Yesterday, DC Comics and Warner Brothers announced they were adding a Batgirl movie to their upcoming lineup, and that it will be directed by Joss Whedon. While Whedon is revered by the “nerd community” for his work on the iconic Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the widely loved Firefly, two shows that I love, I’m nervous. Recently, Whedon directed the Avengers movies and came under fire for the portrayal of the Black Widow and the Maximoff twins. (While I understand that they couldn’t mention the twins parentage, or that they were mutants, due to copyright reasons, it’s still disappointing.) While Whedon is known for creating strong female characters, I’m nervous about him heading another superhero movie, when the criticism was about his portrayal of a female hero.
There are rumors that they will be reaching to Gail Simone’s 2011 Batgirl run for material, and that excites me. I adore Gail and this specific run, but I’m afraid they’re going to cut what made the run so special, at least in my opinion.
Gail’s run had a particular focus on Barbara’s mental health in her first few months back as Batgirl. It addresses her PTSD, specifically relating to doorbells and guns pointed at her lower abdomen.
What’s that you’re saying? “Olivia, those are two weirdly specific things.”
I have two answers:
a) Not really?
b) You must not know about Oracle! Let me educate you!
In 1988, Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke was released. Originally intended as a one-shot comic outside of the normal continuity of the DC universe it ended up being adopted into the main universe. In the story, in an attempt to get to her father, who was being targeted in turn to get to Batman, after opening the door, Barbara Gordon was shot, rendering her legs paralyzed. A year later, in 1989, Kim Yale and John Ostrander introduced a world class hacker working with the Suicide Squad.
And thus, Oracle was born. (This is an incredibly simplified version of what I would like to say, but hey, another post for another time.)
Oracle became the go-to information broker/hacker for the Suicide Squad, Justice League, and any other team looking for help, and later, Barbara, along with the Black Canary, formed the Birds of Prey.
Barbara spent 22 years, from 1989 to 2011, as Oracle, until the 2011 relaunch of the DC universe, the New 52, retconned her time as Oracle. I’m not sure how they got away with this because Oracle had such a wide reach on the entirety of the DC universe.
Oracle trained both of the following Batgirls, Cassandra and Stephanie, as well as many members of the Birds of Prey. She continued her relationship with Dick Grayson, aka Nightwing, and remained a prominent member of the Batfamily. She’s fantastic, one of the most
She’s fantastic, one of the most famous female superheroes, and one of the most critical. The retcon of Oracle removed a crazy amount of development for Barbara and DC as a whole. She’s complex, she’s smart and kickass, she gets the job done. She’s the perfect candidate for the interesting main character of a kickass movie.
Oracle is important to Barbara Gordon, and to me for that matter. She’s been through a lot, and she’s still able to keep fighting and keep supporting others.
Barbara Gordon wouldn’t be the beloved character she is today without having been Oracle, and excluding that time from her story would thin out the character, and the potential for a great movie.
I love Barbara Gordon, and I’m hoping this movie does her justice.