DC Comics and MTV News just announced that a new creative team will take over the Batgirl title in October. I wish that I could say I’m a fan of the new direction, but unfortunately, I have some issues with it. Fan-favorite writers Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher joined artist Babbs Tarr to create a drastic revamp of a classic character.
The goal behind this revamp is to re-invent Batgirl as a lighter, happy-go-lucky character. Apparently, she’s set to break-off all of her previous connections in Gotham, move to a hip/trendy neighborhood, and “live the life of a young, single girl in the city.” My inner fanboy is weeping.
But before I get to the criticism, let me just say that I am 100% in favor of the movement to get the younger female demographic interested in comics. The joy of comics should be given to everyone, and young girls do need strong female characters that they can look up to! What I’m not happy about, however, is one of my favorite characters in all of comic book history getting carelessly wiped-out like a discarded drawing on an Etch-A-Sketch.
Overall, I don’t like the art style but there are a few things that I do like about the new character design. This version of Batgirl features a much more practical costume with a leather jacket as opposed to spandex and combat boots as opposed to heels. On the other hand, I find the artwork overtly juvenile. I’m usually not a fan of comics that are drawn to resemble doodles in a high school art student’s notebook.
Rumor has it that Barbara will make this new costume herself out of items she finds at various vintage boutiques and thrift stores. I guess I can see the folksy, light-hearted charm, but the problem is Batgirl isn’t really a folksy, light-hearted character. She’s gritty and dark, and that’s what makes her so interesting. She is (or at least was) a shining example of determination and unrelenting will, with a splash of vengeance. Think about it: Barbara has seen her friends and family members die, she witnessed her own brother become a mass murderer, she has been beaten and tortured countless times, not to mention she was put through all the events of Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke… Oh and did I forget to mention that she was paralyzed for years, but still managed to fight for good despite of her handicap!
That’s the character I want to read about, not little miss trendy’s adventures in Gotham city.
The new creative team will start their run with a fire burning all of Barbara’s previous possessions. I think that’s an accurate symbolic representation of the new direction; all of Batgirl’s great history and character development going up in smoke.
Like I said, it’s great that the industry is recognizing the younger female demographic and writing heroes for them. It’s just a shame that DC had to destroy one of my favorite characters in the process.