Monday, July 25, 2011

Accessibility? A response to Dan DiDio

At SDCC this week, DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio said, speaking about Barbara Gordon becoming Batgirl again, "We're returning the characters to their most accessible version."

Accessible? What kind of accessibility are we talking about? Is it really that hard for the general public to understand that Barbara Gordon was Batgirl, was shot by the Joker, and became Oracle? DiDio used the many cartoon series as an example of fans relating Batgirl to Barbara Gordon. Still, most of those cartoon are telling stories of the early days of Batman so it would make sense that they would use Barbara as Batgirl. Plus many use either Dick Grayson or Tim Drake as Robin, yet neither character is going back to that role. Hey if they really wanted to they could keep Oracle and tell flashback stories of her time as Batgirl. There's no harm in that!

The question I have is what about Arkham Asylum and Arkham City? Arkham Asylum sold 3,480,000. That's a lot of gamers who have been introduced to this version of Batman's world. That's a lot of gamers who understand the concept of Oracle and know that she's Barbara Gordon. That's a lot of gamers who know details of Batman's world because of solving Riddler challenges and reading bios in the game. Instead of attempting an unpopular reboot of the character, wouldn't tying her into her role in the game lead to better sales?

Barbara Gordon has long been a symbol in the comic community. More than Superman, Oracle inspires people to pick themselves up from tragedy and make their world a better place. By ignoring that symbol in favor of some misguided sense of accessibility, DC Comics threatens to spoil the character of Batgirl and Barbara Gordon to a lot of people.

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