and Shuster created. They didn’t create an analogue of Noah’s Ark, they created an analogue of Moses, the baby in the basket who is sent out into the sea to survive a catastrophe.

Byrne and PAD demonstrated that Supergirl doesn’t need to be Kryptonian to be a marketable character, she could be a clone of Lana Lang with Superboy’s powers or she could be that clone merged with a human girl to create an Earth born angel.

Kara doesn’t fill the role of Superman’s cousin, she fills the very specific role of “Superman in a dress” as a gimmick to sell the comic to girls.

That is not a good enough reason for her to exist, specially today, when there are other ways to accomplish that.

If Kara became something else like Dick when he became Nightwing or Wally when he became Flash or Donna when she became Troi or a Darkstar, there wouldn’t be a “Jason Todd” or a “Tim Drake” or a Cassandra Sandsmark” to take over her place as “Supergirl”, because in the context of the 60s, ONLY Superman’s cousin can be Supergirl and no one else is allowed to fill that role, be it Lana’s clone from another universe or Superman’s female clone from the future (i.e. Cir-El).

The character, within that framework, cannot grow or change beyond that simple role. In order to grow one must evolve, or else s/he dies. Supergirl cannot evolve, cannot grow, cannot change, not when she is a Kryptonian.

Matrix, on the other hand, grew and changed and evolved when she merged first with Linda Danvers and then with Twilight.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 5:05 pm

@Butter

Don’t say “a creature made of goo” say “Lana Lang’s clone”. If that works for Conner, there’s no reason it can’t work for Superigrl.

The question with Matrix, and it was never properly answered was: Why Supergirl? Why dress just like Superman? There’s a similar problem with Batwoman right now. I like her a lot as a character, but her reasons for dressing like a female version of Batman aren’t particularly well expressed. That’s because they’re legacy characters written as if they’re not legacy characters, and it’s a pretty flimsy veil.

At least Superman’s clone dressing and adventuring like Superman makes some sense. I could see how being bitten by a radioactive Lana Lang could make her Langswoman, though.

Caveat: I did like David’s Supergirl series bettter than any of the recent Supergirl stories, but it sure wasn’t because it was easy to summarize. It was definitely for hardcore geeks and very, very hard to come into late.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 5:13 pm

In an alternate reality (a “Pocket Universe”) three Kryptonian criminals escaped the Phantom Zone, and tried to take over that reality’s Earth. There was no Superman in this reality (his younger self, Superboy, having died before the criminals’ escape) but there was a Lex Luthor who hadn’t turned evil. Using an artificial life-form called the “protoplasmic matrix,” Lex created a red-headed woman, Matrix, who resembled his true love, the deceased alternate-reality Lana Lang. Matrix possessed all of Lana’s memories, due to Lana’s synaptic pathways being copied into Matrix. Lex had also patterned her physiology to resemble Superman’s, whom he had seen by using one of his many inventions to look into the mainstream universe.

Like Superman, Matrix was superhumanly strong and fast, and could fly, but she also had the powers of shapeshifting, telekinesis, and cloaking (including invisibility). Matrix wore a version of Superman’s uniform, shapeshifted into a young blonde woman, and fought the three criminals as Supergirl. However, her powers were no match for theirs. Desperate, Lex sent Matrix into the mainstream universe to recruit Superman. Her efforts were successful, and Superman did aid in stopping the Kryptonian criminals, but the alternate Earth had been ruined, and was now lifeless. Superman took the orphaned Matrix back to the mainstream DC Universe with him, where she served as the Post-Crisis world’s first in-continuity Supergirl.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supergirl_(Matrix)

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Complex storytelling, like the one found in PAD’s work, is far more intellectually rewaring than simplistic storytelling, which is insulting.

My point exactly. And that’s not even getting into the whole Danvers/angel thing and hunting down all the Supergirls that (n)ever existed.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 5:18 pm

What’s your point? That Matrix is far more complex than “Supergirl is Superman in a dress”? Well, yes, it is. That’s not a bad thing. Simple isn’t good, simple is insulting.

