Thursday, March 30, 2017


For years when the knowledge of my geekery and love of comic books come up I will inevitably be asked who my favourite super hero is. And for years I downplayed it because I thought I really didn't have one. I follow creators these days. So if Warren Ellis, Greg Rucka or Ed Brubaker is writing it, odds are I'm going to buy it.

And yet a quick glance at my bookshelf shows I seem to have an awful lot of Batgirl graphic novels (14) by a lot of different creators. Also, as I seem to currently own 9 Batgirl toys/figurines and several pieces of original art. So yeah, if I had to pick one, I think I'd pick Batgirl.
A painting of Batgirl by Mike Maihack
that I bought.

Why her over, say, Batman? Because he's been such an unrelenting grim character for so long. Batgirl at least has moments of joy. I just like the compassion in the character. Batman can occasionally feel like a very masochistic read. I haven't felt that way very often reading Batgirl.

So that why when news broke over geek sites that there was going to be a Batgirl movie being written, directed and produced by Joss freakin' Whedon I was pretty damn happy about that. One of my favourite creators on one of my favourite characters. Sign me up.

It's always interesting to watch the reaction to this kind of news as it shakes out. With all the Buffy 20th anniversary stories in the media lately, Joss has certainly seen a bump in his profile and there's huge swaths of affection for him. Honestly, after the first Avengers movie I'll forgive him a wide variety of cinematic sins. I like Avengers: Age of Ultron a lot more than others. It's not perfect, but it's still pretty good.

On the other side are some that take exception to Joss's feminism (they really don't like the Black Widow story in Age of Ultron, which I can understand) and their wish that a woman either direct or write the movie.

And I can understand that, although I'm getting to the point where I'd just like to see more not white guys directing any super hero/sci fi/fantasy movie they want. Sure it'd be nice to have a woman direct Batgirl, but if it means that Kathryn Bigelow directs the next Captain America movie (we should be so lucky) or Rachel Talalay wants to do Justice League Dark, bring it on. We slowly have to start moving beyond women only being able to direct female lead super hero movies and just having more of them direct, period.

If that starts to happen, then I think you can forgive Whedon for moving all the levers on a Batgirl movie.

No, my concern comes from reports that the movie will draw inspiration from Gail Simone's "New 52" version of the character. Understand, I love her writing. I got to meet her in Seattle, get a bunch of books signed and babbled for several minutes how much I not only enjoy her writing, but what I learn from her online presence, where she's one of the most open and positive people you could hope for, but also has a zero tolerance for assholes.

Having said that, it's not some of her best writing. I think she was pretty hamstrung at the time. She had an editor that wanted to keep the darker, more trouble Barbara Gordon, who was suffering PTSD after being crippled/sexually assaulted by the Joker (the controversial and, in my opinion, the badly aging The Killing Joke book) when Simone was ready to move on to more positive and upbeat stories.

Also, I think she struggled a bit with people who simply didn't want Barbara Gordon back as Batgirl. They wanted her Oracle, another popular character who was an inspiration to a lot of disabled people. She was essentially wiped away when DC did their disastrous "New 52" reboot.

So we'll see. The news is about 12 hours old. It could all still fall apart. DC/Warner is throwing everything and the kitchen sink out there with super heroes, hoping some movie will hit (God help us all, but Zach Snyder's Justice League trailer looked dreary and it's apparently three hours long). And I can't see Whedon going for Zach Snyder's vision of things. But dare to dream.

In case you were wondering what some Batgirl books are good for catching up on, try these:

Gail Simone's run
Vol. 1 - The Darkest Reflection
Vol. 2 - Knightfall Descends
Vol. 3 - Death of the Family
Vol. 4 - Wanted
Vol. 5 - Deadline

After Simone left, began the Batgirl of Burnside run, featuring a slightly more fun loving Barbara Gordon. It also featured a costume redesign that is beloved by cosplayers everywhere. By Cameron Steward, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr
Vol. 1 -  Batgirl of Burnside
Vol. 2 - Family Business
Vol. 3 - Mindfields

Before Barbara Gordon came back, Batgirl was a character called Stephanie Brown. The run, written by Brian Q. Miller, is one of my favourites of any super hero series this century. It is staggeringly good fun and died well before its time. The original trades are hard to find, but they're reprinting the series this summer. No kidding, the issue where she teams up with Supergirl to fight holographic Draculas (yes, plural) is why you make super hero comics.

Batgirl: Stephanie Brown - Vol. 1

And prior to Stephanie Brown, there was another Batgirl called Cassandra Cain. Former assassin turned good. They've also recently started reprinting the series with three trades out so far. I have the first two and I'm quite enjoying them.

Vol. 1 - Silent Knight
Vol. 2 - To the Death
Vol. 3 - Point Blank

And barring all that you could also pick-up Batgirl/Robin: Year One, a fun retelling of both character's origins. Probably most noteworthy for Marcos Martin's stunning artwork.

Last Five
1. The diner/the slant (live) - Ani DiFranco
2. Windowsill - Arcard Fire
3. Hard time - Seinabo Sey*
4. It's only me - Barenaked Ladies
5. Walk on - Corinne Bailey Rae

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