‘BATGIRL’ TO BECOME BEST POSSIBLE DC COMIC WITH NEW CREATORS CAMERON STEWART, BABS TARR AND BRENDEN FLETCHER
By Chris Sims
The past few weeks have brought some truly surprising and exciting announcements from the Batman corner of the DC Universe, but this one tops them all. Today it was announced that Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher will take over as new writers on Batgirl, with Stewart providing covers and layouts for new comics artist Babs Tarr.
Any one of those creators alone would be a pretty big deal deal, but while Stewart and Fletcher are intriguing choices for the adventures of Barbara Gordon, the biggest news by far is Tarr, an illustrator and video game artist best known to ComicsAlliance readers for her incredible cosplay-inspiring art and frequent appearances in the Best Art Ever (This Week) feature. This is a move that we never saw coming, but one we’re completely in favor of.
Q: is it possible for me to be more excited about a comic book
A: no fucking way
Lots of you nerds already know that Batgirl is going to be available as DLC soon for Injustice: Gods Among Us. If you are surprised by this, go watch the trailer here and then come back. I’ll wait.
I’m a huge Batgirl fan (all four of them, from Kate Kane to Stephanie Brown), so getting to play Barbara Gordon in a kickass new fighting game? Oh lord best believe that shit is my JAM. I will gladly drop five bucks for one of my favorite DC characters, especially when she has razorblade heels and taser knuckles.
But most of the comics community seems to be upset to varying degrees about this. Most notable are the folks (who I have seen in droves on 4chan, and in slightly fewer numbers here) who are upset that we have yet another Batman family member to the roster. It’s an understandable beef: we already have Bats, Nightwing, Catwoman, Joker, Harley, and Bane, while even Superman only gets two nemeses (with Zod possibly coming soon as DLC). These players say Babs has “wasted a slot” that could have been filled with Martian Manhunter, Blue Beetle, or someone else they want to play as.
I sympathize; I want to play as Animal Man, who would have a totally boss moveset, and MMH could also be a lot of fun. But just because you don’t like a particular character does not mean it’s a waste—others will get enjoyment from playing Batgirl, and these people will probably get some enjoyment from learning her weaknesses and exploiting them for schadenfreude. Everyone wins in the end! (And hey, it’s not like NetherRealm won’t make more DLC; this game is doing boffo business.)
The other side, as represented by DC Women Kicking Ass, is upset about the trailer; specifically, that it brings up the old Killing Joke story as a backdrop to Barbara’s entrance, defining her by her relationship to the Joker. Now, Injustice has had a remarkably shitty track record thus far for female empowerment, from Lois Lane’s use as a prop to make Superman lose his God damn mind to Wonder Woman being nothing but, as Deathstroke puts it in the game, “Superman’s rebound girl.” This is not much better, but it is slightly more reasonable than it seems at first. For one thing, The Killing Joke is an iconic Batman story, and the one comic featuring Batgirl (even though Alan Moore used her as a prop, much like the way Lois is used in Injustice) that I’d wager most of the mainstream audience members have read or heard of.
Given that DC has somehow found a way to (awkwardly) work in the story in their New 52 universe, where Babs got better from her spinal injury due to LOLMIRACLES, it’s also a story that is still very important to her character. DC and NetherRealm are going for what is recognizable, not what is original, and a Batgirl-Joker faceoff fits that to a T: he’s the only villain in the roster Babs has a long personal history with, so the matchup is natural.
So from a marketing standpoint, this is really just business as usual. From a storytelling perspective, it’s horrible, particularly given the fact that even Moore thinks the story is shallow and poorly thought out in retrospect (especially with regards to Barbara’s paralysis, or as Len Wein put it, the decision to “cripple the bitch”). In the grand scheme of Injustice’s crimes against women, this is relatively small potatoes—they’re really just reliving the past to maximize sales—but that doesn’t make it good. I’ll be playing Batgirl, and I’ll have fun, but the first person to play against me as the Joker (especially if he’s in his Killing Joke tropical-print shirt) is getting such a beatdown.
I’ll be writing about this and other aspects of DC’s bizarre new Injustice franchise on Splice Today very soon, so watch this space for a link, and meanwhile you can let me know your thoughts on the matter.
I sure as hell am. I was on the fence about buying the Batgirl DLC but this clinched it. That super, those taser-rangs, that ninja grappling hook move…yeah, I’ll be maining her on day 1.Watch “Injustice: Gods Among Us - Batgirl vs. The Joker: Injustice - IGN Video” and more videos at IGN
Anyone else excited for Babs DLC in Injustice? I think she looks fun!
goddammit I love comics about detectives. “Detective comics,” even.
Cassandra Cain joins the Bat-verse.
Batgirl, writters: Scott Peterson & Kelley Puckett, penciler: Damion Scott.
*sobs for the loss of this Cass*
With the exception of the cry of “misogyny!” (I’ll get into that later), I agree with this breakdown entirely. Morrison might want people to send in their work, but DC never does that—it’s obviously impractical and wastes time, sure signs that the writer thought up the idea off the top of his head. We are not always great with logistics. And cuteness in the face of fairly serious and dramatic allegations just looks dickish. But really, the fact that Rob “Pouch Fetish” Liefeld has been handed the new ongoing “Hawk and Dove” which Dan Didio mentions elsewhere as an example of DC’s commitment to gender diversity is insane. Reading through my handy copy of “DC Comics: The New 52,” the only non-fictional woman mentioned in its 41 pages is writer Gail Simone. Simone will write “Batgirl” and co-write “The Fury of Firestorm” with Ethan van Sciver. This means that women are responsible for precisely 2.88% of the relaunch’s scripts, and none of its art. Every single artist working on the fifty-two new ongoing series, be it covers or interior pencils, is a man. And the reason for that, according to Didio, is that “DC Comics hires the best writers and artists they can,” meaning that there is apparently not a single female artist who could do a better job than this: I’m not going to accuse DC or their editors of outright misogyny. I will, however, openly accuse them of being stunningly foolish, thoughtless, and utterly out of touch with their readers. Let’s be as fair as possible: DC has more titles lined up to replace series that don’t sell, and those might very well have women as part of their creative teams. But the fact remains that the first wave of everything DC wants to become is male-oriented in almost every conceivable way, right down to the relaunch of Sgt. Rock’s Easy Company in the pages of—wait for it—“Men of War.” Maybe DC can make some good stories come September, but the level of ignorance they’ve displayed at San Diego this weekend has been truly staggering. (EDIT TO ADD: The fine folks at GeekSpeak have put together a great article on this subject, which informed me I missed Jenny Frison, the cover artist for “I, Vampire.” This puts the percentage of DC books with some art done by female artists at 1.9%.)
From Comics Alliance: On Female Creators: The same Batgirl-clad fan who made appearances at many DC panels over the weekend asked why there aren’t more female creators on DC titles. DiDio said that DC Comics hires the best writers and artists they can, to much applause from the audience….