That’s the same thing as saying that Superman or Batman or Spider-Man are inherently stupid characters because they have a simple core concept that’s easy to summarize in one sentence.

And if so, that makes your argument that Superman being the sole survivor of a dying planet is in any way superior to it being more complicated, with more survivors and whatnot, fall apart completely.

@Michael Sacal: Thanks for the updates on what all us “old foggies” are thinking. Here’s hoping that you use your awesome telepathic abilities for good, not evil. (Not to mention your stunning powers of generalization and condescension!)

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 5:24 pm

“Supergirl is Lana Lang’s clone from an alternate universe”

One sentence, nothing overtly complex about it.

That sentence is made up of four “items” that might require additional information (Supergirl, Lana Lang, clone, and alternate universe), but that information is not that complex to understand.

If you’re already reading a Superman comics, chances are that you are already familiar with Supergirl and know that Lana Lang is Clark’s high school sweetheart, and if you’re already reading comics (or read science fiction, or watch Fringe, or anything within the realm of sci fi) then you’re already familiar with what a clone and an alternate universe are.

It’s not that complicated. It’s complex, sure, but not complicated enough that it cannot be understood.

I’m all for complexity. I don’t mind having comics that are only for hardcore geeks who don’t mind having to keep up with 20 or even 70 years of backstory, because that just means they’re tailor-made for me. But I do think it’s ridiculous to say a character doesn’t have strong storytelling possibilities because of a simple core concept. Most durable characters have those.

“Supergirl is Lana Lang’s clone from an alternate universe”

One sentence, nothing overtly complex about it.

That sentence is made up of four “items” that might require additional information (Supergirl, Lana Lang, clone, and alternate universe), but that information is not that complex to understand.

That is indeed one sentence, but it doesn’t account at all for her having powers or anything. And yeah, I know how she got ‘em, but pretending her concept was easy to grasp for the new reader is disingenous. You had to be there.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Supergirl is not one of them. The Kara Zor El version of the character couldn’t sustain a series herself for extended periods of time, they were all canceled within two or three years, and the current version has required the presence of other heroes in her series since its inception six-seven years ago. Of however many issues she has so far, I think she’s only carried less than a dozen by herself.

The Supergirl series is nothing more than a team up book akin to Brave & The Bold that focuses on Supergirl teaming up with a hero from the DC U against a villain or some other threat. It’s an extremely boring comic book.

As for comics with 70-year long backstories,, Marvel may have that but not DC, not since Crisis. At best their backstories before constant reboots of the last decade, dated back to no more than 20-25 years.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 5:33 pm

“That is indeed one sentence, but it doesn’t account at all for her having powers or anything. And yeah, I know how she got ‘em, but pretending her concept was easy to grasp for the new reader is disingenous. You had to be there.”

Powers don’t make or break a character. They don’t define them, they don’t make them better or worse. The question at hand was what makes a character worthy/good/stand out, and what would be the simplest way to explain them to non-comic book readers in the best way possible.

Powers don’t enter into the equation.

If you summarized Superman, it might look something “Superman is the last survivor of the planet Krypton, who gains his powers from Earth’s yellow sun”, which would be a slightly longer sentence than the one I offered, which was rather short. If I wanted to explain her powers, I could make it a little bit longer and say “Supergirl is Lana Lang’s clone from another universw, who powers imitate those of Superboy”.

My sentence about Supergirl stays within the confines of the sentence I came up with for Superman, without making it too difficult to understand and allowing for the character to be far more complex than “she’s Superman’s cousin”.

You don’t say “Light Lass is Livewire’s sister”, you give her her due, you allow her to stand on her own two feet. Kara Zor-El isn’t afforted that luxury. Matrix is.

As for comics with 70-year long backstories,, Marvel may have that but not DC, not since Crisis. At best their backstories before constant reboots of the last decade, dated back to no more than 20-25 years.

