This morning DC Comics unveiled a respin/refresh of the Batgirl book. Gail Simone who has been the main writer on the book for the past three years is leaving. Cameron Stewart, mainly known by DC readers as an artist, will co-write along with Brenden Fetcher who is also co-writing Gotham Academy. Art is by Babs Tarr bringing a new full-time female artist onto DC Comics just as Nicola Scott has announced she’s leaving the publisher.
Just last week I wrote about the announcement of Gotham Academy and wondered if it finally meant that DC is targeting female readers. This week we see this Batgirl respin that I have been told by sources close to the book is aiming for the female audience.
The “refreshed” Batgirl has a new costume, new town and will have a new supporting cast although some of her current cast including Alysia Yeoh will be seen. The costume is very cool if you haven’t seen it.
Given the house style that is preferred by senior management at DC Comics (i.e. Jim Lee and David Finch) it is a treat to see an artist as different as Babs Tarr on-board at DC Comics.
The book’s creators said in the official PR interview that the book mixes the best elements of “Veronica Mars” and “Girls,” with a dash of “Sherlock” thrown in for good measure.” And the tone?
"We really wanted to make this a book with a light tone, of fun and adventure and mystery, and let the rest of the Bat-family deal with the darkness. She’s got problems, and conflict, and enemies to fight, but our priority was to make this a really fun, rollicking read."
I haven’t read the current Batgirl run except for the previews and my feeling and of those that have read it, is that it was a fairly dark book that reflected Dan Didio’s statement about the Batfamily last year
"They put on a cape and cowl for a reason. They’re committed to defending others — at the sacrifice of all their own personal instincts. That’s something we reinforce. If you look at every one of the characters in the Batman family, their personal lives kind of suck…
Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon, and Kathy Kane — it’s wonderful that they try to establish personal lives, but it’s also just as important that they put it aside as they know what they are accomplishing as the hero takes precedence over everything else. That is our mandate, that is our edict, that is our stand with our characters.”
So now we have a book with a young Batgirl that has a lighter tone and is likened to Veronica Mars … just as we did three years ago with Bryan Q. Miller’s run on Batgirl.
I was a big fan of that Bat-book not just because of its writing but because of the opportunity I thought the book presented.
If DC comics is seriously interested in gaining new female readers, particularly younger ones, this book may not be the key but it is damn close. Gail Simone has often said that Birds to Prey is an on-ramp into comics for women. I took that on-ramp and agree. I think that this version of Batgirl* can do the same thing for a younger female audience.
That post outlined a series of ways Batgirl could be used to outreach to female readers and to my non-surprise absolutely nothing remotely like any of of those ways were pursued.
Now, I am happy to see DC Comics bring books like Batgirl and Gotham Academy that are targeted to female readers who are as I have repeatedly and repeatedly the fastest growing demographic in comics.
Given Marvel’s success with Ms. Marvel, I’m not surprised to see DC offer up a book with a similar feel. (But I do wish they could have realized they had it three years ago and without ditching Stephanie Brown as Batgirl and Barbara Gordon as Oracle).
I hope that both books are great and do great. If they are could lead to more books that aren’t grim and gritty and targeted to the “core” audience of males but rather hit that growing demographic.
What do you think of the respun Batgirl?
most important single panel in this entire run probably
Love this! Jaja just love Steph pose, and Babs expression, and Cass in training suit!
Batgirl - Year One #1
Written by Chuck Dixon & Scot Beatty
Art by Marcos Martin & Alvaro Lopez
This is one of my very favorite books!
Hold me i might faint from amazement
ommmmmmmmmmmmg Annie Wu is my art goddess.
whoa whoa whoa hold up guys. a strong, independant, witty, not over sexualized, WoC superhero????
can we say HELL FUCKIN YEH!!!!
I love everything about Nissa. I wish to be her.
I’ve said before that Wizkid’s HeroClix is my favorite DCU right now and here’s another reason. We may never see a team-up of all three Batgirl’s in comics beyond the panel below in Batgirl vol. 2 #24 and numerous pieces of commissioned and fan art.
But now you can have it playing HeroClix which unveiled today it’s newest piece:
And with their previous unveiling of BabsGirl and BlackBat, you can have all three (and if you are a real stickler you can order a Cass as Batgirl)!
And can I just say the fact that Stephanie’s character has Electro-Magna-Gooperangs makes me so happy? Hey, I just did!
“Little twerp in short pants.”
[Batgirl: Year One #3]
Call me petty if you must, but for all the problems with BG:Y1, I still get a charge out of Babs kicking Dick’s ass.
It’s for similar reasons that The Batman is the best Batman: Barbara Gordon makes Bruce take her on as his first sidekick. Yes, it’s the result of the licence for Robin being tied up with the Teen Titans series, but in those few short years Babs was shown more respect on both in-universe and meta levels than in the entirity of the DCAU canon. You might even argue she got better treatment there than from many parts of the DCU.