nevermore999 (nevermore999) wrote,

Letter of Leaving DC regarding the Babsgirl reboot

My letter to DC Comics. A little overlong, but actually way shorter than it was before. The one I sent to the letter column was slightly shorter, I will send this one via snail mail, though if there's any suggestions for editing, please let me know. It will be sent Friday. A lot of it is just the post I just did edited and reformatted.

To whom it may concern at DC Comics,

I am writing to tell you that the decision to revert Barbara Gordon to Batgirl has made me decide to stop reading your comics after five years of steady and loyal readership. I am a young woman who would represent relatively new readership, the sort your company claims it’s trying to court with added diversity in the reboot. But instead, your erasure of Barbara Gordon as Oracle and erasure of comics most prominent disabled hero, as well as what looks to be the erasure of my other two favorite characters- one of whom is Asian, the other of whom is a lower class assault survivor, and both of whom have been erased by your company before- has driven me away. Sorry this letter is so long, but as it is my farewell, I figured I should not leave anything out.

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about Barbara- when it looked like you were going to regress her two years ago (before the new Batgirl title debuted) I wrote in my concerns. You listened to fans like me and kept Oracle. But it appears you’ve gone in this direction again, and I will restate my reasons why this upsets me enough to leave if only because I feel it’s right to let you know as a former customer.

I first started getting comics five years ago, when I was barely fourteen. Almost immediately my three favorite characters were Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown and Barbara Gordon as Oracle. Oracle inspired me with her strength and ability to reinvent herself. I loved the legacy she had passed onto Cass and Cassandra’s strength in carrying it out and how Cassandra followed her moral convictions and turned her back on the wrong things she had been taught as a child. Stephanie Brown was her best friend, a plucky self-made hero who never gave up and even got to be Robin! She like Cass and Babs, was constantly strong, constantly moving forward to reinvent herself.

So I cheered when these characters were treated well. When Steph became Batgirl, her title was wonderful. I mourned the loss of Cass though, but held out hope for her return. Meanwhile, Oracle remained a unique and independent hero, mentoring Steph, inspiring and leading other heroes as the information hub of the DC Universe. Batgirl was part of her and it was the legacy she passed on, but she was more powerful and unique than ever as Oracle. Not only that, but she gave a little representation to the disabled community.  I know of countless who love her for that. Giving Babs her leg use back when real life people do not have that choice, and treating the move like it means she’s more effective now, a wholer person and a better character, is unbelievably offensive..

So, you can see, by regressing Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, you have taken my three favorite characters away from me in one move. I have heard no news of Stephanie and Cassandra in the reboot. Even if they still exist in some capacity, they have has their accomplishments, legacy and identities erased by returning Babs as the one “true” Batgirl (as trusted professionals like Gail Simone seem to be selling Babs’ return that way) and tossing these two away. Never mind that from what I can see, Stephanie’s title did pretty well, it still gets to be tossed aside like nothing.

Batgirl is a name that inherently speaks of youth, being new to the job and not Batman’s equal in experience. Barbara is none of those things. There is no reason a thirty plus woman who is one of the world’s most seasoned heroes would let herself be called a girl- especially when Katherine Kane, not any older than Babs and certainly less experienced, calls herself “woman”. So are you planning to deage Barbara Gordon and strip her of all her experience? That’s the same as depowering her, and it’s gross.

The fact is, Babs has outgrown Batgirl and sticking her in that role again is as ridiculous as sticking Dick Grayson the scaly panties again. Wouldn’t that be demeaning and degrading to his character? But Babs is a woman, so she doesn’t get the respect Dick does. Women can be regressed; they can have their accomplishments erased.

Cass has finally JUST returned in an independent role with her own place in the DCU, only to be immediately erased again. I sort of doubt DC’s commitment to diversity with this treatment of their most prominent Asian character who had the longest running title of any person of color in their company.

This company cannot just put pants on some women and call it a day and then say they are diversifying and trying to attract a female audience. Not when in one fell motion, you trashed the disabled woman, the Asian woman and the poor woman.

I have a blogroll of mostly women bloggers and not a single one of them is happy with this decision. Women are more likely to be the “new fans” attached to Cass, Steph and Oracle. It’s the straight white aging male who wants to regress to Babsgirl and the Silver Age.

 Your company never saw fit to put Cass and Steph in outside media, so of course they aren’t as recognizable as the Barbara Gordon Batgirl. Still, the average Joe doesn’t know who Barbara Gordon is. They won’t care if Batgirl is a redhead, Asian or blonde, just as long as she’s in a recognizable costume and easy to understand. In fact, Dick Grayson as Robin is a far more recognizable property than Barbara Gordon Batgirl, but again, I don’t see you regressing him to Robin for that reason.

Come September, I am gone for good. This move had convinced me you do not care about the characters I care about, and are not really committed to diversity or your audience. It is with a heavy heart I make this decision, but it is what’s best for my wallet.

Tags: barbara gordon, batgirl, cassandra cain, fuck dc, fuck the reboot, oracle, stephanie brown

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