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  1. #1
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    Default Barbara Gordon's future in the DC Universe (aka: is it time for a change?)

    Barbara Gordon's Batgirl series is now selling in the low 20,000s. While those numbers aren't terrible, they're significantly lower than the stable 30k she used to pull from 2011 to a year or two ago. Clearly, something has changed. Heroes like Nightwing and Red Hood have maintained and even grown their numbers a bit, but Batgirl is slowly slipping.

    I think it's clear that even though the Burnside reinvention gave her a nice, temporary bump in popularity, it hasn't caught on. I enjoy the series, but as a whole it feels very inconsequential and has kind of relegated Barbara to the fringes of the DC universe, where once she used to be in the center. This prolonged lack of prominence seems to have diminished her popularity as well. I haven't seen much excitement for the character in a while, and in some forums (like this one), it seems that she's not especially liked anymore.


    Should DC continue this Burnside persona? Or is it time for a change? And what can they do to reinvigorate her character, with all the new Batkids running around? If she's outgrown Batgirl, and Oracle doesn't work in the current continuity anymore (what with everyone being a master hacker and Cyborg being a living computer), what role is there for her?

  2. #2
    I am a diamond, Ms. Pryde millernumber1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karmasaywhat View Post
    Barbara Gordon's Batgirl series is now selling in the low 20,000s. While those numbers aren't terrible, they're significantly lower than the stable 30k she used to pull from 2011 to a year or two ago. Clearly, something has changed. Heroes like Nightwing and Red Hood have maintained and even grown their numbers a bit, but Batgirl is slowly slipping.

    I think it's clear that even though the Burnside reinvention gave her a nice, temporary bump in popularity, it hasn't caught on. I enjoy the series, but as a whole it feels very inconsequential and has kind of relegated Barbara to the fringes of the DC universe, where once she used to be in the center. This prolonged lack of prominence seems to have diminished her popularity as well. I haven't seen much excitement for the character in a while, and in some forums (like this one), it seems that she's not especially liked anymore.


    Should DC continue this Burnside persona? Or is it time for a change? And what can they do to reinvigorate her character, with all the new Batkids running around? If she's outgrown Batgirl, and Oracle doesn't work in the current continuity anymore (what with everyone being a master hacker and Cyborg being a living computer), what role is there for her?
    I don't claim to be an expert on Babsgirl. I believe I've read every one of her issues, but I haven't really loved any of them (except maybe #51 when Steph was stealing her spot, or the Future's End issue when Steph and Cass were stealing her spot...are you getting a theme? ). I think you're absolutely right that even during the Simone run, Batgirl was too isolated from the rest of the Batfamily - only heightened by first Simone's final issue where she asked literally everyone who is not in the Batfamily to help her, then Burnside creating an entirely new place so she doesn't physically interact with them anymore. Larson and the Bensons have both made moves towards re-integration - the Bensons moreso, since they're already a team book - but neither of the books is really selling super well (I desperately hope Birds of Prey survives to a full two years, but I'm currently predicting a cancellation around issue 18, the one and a half year mark unless there's a major surge somehow).

    I think that what DC would want to do is launch a REAL Super Hero Girls Batgirl series with a name writer and artist, who is given a certain amount of license to go outside of the cartoon/house style (sort of like what Rick Burchett would do for the Batman: The Brave and the Bold comics), with its own continuity and stakes - for slightly older kids, maybe 12-14, instead of the 8-10 it currently seems to be aimed for. But that's an awkward age bracket to leap, and I don't think they can figure out a way.

    What I want, so much? LEAGUE OF BATGIRLS! Steph, Cass, and Babs, all together, all winning, all the time!
    "We're the same thing, you and I. We're both lies that eventually became the truth." Lara Notsil, Star Wars: X-Wing: Solo Command, by Aaron Allston
    "All that is not eternal is eternally out of date." C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves
    "There's room in our line of work for hope, too." Stephanie Brown, Batgirl, by Bryan Q. Miller
    Stephanie Brown Wiki, My Batman Universe Reviews

  3. #3
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    I honestly can't see her stop being Batgirl at this point, especially with the movie coming up.

    But I personally think it's time for DC to move on from the Burnside version Batgirl, at least as far as main continuity is concerned, and go for a feel more in-line with the core Batfamily books, which might lend to a bigger role in the family again as well. But without the overbearing grittiness or darkness that permeated Simone's run.

    I also think it would be good to give Steph and Cass their own books, or at least a vehicle to more consistently spotlight and showcase them compared to 'Tec, so there might be less in-fighting among the fans of the other Batgirls upset their favorite is getting shafted compared to Barbara as Batgirl.

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    Ways I'd fix Barbara Gordon while still keeping her Batgirl:

    - Age her up to late 20's. (I'd personally want even older, but whatever)

    - Have her act like the mature adult we know and love.

    - Give her the skills and abilities she had as Oracle.

    - Re-establish more of her ties to the DCU, as well as within the BatFamily. Ex. Ted Kord and the Justice League for the DCU, and Cass, Steph, and JPV for the Batfamily.

    and most importantly for me:

    - WIPE THE KILLING JOKE FROM CANON.

    While there are several reasons I have not bought a single Batgirl comic since the Nu52 started, chief among them is that I found the choice to have Babs become Batgirl again disgusting. Not because of the inherent idea though. If she'd just been starting out as Batgirl, or had had the role for a few years, fine. I wouldn't like it, but fine. The decision to have the events of Killing Joke still in play though, and having her 'recover' from the incident by becoming Batgirl, even though she'd already 'recovered' and become stronger while Oracle was strikingly ablest, and not something I could forgive.

