I wasn't much of a Batgirl fan when I was a kid. I knew who she was, of course, and I didn't have anything against her. I even read her back-up series in Detective Comics in the early 1980s. I was reading Detective Comics for Batman, but I didn't mind a few pages of Batgirl in the back. (And even back then, I realized that it was a lot better than the Green Arrow series that replaced it.)
So I've really only been a Batgirl for about ten years.
I think it was the Batgirl series of the New 52 era that started turning me around. I had just started reading comics again after a long hiatus when the New 52 started, and I picked up Batgirl #1 mostly because Gail Simone was writing it. I had read almost none of her comics work, but I had been reading her blog pretty regularly for a while. So when I got back into reading comics (instead of just reading ABOUT them on the Internet), checking out the work of Gail Simone seemed natural.
And I'm glad I did! Batgirl is one of the highlights of the New 52 era! I especially remember the gripping and often chilling chronicle of Batgirl's ongoing conflict with her brother James Gordon Jr.
The other thing that got me interested and often enthusiastic about the history of Barbara Gordon's history was my Detecive Comics collection. After the New 52 started, I began working on my Detecive Comics collection again, and I acquired all the issues from the 1980s with Batgirl back-ups, and then the early Bronze Age series (which ended when she became a congresswoman) and eventually her Silver Age appearances.
There are lots of great Batgirl stories!
For most of my longtime favorite comic book characters, I have a favorite story. Like that one where the Hulk fights the Leader in Hulk #115 to #117. Or my favorite JSA story, that crazy tale in All-Star Comics #33 where they fight Solomon Grundy.
But I've never decided on a favorite story for Batgirl!
So I've decided to make it a project over the next few weeks or months. To find 20 or 30 candidates for favorite Batgirl story (or storyline), read them all and then hammer out a list of my Favorite Ten Batgirl stories.
I read this one last night:
Suggestions are welcome!
With this flying dreadnaught under me, I can wipe out all mankind! Now the Hulk will be the HUNTER instead of the HUNTED!
Post by beccabear67 on Jan 31, 2019 18:05:47 GMT -5
I used to have this one, Detective Comics #397, and remember the Batgirl back-up story 'The Hollow Man' had Gil Kane & Murphy Anderson art, one of my favorite combinations... the story is: good-looking guy pretends to be disfigured guy and kills women for being fickle and liking him only for his good looks, has date with Barbara Gordon!
As I have mentioned many times here at CCF, when I was a kid reading comics Batgirl was my favorite DC character (along with some of the Legionnaires). I just loved the the idea that an ordinary person could become a costumed crime-fighter by dint of smarts and athletic prowess. I had her debut issue (Detective #359) but thanks to spotty distribution I missed a lot of her subsequent appearances. I did manage to get World's Finest #169. That became one of my all-time favorite comics--Curt Swan drew a great Batgirl--and I even wrote a letter (that was published) applauding the Supergirl-Batgirl team-up. They re-teamed in WF #176, this time the art was by Neal Adams, so you'll probably want to read that issue even though the story (by Cary Bates) is silly.
Then when Batgirl got her solo series in Detective, and even though she was alternating the back-up spot with Robin, I was in seventh heaven. I only read comics for a few more years, during which time I did read a lot of her solo Detective stories. The stories were kind of simplistic but the great Kane art--usually inked by Anderson--made the series special.
As an adult I bought the Batgirl Showcase volume and it filled in the blanks, i.e., issues I'd not read back then. Hoosier X, I know you hunt down the actual old comics themselves but you might also want to pick up the Showcase volume as a guide. It contains all of her Silver Age appearances/early Bronze Age appearances up to 1974. dc.fandom.com/wiki/Showcase_Presents:_Batgirl_Vol._1_(Collected)
Post by Reptisaurus! on Jan 31, 2019 21:39:58 GMT -5
I always liked Oracle better. A heroine who went through hell and then uses her resultant disability to be a better superhero feels very inspiring, and very original. John Ostrander's piece-by-piece rebuilding of Barbara Gordon in Suicide Squad is one of my favorite things in superhero comics ever.
And I tend to prefer the original versions of super-types, so Betty Kane is always my favorite Batgirl. I'm not saying the pre-new-look Batman stories were classics for the ages, but I liked the combination of mystery and sexual tension between Bat-Girl/Robin and Batwoman/Batman.
