Monday, June 6, 2011

Some brief Batman chat

Let's get back to talking about something I'm not sure people care about more or less than business practices of Big Pharma and the challenges of rolling technology and good pedagogy into the classroom.

Today DC Comics rolled out all kinds of news about what the Batman titles will look like after the DC reshuffling (I'm not calling it a reboot anymore) happens in September.

Some highlights:
-the only "Batman" will be Bruce Wayne.  I endorse this plan given the business needs pushing the reboot.
-Dick Grayson will be back in his Nightwing togs, but now in red instead of blue.
-Batman Inc. is on hiatus for a bit, but is coming back
-Sigh.  Jason Todd survived the reboot.  And he's getting his own title.  X-Treme Heroes or some such.
-Catwoman will have a comic.
-Birds of Prey will exist without Oracle, Huntress, Zinda and likely me as a reader.
-No sign yet of fan-favorite Tim Drake, who has been the burger-shop-friendly "Red Robin" for the past year.
-It appears the role of Robin will be filled by Damian Wayne
-A fellow who appeared in Batman, Inc., Batwing, will get his own title.  I think I drew something similar in one of my sketchbooks in college when I was pondering Batman. Only mine looked more like a bunch of squiggles and had grappling cannons on his arm and likely was very, very angry.

Uh...  we do this Batman thing at NIGHT, sir
I have no confirmation on this, but given the pattern to date, I'd guess we're looking at Superman's releases tomorrow.  I have some ideas on what to expect, and I expect that tomorrow will be the first look at the all-new Superman costume.  So, expect posts.

I confess to a sense of unease regarding what's turning out to be the newsmaker.

In the mid-80's, Batgirl was Barbara Gordon, the daughter of Commissioner Gordon.  In a seminal Batman/ Joker story, The Killing Joke, Barbara is shot and paralyzed by The Joker while answering the door in her everyday civilian guise.

At some point, DC refused to give up on the character and brought her back as the wheel-chair bound cyber-sleuth and data-hub for the DCU heroes under the name "Oracle".   I think you're hard-pressed to find a title  in which she hasn't appeared.  The character is beloved, and without really thinking on it, DCs differently abled hero became entrenched.

I understand DC's business needs to bring Babs back into the cowl, but its at a tremendous cost.  I think Oracle meant a lot to a lot of people for what she represented.


TomO. said...

Agreed on the unease about them fiddling with the status of Oracle to Batgirl.

Although once I heard that Gail Simone was the writer, my unease disappeared. I don't think there's any one creator out there who has more reverence for Barbara Gordon.

This is now one of my most anticipated titles.

Now, the only unease I'm feeling is with waiting for those damn Superman solicits. It's become such a recurring pattern of being disappointed and disillusioned with them for years, that I can't help but brace for the worst.

Simon MacDonald said...

I think it is a good thing that Bruce Wayne will be the one and only Batman. I'm also glad that Dick is not being killed off but gets to be Nightwing again as I enjoyed that title for a long, long time until the One Year Later debacle.

I can't believe they kept Jason Todd around, this seemed to be to be the perfect opportunity to sweep that mistake under the rug. Plus with the de-aging of DC heroes how is Batman supposed to have had Dick, Jason and now Damien as Robins? He must have his own Batman themed orphanage to keep the supply chains moving.

Sadly there is no news of Tim Drake which really, really sucks. There just doesn't seem to be any room for him. I guess the Stephanie and Cassandra versions of Batgirl will also be casualties of this reboot.

I'm happy to see Barbara returning as Batgirl but I see what you mean about there being no Oracle anymore. That is really going to hit a lot of people hard. I just love the Barbara character regardless of the super hero trappings she's currently wearing.

And yes, without Gail Simone on Birds of Prey you won't catch me reading it.

Anonymous said...

Getting rid of Barbara Gordon as Oracle is wrong. Plaintively wrong.

What's worse is really there is no great commercial reason to bring back Barbara Gordon as Batgirl. Seriously, there has been no outcry from fanboys. I can count the number of people on one hand who even know or have even read the origin of Barbara Gordon's Batgirl issue where she takes on Killer Moth drawn Neal Adams.

I was concerned that 52 #1 issues was going to dilute the talent at DC to generate notable and lasting titles and as the news goes on I think my feelings are right. Instead of focusing we get half-baked ideas. Half of these Batman titles will be cancelled within 12 issues after release.

The DC reboot is making less and less sense catering to editorial and marketing agendas instead of building a lasting universe for stories that will excite and commit readers. It's like do they want to sell action figures or do they really want to do this right?


The League said...

I have to disagree with that last point. From a marketing agenda, Barbara Gordon (or at least "that red haired girl") has been Batgirl to John Q. Public since Yvonne Craig slipped into purple tights. Its a recognizable licensing likeness that still sells on t-shirts, Barbie dolls and refrigerator magnets. I can only imagine what Diane Nelson thought when she was told Yvonne Craig and this character (who was making more in licensing than Batgirl and BoP comics put together) was shot in the spine by the Joker and was not the one in the tights.

I want to be clear: I don't agree with DC's decision from a character stand point, and from a message standpoint. And I'll be really disturbed if DC handicaps some other character just to have the "Oracle" slot filled.

I don't like it, but I think I understand the decision.

"Doing it right" is, for Nelson, selling action figures and comics. And cartoons and dolls and Batgirl dress-up sets. The comics-side trying to do right has a horrendous batting average. Unfortunately, I think the case of Oracle was one where they did right, and its getting swept under the rug at the same time as a lot of wrong (and some wrong is lingering, such as Jason Todd getting his own title).

Simon MacDonald said...

I have to agree with Ryan, the public thinks of Batgirl as Barbara Gorden if they even think of her at all. This is all about making money for DC and getting back to the most recognizable i.e. bankable versions of their characters.

Did they do some great stories with Babs as Oracle, Yes. Was she a great role model for disabled people, Yes. Is there anything we can do about it other than keep and open mind and try the first issue? No, not really.