Monday, July 14, 2014

Batgirl gets a new costume AND new creative team

Well, we Batgirl fans knew writer Gail Simone's run would end eventually. There are still a handful of issues until BATGIRL No. 35, when co-writers Cameron Stewart (BATMAN INCORPORATED) and Brenden Fletcher will take over writing duties and the appropriately named Babs Tarr becomes the new artist.

From a writing perspective, the best I can hope for is a smooth transition — one in which we barely even notice the writer even changed. Another hope of mine is the pair will keep Barbara "Babs" Gordon a serious ass-kicker, as Batgirl has been under Simone's hand.

The new duo will have big boots to fill; after all, Simone is a master crafter because she really "gets" Barbara Gordon. Babs' voice is one and the same with Simone's. There will be new writers who will pen Batgirl/Babs' further adventures long afterward, but it's hard to let go of someone who has had such a fantastic handle on one particular character and made me love and adore Batgirl/Barbara Gordon even more than I did before. (Something I didn't think was possible  — until Simone's writing singlehandedly meant BATGIRL was the only Batman-related title I decided to keep reading after the subscriptions on my other titles ran out.)

Don't believe me that it's hard to see Simone go? Remember in December 2012 when fans griped enough about Simone's unexpected push from BATGIRL that her firing became a two-issue sabbatical?

Speaking of boots, Batgirl won't have any in Tarr's redesign. Instead, Babs will be rocking high-tops — with shoelaces! (Ugh!) And it's her new New 52 look that I will address in the rest of this posting.

First of all, the new Batgirl costume reminds me of the one Yvonne Craig wore in the "Batman" TV series.

That's not a bad thing since I enjoy homages to the past. After all, Stephanie Brown's Batgirl costume was predominately purple, but yet contemporary enough to look cool.

My biggest issue is the way Tarr draws Babs' body. She looks like a teenager — and a young one at that. From what I've read in the New 52 continuity, Babs is in her early 20s, maybe her late teens at the youngest. Making Babs look so young could just be the way Tarr draws females but regardless, there's a huge age discrepancy between this redesign and the original New 52 costume and certainly the way Babs' body was rendered by the previous artists. Notice how young her face looks, how small Tarr draws her breasts and the overall lack of a young adult woman's figure.

The clasps for Batgirl's cape are a bit awkward. The way her cape buttons over her shoulders and past her collarbone reminds me of a cape used in the military for formal engagements. It really doesn't shout "superhero" to me.

My biggest complaint is with Batgirl's gold high-top tennis shoes. Since when does any female superhero were tennis shoes — much less ones with shoelaces?!? Superhero costume designer Edna "E" Mode from "The Incredibles" would certainly disapprove. After all, what if Batgirl's laces came untied when she's chasing a baddie or in the middle of a fight?

IMHO Batgirl needs boots. Boots = kickin' ass. Batgirl's New 52 boots screamed "ass kicker" and were certainly better designed than the go-go boots she wore from the late Silver Age through the 1980s.

DC Comics certainly is moving away from the armored costume look Batgirl had, which would differentiate her from the similar armored costume worn by Batman. I get that. No problem.

But haven't the DC Powers That Be heard that the shoes make the woman? Even guys who are trying impress a woman on a date knows the nicer his shoes are, the better his outfit looks.

In Batgirl's case, her "Doc Marten boots" (according to this MTV exclusive about the series which Stewart said will be like the TV series "Girls" and "Veronica Mars" with a bit of "Sherlock") don't do anything for the rest of her costume. If Babs were sporting kick-ass boots — despite the inappropriately young looking face and body, there's no doubt I'd consider this a more kick-ass look for my favorite fictional redhead.

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