The Cliffs of Insanity: Batgirls Together!

Doctor Who, cosplay, ConnectiCon
The minions met Ten at ConnectiCon. Luckily, I stopped them before they began traveling in the TARDIS, as we all know nothing good happens to kids traveling with the Doctor. Photo by Corrina Lawson

This week’s adventures climbing the Cliffs of Insanity include Batgirls fighting together (not  Cass and Steph but still awesome), some notes about San Diego Comic Con, er, sorry, Comic Con International, and why the head of DC Entertainment considers converting Wonder Woman to television or movies “tricky.”

Hint: I bet it’s because she has girl cooties.

Someone Cue the Batgirl Theme!

batgirl
The new Batgirl on the cover of Batman Beyond #18 copyright DC Comics.

Batman Beyond Unlimited #18 introduces a brand-new Batgirl to the DC Animated Universe, and the story, “Batgirl Beyond,” by Scott Peterson and Annie Wu, does so in spectacular fashion.

Unlike the current DC monthly comics, which has ditched all other Batgirls to focus on just one, the DCAU welcomes the legacy and has now-Police Commissioner Barbara Gordon fighting alongside a newcomer dressed in traditional Gotham Bat-garb.

 Gordon’s narration is one of the joys of the story.

“Rolling through Crown Point again. Fourth night in a row. First night someone’s blown up my squad car, though.”

The new Batgirl saves Gordon in the ensuing riot and the former Batgirl sees promise in this new hero, though she’s naturally cautious about sanctioning a vigilante and one who happens to be a teenage girl at that.

Annie Wu’s art makes the story look like an episode of the animated series, from Gordon leaping off a highway overpass to the current and former Batgirls fighting literally back-to back, to their high/low takedown of the thugs of the villain of the story.

Credit also goes to Peterson, who was an editor at DC Comics when the last minority Batgirl, Cassandra Cain, was created, and also has a long history with Barbara Gordon.

Female artist, new heroine, and an African-American heroine too. We need more of all of those things in our comics.

I handed the comic off to my youngest son, he handed it back about 10 minutes later, pronounced it awesome, and asked when this Batgirl was getting a new series.

So, hey, DC Digital? When is this Batgirl getting a new series that co-stars Commissioner Barbara Gordon?

And onto another question, this one asked by my eldest daughter last week, about a Wonder Woman movie…

That “Tricky” Wonder Woman

“She has been, since I started, one of the top three priorities for DC and for Warner Bros. We are still trying right now, but she’s tricky.”–Diane Nelson, DC Entertainment President, on a possible Wonder Woman movie or television show, to the Hollywood Reporter.

I suspect, like DCWomenKickingAss, that “tricky” is code for “she’s a girl.”

It’s not that I think Nelson believes personally Wonder Woman is a problem but, instead, that conventional wisdom in Hollywood is that female-led action movies don’t succeed.

Scarlett Johansson famously said that she’d have to wear pasties to get a Black Widow movie approved, even after the success of The Avengers. And the next Marvel movies planned bear that out, with more obscure properties such as Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy being funded rather than a character starring in the biggest superhero movie ever.

But DC is stuck. They have to do something with Wonder Woman because she’s one of the three pillars of their comic universe, along with Batman and Superman. Wonder Woman cannot be avoided. On the one hand, if they embrace her as a symbol of strength to women, I’m sure they’re concerned about not only turning off men from seeing her solo movie or television show but from going to see an eventual Justice League film.

Risk making her all sexy so men will want to see her (as this is the only reason—supposedly—for men to want to see a Wonder Woman film)? But then women might be turned off.

So, tricky, if you believe that bullcrap that a female-led action film can’t succeed. Of course, those worried about this “tricky” part of Wonder Woman might want to check out Justice League the Animated Series in which someone didn’t find her tricky at all.

I could also point to the new Hunger Games film, which is being previewed at Comic Con International this week, and stars a female lead. But that’s based on a popular series of books with a built-in audience, conventional wisdom might reply. To which I might point out that Wonder Woman is possibly the most famous fictional heroine in the world.

I guess we’ll see what happens. Perhaps Shondra Rhimes of Scandal, no stranger to a female-led television series, should get involved.

And speaking of San Diego…

What Con Should I Go To With My Kids?

Three of my four children came with me for all three days of ConnectiCon in Hartford, Connecticut last weekend. This is our local con, so transportation back and forth was easier than our trip to New York Comic Con last fall, which required a trip to New York City and all the transportation and hotel hassles.

The eldest son hardly qualifies as a child, given his 18th birthday is in late August. He disappeared for much of the con, occupied with his friends. They cosplayed characters from Supernatural as a group. I’ve been forbidden to put any photo evidence up publicly, but the gender-swapped Sam and Dean were awesome, and my son made a great Bobby.

In many ways, this was a far better con experience for everyone than NYCC. That was a once in a lifetime experience but it was so MUCH. It was so crowded, it was impossible to stroll on the exhibition floor on weekends, and by the third day, the younger kids, then 13, had had it.

They did much better at ConnectiCon. The dealer’s room offered easy strolling around with some great vendors, including a terrific steampunk costumer, various comic and manga/anime stores, a tea shop, and many jewelry makers, along with the artists. We managed to get into panels without a wait, including all the ones given by the guests of honor. And, bonus, the twins pictured with Doctor Who above played D&D for over two hours while I rested my feet. My youngest daughter has ADD and related issues and that’s the first time she’s concentrated on a game that long since Skylanders came out for the Wii.

I want to go to San Diego someday, hopefully with a press pass, but I’m no longer worried I’m depriving my kids because we couldn’t afford to go out there as a group. Oh, sure, they’re missing the big Hollywood panels and the over-the-top displays but the odds of them actually being able to get into those panels are small and the displays mean navigating an increasingly crowded sales floor.

This? They relaxed, had fun, interacted with the guest of honors as they roamed the con floor, and generally had a great time.

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Writer, Mom, Geek and Superhero. though usually not all four on the same day. Author of the award-winning Phoenix Institute Superhero series and the steampunk novel, The Curse of the Brimstone Contract.