Nah, DC didn’t toss out everything that happened pre-Crisis. One of the big problems was figuring out which things still happened and which ones didn’t. In general, some version of most adventures happened to somebody or another, even if it was the Golden Age Fury or Miss America or Hippolyta instead of Wonder Woman (to take an example that kept changing as one retcon piled on another). And then you have examples like Morrison’s Batman (which it’s clear you don’t like, and I’m on the fence about myself), in which every adventure Batman’s had since 1939 is seemingly somehow back in continuity.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Zero Hour fixed most of the problems left over from Crisis, but those problems came back after Infinite Crisis, when, as you point out, certain writers decided that all that outdated crap was valid again.

It’s on their shoulders that comics can be impenetrable for people. I’ve been reading for over 20 years and I don’t give a crap about what happens at DC anymore, mainly because I’m not a fanboy with a grudge against the 80s and a hard on for the 60s.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 5:40 pm

As for “new reader”, new doesn’t mean an idiot, it doesn’t mean someone who is ignorant, someone who doesn’t understand what a clone is, or what an alternate dimension is, etc. New readers can be people who’ve never read a comic but have every season of Dr. Who on DVD.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

June 6, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Michael:

We are talking about changes that took place DECADES ago, not a few years.

Barbara was shot in the spine in the late 1980s, Wally became Flash in the mid 80s. Byrne introduced a new Supergirl in the late 80s, etc, etc, etc.

These changes took place OVER 20 YEARS AGO.

That said, if you google Batgirl, there are a lot more Barbara Gordon images than of any other Batgirl.
The Adam West show, the animated series, even the Batman And Robin film, had Barbara as Batgirl.
It’s tricky for DC to be pushing a different person as Batgirl, when for the kids of the past decade or so, other media has been showcasing Barbara as Batgirl.
It’s the same as with Green Lantern – the first trailer sparked a bit of kick back from people who thought they’d made Green Lantern white for the movie, as these guys were used to seeing the JLU John Stewart in the role.

“Complex” is not an accurate description of the Matrix/Earth Angel Supergirl. “Incredibly fucking stupid” is a bit more on the nose. I have no idea if the current Supergirl series is any good, but the simplicity of the concept (Superman’s cousin) makes it more likely to be sustainable over a long period of time with different creators. Even if someone liked the Earth Angel stuff, it was pretty much only going to work under Peter David, and he wasn’t going to be on the book forever.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Funky, we already agreed earlier that Batgirl in B&R was not, in fact, Gordon, but Wilson, Alfred’s niece ;)

The very first Yahoo and Google result I get it this

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batgirl

“Batgirl is the name of several fictional characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, frequently depicted as female counterparts to the superhero Batman.”

The first mention of Barbara occurs in the third sentence, after Bette Kane.

The second Google result I get is this

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassandra_Cain

The third and fourth are related to the West TV show.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 5:48 pm

But Dan, Kara Zor El has never sustained a series in the long run. All of her old comics were canceled within two years of their launch and her current series is nothing more than a team up book. She can’t carry a series on her own, she needs help from all the other characters in the DCU.

Matrix didn’t have that problem. She carried her own series for over 80 issues.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 5:50 pm

I replied to funky, but it says that the post is awaiting moderation. All it has is links to wikipedia.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

June 6, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Even if someone liked the Earth Angel stuff, it was pretty much only going to work under Peter David, and he wasn’t going to be on the book forever.

I don’t know if you can say that for certain when it comes to Peter David.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Back in 1997 my brother and I went to a comic book convention here in Mexico where there was a DC representative that held a comic book trivia challenge where in people who gave the right answer would get a prize.

When he asked, who is Green Arrow, everyone answered Oliver Queen, except for my brother, who answered Connor Hawke.

He ended up winning the prize.

The Supergirl feature in Action Comics and then Adventure which led into her first series lasted longer than the 90s series. Regardless, “Superman’s cousin” is easier to market than the Matrix Angel thing.

To me, DC’s biggest strength has always been the simplicity and elegance of its characters and concepts. when they deviate from that, things start to unravel.

