For decades the name 'Batman' has been associated with an assortment of some of the greatest comic book characters ever created by DC: Robin, Nightwing, Joker, Harley Quinn (the list is surprisingly long), and it is these characters that have entertained audiences across the screens for years. However, one character has been sorely neglected for some time and that character's name is Batgirl.
Now, as you'd expect, just as there are a number of individuals who took up the name 'Robin,' there were also a number of individuals who took on the persona of 'Batgirl.' However, what use is it to know about the predecessors if we don't know anything about the original, Barbara Gordon? (Yes, I know there was Bette Kane, but she didn't hold the name for too long.) Here are 9 things you may or may not know about her:
1. She Saved Batman Without Realizing
That's how her story begins, actually. She was attending a costume party dressed as the female counterpart of Batman when she witnessed the kidnapping of Bruce Wayne (a.k.a. Batman) by Killer Moth. Being the daughter of a cop, she wasn't going to let that pass without doing something about it, so using her skill and heightened intellect, she stopped the kidnapping and triggered a life of vigilantism under the name of 'Batgirl.'
2. Batman Didn't Want Her As A Sidekick
Although already being a gymnast with killer martial art skills sort of qualified to become Batman's sidekick, the latter refused to take her under his wing. According to the animated series, The Batman, Batman refuses her help out of the hope of keeping his friend's, Jim Gordon, daughter out of harm's way. Eventually, however, after much persistence from Barbara's side, Batman finally accepts her as part of the Bat family. Whether that was for better or for worse though, is still uncertain.
3. She Was Best Friends With Poison Ivy
Although it may not be confirmed by the comics, in The Batman, Barbra was best friends with Poison's Ivy's counterpart, Pamela Lillian Isley. They used to attend the same school and would often work together to perform acts of rather radical environmentalism, much to her father's dismay. Eventually, the friendship was terminated with each girl taking up their respective superhero and super villain roles.
4. She Dated Superman
It seems that Barbara was put on a blind date with the actual Clark Kent. We all know how dates go, a little bit of talking mixed in with a lot of wine and one thing leads to another and Batgirl ends up fighting beside Superman. It seems that this duo would team up countless other times to fight evil. Just a normal, uninteresting love life after all.
5. She And Nightwing Were An Item
It seems that Superman was no competition against Nightwing's charm. Having fought together besides the legendary Batman for years, Barbara Gordon and Richard Greyson seemed to be a pairing just waiting to happen. Though as children who attended the same school they didn't alway seem to see eye to eye, especially when they fought for Bruce Wayne's favor, the two got together soon after Richard dropped the role of Robin and Batgirl's traumatic experience in The Killing Joke (see point 7). The two were actually engaged, but they broke it off due to some complications caused by having a dangerous superhero life. However, they remain best friends and an ultimate fighting duo to this very day.
6. She Was A Librarian And A Politician
Well, Batgirl had to grow up sometime and I don't really think the vigilant job pays much. For some time, while she played Batgirl from the shadows, Barbara Gordon's official profession was actually the exciting job of a librarian. Later on, after eventually quitting the role of Batgirl for some time, she even became a politician and worked in Washington DC. However, her political career didn't last too long as the Joker had other plans for her.
7. She Falls Prey To The Joker
'The Killing Joke' is one of the Batman series's most famous chapters and probably one of the most traumatic times for young Barbara Gordon. Following her brief retirement from the Batgirl persona, the notorious Joker appears at her door and shoots her, fracturing her spinal chord and paralyzing her from the waist down. The harming of Batgirl was a ploy to attack both Jim Gordon and Batman. Due to the events that seemed to have permanently terminated her Bargirl career, the young heroine fell into a depression that, thankfully, Richard Greyson helped her out of.
8. She Joined The Birds Of Prey
A good superhero doesn't stay down for long. Using her knowledge on computers, Barbara took on the the new name of 'Oracle' and continued to help Batman and Nightwing protect the streets of Gothem. Although paralyzed and resorting to use a wheelchair for transportation, she eventually joins the Birds of Prey to fight alongside Black Canary and Poison Ivy to protect the world.
9. She Became Batgirl Twice
After her miraculous recovery (thanks to some super operation), Barbara retired the name 'Oracle' and returned to the Bat family under her original name, 'Batgirl.' Fully recovered from the Joker's torments, she has returned to the dark streets of Gotham to protect its citizens from dangerous scum.
So there you have it! 9 things you may or may not have known about the amazing Batgirl. I hope, with the upcoming Batman films we may just get to see her awesomeness hit the big screen.