DC Comics Batgirl

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DC COMICS BATGIRL BARBIE

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Where do you stand on the New 52/Gail Simone Batgirl relaunch in which Barbara Gordon recovers from her paralysis? The crippling injury occurred in Alan Moore’s famous Batman graphic novel The Killing Joke, when the Joker shot Babs through the spine – in her own home – by way of tormenting her father, police commissioner James Gordon. This left her unable to don the Batsuit but not unable to fight crime, which she continued to do from a wheelchair as the tech-savvy information broker, Oracle. Easily one of the most positive portrayals of a paraplegic character ever, some argue that Barbara’s recovery is doing a disservice to that legacy. Others points out that in a universe with Lazarus Pits and alien technology, where dead heroes and villains come back to life and Batman himself recovers from a broken back, it makes no sense to deny a beloved heroine the same suspension of disbelief.

Either way, Batgirl is alive and kicking across comics, cartoons, and throwbacks like the original Batman TV series. In 2008 she inspired this 12” Barbie Doll from the Pop Culture Collection with flowing red hair, black-and-yellow costume, and gold cape interior. My 3-year-old daughter, who is otherwise stuck in a rut of all things Disney Princess, saw this doll and forgot about Rapunzel, Belle, and Tiana, cooing in anticipation of a female role model who can dish out something other than song and dance – and my sons were sorry they didn’t see it first! (Yes, those others are strong leads exhibiting noteworthy moral fiber…but do they have utility belts?) The perfect proportions are still Barbie’s and a wheelchair’s not included, but since your little Bat-fans are probably already aware of how comic books differ from reality, they should have no problem enjoying this toy for what it is: a worthy tribute to one of the top heroes of all time!

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