Recently The Mary Sue was able to sit down with the Batgirl creative team to discuss the publics reaction to the brand new more hipster Babs and her more cyber villains. Overall the interview is great and it gives me a lot of hope for the series but some parts of it left me shaking my head a little. For once it’s DC Fan’s I’m annoyed with rather than DC itself because you know the patriarchy likes to shake things up.
*Minor spoilers ahead*
The last Batgirl reboot had me in one of my longest facebook arguments to date about body dysmorphia and female superheros. The reboot was all about Batgirl regaining her powers and as it was written by Gail Simone, creator of Women in Refrigerators, it’s safe to say my hopes may have been a little to high. I found Simone’s Bab’s to be a little to focused on her fear. While she always does save the day, Batgirl’s internal monologue was all about how weak she was. The world tells me I’m weak, I don’t need my superheros saying it too. Even though she triumphed and I assume we were all supposed to be cool with her realistically gaining confidence story line, it wasn’t what I wanted. I also found her focus on how many muffins she was eating to be a distracting show of the differences in portrayal of male and female characters. To wit, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Bruce Wayne eat and if he was he didn’t give a damn about calories. I was all the disappoint.
So here I am, wanting to like Batgirl for trying and actually liking them for the landmark inclusion of a Trans-character when along comes hipster batgirl. As I told you before I’m all about the YA crowd, yeah I’m that cliche. I’m also the hipster hating but loves to watch them sparkle cliche.
The comic starts off with Bab’s moving to Gotham’s Williamsburg, Alysia is there to help ease the transition to the new space and we get the first hint of the trouble to come. We cut directly to Bab’s housewarming hangover including finding and not remembering the name of hot dude she was making out with the night before . I was literally all a squee on the subway over this and here’s why, there’s a total lack of slut shaming. No one gives her any shit over her behavior. It’s startlingly refreshing to read.
The next thing I noticed was the amount of people of color. I swear it’s like the writers/artist actually live in a city. It wasn’t just crowd scenes that had a diverse showing, Barbara interacts with numerous people of different ethnicities in a gloriously non-token fashion. It’s a nice thing to just have. I hadn’t read any media reports, or maybe I just missed them if they came out, that this reboot was going to specifically include characters of color. Obviously this doesn’t mean that racial representation is any where close to ok in comics, it’s just a nice step along the way.
The villain was a little over the top for my taste but I’ve always found DC villains to be a little cartoonish. However the story line about stolen data hits especially close to home given the recent theft and distribution of celebrity nudes. Everything about this comic gives the impression that Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher actually know their audience. It’s still frustrating that on a creative team of nine there are only two women but at least the story they’re telling is good and shows awareness of the crap women have to put up with. There was really only one totally needless butt shot that I caught which is a sad high water mark. That being said Babs Tarr’s art and Maris Wicks’ colors set the perfect tone for the comic.
I spent the whole comic both giddy with glee over how good it was and waiting on the edge of my seat for DC to fuck it up somehow. It’s exactly how I felt reading the new Mrs. Marvel. I was just waiting for it to go wrong and given DC’s track record of being totally tone deaf to women on good days I don’t think anyone can blame me. I’m beyond pleased to say that now both of the big two now have young female characters that focus more on being superheros than being female superheros. These are comics I wish I’d had growing up and I’m glad these stories are finally being told.
This is one title I’m proudly adding to my pull list.