It saddens me that the state of superhero costumes for women is so terrible that people everywhere are giving a massive thumbs up to DC's repugnant decision to get rid of their only notable handicapped character and regress Barbara back into being a Batman fangirl instead of the competent hero she'd become over the years. All the nice character designs in the world won't wash that away.
Dude, there were literally people in wheelchairs asking DC employees not to do this, and DC ignored them. This isn't conspiracy, patriarchy, "privilege" or anything you're going on about. This was a corporation deciding to take something away from people in wheelchairs, to make more money.
I understand how you feel but you can't always stick to the old with everything, especially when it comes to the comics industry. Things there are constantly rehashed and redone; expecting otherwise would be unreasonable.
But at least you agree that it's a nice character design, right…? Which is the purpose and reason this image was even drawn… right?
I do agree that it's a nice design, but I'm afraid it does indeed strike a nerve.
There's not many opportunities for female characters to gain a foothold in mainstream comics. But disabled characters?
We will never see another character like Oracle in mainstream comics, I can pretty much guarantee it. The sheer number of things that had to come together is amazing. The Adam West show made a new character a household name, but then the novelty of the show quickly wore off for comic readers, to the point where writers didn't want to use her and approval was given to cripple her. The comic where that happened was written by a guy that would go on to be considered the most acclaimed writer in comics, resulting in increased resistance to simply undo what happened in the book. A husband-and-wife theme found a way to use the character since she was still beloved, in a way that made sense given her background but still acknowledged her disability as a real obstacle. Denny O'Neil, the guy most responsible for the current vision of Batman, personally made an effort to make Oracle an integral part of as many books as possible (which was all of the Batman books, since he was their editor). Birds of Prey hit the shelves almost exactly at the same time that the Women in Refrigerators site was increasing focus on how DC treated its female characters. The knee-jerk hate of the Adam West show faded among comic fans, so that Barbara began becoming a more popular character, and thus we had a very popular well-known character that happened to be handicapped.
It would be extremely difficult for them to realistically render another well-known character disabled for any real amount of time, and in the state the industry is currently in there's simply no hope in hell that a new character with a disability could hope to make inroads. Disabling her again at this point would be seen as even more crass than what they've already done
When it comes to having any diversity in their lineup, Oracle was DC's crowning success for 20+ years. So sure, I'm sad to see the character regressed, like I'd be sad seeing any character regressed. But even more than that, I'm very sad knowing that DC will almost certainly never have a disabled character as well-written and prominent as Oracle was (odds are terrible for anyone that isn't an able-bodied white person for that matter), and it's depressing seeing so many talented artists essentially applauding DC's highly discriminatory decision. I understand why, but it still makes me sad.
I dunno.. I'm actually rather glad they decided to give Babs another shot at being Batgirl...
Don't get me wrong; I have nothing against the character of Oracle - I agree she was well-written & a welcome break from the usual superhero stereotypes.. However, I always found her somewhat.. (& please don't bite my head off for this) Difficult to believe!
I know, I know; that sounds crazy coming from a comic series featuring people who can fly faster than the speed of light & shoot lasers from their eyes! But, just think about it for a second - Barbara Gordon aka Oracle lives in a universe where things such as magic, cybernetic augmentation & genetic engineering are all fairly commonplace.. More than that, she happens to be best friends with one of the richest & most well-connected men on the planet! The point I'm trying to make is, I find it simply inconceivable that they couldn't have found some way of getting her back on her feet! I realize spinal injuries are supposed to be among the most complex & difficult to treat known to medical science but, c'mon - DC characters regularly come back from the DEAD! Compared to that, injuring one's spine is about serious as stubbing your toe! God, failing all else, you would think Batman coulda just dumped Babs in a Lazarus pit or something..
I'll be perfectly honest, from what little I've seen of the New 52 so far I'm not really a fan.. That said, I'm actually quite taken with this particular redesign. Sure, it's not a patch on the original but, to tie in with Bab's new image as a cheeky young scamp just starting out on her super-heroic career, I think it works rather well. Ok, I think we can all pretty much agree it's just a re-skinned version of Hitgirl.. But, in spite of that, it still suits her perfectly.
