How to Ruin Batgirl

I did not read the original comic on which this is based, so perhaps the original in not this toxic, but here is the motion-comic version of BATGIRL YEAR ONE:

You can also find it on YouTube.

But don’t bother. This is the worst Batgirl of all time. This does for Batgirl when the film version of STARSHIP TROOPERS did for mobile infantry.

My truly hard-core comic friends are shocked and appalled that I am a huge fan of Batgirl, but not of Batman.

I am a fan of Batman, but not a huge fan, simply because Batman is grim and brooding (at least Frank Miller inspired reincarnations of the character). He dresses like a monster of the night in order to terrify criminals, who are a cowardly and superstitious lot. He is the angel of death, the avenger who finds the underworld crooks in their dark holes at night, because the night belongs to him. He is mercilessness itself. I have never been a fan of the merciless avenger because I am somewhat merciless myself, since I know what evil lurks in the hearts of men, and so that idea has no personal appeal to me. Tastes differ, and your mileage may vary.

Whereas Batgirl is a cutie pie with showgirl legs who dresses like a grim and brooding monster of the night, because criminals and fanboys can appreciate a fine pair of gams.


She is not rich, not an orphan, and has to do everything on her own, without a butler or a batcomputer or a boy sidekick, and without the physical strength to go toe to toe with Killer Croc or Bane. She has to rely on her wits and her raw courage. She is Nancy Drew ninja-babe in a Halloween costume, and the original sexy librarian.

In my estimation, she is the bravest person in the Justice League: she has no superpowers (aside from a perfect memory) and she’s shorter and slighter than the average thug. She would be overmatched by a purse snatcher and nonetheless faces terrible foes, aliens and robots and mutants and whatnot unafraid and uncomplaining.

And she is always cheerful and sunny. A sunny avenger of the night! The irony alone is enough to make the character memorable.

So it is nearly impossible to ruin this character for me. And yet, someone found a way to do it. How do you make this character, the bravest of all the heroines of superherodom, into someone despicable?

Simple. Take away her virtue.

By making her a whiner, a complainer, a victim, a loser, and bitter and self-centered drama queen. By making her hate men, sneer at swains attracted to her, and, instead of being independent, get help from Robin and the Justice League, and…. well….

In this version, Batgirl is pouting and irked because her father, a male, does not want her to join the police force. She is too short for the height requirement.

Other males prevent her from joining her dojo to learn martial arts, or something, even though she can apparently beat up the martial arts trainer. Uh, what? That makes no sense on a dozen levels. Why would he refuse to take her money and train her? Why does she need training if she can beat him up?

Finally, as in the canonical version of Batgirl’s origin, she dons a costume and goes to a party. In the original, it was because she admired Batman and wanted to make the public think he supported a charity or something, and so she pretended to be him when he did not show. In this one, it is as an act of defiance against her father, to prove she — um — can dress in a batsuit. Or something.

Killer Moth shows up, she gives chase, fails to catch him, and Batman and Robin show up, and try to talk her out of being a crimefighter, because — um. They don’t need help, or they think she is not ready, or something. Batman helps her by cutting her batrope from ambush so she falls. Um. What?

Then Robin instantly sees through her disguise, albeit Batman does not, proving both that Barbara Gordon is an idiot and so is the World’s Greatest Detective, and then Robin gives her tools, gear, gadgets and equipment, um — as part of the plot to prove to her she should not be a superheroine. Um. What?

And then she says she is insulted by the name Batgirl, because Batwoman would have been more dignified and hurt her feelings less. (Except Batwoman is already taken by an even more obnoxiously politically correct superhero, so there.)

So we have reached a point in the story where the main character dislikes her own name and her own character concept.

It is not a good idea to present to fans of a character a version of the character who hates her own name and identity. Only the fans who hate the original, that is, not fans at all but detractors, the opposite of fans, will like the idea. (When was it decided, that a woman young enough to marry a soldier boy or a sailor boy was insulted rather than flattered to be called youthful?)

I watched the whole wretched thing through to the end, all the episodes, because I have such love and loyalty to the character. My love and loyalty were cynically used and abused by illwishers using my beloved character as a funnel-and-hammer combination to shove politically correct crap down the throat of the reading public.

Neither the campy old television show insulted the character, nor did the Bruce Timm version in BATMAN or JUSTICE LEAGUE, nor did the brief appearance in season two of YOUNG JUSTICE, where she fights Lobo.


They were all good versions of the character. (The one in the movie where she was the blonde niece of Alfred the Butler, not so much).


I particularly liked her in the third season of a flash animation version that was on the WB website a while back. The third season had a coherent storyline with an honest puzzle to solve, clues and red herrings placed honestly (but not obviously) where a sharp eyed viewer could spot them:

The versions appearing here, however, are cropped around the edges. The only place I can find an uncropped version is on a Japanese site. This was a well done incarnation of Batgirl.


And I love the idea of the Special Crimes Dangerous Evidence Vault in Gotham City (Gamemasters running superhero RPGs take note: this is the perfect place to start a campaign: anyone might find the Joker’s exploding underwear, the Penguin’s trick umbrella, or the raygun of  Mr Freeze!)


