Alternative versions of Barbara Gordon

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Alternate versions of Barbara Gordon
Artwork for the cover of Legends of the DC Universe 10 (Nov, 1998).Art by Kevin Nowlan.
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Detective Comics #359 (January 1967)
Created by Gardner Fox
Carmine Infantino
See also Barbara Gordon in other media

This is a list of the Alternative versions of Barbara Gordon appearing in stories published by DC Comics in which the comic book character has been placed in non-canon storylines taking place both in and outside of mainstream continuity.

Various alterations of the Barbara Gordon character have appeared in storylines published in mainstream continuity titles. These variants often appear in stories which involve time travel, such as the crossover limited series Zero Hour: Crisis in Time, a follow-up story preceded by the 1985 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths which altered mainstream continuity.

Notable imprints of DC Comics such as Elseworlds and All Star DC Comics have also featured alternative versions of the character. The Elseworld's imprint has featured Barbara Gordon in starring roles such as the popular noir-style storyline Thrillkiller: Batgirl & Robin and the one-shot comic Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl. After DC Comics launched its All Star imprint in 2005, an alternative Barbara Gordon was adapted into Frank Miller's All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder. In addition, another version of the Barbara Gordon character was set to star in the now cancelled All-Star Batgirl comic book series.

Mainstream continuity[edit]

  • Zero Hour: Crisis in Time: In the company wide crossover limited series Zero Hour: Crisis in Time (1994),[1] an alternative Barbara Gordon, unaffected by the events of Batman: The Killing Joke fights alongside the mainstream DC Universe heroes as Batgirl. During this time, she forms a strong bond with Green Arrow, the older hero seeing a lot of himself in her willingness to challenge such powerful foes as Parallax without any powers. During the struggle against Parallax, she sacrifices herself to save Damage, with her timeline being erased as the universe is re-created by the new Big Bang. As the heroes return to their own time, Green Arrow promises that, even if she never existed, she will never be forgotten. This version of Batgirl was honored with post-mortem membership in the Justice League.
  • Batman #666: In "Numbers of the Beast" (by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert), Barbara Gordon is the Police Commissioner in a dystopian future Gotham. She managed to become Commissioner, despite still being paralyzed from the waist down, and needing a wheelchair in order to move around. She wears her hair short, making her appearance closer to Ellen Yindel, the commissioner in The Dark Knight Returns. Gordon dogs Damian Wayne, who has taken up the Batman mantle after the death of his father. When asked why she pursues Batman so ruthlessly, she replies, "That monster was responsible for the death of... of a good friend. He can't be trusted."[2]

52 Multiverse[edit]

In March 2006, DC Comics launched a year-long weekly maxi-series entitled 52. In 52 Week 52,[3] it was revealed that an entirely new "Multiverse" system was now in existence, composed of 52 alternative Earths, featuring variations of well-known DC Comics characters both in tribute to the old Multiverse system and a number of published Elseworlds stories and televised DC Comics adaptations.

  • New Earth: The designated home of the Barbara Gordon who is featured in regular DC Comics continuity.
  • Earth One: Inhabited by modernized interpretations of DC Comics' characters, featured in the Batman: Earth One graphic novel, in which a young Barbara Gordon is a 17-year-old library assistant inspired to become Batman's crime fighting partner, after he saved her from serial killer Ray Salinger, a.k.a. "The Birthday Boy", with her father and Harvey Bullock. She begins studying martial arts and criminology for that goal, and starts drawing herself in a female version of Batman's costume on her sketchpad. It is also implied that her mother was murdered under the order of Oswald Cobblepot.
  • Earth-12: This universe mirrors the animated television series Batman Beyond, wherein Barbara Gordon is police commissioner of Gotham City.
  • Earth-31: The official home of Frank Miller's "Dark Knight Universe" which consists of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again and All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, in which a young Barbara Gordon becomes Batgirl at age fifteen.
  • Earth-33: A world of magicians - this version of Barbara Gordon is a true Oracle, able to see the future.
  • Earth-37: This universe closely follows the Elseworlds limited series Thrillkiller set in the 1960s in which Barbara and Dick Grayson target corrupt cops as Batgirl and Robin. Bruce Wayne is a detective on the GCPD who assumes the mantle of Batman after Grayson is killed.
  • Earth-43: This universe continues the story of the Elseworlds graphic novel Batman & Dracula: Red Rain, where Barbara Gordon is a vampire who is eventually staked by Dick Grayson.