Yes, Oracle was a good character while she lasted.. But, times change; things move on. Personally, I always felt it was a crying shame they had to go & cripple her in the first place. So, in a way, this is almost like she's been given a second chance; one which, I think, all fans of Batgirl would agree she thoroughly deserves!
I certainly don't want to sound like I'm biting your head off. Unfortunately it's extremely difficult to sound nice when saying someone is supporting discrimination against people with disabilities. Which I'm afraid you kinda are.
You're saying that in a world with magic and cyborgs, you couldn't believe Barbara Gordon would remain paralyzed. By that logic, there should be no people with disabilities in mainstream comics at all. At which point we've got a multinational multi-billion-dollar multi-media pop culture force that's inherently discriminatory. That's bad.
The inventions of heroic comic book characters should by all rights have changed the world for the better, in ways visible on a regular basis. There is no good explanation for why Reed Richards, Hank Pym, and Tony Stark haven't cured most of the world's ills. There's just no reason why the Justice League haven't solved most of the everyday problems for mankind. Frankly there's no reason why Commissioner Gordon doesn't hop in a teleporter when he's done for the day and wants to go home. There's no reason why wizards aren't being called in by the police all the time to help with missing persons cases. The sci-fi technology and magic writers use for an issue or two isn't allowed to change the world very much, and that's incredibly artificial. But we accept it. We ignore the thing that clearly makes no sense at all. We're willing to overlook the illogical elements, to suspend our disbelief, if we can get a good story and good character interaction out of it. Here you're willing to say that you can look past the fact that Arkham doesn't have a laser grid fence, robot attack dogs, a hotline to the Justice League, and a few dozen magic spells to keep people in, but you're not willing to suspend your disbelief enough to let disabled people have any real representation at all from DC. I know that comes off as harsh, but there were very real people with disabilities asking DC not to do this. It's a harsh situation.
Getting more into the nitty gritty, the magic users in comics frequently use handwave explanations about not being able to solve all problems due to there always being hidden prices with magic, most of the cyborgs in comics go around being miserable about their cybernetics (especially the DC ones), and every time someone tries to use genetic engineering in comics it tends to go horribly wrong. Just ask Man Bat. In fact, look at Gotham in general, ignore the rest of the DC universe. The guy that tried to use cryogenics for good, how did that turn our for him? The guy who tried to cure deafness? Turned himself into a monstrous bat-creature. Batman has a few nice toys, but in Gotham magic and sci-fi technology rarely show up except when they're doing something horrible. Happy sci-fi solutions to everyone's problems are a rarity in the Batman books, that's just the tone they set.
A Lazarus Pit is good for one use, it's usually guarded by the army of a madman that covets and hides the few that exist, it works only on the dying and dead, and it will kill anyone that's not dying or dead. And they have a tendency to drive users insane. Some writers get a little sloppy on that stuff, but when Denny O'Neil came up with Ra's al Ghul and Lazarus Pits, he didn't want them turning into a cheap way to solve everyone's problems. They're intended to be an incredibly evil thing, very possibly demonic, and turned Ra's from a kindhearted doctor into the monster we know now.
This Batgirl fan does not think Barbara deserves that second chance. She deserves far better than to be de-aged, stripped of her accomplishments, put back in Batman's shadow as Batgirl, have her abilities vastly diminished (she's rarely even used a computer since the reboot), and be turned into something harmful to the disabled community, while also blocking any chance for greater diversity at DC by preventing the return of characters like Cassandra Cain to the limelight. It's a sad thing that Batgirl was turned into a step backwards for comics in general.
To be honest I'm not so much convinced with this new design (well not that I really like super heroes costumes to begin with) but I think it works pretty well in your drawing because she seems even younger, and with this slightly more childish aspect, this new costume seems more appropriate than on a late teen.
A superheroine costume that DOESN'T show off tons of skin or consist of spandex so tight that it might as well not even be there? Damn, it's about time we made some progress. The new costume looks great!