Hard to believe its been two years since we last saw a character named one of the 25 Best Superheroes Ever by Entertainment Weekly in the DCU proper. DC returned Barbara Gordon to her tights and thus eradicated the most visible face for the physically challenged community in DC Comics. Oracle, we were once told by DC, would would still exist in the new 52 continuity. To date there has been no mention of the character or any clear reference to Barbara Gordon having played that role. And I doubt there ever will be. DC’s approach has been clever; instead of coming out and saying the character didn’t exist they have, instead, removed, changed or rebooted every character around Oracle. The end result is that they whittled away her history to the point where one can shrug, point to the lack of a vacuum for her to have played the role and move on. The Killing Joke, the thisclose to torture porn that enabled Oracle, but certainly did not create her, to come into being, remains.
Of course, it does.
The good news is that Oracle still exists in Li’l Gotham.
I’m not going to rehash all the problems with what DC did by getting rid of Oracle, but it is still disappointing that in two years there have so few characters in the DCU to take her place in high profile books such as the Batbooks.
Anyway back to Frank Cho. He has weighed in on the return to the tights via piece he did last week at the Baltimore Comic Con.
To prepare you, the file was named “ButtGirls”
So if you’ve ever read my blog you might know that my favorite female DC character is Barbara Gordon, particularly in her role as Oracle.
Oh, well at least there is Li’l Gotham.
I have quite a collection of convention sketches and commissions of the character from some great artists - Adam Hughes, Phil Noto, Cliff Chiang, Cully Hamner, Cameron Stewart, Marcos To and many more. I would not part with one of them.
But there was one artist on my list of must haves that I just didn’t know if I would ever get a piece from - Brian Stelfreeze. Stelfreeze was the artist on the very first standalone Oracle story. You can read a post on that story from writer Scott Peterson here but here’s some of it that is pertinent to my story.
Brian Stelfreeze. Oh MAN. He’d been one of my favorite artists since the very first time I saw his work. His draftsmanship, second to absolutely none in the industry—the guy could simply flat out draw like nobody’s business. But his design sense, his angular style which somehow had such fluidity to it, his flawless storytelling, so exciting yet so clear. Yeah. I could live with him watching my back.
So you imagine what I was like when I learned that Stelfreeze was coming to Boston Comic Con.
Actually those of you who follow me on Twitter know what my reaction was. I began trying to figure out to line up a commission. I talked to folks who already got one. I found out his Facebook page and messaged him. But the day of the con I had nothing.
So I decided I would just go to his table and wait for him to show up and beg him to do it for me. And I did. And I waited. Luckily the folks sharing the same area were incredibly nice even offering to text me when he showed up so I could walk around the con. Later I found Brian and I told him what I wanted (and indeed begged). He was incredibly gracious and he said he would be happy to do it. Of course, he had other things to do so it took awhile but it was worth it. Brian was just wonderful through the process, I spoke to him a few time to check in and then ran into him before breakfast on Sunday where we spoke about glasses (and no that didn’t have anything to do with Oracle). I had an appointment mid-Sunday afternoon I had to run to so I watched him finish up the piece and it was like watching a master craftsman in action as he put on the final touches.
And here it is.
Here he is working on it:
So once again thank you to Brian and his crew for putting up with me and thank you for making me very happy.
It’s Father’s Day in the wonderful world of Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolf’s Gotham where characters I love still exist. To celebrate this holiday there is a meeting of two dads - one good and one, not so much.
But more importantly it means their daughters meet.
Look, it’s Oracle!
How great and perfect is that dialogue? It is so the Barbara Gordon and her Dad from Simone’s Birds of Prey.
Share a table? But who what other Dad and Daughter would that be?
Okay maybe that’s me but today they unveiled not one but two Heroclix. The first is Batgirl. Let’s take a look:
At a certain point in the game, something happens:
When Batgirl hits one or more opposing characters, after actions resolve, place a Promotion Token on his character card. You may then roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled and add 1 for each Promotion Token on his character card; on a result of 8 or higher, replace this character with DC10th Oracle on the same click number.”
