Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Barbara Gordon in One Panel

When I first heard the theme of this site, this is the scene that immediately jumped into my mind, from Birds of Prey #8,written by Chuck Dixon.

Oracle is my favorite superhero of all time, and even though this is just one panel, and she’s not doing anything terribly exciting like beating up villains or anything, this is the scene that I think, more than any other, captures exactly what made Oracle such an incredible heroine.

If I had to describe what Oracle symbolizes to me in one word, I would say: resilience. There are many other words things that she brings to mind, of course - determination, courage, and intelligence, among others. But above all: resilience. The ability to go through tragedy and come out stronger than ever. What Barbara went through after the Joker paralyzed her would have broken a lesser person, mentally on top of physically. She lost the ability to walk, run, jump, and dance. She lost a huge part of her identity. And yet she didn’t let that break her, and, more importantly, she didn’t let it stop her from being a hero. As she says here, she created a new life for herself. One that fulfilled her. She got past her tragedy and she didn’t let it take her hope, her purpose in life, away from her.

Many times in life, we make excuses for why we can’t be better than what we are. We’re not smart enough, not strong enough, we don’t have the time. It’s not our fault - the cards are stacked against us. It’s not in the stars. There’s just nothing we can do about it.

Barbara Gordon never made excuses. When life threw obstacles her way, she didn’t just sit there and whine about it. She didn’t shrug her shoulders, declare the situation out of her hands, and turn around. She picked herself up, and she made herself a new life. No one could have blamed Babs if she had given up the life of a superhero after the Joker put her in a wheelchair. No one could have blamed her if she had lost hope and drowned herself in self-pity. But she didn’t do that. She found a way to keep helping people, to keep fighting back against the evil that had she had now experienced in such a devastatingly personal way. She came out stronger than ever.

I also think this scene is terribly fitting for the theme of this site because, in a way, it’s the exact opposite of the Women in Refrigerators syndrome. In this scene, Babs is telling Dick Grayson that what happened to her shouldn’t be about the “Batguys” or how they feel about it. All of their regret and guilt over her tragedy, while understandable, is essentially missing the point - the tragedy is hers. It happened to her. And it’s for her to decide how she feels about it. At the end of the day, her feelings have to be the focus here - not theirs.

I think that’s something every comic writer out there could stand to keep in mind.

Notes

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  20. dark-siren reblogged this from thismomentsforwomenincomics and added:
    Hear fucking hear.
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    FUCK YEAH ORACLE!!!
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