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Last week in Batwing: Future’s End #1 there appeared to be an appearance of what looked like the long missing from comics Cassandra Cain.
Several blogs picked up on this and I had numerous people asking about it to the point and surprised I hadn’t written about it.
And there’s a reason for that.
Hallmark has long has a relationship with DC Comics for merchandise such as Christmas ornaments and greeting cards. But now they have expanded their merchandise to include some other items.
Earlier this summer the company launched a set of “Itty bitty” toys featuring DC heroes including Wonder Woman:
That’s about the actual size of the doll by the way.
The line also includes Superman, Batman and the Flash. There are also Marvel versions including Spider-Man and Iron Man (sadly no female characters). They are $6.95.
But now Hallmark has released a particularly awesome Halloween item featuring Batgirl. And it is awesome.
In case you missed it, DC Comics announced a new look and new team for Batgirl this week. One of the cowriters of the book Brenden Fletcher is also co-writing Gotham Academy with Becky Cloonan.
Cloonan, the first woman to draw an issue of Batman, just tweeted out her take on Batgirl. I’ve notice that many of the concerns about the refreshed look of the character is that she looks so young. I confirmed with Brenden that the character is still 21, the age she was reset too during the new 52 launch. I think in Cloonan’s piece below she looks that age.
I actually don’t think the Babs Tarr and Cameron Stewart pieces look that far off from 21 either.
Very few comic artists are able to draw young women that look, well, appropriately young. Take a look at the eyesore cover where Wonder Girl is supposed to be in her teens (actually let me save your eyes - don’t look).
The style of art matters as well. I’ve been spending time rereading Cass Cain’s run as Batgirl and there were some points where both Cass and Barbara looked the same age due to the artwork.
There is an incredible amount of artwork that has shown up on my dash over the last few days featuring Batgirl’s new look. Most of it is being curated at the Batgirl of Burnside Tumblr set up by Cameron Stewart.
If you haven’t, go take a look.
This morning DC Comics unveiled a respin/refresh of the Batgirl book. Gail Simone who has been the main writer on the book for the past three years is leaving. Cameron Stewart, mainly known by DC readers as an artist, will co-write along with Brenden Fetcher who is also co-writing Gotham Academy. Art is by Babs Tarr bringing a new full-time female artist onto DC Comics just as Nicola Scott has announced she’s leaving the publisher.
Just last week I wrote about the announcement of Gotham Academy and wondered if it finally meant that DC is targeting female readers. This week we see this Batgirl respin that I have been told by sources close to the book is aiming for the female audience.
The “refreshed” Batgirl has a new costume, new town and will have a new supporting cast although some of her current cast including Alysia Yeoh will be seen. The costume is very cool if you haven’t seen it.
Given the house style that is preferred by senior management at DC Comics (i.e. Jim Lee and David Finch) it is a treat to see an artist as different as Babs Tarr on-board at DC Comics.
The book’s creators said in the official PR interview that the book mixes the best elements of “Veronica Mars” and “Girls,” with a dash of “Sherlock” thrown in for good measure.” And the tone?
"We really wanted to make this a book with a light tone, of fun and adventure and mystery, and let the rest of the Bat-family deal with the darkness. She’s got problems, and conflict, and enemies to fight, but our priority was to make this a really fun, rollicking read."
I haven’t read the current Batgirl run except for the previews and my feeling and of those that have read it, is that it was a fairly dark book that reflected Dan Didio’s statement about the Batfamily last year
"They put on a cape and cowl for a reason. They’re committed to defending others — at the sacrifice of all their own personal instincts. That’s something we reinforce. If you look at every one of the characters in the Batman family, their personal lives kind of suck…
Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon, and Kathy Kane — it’s wonderful that they try to establish personal lives, but it’s also just as important that they put it aside as they know what they are accomplishing as the hero takes precedence over everything else. That is our mandate, that is our edict, that is our stand with our characters.”
So now we have a book with a young Batgirl that has a lighter tone and is likened to Veronica Mars … just as we did three years ago with Bryan Q. Miller’s run on Batgirl.
I was a big fan of that Bat-book not just because of its writing but because of the opportunity I thought the book presented.
