The first Batgirl, Betty Kane, was created in Detective Comics 139, in 1961. She was actually the niece of Kathy Kane otherwise know as BatWoman. Now Betty was pretty clever and figured out her Aunt’s little secret and talked her Aunt into taking her on as a partner and train her. There is a team-up between Batgirl and Batwoman alongside the Caped Crusaders Batman and Robin and the idea of a Bat Family is born. Now the character of Batgirl was also created because there was talk that the relationship between Bruce and Dick was not that of Ward and Father figure but something else. And back in the day, that something else was not very accepted.[ux_image id=”1393″]
So this iteration of Batgirl pops in and out of comics for about 3 years and is really not seen past 1964. She makes a brief appearance in the 70’s but is then retconned out of existence in Crisis on Infinite Earths. She is brought back, but not as BatGirl. Her new superhero persona is that of Flamebird.
The next and most popular Batgirl, Barbara Gordon was created for DC comics by William Dozier, Julius Schwartz and Carmine Infantino after being asked by the 1960’s Batman show’s producers to create a female crimefighter partner to Batman and Robin. They planned for the comic and the live action BatGirl to break onto the scene at the same time to maximize the character’s popularity.
Batgirl made her first appearance in Detective comics 359 in an issued titled, “The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl!”, by writer Gardner Fox and the amazing artist, Carmine Infantino in 1967.
Barbara Gordon is the daughter of the mustached Gotham City commissioner James Gordon. In the comic Barbara is employed as the head of Gotham City Public Library and not only has the duodecimal system down pat, but is also a brown belt in Judo. Now Barbara doesn’t don the tights to become a crimefighter, no, she creates the costume for the police masquerade ball. While on her way she stumbles upon Bruce Wayne being kidnapped by the villain killer moth. Bruce escapes and then returns as Batman.
Oh, and here’s a bonus episode…Bruce Wayne is Batman, he became Batman after witnessing his parents being murdered and vowing to bring all evil doers to justice…now back to Batgirl.
Batman is now very curious of this new crime fighter that has taken on his name and persona. Batman is impressed with her mind and her abilities and she becomes a member of team Batman. They fight crime on and off and in 1975 she appears in Batman Family as the lead character partnered with Dick Grayson a.k.a Robin. Barbara then retires, putting down the cowl in the 1988 comic Batgirl Special #1.
Unfortunately things take a dramatic turn one night when Barbara is at home relaxing with her father and there is a knock on the door. When Barbara opens the door Joker is standing in the entrace with a gun trained on her. Before she can react Joker shoots her through the side and the bullet lodges in her spinal cord in the hope of driving commissioner Gordon insane. The damage to her spinal cord leave Barbara a paraplegic
Barbara Gordon then embarks on the new phase of her crime fighting career as a computer expert, intelligence provider, hacker and information broker with the codename, Oracle. She works with various groups that include the Suicide Squad, Black Canary and the Birds of Prey.
The character undergoes another change in 2011, following a company wide New 52 relaunch of all DC Comics titles, the Barbara regains the ability to walk and once again takes on the mantle of Batgirl.