Well, too bad because for today’s edition of Comics Blah Blah Comics, I want to take a look at Congresswoman Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl.
As Batman took a darker tone under the scripting of Frank Robbins and Denny O’Neil, the more colorful trappings of the Bat mythos began to take a back seat. Dick Grayson, our stalwart Robin the Teen Wonder, was shipped off to Hudson University and Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl heads off to Washington DC as a duly elected Congress person representing whatever state Gotham City was in.
I’m not sure how old Barbara Gordon, Gotham librarian and daughter of the policy commissioner, was supposed to be but as a Congresswoman, she had to be at least 25 years old, the minimum age for serving in the House of Representatives. Since Dick Grayson was now in college, that put him at least at age 18, maybe even 19. I think in subsequent reboots and what not, Dick and Barbara are supposed to be closer in age to each other. In fact, given how Barbara is portrayed in the current Batgirl series and Dick’s new status in the series Grayson, I think Dick may now be older than Barbara. But that’s all New 52 stuff and I really don’t think I care.
Back to the subject at hand…
The first time I encountered Batgirl in the comics was in this issue of Superman.*
|I've heard of falling poll numbers|
but this is ridiculous.
As I was still new to this amazing world of DC Comics back in the early to mid-1970’s, the idea that a super hero could also be an elected official was a bit mind-blowing.
*The first place I ever saw Batgirl was on TV, played by the winsome Yvonne Craig who made a young Dave-El feel all weird and tingly.
|Bat-congresswoman makes known|
her position on the issue of capes.
The 2nd time I read a story with Batgirl the Congressperson in it was Batman Family#1 wherein Batgirl and Robin teamed up to fight Benedict Arnold and Satan.
Really. Not making that up. Seriously. Benedict Arnold. And Satan.*
*And if you doubt the veracity of my word, click here for Chris Sims' take on this most extraordinary tale.
In the story we see Barbara on the floor of the House doing….I don’t know, politician stuff. Meanwhile, college student Dick Grayson's working as a Congressional intern. (How convenient.)
|Sexy Bat-congresswoman caught "Robin" |
the cradle in torrid sex scandal
While I thought that the idea of a super hero as also an elected political leader was a very interesting idea, no one else seem to think so. It seemed Barbara’s position in Congress only served to provide Washington DC as a back-drop instead of Gotham City. As this was the height of Watergate, one would think that a really clever writer could’ve done something with the concept of Batgirl in Congress but no. I think there was a storyline in Detective Comics where Barbara Gordon’s position on a foreign relations committee puts Batgirl in the middle of some stuff ‘n’ junk involving super beings in China.
Ultimately Jack C Harris wrote Barbara out of Congress when she lost her re-election campaign. Afterwards, I think the idea of Representative Barbara Gordon was lost to the winds of time. Seriously, was Barbara’s time in politics ever referenced again? Not even when the Joker shot and paralyzed Barbara. You would think “former Gotham Congresswoman shot by insane clown criminal” would have warranted some media coverage. Then a bunch of politicos would get on the floor of the House and harrumph a lot about how something should be done about insane clown criminals and…well, I’m not sure what would happen next. Probably just like Congress in the real world: nothing.
There have been other comic book characters who have been in positions of political power.
• Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) became mayor of Star City.
• Jefferson Pierce (Black Lightning) was the Secretary of Education under President Lex Luthor. (Yes, PRESIDENT LUTHOR! Boy, that really stuck in Superman’s crawl.)
• Speaking of Superman, in a 1991 Annual, a future Clark Kent becomes President of the United States. Over in the New 52, a black Superman is President on an alternate Earth.
• Over at Marvel, Tony Stark (Iron Man) was Secretary of Defense for a time and from the Spider-man titles, J Jonah Jameson became the mayor of New York City.
I would probably be remiss to not mention the excellent series from Brian K Vaughn and Tony Harris, Ex-Machina, about an ex-super hero who becomes the mayor of New York.
There are problems with super heroes as politicians. If a politician is actually doing his job right, chances are there are few opportunities for a lot of super hero stuff to get done. And there’s the reality that politicians are not exactly well regarded these days. Currently the US Congress has an approval rating of 12%. A super hero would be better off moonlighting as a bill collector.
Still, I think the 1970’s heyday of Congresswoman Batgirl was a really cool concept and I wouldn’t mind seeing someone try that again. I mean, a young woman dressing like a bat to fight crime isn't any crazier that some of the Tea Party nut cases already in Congress, right?
Tomorrow, a post election post mortem as I tell you...What I Voted For!
Friday it's a special edition of Broken News that spotlights the Avatar of Awkward, the one, the only Mitch McConnell!
Then Saturday and Sunday, it's another one-two punch of Doctor Who Weekend as Series 8 of Doctor Who reaches it's exciting end.
Until then, remember to be good to one another.
I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You