New 52: Batman '66[edit]

In the New 52 Batman '66 title, Barbara Gordon is Batgirl as portrayed in the third season of the sixties Batman (TV series)- daughter of Commissioner James Gordon and a Gotham City librarian, whose secret identity is unknown to Batman, Robin and her father. However, if Batman '66 is based on the sixties television series, then that Batgirl appeared only in 1968.

Imprints[edit]

Elseworlds[edit]

Main article: Elseworlds

Elseworlds is an imprint of DC Comics which takes place outside of mainstream continuity. Its purpose is to take the company's iconic characters and place them in alternative timelines, places and events making heroes "as familiar as yesterday seem as fresh as tomorrow." Barbara Gordon, as both Batgirl and Oracle, has made several appearances in Elseworlds comics since 1997.[4]

Cover to Thrillkiller: Batgirl & Robin by Howard Chaykin and Daniel Brereton.
  • Batman: Thrillkiller: In the Elseworlds miniseries Thrillkiller: Batgirl & Robin, Barbara Gordon is a rebellious young woman in the early 1960s. Alienated from her father, Commissioner Gordon, due to the unsolved murder of her mother, she becomes a thrill-seeking vigilante with her boyfriend, a circus acrobat named Richard Graustark, who goes by the alias Dick Grayson. Gordon is a wealthy heiress, receiving a large inheritance from the death of her mother and purchases Wayne Manor — the Waynes having been ruined by the Great Depression. Bruce Wayne is a full-time detective in the Gotham police.[4] This version of Barbara has romantic feelings for Bruce Wayne. According to Hilary Goldstein of IGN, Thrillkiller: Batgirl & Robin "is an original and refreshing look at Batman mythology. It's a slow burn, a deep and engrossing read that's chocked with dark psychological mischief."[5] A sequel, Batgirl + Batman: Thrillkiller '62, teams Batgirl with Bruce Wayne as Batman and Barbara giving up the Batgirl mantel in exchange for that of Robin, so as to honor Dick's passing.[6] Goldstein and IGN also lists Batman: Thrillkiller as one of the 25 greatest Batman graphic novels of all time.[7]
  • Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl: In the one-shot comic Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl, Barbara Gordon is a wealthy novelist and a take-no-prisoners Batgirl in a world where Batman and Superman did not exist. She is darker than in mainstream continuity due to the death of Jim Gordon, who was killed when he saved the Wayne family from a street thug. Bruce Wayne becomes not only her foster brother, but also serves as her "Alfred".[8]
  • Superman & Batman: Generations: Barbara Gordon is James Gordon's granddaughter in Superman & Batman: Generations and Generations II, and as Batgirl fights crime alongside Batman II (an adult Dick Grayson) during the 1960s. By the 1990s, she has retired as Batgirl, and serves as President of the United States.[9]
  • Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham: The H. P. Lovecraftian Elseworld Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham features a version of Oracle. Completely paralyzed following an undisclosed accident, Barbara Gordon's artificial voicebox also gives her the power to speak to the dead.[10]
  • JLA: Created Equal: In JLA: Created Equal, Barbara Gordon becomes the Green Lantern after she is given Kyle Rayner's power ring. The ring was found by an amoral comedienne named Maria Contranetti, who used the ring for her own purposes until it was taken away by the Justice League.[11]
  • JLA: The Nail: In JLA: The Nail, Batgirl and Robin are brutally murdered by the Joker, who uses Kryptonian gauntlets provided by the deranged Jimmy Olsen to tear them apart while forcing Batman to watch. This drives Batman to the brink of madness and results in him beating the Joker to death. The Joker is later returns in JLA: Another Nail as a demon, and intends to drag Batman to Hell with him. The Joker is once again defeated with help from the spirits of Batgirl and Robin.
  • Batman: Year 100: In Batman: Year 100, Barbara has long since retired from crime-fighting, and her son James has taken over as the police commissioner of Gotham. A teenaged girl named Tora Goss now acts as the future Batman's version of Oracle.

All Star DC Comics[edit]

Main article: All Star DC Comics

In 2005, DC Comics launched its All Star imprint - an ongoing series of comics designed to pair the company's most iconic characters with the most acclaimed writers and artists in the industry. All Star is not restricted to continuity and establishes a fresh perspective for the latest generation of readership. According to Dan DiDio, "These books are created to literally reach the widest audience possible, and not just the comic book audience, but anyone who has ever wanted to read or see anything about Superman or Batman."[12]

