Jun 9, 2011

Gail, Jill and Babs: A Conversation about BATGIRL & ORACLE

When I heard the news about DC Comics making Barbara Gordon Batgirl again, I was understandable upset. I have a close, personal connection to this character and I shared my feelings in an op/ed on Newsarama titled, Oracle Is Stronger Than Batgirl Will Ever Be.

With the little information DC is giving out in their relaunch solicitations, many fans were left speculating what this change really meant for Barbara Gordon. Would she be cured? Would she be retconned? It was for this and many other reasons I knew a conversation with Birds of Prey and Batgirl #1 author Gail Simone was needed.

We conducted a very lengthy email interview in the hopes of clearing the air a bit and to let fans, who are both worried about the future of Oracle and excited to see Barbara as Batgirl again, hear what there was to say.


6 comments:

T-Dogg said...

Really great interview. Thanks, Jill!

Diamondrock said...

A great interview. I'm still not sure if I'm going to pick up the book, but I can say with certainty that Gail Simone is a class act. I'm really happy that she reached out to you for the interview.

Mike said...

Jill -- First, I want to thank you for the courage and candor you displayed in your original post. I was really moved by your sharing of your experience.

I am torn because, as one of the comments on that original post said, Barbara only ended up in her wheelchair because of an act of misogny (in and out of text...!). But I agreed with you that she had become such a strong character by this point, and such a light for everyone, not just those living with disability, that I hate to see that gone by the wayside.

I also don't like the move because I am a big fan of Bryan Miller's Batgirl. I will miss reading about Steph in the cape and cowl. She is my first Batgirl, and I hate to see that series wrapping up.

I was so impressed with your interview with Gail Simone, and I think I am going to give her "Batgirl # 1" a try, because I take her at her word that she would not knowingly or willingly do further violence to the character of Barbara Gordon. I'm still of two minds about the whole situation, but I'm going to wait and see.

Thanks so much for, bar none, the best coverage of and reflections on how the relaunch affects Barbara and Batgirl.

Eric Lindberg said...

It's a great interview, Jill. But (understandably at this stage) we still have few details about the story or how this comes about. So I'm very torn.

I really dislike the idea of Barbara being Batgirl again. But Gail Simone is my current favorite comics writer. I'm sure she'll treat the character respectfully, as she always has. Whether I'll be reading or not is still to be determined.

Muteki Sales said...

Jill, I read the interview with you & Gail, and I love it that Gail is a class act through & through. I appreciate that she reached out to you to try and soothe any tensions caused by Barbara's return to the capefold.

I still admit that I think it was foolish for DC to change Oracle, and I will always do so, but if you had to leave Barbara in the hands of someone at DC / WB that was pulling all kinds of strings, at least we know that Gail will do whatever she can to take care of the character.

DC used to be the "edgier" brand of comics--they dared to get rid of Hal "Highly Boring" Jordan and put in a character that a new generation could grow with in Kyle Rayner. They dared to eliminate Barry Allen, and allowed Wally West to fulfill every sidekick's ultimate legacy--to inherit the mantle of the mentor. They dared to put in a female character that wasn't supermodel-looking in Amanda Waller and made her a powerful force to be reckoned with. And they dared to leave a woman with a huge fanbase in a wheelchair despite all of her male compatriots recovering from death--and made her into a human being with real faults, real depth, and most of all--more heroism than she ever achieved doing high-kicks to goons.

I'm glad that Gail is taking care of both the fans that she cares about and of Barbara Gordon, but I agree--when I need a dose of true heroism, I'll go back to read those old BIRDS OF PREY books when it was a real team of Black Canary, Huntress, Lady Blackhawk, and Oracle--their leader, their inspiration, and their hero.

Kyle said...

What an interesting interview.
Simone's vagueness about the plot details give me hope, as does the simple suggestion that this book might take place in the past.
One thing I found interesting was when Simone talks about people taking issue with the "girl" part of Barbara's costumed identity. She kind of glosses over the issue, instead going to the extreme of people using the word as an insult, as opposed to the more common question of whether or not an adult woman would really run around calling herself "girl."
Simone's a great interview; she's clearly very skilled at moving topics towards what she wants to talk about, regardless of the initial question.