Batman 311 is one of those comics I fondly recalled having as a kid and appreciate even more as an adult. It's one of those tightly written stories which upon reflection, seems difficult to believe could be contained within a mere 17 pages. Early on in the tale, Englehart has Batman and Commissioner Gordon acknowledge that given their relationship, Barbara Gordon may as well be Batman's niece. After all, how many nights did she spend watching as he and her father planned all sorts of strategies for taking down criminals in her family home? It's a moment which could exist on its own as a nice summation of why it was inevitable that Barbara Gordon chose the path she did, but here it pays out in dividends as Batgirl is presented as a hero up against incredible odds, but at no point is she in over her head. She's a master tactician who, unlike Batman and Robin, is completely self-taught. Interestingly, Batman tracks down the villain of this issue, Dr. Phosphorous only to be taken out of the game early on in the issue's final battle. Now, Phosphorous could kill you simply by touching you and Batgirl knows this. Therefore, her best bet is to maintain a safe distance from him at all times, except the further she gets from Phosphorous, the closer Phosphorous gets to an unconscious Batman laying about ten feet away. You can't help but realise that you're watching a master tactician at work when Batgirl's every move in this battle is both offensive and defensive. Batman only wakes up after the battle is over in fact.
There's also a nice moment where Gordon as a Congresswoman votes against a bill her party wants her to favour. When told that they intend her to replace her in favour of someone who'll vote as they're told, she responds with not so much the preachy anger, say, a Denny O Neil Green Arrow in full blown histrionics would, but with a steely-eyed, determined, and well-articulated promise to continue doing what her conscience tells her to do.
There's also no 'Batgirl has to look good this issue, so I'll dumb down everyone around her' approach to this story either. Batman doesn't get knocked unconscious and need rescuing because he made a boneheaded mistake. Englehart makes it clear that his decision to ram the plane Phosphorous is attempting to escape in is the only decision he can make in the split second he has to act in. Phosphorous' madness isn't taken storytelling advantage of so that Batgirl can score an easy victory over him - he's a dangerous threat at all times that can only be defeated when the good guy pulls out all the stops. Batgirl is just a levelheaded pro who doesn't have the overzealous urge to make quips, an overconfidence in her own abilities or underestimation of her foes, or any sort of super power that somehow lets her down at a crucial moment that lets down other heroes in stories such as these - she's just cool, calm, and collected and makes every moment count.
On another note, I like that this issue is pencilled by Irv Novick, one of the Silver/Bronze Age Batman greats who never got much of a chance to draw Batgirl during his first run on Batman.
I haven't read too many Batgirl stories, sorry to say. I've always like her, though. Strong, butt-kicking woman; cool costume; red hair — Quoth the Burns, "Excellent."
Last Edit: Feb 1, 2019 4:39:44 GMT -5 by Duragizer
"Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith." — Paul Tillich
"All religions, all this singing, one song. The differences are just illusion and vanity. The sun's light looks a little different on this wall than it does on that wall, and a lot different on this other one, but it's still one light." — Rumi
"I believe in copyright, within limited precincts. But I also believe in fair use, public domain, and especially transformation." — David Shields
That World's Finest was my 1st thought for favorite. After that it would be her solo stint in Detective that I remember most. 3rd up is not story but art: any Jim Aparo Batgirl cover art always caught my attention immediately. Her costume/color scheme is just so iconic and spectacular composition that a strong artist really makes it "POP" visually.
The Robin/Batgirl teen/college teaming with it's flirtatious and romantic overtones were a strong bit that really never went anywhere but should have! They were a natural combination that worked well together and deserved a stronger writer/storyline than they ever received. What teenage boy or girl even didn't have hopes of teaming/hooking up with the dynamic dare-doll?
A few stand out in my memory that I enjoyed. One was a World's Finest story where she and Superman team up against Batman and Supergirl. Neal Adams drew it and I think it involved an alien posing as actor. Another is her debut in Detective Comics. I also recall a two part team up between her and Robin in Detective Comics that involved something about Edgar Alan Poe and I think Batgirl was almost walled up alive. Gil Kane art on that one and she looked great! Loved the flirty stories from Batman Family too and the story where she, Huntress, and Batwoman team up. I always wanted to see a story featuring Barbara and Betty Kane.
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned any BG solo stories. Are there any worth reading ?
I mentioned her Detective solo feature that started in 1969 (Detective #384) in my earlier post . IMO those solo stories are worth reading if you are a massive Batgirl fan, as I was back then. I didn't mind that the stories themselves weren't all that great because I loved that Batgirl finally had her own feature and was on her own instead of being a guest-star in someone else's feature. During that series she was given a sidekick of sorts; a couple of issues after her Detective series launched Jason Bard was introduced. I never liked him and at that time he seemed to be more of a hindrance to her than an asset (I understand this changed later on and he became a more viable character). Overall there's not much depth to the stories, which is understandable as these were the second, shorter feature in the comic (and each new story was a two-parter that spanned 2 issues). The stories are enjoyable light reading, but the Gil Kane art was all sorts of awesome and for me his amazing art elevated these stories to "must reads."
In 1971 Don Heck took over the art and even though I usually love his work, I have to admit his art here was hit or miss. I stopped reading comics around that time, but a few years ago I picked up the Batgirl Showcase volume and I recommend it for anyone who's interested in checking out Batgirl's Silver Age appearances. The volume also includes some early Bronze Age stuff. My earlier post has a link to the stories included in that volume.