Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Batgirls

 


 

Batgirl is a DC comics character that dates back to 1961. She was first introduced as a sidekick partner for Batwoman. Bat-Girl was Betty Kane, niece of Kate Kane. This character lasted only a few years. She didn't bust a lot of criminal heads, she mostly just swooned over Robin...


In 1967, DC took another crack at Batgirl, this time making her Barbara Gordon, daughter of Police Commissioner Gordon. This version lasted throughout the silver age with very little change to her costume or story line for thirty years...


Later in that same year of 1967, the TV show "Batman" decided to add Barbara Gordon to their show. They kept her story very close to the comics but the costume they made for actress Yvonne Craig was purple and Yvonne developed a cult following for her portrayal as Batgirl. I would know, I was one of them... 


 While the Batgirl character faded in popularity in DC comics, the Batman movies were doing well in theaters from 1989-1997. The last of that series, "Batman and Robin" by director Joel Schumacher  reintroduced Batgirl but Schumacher took a lot of creative license with the film and wrote her as Barbara Wilson, niece of Alfred Pennyworth. The film was a flop and killed the series with an unmade sequel that never got filmed. Actress Alicia Silverstone won the Razzie award for worst actress of 1997 for her role as Batgirl. The film made top 5 worst films of the 20th century. Thank God, Chris Nolan revived the Batman franchise with Christian Bale. 


While not much was happening with Batgirl in the comics during the 90's, there was a graphic novel called "the Killing Joke" which told a dark tale of the Joker trying to drive Jim Gordon crazy and turn him into a killer. The Joker shoots Barbara and the bullet damages her spine making her a paraplegic. DC eventually decides to run with the idea to rejuvenate her character. Barbara fights on from a wheel chair, honing her detective skills in the cyber world. She uses the alias "Oracle" and starts up the Birds of Prey, an all female crime fighting unit in Gotham. 


The Birds of Prey were a hit, and there was even a short lived TV series where actress Dina Meyer played Barbara Gordon/Oracle. The comic run lasted from 1999 into the 2010s but in 2006, DC decided to bring back Batgirl with a twist. Barbara was still Oracle but they decided to put Helena Bertonelli (who was already Huntress) into the costume. She didn't last a single issue as she broke the code and lost her privilege to wear the bat. By the end of that same issue, Cassandra Cain was wearing it instead. Cassandra was an orphan, daughter of a master assassin who had taught her a few things in her youth. Cassandra was mute and illiterate. Batman and Barbara both train her to be Batgirl. She is dark and terrifying and covers her entire face in the hood. She lasts as Batgirl for 5 years. She is sometimes referred to as Black Bat.


After a time, Cassandra was injured and disillusioned so Barbara sought out another replacement. This time she went to Stephanie Brown. Stephanie was an energetic and eager crime fighter. She started out as Spoiler and was then taken in by Batman and made the fourth Robin. Barbara made Stephanie a suit that  reflected her Spoiler costume and she and Cassandra helped train her. Stephanie was the Batgirl for a couple years until DC did their big overhaul in 2011 with their New 52 launch. 


The New 52, was a consolidation move for DC. In one move they created a single story line (no more multi-verses) for all. They decided to bring back Barbara as Batgirl. The story goes that Barbara gets her spine repaired in South Africa with some experimental science and as she can walk again. She trains hard and puts the bat suit on again, this time a slick black and gold version. As for Stephanie and Cassandra, they are still around but as Spoiler and Orphan respectively. The black suit for Barbara is not entirely new. The comic web series "Gotham Girls" had Barbara in black and gold and the comic version might have been inspired by the 2002-03 TV show Birds of Prey. Dina Meyer was Oracle but they often showed flashbacks of her as Batgirl, pre wheel chair, wearing this suit. She put it on again for one episode using a risky nerve bypass device in her back so she could fight Lady Shiva. This suit is also the de facto suit for the video game "Arkham" series. 


  One DC comic run in 2014 was called "Futures End". In that run, Barbara puts together a League of Batgirls. This group includes herself, Cassandra, Stephanie and a new comer, Tiffany Fox. For Batman fans, Lucius Fox  is Batman's tech guy. He invents all the cool gagets. In the TV show Batwoman, his son Luke Fox is Batwoman's tech guy. Luke also has a sister named Tiffany. Tiffany has been a Batman fan since she was a young kid. She becomes Barbara's latest recruit and joins the League of Batgirls. 

