Redhead Fangirl

Friday, December 15

#1 Barbara Gordon, Batgirl, Oracle

It probably isn't a surprise to find Barbara Gordon as #1 on my list.


Redhead librarian Barbara Gordon, daughter of Commissioner James Gordon (after Crisis she becomes his niece). Babs fashions a female Batman costume on her way to a ball. A fight breaks out with Killer Moth, and begins her crime-fighting career.

The character fleshed out considerably, with the shy, mousey, bookworm version of Barbara Gordon quickly giving way to a more modern, confident character (whom friends call "Babs"). Devoid of her plain-Jane glasses and hair bun- Barbara proved to be more popular than her predecessor (Bette Kane, the Bat-Girl) with the readers as well, as they made requests for her to appear in other titles.

First Comic Book Appearance

* Detective #359, January 1967.

There is a similarity with #2 Mary Jane here- her backstory also includes a drinking father who took his anger out on Barbara.

From 1967 to 1988 she was the superhero known as Batgirl; since 1988 she has been known as Oracle.


In 1988, in what many feel was one of the most ruthless storylines in comic history, the Joker, as part of his plan to drive James Gordon into madness, shoots Barbara through the spine, paralyzing her and ending her career as Batgirl forever.

In 1998, the character Oracle was first established in Suicide Squad #23. It was in Suicide Squad #38 where we learn that Oracle is in actuality, a wheelchair bound Barbara Gordon

She's the information maven now, able to access the real power of information and feed that information to her team Birds of Prey. BOP is written by Gail Simone, and just reached it's 100th issue. From here a new team is being assembled, to take the place of the departing Black Canary. Oracle acts as team leader, friend, mother-figure, and conscience for the team. Her skills at accessing info networks, and hacking, give both crime fighters and geek boys a thrill.

Barbara, from a young Batgirl to the more mature Oracle, represents the best of all superheroes: intelligence, humor, strength, beauty, loyalty, and a moral compass to guide us. She's a character that has changed physically and mentally, and has actually grown with time. When you are 20, you have these righteous opinions about the world, experienced only in college classrooms. That's the Batgirl phase. The richer phase is the Oracle one-- you know more about the world, and how not to judge or insist your opinion is the only one. You can build your own team of friends and family like Barbara does in BoP.

Red and Proud


At 10:59 AM, Anonymous buttler said...

The niece thing still bugs me. What is it about having an actual parent-child relationship that was too complex for the writers? Feh, DC's becoming like Disney, with lots of "uncas" and not enough parents.

All that aside, good choice! There'll never be another Batgirl who even comes close to Babs.

At 12:20 PM, Anonymous Loren said...

I can't think of any better candidate for number one redhead than Babs! I just have to say that this was the most brilliant string of entries I've seen in awhile! Thanks so much for the great countdown!

At 4:37 PM, Blogger redlib said...

Thanks everyone for your encouraging comments during the redhead countdown! It was a lot of work in a busy month, but it was fun for me too.
There will simply have to be another year-end countdown if I make it to Dec 07!

At 10:22 AM, Blogger Brian Hughes said...

Good series, but You forgot Hellcat!

At 3:35 PM, Blogger Elizabeth McClung said...

Okay, yup it is months later from your post but someone just told me I reminded them or Oracle - so here I am. Redhair - nice! Wheelchair - total crud. You obviously don't draw the comics but your chair IS a part of your anatomy and there is no way a para would be in that chair.

Let me put it this way, my chair weighs 19 lbs - hers weights about 38. So basically she has a top of the line computer set up and the worst chair possible? Sorry, you got the rant - off again.


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