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Cosplay Batgirl (Barbara Gordon)
Cosplay with Batgirl costume (2009)

Batgirl (German bat girl ) is a fictional character owned by the American entertainment company WarnerMedia . As a protagonist of comic publications, television series and films, Batgirl is one of the best-known female interpretations of the character type of the so-called " superhero ".

Batgirl was first introduced in 1961 in the comic book Batman # 139 (author: Bob Kane ; illustrator: Sheldon Moldoff ). Since then, the character has been developed primarily in comic stories published by the American publisher DC-Comics , a subsidiary of Time Warner. Warner Brothers has also marketed the concept in television series, films and computer games as well as in countless merchandising products (action figures, posters, T-shirt prints, statuettes, etc.).

Release dates

After Batgirl was only used as a supporting character or "co-star" in Batman stories for a long time , DC Comics began putting the character at the center of various shorter solo adventures in series such as Detective Comics in the 1970s , Batman and Batman Family have been released. After its own Batgirl Special appeared for the first time in the mid-1980s , the figure was increasingly brought onto the market as an independent publication: Another one-shot followed under the title Batgirl in the 1990s , before a separate, continuous, Batgirl - Series came on the market.

Versions of the figure

Batgirl i

The first Batgirl was Bette (then still Betty) Kane, the niece of the first Batwoman . Betty first appeared in Batman # 139 in 1961 .

Their double lives were erased during the Crisis on Infinite Earths story cycle . After that event, she appears as a professional tennis player but is still crazy about Dick Grayson . She has now assumed the identity of the heroine Flamebird .

Batgirl II

First version of Barbara Gordon's Batgirl costume

The second and arguably best known Batgirl was Barbara Gordon, the daughter of the Gotham City Police Commissioner Gordon. Her first appearance as Batgirl was in Detective Comics # 359 in 1967 . In the story written by Gardner Fox , she was drawn by Carmine Infantino .

She was introduced to the Bat universe in the 1960s after being hugely popular on the television series . Like Batman, she is only human and can only rely on her skills and various pieces of equipment. Gordon graduated with Honors in Library and Information Science from Gotham State University and then assumed a senior position at Gotham Public Library. She went through one of the biggest changes in the DC universe in the 1980s when she was gunned down by the insane villain Joker in Alan Moore's comic "The Killing Joke" and has been in a wheelchair ever since. So it was impossible for her to continue her identity as Batgirl. She withdrew from active activities. Due to this change, however, the stories of the Bat heroes were modernized, since since 1989 she has supported the heroes as an oracle by obtaining information via computer. Barbara Gordon made her first appearance as an oracle in 1989 in Suicide Squad # 23. As an oracle, she became one of the most important characters in the Batman universe.

In the reboot, also known as " The New 52 ", she regains her legs and becomes Batgirl again.

Batgirl III

The third Batgirl was Cassandra Cain. Cassandra made her first appearance in 1999 in Batman # 567. She had her first appearance as Batgirl in the same year in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (German about: Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight ) # 120. It was created by Kelley Puckett and Damion Scott .

Cassandra has been trained to be the perfect murderer and fighter by her father, the killer David Cain , since she was born , and thus learned to read body language fluently. In return for this, her speaking and reading are extremely difficult as she has not learned it properly alongside her combat training. After her first assassination, she ran away from home and came under the "Bat-Clan" and was later adopted by Bruce Wayne. In the meantime she has learned to speak, which has "contaminated" her enormous martial arts, so that she became slower and weaker. The killer Lady Shiva took care of her and wanted to restore her to her old strength and speed, but only on the condition that she - as soon as Batgirl is back in her old condition - fight a life and death fight. As the current Batgirl, she roamed the streets of Gotham City until Bruce Wayne's supposed death. Upon Batman's return, she assumes the identity of Black Bat and fights the crime in Hong Kong .

Batgirl IV

After Bruce Wayne allegedly passed away, Stephanie Brown took the costume off and against Barbara Gordon's protests. In a subsequent battle with drug dealers, Stephanie managed to defeat the super-criminal Scarecrow, which eventually cleared Barbara's doubts. She was a Batgirl until the 2011 reboot.

