07 January 2013

Batgirl was a librarian

Barbara Gordon, the niece and adopted daughter of Police Commissioner Jim Gordon, graduated summa cum laude from Gotham State University with a degree in Library and Information Science. After graduating, she became the head reference librarian at Gotham Public Library. The librarian transformation into Batgirl happened one night on her way to the policemen’s masquerade ball. Dressed in a homemade “Batgirl,” costume, she accidentally encountered the villain Killer Moth and foiled his attempt to kidnap wealthy Bruce Wayne. Barbara enjoyed the thrill and risk of crime fighting, and after modifying her motorcycle to create the Batcycle, Batgirl was born.
Text from fantastica, via Librarianista.  The first "Batgirl" reportedly was created to counter homoerotic accusations about the original characters:
Following the accusations of a homoerotic subtext in the relationship depiction between Batman and Robin as described in Fredric Wertham's book Seduction of the Innocent (1954), a female character, Kathy Kane the Batwoman, was introduced in 1956 as a love interest for Batman. In 1961, a second female character was introduced as a love interest for Robin. Betty Kane as "Bat-Girl" was depicted as the niece of and Robin-like sidekick to Batwoman, first appearing in Batman #139 (1961). The creation of the Batman Family, which included Batman and Batwoman depicted as parents, Robin and Bat-Girl depicted as their children, the extraterrestrial imp Bat-Mite and the "family pet" Ace the Bat-Hound, caused the Batman-related comic books to take "a wrong turn, switching from superheroes to situational comedy".
But this Batgirl was "retconned" out of existence, and the Batgirl depicted above (via New52) was created later.  Pop culture can get complicated...


  1. For (imagined) homoerotic subtext, listen to the radio version of the Adventures of Superman. In light of today's, er, sensibilities, it sure sounds like ol' Supe was grooming Jimmy Olson. Batman and Robin were fairly frequent guests after the middle of the series' run, and they often sounded as if their relationship was other than guardian and ward.

    In the '40s, no one word have "heard" any of this subtext, and the show was geared to kids. Probably wouldn't have noticed any of the xenophobia during the war years, either, which makes the tolerance story arcs (and UN support) of '46-'47 all the more notable.

    The series, overall, is generally impressive. True, characterization is stilted, plots are hackneyed (and sometimes recycled), but what do you want from a 15-minute show broadcast up to five times a week? That's an incredible amount of production. It's an incredible amount of writing, though you often hear Clark (and/or Superman) blowing off questions with "No need to explain that now!"

    Also frequently heard as Clark made the transformation to Superman, "Got to get these cloths off now!" And Lois was never in the room...


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