Pretty big news this past week. And overall it’s pretty great. Allow me to build some “suspense”. Come back in time with me if you will, to a much simpler time. 2012. YouTube wasn’t dying and I had just started high school. The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises were going to battle it out at the summer box office. It was the personification of the DC and Marvel fanboy war that’s plagued comics for years. On one side you have Christopher Nolan bringing his Dark Knight trilogy to a close and on the other it’s Joss Whedon kicking off the Avengers crossover. Now it’s undecided who won that particular bout but the important thing is what’s happening now. As the once feared enemy of DC comics Overlord Joss Whedon switches sides to bring a particular bat themed heroine to the big screen.
It’s 2017 and we’re going to be seeing a live action film centered on Barbara Gordon, a.k.a Batgirl. Now there’s a few reasons that this is a really big deal. The first one is Joss Whedon. Mr. Whedon is what we in the incredibly nerdy culture refer to as a pop culture god. He’s written comics, created TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, and of course been at the helm of the first two Avengers films. Clearly if you’ve been a “nerd” since the 1990’s, the odds are Joss Whedon has done something you’ve liked.
Another big reason to be excited is the character herself. Barbara Gordon is an integral part of the Batman mythos, and incredibly involved in a lot of important and popular stories but she also represents a really important minority in comic books, and no it’s not women, despite that clearly still being an issue. The group I’m referring to here is people who are physically disabled.
This is a chance for DC to push forward paraplegic characters farther than ever before before. For most people the only comic book character that people really know is Professor X. Which is a great thing but then with Barbara Gordon you get to see someone go through being paralyzed which isn’t focused on much with Charles Xavier. That is if DC chooses to take the character in that direction, which if they don’t is a real waste of potential.
The Killing Joke is a graphic novel written Alan Moore. It focuses mostly on the relationship between the Joker and Batman, in an attempt to drive Batman and Police Commissioner Gordon, Bat-girl’s father, the Joker invades the Gordon residence and shoots Barbara through the spine paralyzing her. This was so well received by fans and critics that it was put into main continuity. It’s a really graphic, horrifying scene that sticks to the character to this day. But that’s what makes her return from that so much more empowering. And that’s why DC needs to bring this to the big screen. She pulls herself up from that dark place and becomes even more important as a character and as a hero. She ditches the cape and cowl as Batgirl and sports some glasses as Oracle.
So DC, if by any chance you’re one of the 4 people reading this please, give Barbara a solid couple of movies as Batgirl then show her going through that painful part and how she comes back from that better, stronger.