Friday, July 31, 2009

BatGirl


Batgirl is the name of several fictional characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, depicted as female counterparts to the superhero Batman. Originally created by Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff, the first incarnation of the character, the "Bat-Girl" Betty Kane, debuted in Batman #139 (1961). Following the promotion of Julius Schwartz to editor of the Batman-related comic book titles in 1964, the Bat-Girl character was removed from publication and replaced by the "new" Batgirl Barbara Gordon in 1967. The new character was introduced in Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino's Detective Comics #359, entitled "The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl".

The Barbara Gordon version of Batgirl made regular appearances in Batman-related comics from 1966 to 1988. The official retirement of Batgirl took place in Batgirl Special #1 (June 1988), which was published a few months after Barbara Gordon's shooting by The Joker in the graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke (March 1988). Editor Kim Yale and comic book author John Ostrander later reinvented Barbara Gordon as Oracle, the premier information broker of the DC Comics Universe and leader of the Birds of Prey organization.

In the 1999 story Batman: No Man's Land, Helena Bertinelli briefly assumes the role of Batgirl, until she is stripped of the identity by Batman towards the conclusion of the story for violating his stringent codes. Within the same year, a new character introduced during the No Man's Land series, named Cassandra Cain, created by Kelley Puckett and Damion Scott, becomes the third Batgirl, and she is mentored by Batman and Oracle. Cassandra Cain was the first version of the Batgirl character to be featured in an eponymous monthly series, which was canceled in 2006, ending with Cain relinquishing her title as Batgirl. During the "Headhunt" arc of the Birds of Prey comic book series, the Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe character created by Gail Simone temporarily took the name of Batgirl, but was eventually forced to abandon the role by Oracle and subsequently adopted the alias "Misfit." Following the events of the limited series 52 (2006), the Cassandra Cain character reclaimed her former identity as Batgirl.

DC has announced a new "Batgirl" comic series will begin August 2009, but the company has not specified which version of the character will star.

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