In other media

From 1967 to 1968, Batgirl appeared on the side of Adam West in the 26 episodes of the third season of Batman . Here she was played by Yvonne Craig , who had previously played the role in the unreleased short film Batgirl from 1967 and which was only officially released in 2015.

On the big screen, Batgirl was portrayed by Alicia Silverstone in the 1997 film Batman & Robin . In contrast to the comic, she is not portrayed here as the daughter of Police Chief Gordon, but as the niece of Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred .

In 2019, the young Barbara Lee Gordon starred in the fifth season of the crime series Gotham . She was born when her mother Barbara Kean and Dr. Lee Thompkins is on the run from Bane . Only with the help of the riddler and the penguin can Bane be held up long enough to allow the birth. It is named after her mother and Lee Thompkins. In the series finale, which takes place 10 years in the future, Barbara Lee is played by Jeté Laurence . She is kidnapped by Jeremiah Valeska , who tries to lure her father James Gordon into a trap. Only through the intervention of Batman can father and daughter be saved from the arch enemy.

Minor characters

David Cain

David Cain is a professional killer and the father of Cassandra Cain, the third Batgirl. He first appears in the comic book Batman # 567 from July 1999 (author: K. Puckett, illustrator: D. Scott).

In the Batman comics, Cain is considered to be one of the best assassins in the world, who knows all kinds of killing. Although he acts as a hit man without any scruples, Cain is a thoroughly ambivalent figure: In his debut story we learn that he trained the young Bruce Wayne in various martial arts and thus imparted the skills that enable him to become Batman as a grown man become. Later stories tell how Cain was commissioned by the master criminal Ra's al Ghul to create a "perfect fighter" for him to act as al Ghul's bodyguard. After Cain's multiple attempts to achieve this by preparing teenagers from childhood for this task, fail - the children go insane (like the Mad Dog) or die. Cain's attempts are ultimately successful when he has a daughter, Cassandra Cain, the assassin Shiva Woosan, whom he trains to be the perfect assassin. However, after killing a man for the first time, the girl runs away from her father.

After an assassination attempt by Cain on behalf of mad Two-Face on Gotham's police chief Gordon is prevented by Batman with the help of Cassandra, Barbara Gordon (the former second Batgirl) takes Cassandra under her wing and makes her the third Batgirl, as that she joins Team Batman.

Cain, who has become bitter at the loss of the only person who means anything to him, later tries to take revenge on Batman for the loss of his daughter: he keeps Batman's secret identity as Bruce Wayne, which he recognized because of his opaque code of honor for himself, but he murders the radio presenter Vesper Fairchild and makes the murder look like it was committed by Wayne ( Bruce Wayne Fugative storyline). Later, Cain decides that Wayne is worthy to care for his daughter, voluntarily surrenders to the authorities, and confesses. Lex Luther's attempt, who was involved in the murder, to have Cain removed as an unpleasant confidante by another assassin, Deadshot , fails. Finally, Cain - who repeatedly proves that he can go in and out of the Blackgate prison where he is being held - is extradited to the League of Killers by Batman's junior partner Robin.

Lady Shiva

Lady Shiva , aka Sandra Woosan (also: Wu-San) is the mother of Cassandra Cain (Batgirl III) and a recurring adversary and ally of Batman and Batgirl. It was first featured in the comic book Richard Dragon. Master of the Kung Fu # 5, December 1975 presented (Author: D. O Neil ; Illustrator: R. Estrada ). There she appears as an American mercenary and martial arts specialist of unclear Asian descent.

