Joker Didn’t Cripple Barbara Gordon, Kim Yale Did

A lot of people go on about how Batman came back after he was crippled. And the truth is, Batgirl could’ve come back, too. Heck, at the time, there was a decent chance that Killing Joke happened out of continuity.* John Ostrander is quoted as saying “There were no plans for her in the continuity at that time”, which meant that Killing Joke could’ve been ignored and written off as that sicko Alan Moore doing his sick thing in Alan Moore land. But Kim Yale decided that Babs should be resurrected as a differently-abled character. She didn’t stay crippled because sexism, she stayed crippled because diversity**[read that with a long rolling R, veemonro-style].

Holy problematic smokes, Batman!

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Kim Yale was disgusted by what was done to Barbara (and it was pretty disgusting!) but rather than bring her back good-as-new in typical superhero fashion, give her a story where she steps on Joker’s nuts or something, she and her husband John Ostrander eased her back into the continuity as a wheelchair-bound agent working in conjunction with Suicide Squad.

For all of the shit I see people give Alan Moore for the Killing Joke (a book which he’s pretty much disowned and whose most problematic elements he’s blamed on the flippancy of the DC editorial staff at the time), I never hear anyone complain about Kim Yale, the woman who actually crippled Batgirl.***

*:The DCAU continuity, for example, ignores the Killing Joke entirely, so at the same time while Oracle was hacking for Batman in the 90s, Barbara was still swinging from ziplines and taking down bad guys on TV (though more-so in the NBA season, which included the rest of the Bat Family more regularly).

**:Sarcasm.  Seriously, though, how many other wheelchair-bound badasses in comics can you name?

***:Also, this is not actually me complaining about Kim Yale and I think Oracle is a pretty awesome character; I nearly lost my shit playing Arkham City for the first few hours all “Where the hell is Oracle?!”

****:And guy who tweeted this out all “Ugh. Seriously? This isn’t humor”, yeah, it was.  Sorry you didn’t “get” it.

#ChangeTheCover: So, the Artist Withdrew the Batgirl Variant Cover

Some people are saying that DC pulled the cover, but based on what I’ve seen, the artist himself, after the campaign against the cover, asked DC to withdraw the art and DC complied. It’s hard to not look at this as his being bullied into pulling down his art. Because that’s pretty much what happened.

I’m a huge Batman fan. While I’ve had some problems with what’s been done in certain Batman comics either stylistically or storywise (I hate how Catwoman is drawn when she’s in costume and I kind of hate all of the non DCAU portrayals of Harley, and I hate that one artist whose name I forget who makes all of the Robins look like they’re 40 year old Dustin Hoffmans trying to take a rock-hard dump). I have a lot of mixed feelings about the Killing Joke. What the Joker does is disgusting and the story leaves one feeling disgusted. But isn’t such a visceral reaction a sign of a powerful story?

Anyway, this variant cover was supposed to be an homage to the Killing Joke.batgirl-41-cover

The biggest complaint was that it portrayed Batgirl in a state of fearful helplessness and victimhood. Which is interesting, because the usual complaint about comics is when some character is showing off ginormo-tits in an anatomically impossible pose. Or ass in the air (I don’t care what anyone says that Spider-Woman cover was ugly and weird looking for more reasons than just ‘too-much-sexy’).

One thing that a lot of people forget (or just don’t know, because the people complaining don’t read comics) is that Batman is (at least Post-Crisis) a horror comic*. A lot of the stories look into the character’s deepest darkest fears. Serious House on Serious Earth is high-octane nightmare fuel. And that’s the sort of feeling this cover is meant to invoke. The other thing that these people are overlooking is that it is fairly typical of Batman covers to show some scene prior to the heroes’ big table-turn where they are powerless, helpless, about to be killed (often in a gruesome manner) by whichever rogue is featured in that issue. Needless to say, when people threw out the “You don’t see Batman being depowered and violated on HIS covers!”, the response was a flood of classic covers depicting the Dark Knight in all manner of predicament. Talk about Batman being depowered, what about that iconic cover of Bane snapping Batman’s back against his knee?

Bats don't bend that way!

Bats don’t bend that way!

On one hand, when Barbara was paralyzed, she didn’t come back as Batgirl, while Bruce came back as Batman. On the other hand, when Barbara came back as Oracle, she had become a more interesting and dynamic character. When Bruce finally came back, he was still just Batman, just poorly drawn and with 2 foot long bat ears (seriously, Troika had some crap art and was a pretty big let down as far as a comeback arc, especially after how well written Prodigal was).

Anyway, here are just a few examples of Batman in peril at the hands of some rogue.

I don't know what's scarier: what's about to happen to Batman or those goddamn 2 foot ears!

I don’t know what’s scarier: what’s about to happen to Batman or those goddamn 2 foot ears!

batman_189

See? Even the cover says he’s gripped by fear!

Batman, helpless at the hands of the Joker!

Batman, helpless at the hands of the Joker!

I can't think of anything more disempowering than being flying-kicked by three dudes at the same time.  Except for maybe being flying kicked by more than three dudes at the same time.  Or in combination.

I can’t think of anything more disempowering than being flying-kicked by three dudes at the same time. Except for maybe being flying kicked by more than three dudes at the same time. Or in combination.

 

Batman is totally about to be cut in two in that one cover!

Batman is totally about to be cut in two in that one cover!

*:This tends to be played with a lot more in the one-off graphic novels and some of the side titles, such as Legends of the Dark Knight and Shadow of the Bat (especially Shadow of the Bat).

Minor Update:
If this guy is representative of the rest of the creative team on Batgirl, it’s probably a shit book that doesn’t deserve a good cover anyway.
Cameron Stewart

 

DC Continues to be Terrible and Make Me Ashamed to be a Fan

I can’t wait to see how DC  pretends to be socially conscientious while printing exploitation.

Judging by recent trends and the New 52, it will be cheesy, oversexed and push ‘the agenda’. Even if the writers don’t want it that way, the editors’ll make sure of it.

Then again, DC could take this opportunity to explore the multitude of rapes and sexual assaults that occurred at Occupy, and have some beloved DC Heroine be a victim in a story they will sell as both relevant AND titillating!

Dan DiDio makes me ashamed to be a DC fan.

Also, this is an interesting turn for DC, considering the success of the Christopher Nolan trilogy, whose final chapter excoriated the the sort of ideals and mayhem and ‘justice’ espoused by strains of the movement in the US.