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  1. #1
    Spectacular Member km_sus's Avatar
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    Default At what point should Barbara "outgrow" Batgirl?

    As we begin to reach the ten year anniversary of the New 52 reboot, I thought we should look back at a controversial (at least among Batgirl fans) decision that was made during the reboot: making Barbara Gordon Batgirl again.

    I'd like to ask everyone what their opinion on Barbara as Batgirl is. How do you feel about her solo series from Simone to Castellucci? Do you prefer her as Batgirl or Oracle? What do you think about her future in splitting her time between Oracle in Tynion's 'Batman' and as Batgirl in Taylor's 'Nightwing'?

    For me, I always felt becoming Batgirl again was a major regression for Barbara, akin to putting Dick back in booties. It was a move that not only eliminated Stephanie and Cassandra from canon, but eventually hurt Barbara's character as they moved into the Burnside era. I ask myself this question: what role makes Barbara more valuable? As Batgirl she isn't the strongest, she isn't the best detective, she isn't the edgiest, she isn't the most interesting... she has incredibly strong morals - but she didn't need to be Batgirl for that. I'm not an advocate for disabling her again (she's technically still disabled anyway, her injury hasn't gone away), but I think Barbara has outgrown her role as Batgirl.

    I know there are Barbara Batgirl fans out there however - and I would genuinely like to hear what you have to say on the matter.

  2. #2
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    Problem is that "outgrowing" Batgirl will be almost certainly a step down for the character.

    As Oracle she might be more important in universe, but she is also only a support character and will very likely not have a solo comic, and Birds of Prey has not been a successful book in quite some time.

    There is also no bigger mantle she could take over, Batwoman is less iconic than Batgirl and I don't think DC could give that mantle to a non LGBT anytime soon without a lot of bad press.

    And a creating a new mantle is not that easy like we have seen with Tim and Cass.

  3. #3
    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ Godlike13's Avatar
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    When she can continue to see more, or at the very least, the same level of opportunities and support as not Batgirl. Overall her return had it ups and downs, but for the most part was successful. The Burnside era is probably the most generally popular run any Batgirl has seen since Batgirl Year One, and when we start seeing more of Batgirl in other media I thinks it’s going be really influential there.

  4. #4
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    When it comes to what makes Barbara as Batgirl stand out from the rest of the Bat-family, I guess it might simply be the fact that she's the most 'normal' of the bunch!

    The Robins all have their tragic backstories and were taken in by Batman as his 'adopted sons'/wards. Batwoman is an ex-military cadet and Batman's cousin. Cass Cain as Batgirl was the daughter of an assassin and a living weapon. Steph is the daughter of a supervillain, already a hero in her own right and an ex-Robin to boot!

    Compared to all that, Barbara is pretty much the everywoman. Sure, she is the police commissioner's daughter. But she led a pretty normal life, and in most continuities has had a pretty normal civilian career. She puts on the cape and cowl not because of some tragedy in her life, or because she's the heir to Batman, or whatever, but simply because she wanted to help out. Psychologically speaking, she's a pretty normal woman - not driven or obsessed or with any number of the psychological issues that some members of the family have.

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member CPSparkles's Avatar
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    She shouldn't. Cass and Steph fans always start threads like this. Batgirl isn't and shouldn't be like Robin.

    There isn't a right time to step away from an iconic and well known mantle.

    What do you suggest she grow into? What position is a step up from batgirl.

    I for one am glad that hamada is going ahead with the Barbara Gordon Batgirl movie Not a fan of multiple Batgirls and hopefully that will put a stop to the recent shallow attempt to have multiple batgirls who aren't actually batgirls
    Last edited by CPSparkles; 01-11-2021 at 09:08 AM.

  6. #6
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godlike13 View Post
    When she can continue to see more, or at the very least, the same level of opportunities and support as not Batgirl. Overall her return had it ups and downs, but for the most part was successful. The Burnside era is probably the most generally popular run any Batgirl has seen since Batgirl Year One, and when we start seeing more of Batgirl in other media I thinks it’s going be really influential there.
    They've definitely been using the Burnside design in recent adaptions but probably because it makes the most sense for a rookie vigilante Batgirl that she ends up being in those stories. If the Murphy look sticks around we might see it start popping up, her Gotham Knights suit seems inspired by it (especially with the mask).
    Quote Originally Posted by CPSparkles View Post
    She shouldn't. Cass and Steph fans always start threads like this. Batgirl isn't and shouldn't be like Robin.

    There isn't a right time to step away from an iconic and well known mantle.

    What do you suggest she grow into? What position is a step up from batgirl.
    Batgirl isn't like Robin but the legacy aspect has happened and is now a part of the mantle.

    I don't think BoP would have happened without her as Oracle.
    Quote Originally Posted by bat39 View Post
    Compared to all that, Barbara is pretty much the everywoman. Sure, she is the police commissioner's daughter. But she led a pretty normal life, and in most continuities has had a pretty normal civilian career. She puts on the cape and cowl not because of some tragedy in her life, or because she's the heir to Batman, or whatever, but simply because she wanted to help out. Psychologically speaking, she's a pretty normal woman - not driven or obsessed or with any number of the psychological issues that some members of the family have.
    I think Babs has a temper and some repressed anger issues but otherwise nothing too debilitating.