In the course of the Richard Dragon series, Shiva's background story will be further developed. Accordingly, she spent her youth in Detroit. Woosan (who is now beginning to call herself Lady Shiva or Shiva for short, a name that is based on the destructive god of the Hindus of the same name) gives up a successful career as a martial artist after the murder of her sister Carolyn in order to have an unsteady existence as a wandering adventurer kick off. During these years of traveling she meets agents Ben Turner and Richard Dragon (who are also martial arts experienced), with whom she experiences some adventures that are described in the Dragon comics: they meet martial arts masters such as the O-Sensei and the Sensei Otomo, in which they develop further as martial artists, but above all penetrate deeper into the spiritual side of martial arts. Later Shiva temporarily joins the terrorist organization of the League of Killers (according to some stories she only takes the name Shiva at this time on the occasion of her entry into the league), for which she carries out a number of assassinations as a hit man. With the professional killer David Cain (who later turns out to be her sister's killer) Shiva has a daughter, Cassandra, who later becomes the third Batgirl.

After her separation from Cain, Shiva travels the world as a freelance adventurer and assassin: she carries out contract killings for payment or for the sake of a challenge. In addition, she works as a trainer for terrorists ( Batman # 427) and mercenaries (especially in the Middle East). Above all, however, she repeatedly travels to all corners of the world to find masters of (Far Eastern) martial arts and to compete with them in a duel (mostly to the death): this is how she fights against the superhero Green Arrow , against the " armless master "(an arm amputee whom Shiva kills disguised with the mask of the god Tengu ), against the warriors of the Monkey sect (whom she faces in her disguise as White Monkey), against the arms dealer and kung-fu master King Snake, and especially against Batman again and again. The relationship with Batman, who repeatedly calls Shiva the “most dangerous woman in the world”, is ambivalent: on the one hand, both fight each other again and again (mostly without result). On the other hand, they work together as allies in different stories: when they first meet, they help the O-Sensei to travel to his wife's village to die; later Shiva trains the young Tim Drake to enable him to become Batman's assistant Robin ( Robin mini-series from 1991), later Shiva trains Bruce Wayne after recovering from a serious injury to enable him to make his comeback as Batman (Knightfall storyline) and in yet another story Batman and Shiva together chase a group of terrorists, who want to release Ebola virus . Batman's temporary suspicion that Shiva might be the mother of his ward Jason Todd (Robin II) turns out to be unfounded ( Batman # 428), but in the Batgirl comics she poses as the mother of Batman's young ally Cassandra Cain (Batgirl III) out. Most recently, Shiva Ra's al Ghul's daughter Nyssa helps found the League of Killers.

Batgirl has to compete with Shiva several times after she agrees to convey her skills in exchange for Batgirl's promise to compete with her in a fight.

Other comic series in which Shiva plays a role are Birds of Prey, a series about a team of female adventurers to which Shiva briefly belongs as Jade Canary, and The Question, a series about an eccentric detective in which Shiva is the opponent and lover of Title hero appears. Shiva is played by Sung Hi Lee in the television series Birds of Prey .

Mad Dog

Mad Dog is a hit man who Batgirl first meets in Batgirl # 67 from October 2005 (author: A. Gabrych, illustrator: A. Garza). There you learn that Mad Dog, whose real name remains unknown, was prepared from the earliest days of the sectarian league of killers to function as the perfect "killing machine". Since the drill to which his tutor, the assassin David Cain, exposes him, turns him into an insane psychopath, the leader of the league, Ra's al Ghul, orders to kill MD "like a mad dog" . However, the boy survived. After being in hiding for a long time, he joined the League as a contract killer as a young man at the request of al Ghul's daughter and successor Nyssa. He now uses the name Mad Dog as a name for himself. In combat, despite his skills as a professional killer and despite his madness, he is repeatedly defeated against Batgirl.

Web links

Commons : Batgirl  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Batgirl (TV Short) in the IMDb (as of July 10, 2020)
  2. Cain is a speaking name: It alludes to Cain, who, according to the Old Testament, was the first murderer in human history.
  3. Batman # 568 describes the short-lived partnership between Cain and Wayne, who temporarily acts as Cain's assistant, but renounces his teacher when he asks him to kill others.
  4. In addition to personal revenge, an order from the corrupt billionaire Lex Luthor - who wants to take revenge on Wayne because he has "snatched" a business project from him - is woven into the story.