    I know DC won't do this last one, or most of these probably, but it's what it would take for me at least to vote with my wallet in favor of Babsgirl.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post

    I also think it would be good to give Steph and Cass their own books, or at least a vehicle to more consistently spotlight and showcase them compared to 'Tec, so there might be less in-fighting among the fans of the other Batgirls upset their favorite is getting shafted compared to Barbara as Batgirl.
    Also so you as a Mod wouldn't have to listen to us complain and argue every other week...day...minute

  6. #6
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    Her anniversary is coming up so hopefully they have something in store for her. If nothing else its time for them to have her be less isolated.

  7. #7
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    It's those yellow Doc Martins that are causing all the problems. Bring back the stiletto boots.

  8. #8
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    big Babs Batgirl fan here.

    have the entire Simone New 52 run (although i didn't think it was that amazing. actually dropped it at one point, but went back and picked up all the issues). Have a good chunk of the pre-Flashpoint Birds of Prey title. Dropped the book completely with the Burnside revamp. i have no interest in 'hipster Batgirl'. a return to the more iconic costume and characterization would most likely bring me back into the fold.

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    Quote Originally Posted by twiztor View Post
    big Babs Batgirl fan here.

    have the entire Simone New 52 run (although i didn't think it was that amazing. actually dropped it at one point, but went back and picked up all the issues). Have a good chunk of the pre-Flashpoint Birds of Prey title. Dropped the book completely with the Burnside revamp. i have no interest in 'hipster Batgirl'. a return to the more iconic costume and characterization would most likely bring me back into the fold.
    While I've enjoyed both runs, neither have really clicked. Burnside has its obvious problems, but even Simone's run (though it had some compelling story arcs) got really stale quickly. Six years into the New 52, and it seems like they still haven't gotten Barbara Gordon's personality or role down yet.

    Like, we know what Jason Todd's personality is. We know what Dick Grayson's personality is. It wouldn't be hard to imagine details about them--like hobbies, likes or dislikes, etc. Their characteristics come across loud and clear. With Barbara Gordon though, the writing is all over the place. Gail Simone spent too much time having Barbara be miserable or stressed, and the Burnside series often has Barbara looking confused. I think Hope Larsen's run has a better handle on Barbara as a person, but it still comes off as detached. Do they want her to be fun Barbara or angsty Barbara or computery Barbara? She's more of a vehicle for the writer than an actual character at this point.

    It makes me sad, because Oracle in the post-Crisis continuity was such a clearly defined personality.

  10. #10
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    They just need to tackle her being older. Age her up, give her a redesign, and stop letting her be so isolated from the rest of the world.

  11. #11
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    These are all thoughtful responses.
    Wholeheartedly agree about her isolation from the Batfamily. And- I don't believe this relationship has been mentioned- any Barbara Gordon Batgirl book that has very little interaction between her and her dad isn't doing it right.

  12. #12
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    The stability of the New 52 Batgirl book was due to it getting bumps from that kept it from slipping below 30k till the end of near of its run. From tie-ins to Bat events, to the Burnside direction.

    It would have fallen to the 20k range, just not as fast as the Rebirth run.

    Sales aren't looking good right now, but what exactly can be done? The last Batgirl run that was doing good numbers without aid was the initial Cassandra Cain run. It sold over 30k for years. Her following brief run, and the Stephanie Brown run all did numbers in the 20k range. When you account for the digital market growing since the New 52, the Rebirth run is probably doing overall numbers that are in the range of the Stephanie Brown run.

    Batgirl has the potential to sell well, since the New 52 started with strong numbers and the Burnside direction gave it a bump, but both ended up fading. For now, I think DC should let Larson continue her Eisner nominated run until she's ready to move on.

    Then bring someone on-board that has a new and unique vision. I don't see dredging up the past helping the book in the sales department longterm.

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    Or just put Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo on the book, that'll surely drive up sales.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clementine - The Worst Poster Ever View Post
    For now, I think DC should let Larson continue her Eisner nominated run until she's ready to move on.

    Then bring someone on-board that has a new and unique vision. I don't see dredging up the past helping the book in the sales department longterm.
    I enjoy Hope Larson's writing very much. I doubt it's been her idea to give Barbara a new boyfriend every handful of issues (and guys who are such obviously poor choices- shouldn't be reading a Barbara Gordon Batgirl book and rolling your eyes at her poor decision making).

    As far as dredging up the past- I don't know what's up with the Aug/Sept solicits, but I think Larson could write a fun Dick/Babs story. And having them finally be in a real relationship could give more than a short-term boost in sales.

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    Quote Originally Posted by atomicbattery View Post
    I enjoy Hope Larson's writing very much. I doubt it's been her idea to give Barbara a new boyfriend every handful of issues (and guys who are such obviously poor choices- shouldn't be reading a Barbara Gordon Batgirl book and rolling your eyes at her poor decision making).

    As far as dredging up the past- I don't know what's up with the Aug/Sept solicits, but I think Larson could write a fun Dick/Babs story. And having them finally be in a real relationship could give more than a short-term boost in sales.
    I'm not sure them dating would lead to boost in sales, unless they do something like Superman Reborn which would lead to a slight bump. If they had them get married, that would lead to a boost in sales, but I'm not sure for how long that would last.

    Maintaining sales has changed over the years. Supergirl, Aquaman, and Green Arrow are also in the 20k range.

    These days maintaining sales is like catching lightning in a bottle. Johns on Green Lantern, Snyder on Batman, Conner & Palmiotti on Harley Quinn. That's what Batgirl needs to consistently sell well.

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