BatGirl, Batwoman… Batwomen, Knowing the Difference.
Well, it's been a while since I've written this column. Recently, as in this past week, rumor broke that DC/WB has decided to move in the direction of a Bat Girl TV show for it's streaming network… as opposed to doing a movie. Which may or may not be the case, after all, rumors are not the same as concrete news. What's interesting is that this news comes after last months Batwoman TV show news and the casting of Ruby Rose as Batwoman for the CW/DC TV universe.
Once upon a time, there was a Batgirl comic, Batgirl Volume 1 (2000-2006) to be precise. It was cancelled not because of low sales, but rather because DC was planning to reintroduce Batwoman… and thought it might be confusing to readers. Which is understandable, I guess, since the introduction of Cassandra Cain as Batgirl still confuses people. So I thought it would be helpful to do what I do best and break down all the Bat… women, to help people out before the TV shows hit the air… or internet.
Betty Kane, first Batgirl who appeared in Batman #139. Yeah, hate to break to people, Bab's is not the first Batgirl. Just the most well known. Betty was the original Batgirl and side kick to Katherine Kane who was the first Batwoman. She appeared back in Detective Comics #233. Now don't confuse Katherine Kane and Kate Kane. Kate Kane is the one getting the TV Show on the CW and likes women. She's the modern version of the character, while Katherine Kane is the original… some would say they are the same character while others would argue they are different.
Thankfully, there's just the two… because apparently the 3rd Batwoman, Helena Wayne, never becomes Batwoman since Selina and Bruce never get married and the story in the Batman Annual #2 2017 never actually happens as a result. If the name Helena Wayne sounds familiar, she's also the Huntress of Earth 2, you know, the earth where Bruce and Selina actually get married and have a kid and the writers didn't waste 2 years of everyone's time and money with a disappointing cash grab… but I digress.
Barbara Gordon, second Batgirl. Often incorrectly referred to as the first Batgirl… which we've already established. I've written about Barbara before. Not sure how much I can really add to that. Probably best to check that out at the LINK.
Helena Bertinelli, third Batgirl… and oddly enough another character i've written about for this column before. The long story short, the Batgirl on the cover of Batman #567 IS NOT, REPEAT, IS NOT Cassandra Cain. Yes, it's Cass's first appearance, but she's not Batgirl until Legends of the Dark Knight #120. Helena is Batgirl from Shadow of the Bat #83 till LoTDK#120.
Cassandra Cain, fourth Batgirl. For those who've been reading this column for the past few years, you already know Cass's is hands down my favorite Batgirl. Cassandra is the daughter of David Cain and Lady Shiva, who are both assassins. Cassandra is slated to appear in a Birds of Prey movie. The rumored plot being Huntress and Black Canary will be rescuing her from an unnamed big bad. Some believe it will be Black Mask while others think it might be David Cain… either way, too early to tell until something concrete comes from the studio.
Stephanie Brown, fifth Batgirl. Stephanie becomes Batgirl after Cassandra passes her the mantel… or I guess more like takes off the costume after Cass finds out Bruce is dead. It's kinda odd how it goes down. Stephanie is Batgirl until the New 52 reboot putting Barbara back in the costume once again.
Charlie Gage Radcliffe. She shows up befiely impersonating Batgirl during the first ongoing Birds of Prey series in issue #98. She also takes on the identity of Huntress for a time too. While on the topic of Batgirl impersonators, how could I not mention Harley Quinn #10 and #11 from the first ongoing series. Where Harley dress up as Batgirl and ends up fighting Cassandra and Robin. Which leads me to one of my all time favorite issues of Cassandra's run as Batgirl, Batgirl #45, where Cassandra has to wear Barbara's Batgirl suit and learns the folly of fighting in high heels.
So yeah, it's pretty confusing, multiple character all trading the mantle of Batgirl and even Batwoman and Huntress. Yet, believe it or not, there's even a few more Batgirls.
A Batgirl most folks probably don't know about unless you read Batgirl: Futures End is Tiffany Fox, daughter of Lucius Fox. Tiffany is one of Barbara's trio of Batgirl. In the story Barbara is Bête Noir, a Bane and Batman hybrid of sorts. Cassandra and Stephanie with Tiffany are her… minions or agents, whichever you prefer.
So last but not least in the list of Batgirl's is Carrie Kelley, better known as Robin in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight. During the DKIII Master Race storyline she's takes on the mantle of Batgirl. I'll admit, while I liked the idea of a female Robin in Miller's TDK, I never finished reading DKIII. Between delays and by the time it wrapped up I didn't have the time. Also I had decided to boycott anything written by Brian Azzarello in retaliation for the animated Killing Joke dumpster fire… seriously, you do not want to get me started on that.
Well, that about wraps it up. Hopefully this helps untangle and illustrate just how many versions of these characters are really out there… and who knows, there might even be one I missed.
Till next time!
Looks like CGC finally figure out the truth about LoTDK120, so people who buy books based on a label, here's it is.