If this series of four-minute shorts done with the simplest animation can capture the essential qualities and likability of the Batgirl, why is BATGIRL YEAR ONE version so bad?

The answer is the narrative. The narrative for this comic is a feminist social justice narrative showing that woman are equal to men therefore men must lower the standards to accommodate women so women can pretend to be men.

The Leftism ruined the character and ruined the story because Leftism always ruins stories.

Leftism ruins story telling because it ruins drama. All dramas require that the protagonist desire some goal which the antagonist or circumstances contrive to put out of reach. The drama consists of overcoming that obstacle. Drama is about the price paid in reaching that goal. Drama is about the sacrifice.

Superman’s sacrifice is that his home planet was obliterated; Batman’s was that he lost his parents and cannot enjoy his millionaire wealth; Wonder Woman’s sacrifice is even greater, because she literally left paradise to enter the horrible and warlike world of man out of love for Steve Trevor. Even the Lone Ranger had his entire patrol wiped out.

The difference between the Leftist and the Conservative worldview is that we Conservatives think the world is imperfect, and that all choice have sacrifices, all purchases have prices, and (this side of the grave) there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Conservatives believe in economics, that is, prioritizing scarce resources. Leftists believe in heaven on Earth can be achieved as soon as man is perfected by education, eugenics, and pitiless application of modern science. Like Cargo Cultists, the Leftists believe endless wealth pours from nature without limit or let, except that the evil rich blockade the outpouring of free goods into their own coffers, and prosper from the poverty of the masses. They believe in the opposite of economics.

Hence, there is only one story in their emotional arsenal: a paranoid conspiracy theory yarn about the rebellion of the righteous downtrodden against the system of the world, and the destruction of that world. The vague brave, new world alleged to be on the far side of the wreckage is never portrayed.

The one truly Lefty yarn is a story of self-centered self-righteousness. The Leftist yarn is a preachy story. The yarn talks down to its audience. The yarn is boring to anyone old enough to make his own living by hard work.

It lacks drama.

Or, to be more precise (because there is an endless plethora of preaching Leftist stories) the story can only be given drama by being untrue to itself, and by adding Conservative elements or characters, such as a hero or a martyr.

That was not done here. This Batgirl story is true to its rotten-hearted Leftist core, and hence a terrible story.

Drama hence is innately and naturally conservative.

Drama is about the price paid by the hero to reach his goal. Martyrdom is a conservative notion based on the notion that faith is not free, and heroism on the notion that freedom is not free.

But here, as in all Leftist narratives, there are no heroes. There are only victims and victimizers. The victims are helpless and whine, and the victimizers are evil or ignorant or both. In order to fit this into the Leftist narrative, the element has to be introduced making Batgirl a victim, in this case, the evil or ignorance of Barbara Gordon’s father and martial arts teacher and the male patriarchy in general prevent her from becoming a policewoman or a private detective because Men Oppress Women.

She cannot simply do what a man would do, don his own cape and mask and go out and fight crime without asking someone, because if she (or anyone) could simply ignore the alleged oppressors and get on with her life, then the entire Leftist narrative is exploded.

No jobs for women in the corporate world? Glass ceiling? Start your own darned business and stop whining. Did the Sandman or the Green Hornet ask anyone’s permission to start choking crooks and mobsters with gas-guns?

You see, if the heroine can overcome her oppression by herself at any time simply by doing the work she says she can do as the equal of any man, then the excuse for the whining and whinging and self-absorbed nursing of grievances evaporates.

So in order to maintain the Leftist feelbad narrative here, Barbara Gordon, while claiming not to need Batman’s permission to become a masked vigilante, in fact does need his permission, and the whole drama, such as it is, revolves around her winning his approval by proving she is the equal of any man. Which she does by getting help from Robin.

And the badguy is Killer Moth, who at least in this version is given a bit of personality: he is the antithesis of Bruce Wayne. But since he is an incompetent baddie, there is little glory in it for Batgirl when she overcomes him, and less glory when she does not. The other baddie is Firebug, who is a psycho pyromaniac who wants to burn women because he is a misogynist.

The thing is terrible from start to finish.

But there is not even one iota of tension or doubt, because we know Batgirl can beat up mooks, and so we know that all doubt or detraction from father figures, the police commissioner or the Batman, is gratuitous detraction, mere backbiting folly on their part, or bigotry.

So Batman has to be the white male designated idiot being led to his teachable moment by a smarmy and condescending version of Batgirl, who does not hesitated to cold-cock Robin with a sucker punch, and make him a fool as well.

Listen, if you are a Leftist reading these words, take my advice: park your politics out back when you are writing a story, and only take them up again once you’ve finished.

Otherwise you make Batman a bigot and Batgirl a self-righteous brat, and you’ve stuck your thumb in the eye of all honest fans of these iconic characters.

Whiners are not heroines, they are neither cute like girls nor brave like boys. Heroines do not look to the approval of the community for their support. Joan of Arc did not take a poll, nor did she ask anyone but God what she should do, did she?