Batgirl, from Batgirl #1 of DC Comics New 52


Carmine Infantino co-created Gotham City's Barbara Gordon as a new version of Batgirl in a story titled "The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl!" in Detective Comics #359 (January 1967). As recounted by DC comics creators, the producers of the very popular Batman television show, approached DC Comics about the possibility of introducing a new female character into the comics, who could then be introduced into the third season of the television show.

Carmine Infantino sketched some ideas on a new Batgirl (there had been a previous Bat-Girl in the comics, but as a very minor, not terribly popular character), and the head honchos at both the network and at DC liked what they saw.


Batgirl, by Carmen Infantino

Batgirl, by Carmen Infantino

The new Batgirl was, in real life, Barbara Gordon, the brainy yet beautiful daughter of Gotham City Police Commissioner Gordon. Barbara Gordon was a PhD in Library Science who headed up the Gotham City Library system. In Batgirl/Barbara Gordon's comics debut in Detective Comics #359 (January 1967), Barbara is attending a costume ball dressed as a female version of Batman. While at the ball, the villainous Killer Moth attacks. Barbara Gordon aids Batman in defeating the villain, and she gets the idea to assume a secret identity as a new costumed Superheroine, calling herself Batgirl.

The Batman television show helped propel Batgirl into almost instant mass popularity. In the show, Barbara Gordon/Batgirl is played by actress Yvonne Craig.

Yvonne Craig Batgirl

 Yvonne Craig as Batgirl on her Batcycle (a Yamaha YDS-5E )

Batgirl Video
One of the best-known Batgirl stories in DC Comics, was a story arc called "The Killing Joke." In the Killing Joke storyline, the Joker, Batman's archenemy, tries to drive Commissioner Gordon insane, by having him live through "one bad day." To this end, the Joker visits Barbara Gordon at her home (unaware that she is secretly Batgirl), and shoots her, causing paralysis in her lower body. To the end of his plot against her father, Joker takes photos of the wounded woman in various stages of undress to show to her kidnapped father. Barbara survives, Commissioner Gordon retains his sanity, but while surviving the attack, Barbara Gordon confined to a wheelchair, thus ending her career as Batgirl. Despite this physical handicap, Barbara Gordon continued to fight crime, developing the identity of Oracle, an expert computer hacker and a vital source of information for Batman and other superheroes. With the partial re-boot by DC Comics in 2011, Barbara Gordon re-appeareed as Batgirl , with the retconned explanation that Barbara's paralysis was only a three-year healing process that led to her leaving the wheelchair and once again donning her Batgirl guise.

Copyright 1998-2013 Roger A. Lee and History Guy Media; Last Modified: 04.07.13

"The History Guy" is a Registered Trademark.

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