Batgirl: 10 Best Comic Book Storylines Featuring Barbara Gordon

Batgirl is coming back to the movies. Leslie Grace will star as Barbara Gordon in a new movie for HBO Max set in the DCEU. While little is known about the movie at the moment, it’s likely to draw on at least some of the best comic book storylines featuring the Barbara Gordon version of Batgirl.

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Barbara Gordon is the first and most enduring Batgirl, debuting first on the iconic 1966 Batman live-action series featuring Adam West before migrating into comic books. She has had many memorable adventures since then, some of which would be ideal to adapt into a movie.

10 The Million Dollar Debut Of Batgirl

Barbara Gordon becomes Batgirl in Detective Comics 359

Much like Harley Quinn, who debuted in one of the most important episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, Batgirl originated in a different medium than comic books. She made her four-color comic debut in Detective Comics #359 in 1967. “The Million Dollar Debut Of Batgirl” introduces Barbara Gordon into the DC Comics continuity after her very popular debut in the third season of the Batman ABC series.

In the story, she investigates the apparent murder of Bruce Wayne by the villain Killer Moth. She soon discovers the death was a ruse by Batman and Robin to lure Killer Moth into a trap. Batgirl joins the Dynamic Duo in taking down the villain and has become a Bat-Family member ever since.

9 Nightwing: Year One

Batgirl and Nightwing flying together in DC Comics

While Nightwing: Year One focuses on the origin of Dick Grayson in his Nightwing persona, the 2005 storyline is one of Barbara Gordon’s best stories as well. The story explores the burgeoning relationship between Barbara and Dick as both colleagues and as lovers.

The two have been close since the beginning of Batgirl’s crime-fighting career, and this story does a great job of showing why they work so well together. If Nightwing appears in the movie, this would be a good storyline for the movie to consider when it comes to their scenes together.

8 The Hunt For Oracle

DC Comics Barbara Gordon Oracle

A major chapter in Barbara’s life is being Oracle. After her encounter with Joker transformed her into a person living with paraplegia in The Killing Joke, Barbara harnessed her amazing intellect and skill with computers into being the brains and logistics behind the Bat-Family.

The Hunt For Oracle ran in issues #41-46 of the Nightwing series in 2000 and involves Nightwing discovering that hacker he is investigating his actually Oracle. The story recontextualizes the Barbara and Dick relationship for a new era and establishes Oracle as one of the most important members of the Bat-Family.

7 Thrillkiller

Female Joker, Harley Quinn, Two Face squaring off against Batman Batgirl and Robin from Thrillkiller comic

Batman: Thrillkiller is set in an alternate reality where the Joker is a woman and Batgirl is a wealthy heiress. It takes place in the 1960s and offers a very different spin on the Batman mythos. Batgirl seeks the murderer of her mother, leading to a confrontation with the Joker.

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This 1997 story is one of a number of Elseworlds stories that tell different interpretations of DC Comics lore from across the multiverse. It’s something DC is embracing heavily, especially in the upcoming The Flash movie, so it could be at play in the new Batgirl movie as well.

6 The Cat And The Bat

Batgirl and Catwoman not liking each other in DC Comics

The Cat And The Bat is a 2008 storyline from the Batman Confidential comic book series in which the first meeting between Batgirl and Catwoman is reimagined. This is a zany caper in the style of the 1960s comics Barbara Gordon appeared in like World’s Finest and The Batman Family.

In the story, Batgirl chases Catwoman after Selina Kyle steals the notebook of Commissioner Gordon, Barbara’s father, which is essential to several ongoing cases. Batgirl and Catwoman can’t stand each other, Barbara is maybe trying too hard to be the perfect superhero, and Batman is forced to play referee between the two female DC icons.

5 On Wings

Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon in Birds of Prey 08 Batgirl and Nightwing

Barbara becoming a person with paraplegia at the hands of the Joker is one of the most difficult periods of the character’s history, but it arguably leads to one of her best storylines.

On Wings takes place in Birds Of Prey #8 and features Dick and Barbara’s first official date. It’s very touching as he takes her to the circus to fly from the trapeze to recreate the sensation of flying that she misses so much. It goes right to the heart of why the two are very good for each other and is an example of why Nightwing is one of DC’s wholesome heroes.

4 Batgirl: Year One

Batgirl Year One Kiss

The Year One tradition of revisiting a hero’s origins started with the landmark comic book Batman: Year One in 1987 and continued in the 1990s with storylines devoted to revealing the early days of Nightwing and Robin. Batgirl’s turn arrived in 2003 with Batgirl: Year One and is one of her best storylines in the comics.

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This mini-series reinterpreted Barbara’s origin for a new era. Instead of Batman being the inspiration for her becoming Batgirl, as was the case for many versions of Batwoman as well, Barbara follows after her crime-fighting father. She’s also motivated by not being able to get a position in the Gotham Police Department despite her manifest skill and intelligence.

3 Oracle: Year One

Barbara Gordon smiling in DC Comics

Another critical Year One tale for Barbara Gordon is Oracle: Year One. This 1996 storyline from The Batman Chronicles comic revisits the painful aftermath of her shooting by the Joker. Barbara struggles and perseveres through her new reality, and reengages with the world.

Though The Killing Joke remains an influential comic, its quality has even been called into doubt by its own creator, Alan Moore. In an interview with Salon, Moore deemed his story as unnecessarily “nasty” with no narrative purpose. Stories like Oracle: Year One helped to turn the negative into a positive and add to Barbara’s character.

2 Barbara & The Suicide Squad

The Oracle appears in Suicide Squad.

Comic fans know that the Suicide Squad is a major element of Barbara Gordon’s history. Oracle first emerged in Out Of Control, a storyline that introduced Barbara as a hacker infiltrating the group.

Batgirl’s true identity is revealed in Suicide Squad #28, which ushered in a new era for the character as she successfully fought crime with just her genius-level intellect and expert knowledge of technology. She would later be offered membership on the team by Amanda Waller and become one of the strangest members of the Suicide Squad for a period of time before becoming part of the original Birds of Prey team.

1 Batgirl Of Burnside

Batgirl Of Burnside is a recent storyline that modernizes Barbara Gordon quite a bit. She adopts a new costume and leaves Gotham for Burnside, where she attends college. The 2014 story moves her squarely into the 21st century, emphasizing her youth and life outside of being Batgirl.

Still, being Batgirl is never far away. She ends up having to deal with a highly advanced algorithm she had devised for predicting crimes as Oracle but is now being used for nefarious purposes in connection with social media.

NEXT: Batman’s Comic Book Villains, Ranked From Most Laughable To Coolest


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