Michael Sacal

June 6, 2011 at 6:52 pm

If it’s easier to market, why crowd her solo series with guest stars in every single issue?

And if the simplicity of their characters is what makes them a hit, why do this reboot relaunch at all?

What’s going on with her eyes on that cover? She looks cross-eyed!

I was thinking of marketing the character outside of comics.

I assume that the goal of the relaunch is to get back to the essence of the characters, minus whatever rapey, cat-slinging craziness has accumulated over the years. At least I hope that’s the plan.

Kara Zor-El and Barbara Gordon, BFFs!

FunkyGreenJerusalem

June 6, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Funky, we already agreed earlier that Batgirl in B&R was not, in fact, Gordon, but Wilson, Alfred’s niece

True, but she was clearly modelled on Barbara Gordon.

The very first Yahoo and Google result I get it this

Do an image search, and it’s overwhelmingly Barbara Gordon.

There’s other Batgirls in there, but I think the Adam West show, and Batman: TAS, have put it in everyone’s heads that Batgirl has red hair.

If it’s easier to market, why crowd her solo series with guest stars in every single issue?

Why not?
Seems a solid way to get a whole lot of readers.
Also, it’s not exactly true – Sterling Gates did a pretty ‘guest star’ free run.
He had guest stars every now and again, but the book was much more than just a team-up book.

And if the simplicity of their characters is what makes them a hit, why do this reboot relaunch at all?

To get back to the simplicity, without the branches of continuity past getting in the way.

Michael Sacal

June 7, 2011 at 4:29 am

DC has been rebooting Superman and Supergirl every two years. How much continuity can they amass in 24 issues that they could need to get rid of it to make it simpler for people to read their comics?

Just how dumbed down do they have to be?

Welll, I assume that given that Supergirl has gone from being Zor’s assassin, to his ghostbuster, to a Kryptonian Lara Croft, to a rip off of the Silver Age version, it must be extremely dumbed down.

Gail makes it sound as though Cassandra and Stephanie were never Batgirl in spirit. I’m disagree, because they were. Just as much as Wally West was Flash, Kyle Rayner was Green Lantern, and Linda Danvers was Supergirl. I get that Barbara’s one of her favourite characters, but the way she put it – whether or not she meant to put it that way – was just insulting to fans of the other characters – despite the fact that Gail’s also a self-professed Cass fan.

Kyle who? :)

I mean, really. It took a silly retcon (one that I don’t think I will ever forgive DC for) to make Kyle Rayner a GL as opposed to a luck-of-the-draw bearer (and soon enough an all-out usurper). Green Lantern is not Firestorm.

I don’t see how you can tell that Cassandra Cain was ever Batgirl in spirit. She was a fine character, but her only link to the concept of Batgirl was her connection to Batman and the shared name.

And don’t get me started in Supergirl. I no longer even know how many we have gone through, or how many called themselves Linda Danvers. It doesn’t help that the current one wears street whore skirts and miniblouses, either.

It does feel like a ‘demotion’ to me. And a slap in the face of Cassie/Stephanie fans. Dick going ‘back’ to Nightwing doesn’t seem like a demotion. It is more like Steve picking up the shield again. Dick took Nightwing and made it his own identity. (goofy collar aside, that moment in Judas contract was one that helped Define Dick as his own man).

This feels more like a demotion. As others have pointed out, Barbara’s been Oracle longer, and is no longer a ‘girl’ .

As to the media, we’ve seen Commissioner Barbara (Batman Beyond) Barbara in a wheelchair (future episodes of The Batman, BoP) and Not-Barbara as Batgirl. Babs walking doesn’t upset me as it does others, but Babs as ‘batgirl bothers me. Losing Stephanie and Cass makes it worse.

And my respect for Ms. Simone won’t wash that taste out of my mouth.

While I really enjoy Gail Simone’s writing – I would of instead loved for Kelley Puckett to be the writer. He has written my two favorite Barbara Gordon Batgirl stories. So good.