Barbara Gordon as Batgirl. Cover to All Star Batman and Robin #6 drawn by Jim Lee.
  • All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder: In All Star Batman and Robin #6, a fifteen-year-old version of Barbara Gordon becomes Batgirl. Reducing the character to her iconic roots, Frank Miller establishes Gordon as a thrill seeker. Her father, Captain James Gordon, has growing concern over Batman's influence in Gotham. While he praises Batman for effectively undermining the corrupt operations of the city's police department, he shows discontent over the Dark Knight's urban legend inspiring the youth of the city to emulate him.[13]
  • All Star Batgirl: Batgirl was at the forefront of the list of characters chosen to receive an independent title, in addition to being given a supporting role in Frank Miller's All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder. In an interview with Wizard magazine, comic book author Geoff Johns announced that he will team with J. G. Jones for the All Star Batgirl series. Johns stated: "We’re doing the first six issues, the first of which will hit in late 2007 well after J.G. and I are done with 52, so it's monthly. It's a mystery revolving around Barbara Gordon and Arkham Asylum, why she's become Batgirl and more importantly why she remains Batgirl. It's essentially our Batman: The Long Halloween or Superman For All Seasons for Batgirl."[14] This series will not follow the continuity of Frank Miller's All Star Batman and Robin, giving Barbara Gordon two independent featured roles in DC's All Star imprint. When asked why Batgirl would be the first character to be given an All Star title outside the DC Trinity of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, Johns responded, "She's one of the most prominent female superheroes in the world. She's on lunchboxes, there's a Barbie of her, cartoons — even after she's been Oracle in the DC Universe for 15 years now, people, us included, love this character as Batgirl. That's why J.G. and I wanted to do this: to focus on the first and best Batgirl."[15]

Smallville[edit]

Barbara Gordon appears in the fifth issue of the comic book continuation of the television series Smallville. In Smallville Season Eleven, she is Nightwing in this continuity instead of Batgirl or Oracle. She does however, joke about her mainstream code name, stating that she chose Nightwing instead because she hated how Batgirl sounded.[16]

Crossovers[edit]

  • Oracle appears as one of the principal characters in JLA/Witchblade, which takes place in a continuity where the characters of DC Comics and Top Cow Productions coexist on the same Earth. In the story, it is stated that Barbara is the childhood friend of Sara Pezzini, the main protagonist of the Witchblade series. When Sara shows up at Barbara's apartment after being injured by Lex Luthor's androids, she inadvertently passes the Witchblade onto Barbara, which transforms her into a large spider-like creature. She is eventually saved when her teammates in the Justice League forcibly remove the Witchblade from her body.

In other media[edit]

  • DCAU: Barbara Gordon is a recurring character in the Batman-related cartoons of the DCAU, namely Batman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, and Batman Beyond, as well as the feature films based on those shows. In this continuity, the events of The Killing Joke either never take place, or have not yet taken place; Barbara has not been paralyzed, and she does not become the Oracle (though she was meant to, temporarily, on the Justice League episode that became "Double Date").

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Jurgens, Dan (1994). Zero Hour: Crisis in Time. DC Comics. 
  2. ^ Morrison, Grant (2007). Batman #666. DC Comics. 
  3. ^ Johns, Geoff; Grant Morrison; Greg Rucka; Mark Waid (2007). 52 #52. DC Comics. 
  4. ^ a b Chaykin, Howard (1997). Thrillkiller: Batgirl & Robin. DC Comics. 
  5. ^ Goldstein, Hilary (2005-06-02). "Batman: Thrillkiller Review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-01-24. 
  6. ^ Chaykin, Howard (1998). Batgirl + Batman: Thrillkiller '62. DC Comics. 
  7. ^ Goldstein, Hilary (2005-06-13). "The 25 Greatest Batman Graphic Novels". IGN. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  8. ^ Simmons, Tom; Tom Simmons; Barbara Kesel (1998). Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl. DC Comics. 
  9. ^ Byrne, John (2003). Superman/Batman Generations II #2. DC Comics. 
  10. ^ Mignola, Mike; Mike Mignola; Richard Pace (2000). Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham. DC Comics. 
  11. ^ Nicieza, Fabian (2000). JLA: Created Equal. DC Comics. 
  12. ^ Offenberger, Rik (2007). "Dan DiDio: DC Comics' All Star". Silver Bullet Comics. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 
  13. ^ Miller, Frank (2007). All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #6. DC Comics. 
  14. ^ "TORONTO 06: GEOFF JOHNS TALKS ALL STAR BATGIRL". Newsarama. 2006. Retrieved 2008-01-24. 
  15. ^ Morse, Ben (2006). "HEY NOW, YOU’RE AN ALL STAR". Wizard. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-11-23. 
  16. ^ DC Comics

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