 That brings us to the next re branding of Batgirl. Someone decided to modernize the character, kind of threw out most of the history and came up with a character more suited to the modern age. The story goes that Barbara has a fire in her apartment and loses everything. She decides to start over fresh in Burnside, the hip, swank suburb of Gotham. Barbara returns to university and creates a new DIY costume. She is into social media and takes a lot of selfies. It has been a hit and the look was adopted into the newer animated shows, including Harley Quinn. 


I round this off at ten even though there have been other variations including the Rebirth line. Her rebirth costume however is not much of a stretch from her new 52 look but with a mask instead of a cowl and some of the old blue in it. Some of the animated shows had slightly different looks too with some combinations of her silver age look involved. I left out Helena too who was Batgirl for maybe 15 pages only. Besides, she will always be the Huntress in our hearts. 




Friday, 4 December 2020

Alpha Flight's Girl's Night In

 Alpha Flight is Canada's dedicated superhero team. I have posted about them before, http://marymargretcallahan.blogspot.com/2018/10/alpha-flight.html  . They are a Marvel Comics series closely tied to the X-Men. 



Vindicator 

Aurora 

Snowbird 
Marrina 

Talisman  
Sasquatch 

Nemesis

 
Puck II
Wolverine 

So, for first timers, Alpha Flight is a group of mutant superheroes from Canada, part of Marvel Comic's X-Men line created back in 1979. I posted about them before, so this is an update. As you know, I like to keep my groups all females. Alpha Flight originally had 7 characters, 5 of which were male (Guardian, Sasquatch, Shaman, Northstar and Wolverine) and 2 females, Snowbird and Aurora.

I always imagined a fully female team and that involved feminization of characters until Marvel did me the favour. I preferred that they would all be canon and over time it happened. Here's how: First, the team expanded, bringing up Marrina from Beta Flight along with male character Puck. That brought the team up to 3 females. When Guardian (Mac Hudson) was killed, his wife Heather took his speed skating suit and assumed his role as team leader, calling herself Vindicator making it 4 females. Since Northstar was Aurora's twin brother and they had the same powers and matching outfits, it wasn't necessary to replace him. Next came Talisman, who is Shaman's daughter and yes, has the same powers. She replaces him on the team making it 5 women. That's where I had left it off.

It was a shame that there were still Sasquatch and Puck to replace but it happened. Somewhere around issue 45, Sasquatch (Walter Langkowski) is killed but not really. His soul/identity is saved by Talisman's magic. (Bare with me here.) It's a long story but his soul is eventually reinserted into Snowbird's white Sasquatch (She can shape shift into northern beasts like a snowy owl, arctic wolf, fox, polar bear, narwhal and even a Sasquatch). So Walter is back in solid form again but when he shifts back into human form (like Hulk and Banner) he is a woman because it was Snowbird's Sasquatch. Follow? Anyway, Walter embraces his/her new gender and changes her name to Wanda. It stayed like that until the end of the run about 25 issues later.

That left only Puck. Well, Marvel put out a few more runs of Alpha Flight later on in 1994 and again in 2004 and 2015. In the third run, we meet Zuzha Yu who is Puck's daughter. Sasquatch recruits her onto the new Alpha Flight team as Puck II since she has her father's powers and abilities. Success! In addition, she is joined by the character Nemesis, who can fly and wields a mystical sword. She had been on Gamma team and was promoted to Alpha. That brings us to 8 Alpha ladies.

The last one is a bit of a stretch but can be considered canon. Follow me. Wolverine was an original team member until he left to join the X-Men. X-23, Laura Kinney was a clone of Wolverine. Sure, she wasn't born in Canada like the others. She was born in an Essex Lab, presumably in Mexico. She has her adventures, as a trained assassin, then with the X-Men, mentored by her father Wolverine. She eventually takes the name Wolverine when Logan retires (dies in the movie Logan). She never appears in the Alpha Flight comics BUT, in the movie, "Logan", she escapes persecution in the US from the government and Essex by fleeing into Canada with a handful of other mutant kids. So, the stretch is the assumption that while living in her father's birth country she gets recruited into Alpha Flight. It's possible. That's how I get my canon all female, Alpha Flight 9.
 
My apologies to fans of Diamond Lil, who I considered a villain and an enemy of the team even though she was on it for a bit, and to fans of Persuasion, aka Kara Killgrave, aka Purple Girl, who was a lifer on Beta Flight even though she was in a lot of issues. 
 