And for Birds or Prey – I would also loved to see Marc Andreyko Continue on – with Jesus Saiz still on art. ;)

Travis Pelkie

June 7, 2011 at 6:11 am

So, um, Batgirl….

Has there been any follow up yet on that bit in Batman:The Return where Bruce gives her the spiel about Internet 3.0 and her new avatar and the image of Babs in the Batgirl costume?

Because if they haven’t done anything with that yet, I’m guessing that’s how Babs will be Batgirl. Dunno how it’ll work, maybe, but that I’m guessing is the way she’ll get there.

My problem with Gail Simone is that I like her when she writes men or teams, I really can’t take when she writes women. It becomes like this weird lifetime movie with this kind of saccharine pseudo-grrl power vibe. But it just comes off as such a hokey, superficial cutesy Oprah-style token feminism, it’s hard for me to describe. I would honestly rather just read a hardline radical militant feminist superhero book than that Superhero Sisterhood of Travelling Pants type she writes.

What I’m really interested in is if they correct that big mistake of having Barbara Gordon be Jim Gordon’s adopted niece or whatever the hell she is in current continuity.

Yeah, that was dumb. I don’t see what the point of making her not actually be Gordon’s daughter could have been.

Well, it wasn’t so much a plan as a fix. Frank Miller did Batman Year One, and no one in editorial noticed that Frank Miller closed the door on introducing Barbara Gordon, since she didn’t exist in Year One. So when it came time to introduce her into the modern mythos, rather than retcon Year One they decided to introduce her as a niece.

Michael Sacal

June 7, 2011 at 11:48 am

I read that Miller forgot that she was his daughter

Michael Sacal

June 7, 2011 at 11:50 am

Oh, I forgot to add that an issue of Gotham Knights fixed the problem by revealing that Barbara is Jim’s daughter as a result of an affair he had with his brother’s wife (but since such a thing is too shocking for 60s characters I can see why people that are slaves to that era would find it hard to accept).

I’m one of those “old fogies” about which some of you have written. Please refrain from that and learn to spell. The only “old foggy” runs around in DAREDEVIL. We don’t insult you “younguns” – one of the joys of comics is always interacting with fans, new and old. I learned a lot about comics from the people before me and have tried to share what I knew.

I’m against the re-boot – almost so much that if I find it overwhelming, I’m packing up my toys and going home. I didn’t think CRISIS or any of the others (ZERO HOUR in particular) accomplished what they were meant to do. Paul Levitz himself had to write an entire story arc for LSH to explain away Superboy and it STILL didn’t explain Supergirl.

It’s interesting to notice that they recently undid most of CRISIS and have the multiverses again. Why not leave it alone?

Okay, another 2 cents into the pot. CRISIS had a story, flawed in part, but there was a REASON for the event and what occurred after. Not just someone deciding to make another cash grab or a writer deciding his ego needed to control everything. For the next number of years after, post-CRISIS continuity was adhered to until the recent spate of new authors / artists who decided “we don’t wanna”.

In the last decade, comics have become CREATOR driven as opposed to CHARACTER. Were I to write Superman, I’d try to adhere to the concepts of the character and what’s gone before. There was no reason that the John Byrne post-CIE version couldn’t not have been melded with Johns’ version. He plays football from 15 to 17, his powers grow, he breaks Pete Ross’ arm and realizes he’s too powerful. Shortly after that, the LSH show up and recruit him, he has his “Superboy” career but lays low in Smallville. There.

I am a huge Barbara Gordon fan when she’s written right. I liked the Frank Robbins / Don Heck version and a few others since, but it’s writers like John Ostrander, Chuck Dixon and Gail Simone who’ve built the character. Having her be Batgirl again doesn’t thrill me, but I DO trust Gail as an author (and I’ve met her and spoken with her, so yes, I can call her Gail). I think she writes a very female-friendly character and I’ll look to see what I think. Simple economics folks – there are 2 ways to end this if it’s bad. DON’T buy the books and pass the word along, to your friends and to DC.