If DC comics is seriously interested in gaining new female readers, particularly younger ones, this book may not be the key but it is damn close. Gail Simone has often said that Birds to Prey is an on-ramp into comics for women. I took that on-ramp and agree. I think that this version of Batgirl* can do the same thing for a younger female audience.
That post outlined a series of ways Batgirl could be used to outreach to female readers and to my non-surprise absolutely nothing remotely like any of of those ways were pursued.
Now, I am happy to see DC Comics bring books like Batgirl and Gotham Academy that are targeted to female readers who are as I have repeatedly and repeatedly the fastest growing demographic in comics.
Given Marvel’s success with Ms. Marvel, I’m not surprised to see DC offer up a book with a similar feel. (But I do wish they could have realized they had it three years ago and without ditching Stephanie Brown as Batgirl and Barbara Gordon as Oracle).
I hope that both books are great and do great. If they are could lead to more books that aren’t grim and gritty and targeted to the “core” audience of males but rather hit that growing demographic.
What do you think of the respun Batgirl?
As this illustration by Kevin Warren makes clear, when Wonder Woman gets down to do some real ass kicking she brings out the scrunchie.
But if one chooses to not use the useful but much derided hair accessory you could use these headbands from UnderArmour.
They also have Batgirl and Supergirl headbands. They say girls sizes but I found them in the women’s department so I’m not sure how big they run.
If you do still enjoy a hair tie, sadly Under Armour seems to only offer those for Batgirl and Supergirl
I saw these in Sports Authority and it looks like they are available online as well.
DC Comics debuted their covers for September today but not all the lentricular covers were ready. So I animated some of them for you.
At the Batman Eternal panel at Emerald City Comic Con, they revealed new art from the upcoming Batman Eternal weekly including a page that appears to show the moment that leads to this from the "Thanksgiving Teaser"
At the DC New 52 Panel at the Emerald City Comic Con, Gail Simone said her upcoming arc in Batgirl - issues 32-34 will include something or someone she’s been asking for since the start of the new 52. Simone said she’s “asked and asked”. When the moderator asked if she could say a name, she answered “probably shouldn’t.”
So what could it be? A returning pre-52 character? Weil they finally mention Oracle? What do you think?
Also here’s a look at the panel, which you’ll note is a rarity for DC at shows in having two female writers on the dais.
That’s a Lego Batgirl Keychain. And I’m giving one away. Like, reblog or leave a comment on this post by midnight EST Monday February 24 and you’re entered.
Alex Garner is the best cover artist this book has had since Hughes. He’s hitting it out of the park every month.
Written by GAIL SIMONE
Art by FERNANDO PASARIN and JONATHAN GLAPION
Cover by ALEX GARNER
1:25 BATMAN ‘66 variant cover by MICHAEL ALLRED
On sale MAY 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Clandestine meetings, tapped phones, video surveillance – Barbara Gordon is being watched! Who has it in for her, and how can Batgirl investigate without compromising her secret identity?
In my list of the Best for DC Women in 2013 I listed the agreement between WB/DC and Target for Justice League Merchandise for putting Wonder Woman merchandise into their product mix. And they have once again for Valentines Day.
First the good. I found two Wonder Woman solo items for the February holiday. First, Wonder Woman lollipop:
Cute! Also they had a variety of water bottles filled with candy with the League logos. I flipped through lots of Bat and Supe logos until I happily found this:
Given the overbundance of purple and pink in the summer offerings I was surprised and please to see some primary colors here.
And then I went and looked at the Valentine cards - the type that grade school kids exchange. For the past few years its been pretty spotty for the ladies of DC Comics when it comes to Valentines. Gone are the days when you saw kids given a set where there was parity between female and male heroe like this:
So the good news is that there is a set with some parity available at Target. But then there’s some … well let’s take a look, shall we?
Earlier this year I posted about rumors that Batgirl would finally show up in a Lego set. Batgirl was prominent in the first Batman Lego game and fans have been waiting for an official minifig.
The rumors were right and Batgirl and Nightwing and Damian will all fight, who else, the Joker in a set that should be just heading into stores later this week (with wide availability in January).
Based on other DC themed sets my guess is that this will retail for around $46-49.99.
Sadly my son has moved on from Legos. I’ll wait and order the Batgirl figure off eBay.
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