Although at this point the only thing I even buy from DC Comics anymore are the Red Robin trades, what with Tim Drake being my favorite character and all. Though if I'm honest I buy them 50% for Marcus To.
I'm a big fan of the Bat Family as-it-could-be, especially Batgirl Cassandra Cain, and so of course when I saw the following I had a mouthful to say.
“Barbara Gordon is pretty much my everything. Because of the Batman TV show, she was the reason I fell in love with superheroes. Because she was a redhead who could kick ass, she is the reason I fell in love with comics. She was always forward-looking as Batgirl, a girl who was smarter than the male characters, who had class and elegance and style, as well as tough-as-nails grit. For a long time, there was simply nothing else like her in comics, and for me and a lot of other readers, her every appearance was joyful and explosive.
For many years, I got to write the character as Oracle, and there is to this day, no character who means more to me. This is classic Barbara as she was originally conceived, with a few big surprises. It’s a bit of a shock, to be sure, but we’re doing everything we can to be respectful to this character’s amazing legacy, while presenting something thrilling that a generation of comics readers will be experiencing for the first time…
…Barbara Gordon leaping, fighting, and swinging over Gotham. Now, when citizens of that city look up, they are going to see BATGIRL.
And that is absolutely thrilling.”
The way Simone is talking about the character makes me feel as if she’s fangirling over her favorite hero a lot like Johns seems to do with Hal Jordan. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, and while this doesn’t mean she can’t write a good Barbara Gordan is Batgirl story, it does mean that she’s just one more writer at DC who is so excited about her old-school hero that she’s less likely to give as much of a damn about anybody else who came after, or what they represented. Of course, I acknowledge that editorial mandate removes a lot of her control, so I guess being excited about Barbara is the best she can give us. I’d don’t wish to speculate on her situation that much anyway, because this really isn’t about Simone.
The direction DC seems to be taking is not one of an inclusive atmosphere—not in the general sense, and definitely not in the sense of diversity and representation that properly reflects our world. More and more, it strikes me as an exclusive circle of fanfic writers who only want to talk about their Silver Age heroes.
The fact that we are only to be reassured of Barbara Gordan’s legacy is hardly reassuring at all; what of the legacies of the many heroes that came afterwards? I think it’s pretty obvious that Silver Age heroes are the safest heroes at DC right now. It is not them for whom we need assurances.
…But hey, maybe Simone is just being cryptic in her statement and we’ll see Cass and Steph after all. I think it would be nice to acknowledge that both women have their own legacies, though, and are not uniformly just a piece of the “the one who came before”.