  7. #7
    Extraordinary Member AmiMizuno's Avatar
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    I mean wasn't Oracle starting to get popular? While Babs doesn't need to drop the Batgirl mantle. I often wonder what would happen if they just have her be Oracle more than Batgirl. Taylor will have her be both. So I wonder how that will do

  8. #8
    Astonishing Member CPSparkles's Avatar
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    @ Frontier The legacy aspect has happened and it was waked back to it's most iconic holder now lets nip it in the bud. Look at the mess that is Robin with Damian and Tim morphing into the same characters at times. That is no good.

    It's better for Cass and Steph to carry on cultivating their independent ids. Look what we have now. Babs holding on two mantles. A situation which i doubt we'd be in if not for fans constantly pushing for Cass/steph as batgirls and higher ups trying to pander to them

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member CPSparkles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmiMizuno View Post
    I mean wasn't Oracle starting to get popular? While Babs doesn't need to drop the Batgirl mantle. I often wonder what would happen if they just have her be Oracle more than Batgirl. Taylor will have her be both. So I wonder how that will do
    Taylor is having her just as batgirl while tynion has her as Oracle

  10. #10
    Extraordinary Member WebLurker's Avatar
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    Think I liked her better as Oracle (admittedly I did prefer Cassandra Cain as Batgirl and did really like the surrogate mother/daughter relationship we saw with Barbara and Cassandra at that time, but still), but I guess I don't see why she couldn't pull doubly duty as being Batgirl in the field or mission control Oracle depending on the specific mission.
    Doctor Strange: "You are the right person to replace Logan."
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    (All-New Wolverine #4)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebLurker View Post
    Think I liked her better as Oracle (admittedly I did prefer Cassandra Cain as Batgirl and did really like the surrogate mother/daughter relationship we saw with Barbara and Cassandra at that time, but still), but I guess I don't see why she couldn't pull doubly duty as being Batgirl in the field or mission control Oracle depending on the specific mission.
    This is the best solution.

  12. #12
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    Personally i always considered the moment when a bat-character leave the sidekick mantle to create their own new personal identity as some sort of graduation, that's why i think it was an error make Barbara Batgirl again and,more recently,to revert Tim to Robin.
    I think the Bat-girl mantle belong to the next Batgirl, and i think she should be an all new heroine (even if i hate Steph time as Batgirl was so short, i don think she or Cass could become Batgirl in the current setting), because even if th Bat Family is already pretty crowded,new members soon or later,will appear anyway.
    Barbara should be the only Oracle, even if now she could go in the field with the others or find herself a new personal identity and see if that manage to work in the long term.
    It's true in current day comics this is very rare for something to be permantent but this not mean you should stop trying.

  13. #13
    Mighty Member John Venus's Avatar
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    Somewhere around her early to mid twenties. Its fine as something that she did as a teenager and maybe she did some noteworthy things in her time but as she grows older she should relinquish the mantle to someone else.

    Unlike Bruce and Dick, she starts doing it not because of tragedy but out of altruism then she experiences tragedy and her costumed life is cut short but she manages to come back bigger and better than before as Oracle. That's a great story arc and powerful metaphor. It's sad that nostalgia blinds people to the greater truths these characters are meant to convey.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmiMizuno View Post
    I mean wasn't Oracle starting to get popular? While Babs doesn't need to drop the Batgirl mantle. I often wonder what would happen if they just have her be Oracle more than Batgirl. Taylor will have her be both. So I wonder how that will do
    You can't really do an Oracle ongoing comic, and Oracle Movie or sell Oracle Action figures.


    Quote Originally Posted by mib86 View Post
    Personally i always considered the moment when a bat-character leave the sidekick mantle to create their own new personal identity as some sort of graduation, that's why i think it was an error make Barbara Batgirl again and,more recently,to revert Tim to Robin.
    Batgirl was not a "sidekick mantle" mantle with Barbara, when she originally became Batgirl she was grown woman in her mid 20s and operated independent from Batman, she was no more a side kick than Batwoman or Huntress were.

    Btw. the Batgirls all were much older when they took on the mantle than the Robins were. The oldest Robin was Tim how was 13 when he became Robin. The youngest Batgirl was Cass who became Batgirl at the age of 16, Steph was 18 or 19 and Barbara had depending on the continuity either just finished collage or already a PhD.

  15. #15
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPSparkles View Post
    @ Frontier The legacy aspect has happened and it was waked back to it's most iconic holder now lets nip it in the bud. Look at the mess that is Robin with Damian and Tim morphing into the same characters at times. That is no good.
    You can't really put the genie back in the bottle though, especially when the Cass and Steph Batgirl trades are out there.

    Babs has arguably already taken traits from Steph's Batgirl for the Burnside reboot.
    It's better for Cass and Steph to carry on cultivating their independent ids. Look what we have now. Babs holding on two mantles. A situation which i doubt we'd be in if not for fans constantly pushing for Cass/steph as batgirls and higher ups trying to pander to them
    I think Steph can carry on as Spoiler but I think a vast majority of Cass fans never want to see the "Orphan" title again.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aahz View Post
    You can't really do an Oracle ongoing comic, and Oracle Movie or sell Oracle Action figures.
    I don't think that should be seen as the only value in an identity.
    Batgirl was not a "sidekick mantle" mantle with Barbara, when she originally became Batgirl she was grown woman in her mid 20s and operated independent from Batman, she was no more a side kick than Batwoman or Huntress were.

    Btw. the Batgirls all were much older when they took on the mantle than the Robins were. The oldest Robin was Tim how was 13 when he became Robin. The youngest Batgirl was Cass who became Batgirl at the age of 16, Steph was 18 or 19 and Barbara had depending on the continuity either just finished collage or already a PhD.
    They've been de-aging Babs as Batgirl and making her closer to Batman for a while now.

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