I’m not happy, but over the years, there have always been good reads and likely always will be.

Yeah, Brett, I do get the sense that most long-time fans think yet another reboot sounds like a terrible idea–unless they simply don’t have much investment in continuity at all and just want to see comics succeed economically so that we can continue to get occasional good stories, no matter who they’re about. That’s why the attempts to somehow blame the reboot on older fans is so preposterous. They don’t want it, and I think if anything DC is making this move with full knowledge that it’s going to piss a lot of them off, at least at first.

And you’re right, Zero Hour just made matters worse–especially with Hawkman, who became an unusable character for years, until DC figured that maybe people had forgotten that he’d become this unweildy merging of all continuities ever in one body and they could just start from scratch.

Michael Sacal

June 7, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Continuity isn’t to blame for the low sales, bad writing is to blame for that.

Earlier some suggested that comics should go back to how they were in the early 80s, 70s, and 60s, before Crisis, because the way they were back then is the way people that don’t read comics recognize them. Those who made that claim fail to notice two things.

One is that those variations of the characters are so outdated that only older people are aware and beholden to them, while younger people that weren’t even born when those interpretations were valid won’t care about them one iota.

Two is that the perception people will get from seeing that the characters haven’t changed in 30+ years (even though that is not the case since they have indeed changed and are now going back to how they used to be) is that comics are stagnant.

I find it funny for all comic companies (the big 2 mainly as well as the indies) that wanting diversity thinks it means adding minority characters and not minority writers along with them that can add a different voice to comics (not filtered through stereotyping/white stereotypes of minorities)

Oh well.

Sorry about that came off illiterate:

I find it funny that the big two thinks adding diversity means adding minority characters and not minority writers along with them to give these characters distinction and not filtering them through white stereotypes.

DC and Marvel have both used “minority” talents, including the now-deceased Dwayne McDuffie on JUSTICE LEAGUE. Yes, there are less of them than white talent in comics, but they’re working. Heck, DC’s co-prez is Asian, right? I think if an artist’s work is good, they’ll get found. Look at Nicola Scott – she’s in Oz and DC found her!

Barbara returning as Batgirl is simple, and good, economics…

Outside the realm of comics (a very low income generating part of the superhero industry) – Barbara Gordon is almost exclusively known as Batgirl. Yvonne Craig, who made the character on TV popular, recently said that that TV show has aired somewhere in the world continuously since it aired in 1966. It still runs on TV Land here, and the Batgirl episodes are in frequent rotation. Add to this the money made from merchandise, animated shows and video games – again, almost exclusively with Batgirl being Barbara Gordon, and DC’s reasoning becomes quite clear. The bottom line is money and a convoluted bat Universe with multiple Batmen and Batgirl’s isn’t an ideal business model.

Moreover, the series hasn’t even launched and yet people are making assertions about how the storyline will go – as if they know. It seems to me that the statement about Babs dealing with “dark secrets” from her past, might well imply that her time as Oracle won’t be erased. Dick’s time as Batman wasn’t erased.

As for immature comments about “old fart” fanboys – as one of them I can tell you, I almost certainly have a far higher disposable income than much younger readers and won’t think twice about buying multiple copies of this book to help in some small way to insure its success. It’s quite clear to DC that these “old farts” are incredibly loyal as well,. Perhaps those kinds of immature statement are just a reflection of your age.

All I want 2 say is OMG Finally Babs is coming back as Batgirl, ive been waitinh for this 4 too many years. Its about time. Thank u

[…] Newsarama just posted an image of the new, rebooted BATGIRL and she’s a familiar face: Barbara Gordon, the true original! […]

[…] Newsarama just posted an image of the new, rebooted BATGIRL and she’s a familiar face: Barbara Gordon, the true original! […]

Barbara Gordon is way cooler as Oracle than she ever was as Batgirl. This also takes away the coolest disabled character in the DCU. Besides, Cassandra Cain was the coolest Batgirl ever.

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