Monday, March 30, 2009

Yey for Legs!

I appear to be a minority of one.

Shelly says:

All of which are why I've never wanted her to regain the use of her legs. It's
so important for there to be disabled characters to be role models for disabled
readers. Babs, as Oracle, shows you can succeed despite being unable to walk.

Platinum Comics Site offers:

As O­racl­e an­d as a perso­n­ in­ a
w­h­eel­ ch­air sh­e h­as b­een­ a real­
in­spiratio­n­ an­d a gu­idin­g l­igh­t
sh­o­w­in­g th­at n­o­ o­n­e is
def­in­ed b­y th­eir disab­il­ity.

Those are only two examples of the common theme. And I don't actually agree with the sentiment. I only disagree as it applies to Barbara Gordon. You see, I've got three girls, who all love comic books. And, just like your boys will dress up like Superman and Batman, my girls dress up like Supergirl and Batgirl (and Wonder Woman) for Halloween. (See pic, approximately three posts down.)

So, yeah, Clark Kent died for an arc and then came back. Bruce Wayne broke his back fighting Bane, but was walking again soon enough.

Linda Lee Supergirl died in the Crisis, and stayed dead for 20 years. Barbara Gordon got put in a wheelchair and stayed there.

So, here's the thing. I haven't actually told MY little Batgirl that Barbara Gordon had her spine shot through by the Joker and can't be Batgirl anymore. I mean, what the hell? Why is it that the "girls" don't just get better like the boys do?

Barbara Grodon can walk around and do her Batgirl things in Tiny Titans, and in the various Batman TV shows. But I don't really want to show her "current" Barbara Gordon, because for a long time it just felt like she -- unlike every other superhero in history -- had been damaged in a way that she couldn't recover from. And that wasn't fair.

My daughter loves comics because she loves and identifies with Batgirl. I wouldn't be shocked if over half of every little girl who has ever seen or heard of a comic book character identifies with either Supergirl, Batgirl, or Wonder Woman. So, please, let them go out and be Supergirl, Batgirl, and Wonder Woman! (Wonder Woman, by the way, is on that higher tier, where her deaths and injuries are always easily reversable, which is why I push her as a character.)

And please, feel free to build up your next wheelchair-bound Oracle #2 into the greatest freakin' superhero of all time. But make it some character who just doesn't seem to be working out in their current incarnation (Spoiler, Ryan Choi, that teleporty-girl from Birds of Prey), or even better someone not currently in the the Superhero community -- like Robin's ex-girlfriend after Stephanie (Zoe?) or that scientist guy who got killed by an OMAC in Outsiders. Just give him or her a debilitating genetic spine injury (no more bullets through the spine, please), and move on.

Voila. Oracle II could keep being a great role model, and Barbara Gordon can keep doing what she has always done as Batgirl -- inspire little girls.