That’s right she gets PROMOTED to Oracle.
What smart thinking about how to view Oracle.
I love how the card says “this chair won’t stop me.”
What more can I add to this but:
hat tip to the Mary Sue
… because I would make this. And frame it. And hang in my kids’ room.
I would put it in my room. I mean look at the letter “o”.
And “W” .. And “P”.
Pattern available on Etsy.
I’m putting together some posts on why Cassandra Cain/Stephanie Brown or Barbara Gordon/Dinah Lance should win Galentines and looking for contributions and thoughts about why one of the other should be name Bestest Friends in DC Comics! More here!
art by Joe Pekar and Krystal Beisick
This past week we saw, after twenty two years, what is probably the last appearance of Oracle for the foreseeable future. As a send-off for this great character, I’ve been doing a series of tribute posts that include thoughts and memories by some of the creators who have written Oracle through the years.
Yesterday I included memories by Scott Peterson, who wrote her first standalone story, Devin Grayson, who wrote the character, Joan Hilty, who edited Birds of Prey, and Greg Rucka, who has written the character in a book and in comics. Today I bring you two of her most recent writers; Tony Bedard who wrote her Birds of Prey (at left is from a page I own of his Birds of Prey #119 with art by Nicola Scott) and Bryan Q. Miller, who wrote her in the most recent volume of Batgirl. Their thoughts follow.
I’m doing a series of tribute posts to Oracle that include thoughts and memories by some of the creators who have written her through the years. The first one was by Scott Peterson about the first standalone Oracle story. I also had thoughts from Devin Grayson and Joan Hilty.
Although the character of Oracle appeared primarily in comics, she was also a presence in other mediums including the television —Birds of Prey; games — Arkham Asylum where her voice guided Batman and in books — the novelization of “No Man’s Land” where she is the narrator. That may just be my favorite thing that Oracle has appeared in. Greg Rucka wrote that novelization as and has written Oracle in comics including the appearance at right in the The Question series in Detective Comics. Below are his thoughts on her.
I’m doing a series of tribute posts to Oracle that include thoughts and memories by some of the creators who have written her through the years. The first one was by Scott Peterson about the first standalone Oracle story.
In this post Devin Grayson, who wrote Oracle in both Gotham Knights and Nightwing (and as pictured here the story Desire from Batman 80-page Giant #1 from 1999), remembers a pivotal moment in the character’s depiction. And long time DC and Vertigo editor Joan Hilty, an editor on Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey run, talks about the relationship between Oracle and the other birds. Their thoughts follow.
This week, in Batman Inc. #8, we saw what it is likely, after twenty two years, the final appearance of Barbara Gordon as Oracle in DC Comics for the foreseeable future.
In the New 52, Barbara Gordon will be a young woman just out of college who is once again Batgirl. She will, according to what DC has told us, still have been Oracle. She is, of course, still Barbara Gordon and she may still do some of the things that Oracle did. But she won’t be the same character she’s been. This post and the others in this series are not to debate Barbara Gordon’s becoming Batgirl again. These posts are to pay tribute to her persona of Oracle and give the character a send-off into the next phase of her existence.
Oracle has been written by many of DC’s writers over the past two decades. I asked a few of her creators and editors to share some thoughts about the character. The first piece is by former DC editor and writer Scott Peterson who wrote the very first standalone Oracle story 17 years ago in Showcase ‘94. (Scott recently wrote about how Cass Cain became Batgirl) The team he worked with would later help develop Birds of Prey, Oracle’s primary title over the last decade and a half. Scott tells the story of how he came to write that first Oracle story and, shares for the first time, some of the thumbnails for the story drawn by artist Brian Stelfreeze. Scott’s story begins below.