Barbara Gordon is for girls. This truth has been obscured over the years, most notably in the Batman: The Killing Joke, in which the classic Batgirl was shot, sexually abused and paralyzed by the Joker and taken out of costume for decades. But just as Superman stands for unimpeachable hope and Batman for rigid justice, Batgirl stands for girls doing what the hell they want. From the moment she debuted as part of the classic Batman TV show of the 1960s, this was clear: she was a librarian, she rode a motorcycle decorated with chiffon ruffles, and she did not give a damn that Batman wanted her to hang up the glittery puple cape and cowl. She was no sweet-tempered Kyptonian cousin, no kid sister, and no swooning girlfriend. As Mike Madrid detailed in The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines, “Batgirl is a female Batman can actually regard as a brilliant peer and a partner in the war on crime, the same way he would a male.”
Batgirl of Burnside
By this point, you've probably noticed that we here at ComicsAlliance are already huge fans of the new Batgirl of Burnside costume making its debut next month in Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr's Batgirl #35, but there are some out there who don't like it. For a few eaders, the stylish leather jacket and snapped cape just seems so much less practical and realistic than the heavily seamed skintight spandex, leading them to express genuine concern about Batgirl's effectiveness as a crimefighter.
Fortunately for those compassionate souls, Cameron Stewart has made a concession in the form of a variant cover for December's Batgirl #37, featuring a new variant of Batgirl's costume that is more practical.
Since you are reading this on the Internet, I'm going to go ahead and assume that you're already familiar with the Ice Bucket Challenge, wherein folks are being nominated by friends, fans and colleagues to dump buckets of freezing cold water on their heads on camera to raise awareness of (and money to combat) ALS, a neurodegenerative disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord -- or Lou Gehrig's Disease, as it is popularly known. Over the past few weeks, we've seen plenty of famous folks taking the challenge, but now, it has busted right through the Fourth Wal, and all the way to Gotham City's Burnside neighborhood.
This particular challenge was issued by Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr, the creative team for the revamp of Batgirl, and the challengee is Barbara Gordon herself, who seems set on finding out just how helpful that new jacket is going to be in fighting off the cold.
If you've been paying attention to our deep and abiding love for both the concept of superhero selfies and the new Batgirl costume from the upcoming team of Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr, then you may have already seen our fully official pitch stupid tweet about Batgirl and Robin engaging in an Interdimensional Selfie War. Inspired by Joe Quinones's amazing cover for an upcoming issue of Batman '66, our own editor Andy Khouri suggested that this could be the start of the 1966 version of Dick Grayson sending pix to 2014's Batgirl, with each trying to one-up the other.
Now, it is happening -- at least in the world of fan art. Today, Quinones posted another great piece, this time of the Batgirl of Burnside receiving the picture from Robin -- which, in case you forgot, he actually took with A ROTARY TELEPHONE -- kicking off the Crisis On Infinite Selfies for real. And not only that, but it seems like the Joker from Batman '89 -- or at least his satin-jacketed henchmen -- are getting involved too.
Ever since it first started, Mike Maihack's Batgirl/Supergirl has been ComicsAlliance's favorite take on those two characters, probably ever. The strips are unfailingly charming and delightful, and the clash between Batgirl's understandable grumpiness and Supergirl's relentless cheer makes for some classic comedy. Now, though, we're all getting pretty excited about the official version of Batgirl, with the announcement of Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr's impending takeover of the book with an amazing new costume, it looks like there might be a rival for our Batgirl-related affections coming up soon.
But, as Maihack has proven in his latest strip, there's nobody more excited about Batgirl's new costume than her best friend Kara.