So a little fun here.
All is quiet in Canada and Heather  decides to get all the girls for a team building weekend at the cabin. Jeanne-Marie has ideas of her own...
Unmasked Alpha Flight
Pajama Party time. Aurora's idea.
 

Jeanne-Marie Beaubier "Aurora"

Marrina Smallwood "Marrina"

Jane Thorne "Nemesis"

Zuzha Yu "Puck II"

Wanda Langkoski "Sasquatch"

Narya (Anne McKenkie) "Snowbird"

Elizabeth Twoyoungmen "Talisman"



Heather MacNeil-Hudson "Vindicator"

Laura Kinney "Wolverine"

After a few a drinks, the bonding begins...

Hopefully they will show better teamwork from here on in. LOL

Watch Alpha Flight history... www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6ln6q…

 

 






Sunday, 29 November 2020

Super Groups

 Justice League, Avengers, X-Men, Birds of Prey... there are so many comic super groups out there. As ever, I want to show all the female characters. So many groups historically had just one token female character but as time went by, writers began to realize that female characters were more of a draw than they expected. Now you see many more females in these super groups. X-Men for example started out with just one, Jean Gray (Marvel Girl) with five male characters but the X-Men franchise has adapted to the times. Although they expanded the male characters, the majority of newer characters are decidedly female. Comics like Birds of Prey host an exclusive all female cast. This trend is why I came back to loving comics again. I say bring on more. I can now make group shots with all female members of all the most popular groups. Here they are...


Justice League: Hawk Girl, Jessie Quick, Zatanna, Mera, Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Supergirl, Green Lantern (Jessica Cruz), Gypsy, Big Barda.


Legends of Tomorrow: Charlie, Vixen, Ava Sharpe, White Canary, Isis, Hawk Girl


Legion of Doom: Killer Frost, Live Wire, Golden Glider, Giganta, Black Mary, Lena Luthor, Star Sapphire, Cheetah, Enchantress, Silver Banshee, Reign.


SHAZAM goddesses: Selene, Hippolyta, Artemas, Zephyrus, Aphrodite, Minerva.


Legion of Superheros: Phantom Girl, Lightning Lass, Shrinking Violet, Princess Projectra, Saturn Girl, Duo Damsel, Shadow Lass, Dreamer.


Titans: Ravager, Blackfire, Jinx, Robin, Wonder Girl, Dove, Bumble Bee, Miss Martian, Terra, Starfire, Raven.

 

Birds of Prey: Black Canary, Huntress, Batgirl, Robin, Lady Blackhawk, Batwoman.


Sirens: Talia al-Ghul, Fire Fly, Tigress, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Duella Dent, Enigma, Dee Dee.


DC others: Katana, Red Lantern, Star Girl, Thunder, Mary Marvel, Speedy, Power Girl, Silk Specter, Silk Specter II, Phantom Lady.


Avengers: She-Hulk, Squirrel Girl, Black Panther, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Wasp, Scarlett Witch, Mockingbird, Valkyrie.


Defenders: Misty Knight, Coleen Wing, Night Nurse, Jessica Jones, Hellcat, Elektra, Punisher.


Guardians of the Galaxy: Mantis, Gamora , Nebula.


Spider Verse: Silk, Venom, Black Cat, Spider-Girl, Spider Gwen, Spider Woman.


Villains: Ghost, Ruby Hale, Hela, Lady Hydra, Proxima Midnight, Lady Octopus.


Runaways: Lucy in the Sky, Sister Grimm, Arsenic and Old Lace, Princess Power.


X-Men: back row: Nagasonic Teenage Warhead, Yukio, Gwen Pool, Dazzler, Lady Deadpool, Domino, White Queen, Stepford Cuckoos. front row: Blink, Polaris, Shadow Cat, Rogue, Storm, Phoenix, Psylocke, Mystique, X-23 Wolverine, Jubilee.


Alpha Flight: Sasquatch, Snowbird, Talisman, Marrina, Aurora, Vindicator, Wolverine, Puck II, Nemesis.


Other Marvel: Lady Sif, Dagger, Invisible Woman, Songbird, Quake, Crystal, Medusa.


DV8: Ivana Biaul, Copy Cat, Sublime, Bliss, Freestyle.


Gen13: Rainmaker, Fairchild, Free Fall

 


The Boys: Stormfront, Queen Maeve, Starlight, the Female