Batgirls Writers Tease Barbara Gordon’s Mentor Role and New Villain

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Next week will see the debut of Batgirls #1, the newest comic series to explore the DC Comics mantle. The series will revolve around the latest adventures of Barbara Gordon / Oracle, Stephanie Brown / Spoiler, and Cassandra Cain / Orphan, and fans are curious to see how each character’s legacy will factor into the series. In particular, there has already been speculation around Barbara’s status quo in the event, as she serves as a mentor to Steph and Cass, and as she deals with the reality of her disability, after she ripped out her spinal implant in a rematch with The Joker. During a recent roundtable discussion attended by ComicBook.com, Batgirls writers Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad spoke about their approach to Barbara’s current position, and revealed that they will showcase the reality of her situation while still acknowledging how the character is portrayed in other books.

“Babs’ disability was a huge part of her character and as Oracle,” Cloonan explained. “For people to be able to open up this book and see someone that they relate to is very important for us. We know a lot of disabilities aren’t always visible at first, so we really wanted to kind of show that Babs — we will see her in a chair, and we will see her use a cane at points, because she has bad days. There are things that happen in the story that — we come into a book and we get a character as they are. We have to build on what’s come before. But for us, it’s very important to kind of show that, and to honor that part of her character and her history. We definitely don’t want to erase anything about her.”

“We are approaching the character with the greatest amount of sensitivity that we can, and we want to be of service to people who, when they look at Babs, they’re identifying with something that is meaningful beyond superhero stuff,” Conrad continued. “This is a really important topic, and it’s one that we approach with really great care. It’s one of the things that, in this book, we want to get right.”

“We want to make people happy when they read the book,” Cloonan echoed. “We don’t want to make a book that people read and get angry about how they’re not seeing the thing that they want. We want the book to be ours in a way where — we have this vision for what we want it to be, but we also don’t want to make a book that makes people upset. That’s not to say that we can make everybody happy, of course, for any reason.”

“There’s some people who would have us kind of fly in the face of currently-standing continuity,” Conrad added. “And it’s something that we simply can’t do. We can’t do it. We’re part of a family of books.”

“But we’ll do as much as we can to make people feel included,” Cloonan echoed.

What Barbara will have to deal with in Batgirls is Seer, the “anti-Oracle” character who first debuted in the Fear State event.

“Seer came out of things that were happening in Fear State, and our Batgirls came in at the very tail end of that,” Cloonan revealed. “It was great, because we had this villain who was kind of tailor-made for Barbara to fight. She started out as just this anti-Oracle character, and developing her as a villain has been so much fun. The name ‘Seer’, obviously, is just another word for Oracle. So you have these two characters who have similar powers, but go about it in a very different away. We don’t want to reveal too much about her motivations yet, or what’s what’s going to happen between them, but it’s definitely been cool to kind of throw this wrench at Barbara, and seeing how it’s going to change things moving forward.”

“Barbara is one of those characters who threatens to be so powerful that she can shut down almost any storyline,” Conrad echoed. “She could shut down Gotham. She can do so much. So we wanted a way to kind of dial that back a little bit. We, by no means, want to take any power away from Babs. We want to keep her a major threat on a number of different levels. So Seer was a good opportunity for us to reestablish the language of how Babs is going to be part of the story, and how she is such a critical member of the team, for reasons that extend beyond her computer terminal.”

“Steph has a great emotional IQ, I think Babs has one that’s really well adjusted, really cool. She’s capable of seeing things and reading things in a way that few characters in comics are capable of,” Conrad added. “She is an Oracle, but she’s also a Batgirl, and I don’t want anyone to confuse — when we say Oracle, it’s not negating her role as a Batgirl. In fact, once a Batgirl, always a Batgirl. So Seer is a cool character, And I think people are only going to be more hyped on what Seer does, and what Seer is contributing to this story and the ongoing mythology of Gotham, as we see what a terrible threat Seer truly is.”

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Batgirls #1 is set to be released on Tuesday, December 14th, wherever comics are sold.

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