How do you feel about comments regarding the new Batgirl design (and her overall personality in the Nu52 as a whole) being more Stephanie Brown than Barbara Gordon?
I don’t really know what to say about that, except that people are reacting to a comic that’s still a few months away from being released. But the fact is that Steph Brown is NOT, and has never been, Batgirl in the New 52. That’s not our decision, that was a call made years ago. We understand that it’s an unpopular decision among many fans, but in this continuity, there’s no Steph Brown Batgirl. *shrug*
I also don’t have much personal attachment to Steph - I drew an issue of Batman Inc that featured her but that’s the extent of my engagement with the character. (I’ve heard from lots of people that Bryan Q Miller’s run of the Steph Batgirl is great, but I haven’t read it. I don’t want to be unduly influenced by it, I’d rather just do my own thing and trust my excellent editors to point out if there are any significant errors or similarities.) As mentioned before, different people respond to different versions of a character, each with their favourite versions, none of which are any more or less valid than another.
So, what you’re going to read is not an imitation of Steph grafted on to Barbara, it’s how Brenden and I interpret and choose to depict the character of Barbara, based on our own history and affection for that character and parsing how she’s been presented in all media for nearly 50 years.
As always, we hope you will enjoy it!
I’ve seen the complaint before when a youthful, peppier version of Barbara Gordon was shown that she really is just the Steph Brown version hijacked to make the classic Batgirl more interesting. For me, I think one of the reasons I loved the Steph Brown Batgirl so much (despite otherwise having little interest in her as Spoiler) is that she brought some of the joy back to Batgirl, a quality that I have always associated with the character since waaay back in the Yvonne Craig days. As a bonus we got that without sacrificing the development and triumphs Babs had acheived as Oracle.
The one thing that sets Steph apart from any more “upbeat” version of Babs is that she doesn’t have quite the smarts or confidence of Babs. That worked to her favor because it made her very relatable and admirable since she’d keep dusting herself off and jumping back into the fray. That’s something I never really saw Babs do—her approach to challenges and setbacks was different somehow.
Everything I’ve seen and read about this new version of Batgirl exudes confidence and an emphasis on detective work. It also shows a Batgirl who is very much her own hero, doing her thing without much support from the Bat-Family network. I think this is very true to the roots of the Barbara Gordon version of Batgirl, even if she’s got a hipper outfit and a more contemporary feel (selfies ahoy!). I can’t wait.