Nananana nananana Batgirl!

OK – lots of background before I make a, hopefully, quick point.

Dc Comics made an announcement last week that has the comicsphere buzzing.  They are restarting every comic in their line (52 titles) with new #1 issues and a new continuity in September.  Additionally, every title will have a simultaneous day and price release digitally.  The announcement is here.

Since then they’ve been rolling out the announcements as to the titles, characters and creators assigned to the titles.  One that is causing controversy is Barbara Gordon.  Currently she is the wheelchair bound lead of the Birds Of Prey and information clearing house as Oracle.  In September, with the reboot, she’ll resume her former career as Batgirl.

See the controversy here and here.

I agree with them, but for completely different reasons.  I’m not upset about removing a disabled role model from the DC Universe.  I can understand why folks appreciate her, but to me it strikes as tokenism if a character is kept disabled just so that the universe has a disabled person.  Also, personally, I think people are better off looking for real life role models than fictional ones…

I want good stories and good characters.  Good characters can result in good stories.  Good stories can result in good characters.  But a gimmick does not make a good character.  In general it makes a bad character.  Look at all the national and regional characters that are created.  Most of them really, really suck.  In trying to make someone who represents a culture they pick up all the stereotypes of that culture.

Now Oracle is actually a good character.  Not because of the disability, but because that is just a part of a whole character.  A character with a history and skills that exist before and after the injury, a character with goals and motivations, a character with relationships, with fears and loves.  Oracle is unique because of who she is and what she does.  She appears in interesting stories and makes stories more interesting because of her inclusion.

Batgirl is just another Batman wannabe swinging over Gotham.  That is why I think this particular reboot is a mistake.

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9 thoughts on “Nananana nananana Batgirl!

  1. David Silvestri says:

    I’m of the opinion that the entire reboot idea is a mistake.

    I’m not entirely informed, I’ve made a point of not reading into DCnU…

    • Why avoid? Of course DCnU – I haven’t even seen that acronym – you’ve read something more than me. 🙂

      The Source doesn’t have any spoilers just title and creative team announcements. That is all there really is – and commentary and carping about the Source announcements. 🙂

  2. David Silvestri says:

    it’s not a matter of spoilers… it’s a matter of being annoyed with the reboot plan. I stopped reading Spider-Man for their reboot… and it sounds like they’re planning on doing the same with the entire DCU.

    Might be time to drop the hobby… never seem to have time to read all the books anymore… or at least I’m always weeks behind… only pick up my comics once a month.

    Not to mention I’m running out of places to put them all.

    It’s a good excuse that I’m seriously contemplating.

  3. Mythi says:

    Here’s a somewhat sweet (as in “awww”, not “cool”) web comic strip regarding the Oracle to Batgirl switch: http://www.the-gutters.com/comic/147-ron-chan

    I grew up on Batgirl and haven’t been exposed much to Oracle, although the latter’s increased use of her technological skills intrigue me. I thought that the Oracle persona was a way to get out from Batman’s shadow. I like Batgirl, but I don’t see how her storylines would differ much from the Caped Crusader’s. Wouldn’t the writers have more flexibility with Oracle?

    Is the DC Comics relaunch going to explore origin stories again?

    They can always have Barbara Gordon transform herself into Oracle later…although not necessarily with her ending up in a wheelchair again.

    • I’m making assumptions based on a cover picture, a three sentence advertising blurb and the authors short statement. (as is the rest of the interwebs).

      But yes, I think there are probably more good Oracle stories than Batgirl ones.

      It is tough to say how much continuity will be Rey imbed during the reboot. But I’m sure there will be tweaked origin stories. Those are a cash cow and lots of fans really like them.

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