Character Study: Barbara Gordon

Dedicated to the late Yvonne Craig who passed away yesterday.

It’s a shame how much Barbara Gordon/Batgirl is perhaps one of the most underrated characters in comics and pop culture. Not surprising that many dismiss her as little more than a “female Robin” or a lesser spinoff character of the caped crusader.

But the astute observer will note that by being tied to the Batman mythos, Barbara Gordon has arguably made more appearances in mainstream media than any other comic book super heroine, including Wonder Woman, thus perhaps making Batgirl the most publicized comic book super heroine to date.

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Check Out Cliff Chiang’s Batgirl for Purple Rain’s 30th Anniversary

Tim Burton’s Batman is 25 years old this week, which means Prince’s Batman soundtrack is also 25 years old! I’ve said it before, and it might be blasphemous to admit, but Batman is my favorite Prince album. While most knowledgeable Musicologists might scoff, it’s true. The main reason is likely because I was too young to really appreciate Prince’s earlier catalog and Batman was my in. I still contend it’s one of his better records, and not just because of the Batman association — even though it has barely anything to do with the movie.

There’s another Prince album celebrating a landmark anniversary this week. Thirty years ago, the Purple Rain album was released — a full month before the movie hit theaters — and the history of pop music was changed forever. Since no one at the NOC wanted write about the Batman album, I figured we’d celebrate that other landmark with one of my favorite pieces of Cliff Chiang art.

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