Women of Wonder is a series celebrating some of the extraordinary female characters in science fiction and fantasy television shows, movies, and comic books. These women give the idea of “girl power” a whole new meaning. They are not only key to the success of their series, but they are forces that demand attention with their power, commitment, strength, and humanity. Each segment of the series will profile a woman who inspires us and has left a lasting mark on her universe.
Barbara Gordon (Batgirl/Oracle) - 'Batman'
A bat in the hand is worth two in the belfry, and while there may be several iterations of Batgirl, the one we have on hand as our third inspirational woman is Barbara Gordon. Though she is not the original Batgirl (the first female to dawn the mantle of the bat was Betty Kane), Barbara Gordon is the most recognized of the line and she has well earned that distinction. Gordon made her first appearance in 1967 as the daughter of Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon. Working alongside Batman and the original Robin (Dick Grayson), Batgirl became a recurring character in the DC universe, facing down foes with all the drive and stamina of the Dark Knight himself.
Unfortunately, and to the outrage of many fans, Barbara took a bullet to the spine at the hands of the Joker and had to hang up her cape and cowl. In spite of this setback, Barbara maintained her crime fighter status from a wheelchair as Oracle. Behind the console of her computer, Oracle continued to prove that she was not just one of the boys, but someone everyone in the Bat Cave depended on.
Aside from joining Batman’s team in the comics, Batgirl followed the Dynamic Duo across multiple media, from live action television to animation and movies. Batgirl projected a positive female image that made the franchise accessible to a wider audience, as she wowed us with her independence, wit, and ingenuity. Not one to be lost in the shadow of the Bat, Barbara demanded equality and often stood alone against a group of equally driven villainous women, including Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn.
Oracle further established her presence as a trailblazer in the DC universe when she became the leader of the all-female group Birds of Prey. Utilizing her computer hacking expertise and photographic memory, this redheaded information broker showed us that you can’t keep a strong girl down.
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