Barbara Gordon (character)

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Character
Name: Barbara Joan "Babs" Gordon AKA Batgirl, Oracle
Occupation: Librarian, superhero, politician, information broker, hacker, police comissioner
Relationships: Jim Gordon (father); Barbara Kean (mother);Bruce Wayne (mentor); Dick Grayson (friend and ally, major love interest); Batfamily; Birds of Prey; Dinah Lance (Black Canary, ally); Helena Bertinelli (ally)
Fandom: DC Comics, Birds of Prey, DC Animated Universe, Batman (1966), The Batman cartoon, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Young Justice (TV series)
Other:
Batgirl of Burnside by ribkaDory (2016), this look based off the New 52 comics
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Barbara Joan "Babs" Gordon is a character from DC Comics. She was the original Batgirl and later became the superhero hacker known as Oracle, and has since alternated between those identities in different continuities. She has appeared in comics, TV, animation, and movie versions.

Canon

Comics

She is the redheaded daughter (sometimes niece or adopted daughter) of Commissioner Jim Gordon of the Gotham police. Inspired by Batman, Babs became Batgirl when she was not allowed to join the police force herself. She has studied law and library science. Babs eventually put the Batgirl mantle behind and resolved to serve the public through a civilian career. After being shot by the Joker and becoming paraplegic in The Killing Joke, having been targeted as the civilian daughter of the Commissioner Gordon, Babs began fighting crime as Oracle, using her extensive computer hacking and information gathering skills. She works with Batman and Robin, created the team Birds of Prey, and has trained two successors to her role as Batgirl.

Batman (1966)

In the third and final season of the Batman TV series, the Barbara Gordon version of Batgirl was portrayed by Yvonne Craig. Unlike her comics version, this Barbara is a brunette and wears a long, red fall under her cowl as Batgirl. The actor's likeness has been used in tie-in comics and crossover mini-series.

DC Animated Universe

Barbara is Batgirl in Batman: The Animated Series; this is one of the first and most influential pieces of media to feature the Dick Grayson/Barbara Gordon relationship in canon. In the possible future of Batman Beyond, Barbara herself has become the new Commissioner Gordon, having succeeded her father.

Birds of Prey (TV Series)

Barbara Gordon is one of the main characters in Birds of Prey. In flashbacks, Barbara (played by Dina Meyer) is often seen in her Batgirl persona. In present scenes, she's portrayed in her Oracle persona, due to the Joker's attack her which paralyzed her, just like in the comics. She's partners with Helena Kyle (Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle's daughter) and Dinah Redmond (Black Canary's daughter).

Smallville

Barbara Gordon makes her first appearance in Smallville Season 11 as Nightwing (instead of Batgirl). She's the first assistant/partner of Batman (Bruce Wayne).

Fandom

Disability

TBA: something about the discussions when it became known that Oracle would be healed, Oracle as visible disabled character.

When DC Comics relaunched all their titles and rebooted their universe with the New 52 in September 2011, Barbara Gordon stopped being Oracle, was healed of her paralysis, and went back to being Batgirl. Many fans were outraged by this because of their love for Babs as a disabled character.

ABLE BODIED COMICS FAN: will you ever get over Barbara not being Oracle anymore? It's been almost 10 years...

ME, A DISABLED: IDK, do you know how rare it was for us to have a wheelchair user who did more as a wheelchair user than she ever did as an able bodied person? How rare it is for someone to say that their life is different and possibly even better after becoming disabled? call me back after the only person w/ your physical ability who was portrayed in a positive, 3 dimensional light gets retconned out of existence.[1]

Others felt there was a double standard in the treatment of the male Robin characters and the female Batgirl characters, with multiple male Robins allowed to grow up and move past that role, and Babs being regressed to Batgirl and the later Batgirls (and girl Robin) being written out of the story.

Nobody claims that “Dick is the only real Robin”, because that would be ridiculous. But when people say that about Barbara, suddenly it’s fine? This despite the fact that most people agree that she’s better as Oracle? It’s insane. When DC rebooted, they brought Barbara back as Batgirl because she’s “more iconic”, but Damian Wayne continued to be Robin, despite the general public having no idea he exists! Dick Grayson got to keep his character development, and the other Robins (save Stephanie, gee, why could that be?) got to keep their legacy![2]

Prior to the launch of the "New 52", some fans also saw her continued paralysis as a double standard. They questioned why Barbara couldn't be cured when characters like Batman had recovered from serious spinal injuries. A criticism of Barbara's work as Oracle is that she is relegated to a secretary-like role, having to stay in the Batcave to be available to support others providing information and back-up.

Relationships

Gen relationships

Pairings

Babs is most commonly shipped with various members of the Batfamily and Birds of Prey. Since beginning a canon on-and-off relationship with Dick Grayson in the 1990s, DickBabs has become her most popular pairing. She is often femslashed with Dinah Lance, Helena Bertinelli, Cassandra Cain, and Stephanie Brown. She has also been shipped with Bruce Wayne.

Fanworks

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Meta

Fan fiction

Cosplay

Fan art

Example Art Gallery

Vids

Archives and Fannish Links

DeviantArt

Fansites

Resources

References

  1. ^ Tumblr post by fancyfade, July 2019.
  2. ^ Tumblr post by littlemissonewhoisall, May 30th, 2016.