The DC reboot has been a rough one for fans of female superheroes. We’ve watched many of our favorite characters disappear or, even worse, become unrecognizable parodies of themselves. Women of color have less representation than ever, and female characters in general have had their histories drastically changed to a much greater degree than male characters. Several have been replaced with alternate versions of themselves. Several remain ostensibly the same, but have undergone massive changes to their canon: Wonder Woman’s origin has been altered to include not only a father figure, but also a long Amazonian tradition of infanticide. Starfire has undergone a dramatic personality change. Barbara Gordon was never Oracle…and so on. Sadly, countless characters are simply missing: Donna Troy, Mia Dearden, Lian Harper, Renee Montoya, Scandal Savage, Charlie Gage, Sin, Holly Robinson, Zinda, and many more. Not to mention, of course, the ones everyone has been talking about: Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain.
The loss of Cass and Steph has been especially galling to many. For all that we as fans of the characters have felt their loss, we as female comic book fans have felt it even more acutely. After their respective mistreatments in canon- Cass’s extraordinarily random and out-of-character descent into villainhood and Steph’s brutal, sexualized torture and death in War Games- these characters garnered incredible support from female fans. Initially, it seemed like we had been heard: Cass returned to being Batgirl, then after disappearing and passing on the mantle in the aftermath of Batman RIP, she became Black Bat. Stephanie Brown was brought back to life, then took on the Batgirl mantle herself. These two characters came to stand as symbols of what the female DC fanbase could do if we worked together.
And then came the reboot, and they were gone. DC broke their promise that Barbara Gordon would never be miraculously cured and made her Batgirl again, thereby removing one of the few disabled characters DC had and erasing Cassandra and Stephanie’s legacies in one fell swoop. And nothing, not even efforts by several of DC’s top creators, has changed that.
It is for these reasons that we are introducing Operation Batgirl, Inc.
The what: cosplay up as anyone who’s been Batgirl in any identity that has not been included in the DCnU.
Cassandra Cain - Batgirl, Black Bat Stephanie Brown- Spoiler, Robin IV, Batgirl, Nightwing Nell Little- Batgirl Barbara Gordon- Oracle
However, this does notmean Barbara Gordon as Batgirl. We love Babs, of course, and we even love Babs as Batgirl, but Babsgirl has become rather a sensitive topic in the DCnU. Sadly, Batgirl Babs has become almost a symbol of the erasure of not only Oracle- one of the few heroes with disabilities- but also all of the other Batgirls who carried on the legacy.
Our goal? Have fun! Dress up! Get together! Take pictures of yourself and post them on the internet! But if you at all can, make sure to meet up with everyone sometime during…
The when: October 10-13, 2013
The where: New York Comic Con, 2013, the Javits Convention Center
You heard it right, folks: We’re crashing Comic Con. Every single person who can get there, man, woman, or nonbinary, cosplay as your favorite erased Batgirl identity. Amateur costumes, professional quality costumes, homemade, storebought, rule 63 or not, whoever you are and whatever you will be wearing, if you can get to NYCC, bring out the Batgirls.
And if you can’t get to NYCC? Dress up anyway! Take pictures of yourself and post them to your various social media sites, hashtag #Opbginc. Be especially sure to send them to @dccomics and @opbginc on Twitter, and include the reasons that you love the Batgirls, or anything else you have to say about the state of female representation and employment in the DCnU.
The how: In order to make this whole thing a success, we are prepared to offer a variety of resources. And, of course, we’ll want help from all of you!
So far, we’re planning to get together various tutorials. Our intention is to make cosplaying easy and affordable for everyone. We will also be opening up a forum soon to allow participants to interact, meaning that people will be able to exchange costume tips and supplies, find tickets, share lodging, etc. Basically, we’re going to do our best to make sure everyone knows how to make their costumes, can make their costume, can get tickets, can get to the con, and can sleep in an actual bed when they get there.
Get it? Got it? Good! We’ll be giving you guys more updates very soon, and we hope to see you all in October!