Barbara Gordon

DC Comics character

Barbara Gordon is a superhero in the DC Comics Universe. In 1966 she was introduced as Batgirl; since 1989 she has been known as Oracle after a bad spinal injury inflicted by the Joker forced her into a wheelchair. After the relanch of all dc titles known as the New 52 Barbara Gordon has once again taken up the Cape and Cowl as "Batgirl", her recovery yet to be fully explained.

As Batgirl



  • Worry about a girl, eh? Hah! If they think they can cut me off from where the action is, they're mistaken! I restyled this motor bike for just such an emergency!
  • No use masquerading any longer, Dad. Because I want to run for congress in your place! You admitted you don’t want the job! And it’s the only way I can really fight crime — prevent it — through prison reform!
    • Detective Comics 422

Flawed Gems

  • I’ll always believe in second chances. I’m too flawed myself not to. Someday the morning will come when I won’t be needed. But until then I have my nights.

Batgirl: Year One

  • I have to find another path. Divine my own future. One uniquely mine. Not a page from someone else's book. Not a fate that begins and ends on page one.
    • Batgirl: Year One 1
  • Dad thinks I'm too short. My Sensei thinks I'm too "girly". But just like the principles of jujitsu— I use their expectations against them. That will be their weakness. Not mine. Let them all underestimate me. Let them think they have the upper hand over the little girl. Let them relax while the adrenaline leaks out of their systems. Let them believe they're closing their grips on a shrinking violet. And when their guard is down and their pride is rising... let me kick their butts up around their ears.
    • Batgirl: Year One 1
  • Barbara: I'm strong enough and smart enough for anything you throw at me.
Batman: Then answer one question. Why?
Barbara: Well, I... I...
Batman: I thought so. This isn't a game. Time to go home, little girl.
Barbara: Is that it? I fail the final because I can't tell you in fifty words or less why I want to do this? You may have all the tools of the trade, but you don't have a monopoly on wanting to help. I'll tell you why, you big scary goon... because I can.
  • Batgirl: Year One 3

As Oracle

  • Look around you, guys. This whole situation defies reason. But I’m not letting anyone run me out of my hometown. I didn’t let the Joker do it and I’m damn sure not going to let a bunch of bureaucrats do it!

Oracle Year One: Born of Hope

  • A little over a year has passed since my old life ended, since I died and was reborn. The shadows remain, but only to give contrast to the light. I am no longer a distaff impersonation of someone else — I’m me, more me than I have ever been. I embrace it, and the light, with a deep, continuing joy.

Birds of Prey

  • Y'know, a lot of the time it's like you Batguys want me to hold onto the past because you can't get over it. Understand— I have. I have a new life now. One I like — one that fulfils me. It's not the same as the one I had before, but it's good. Maybe even better.
    • Birds of Prey 8
  • Barbara: Okay, Savant... When you spoke to me in those different languages, your French grammar was spotty, and your Chinese was that of a sporadic tourist — but your Greek was flawless. [to her computer] Insert the following search parameters borders: American, extortion and Athens or surrounding area accent and dialect.
Barbara [narration]: I could've told you, Savant. When it comes to research... never bet against a former librarian. [the computer screen shows a match for Savant's identity]
  • Birds of Prey 59
  • You've escaped, and you think the world's a huge place, and you can hide anywhere, right? I'm here to tell you... that world? I own it. Your world is getting smaller by the second. And you can't hide anywhere from me. Every database, every security cam, and every police band has my fingerprints on it. Every moment you're out the noose pulls tighter. And Savant, just in case it's not crystal clear by now... Nobody messes with my partner.
    • Birds of Prey 61
  • Barbara: My junior prom, I had braces, no curves at all to speak of, and still got a date, somehow. I thought things were turning around. 'Til my date told me his cop dad had been ordered by my cop dad to make him ask me out. To this day I break out in hives when I see people do a box step. Oh. I didn't have a mother growing up, right? So I once stole some lipstick my father would never have let me buy... then cried all night thinking he'd find out and throw me in jail. Braces, skinny as a rail, and red hair. You don't know what hormone-addled guys say to girls with red hair. It sticks with you.
Oh, here's a good one. First real supervillain I ever fought? I had a crush on him. Killer Moth. He had this amazing deep voice, like he was the principal and you'd been bad. I had a crush on Killer Moth. Not even Nightwing knows about that. By the time I'd met Robin — sweet, flirting Robin — I'd started to fill out. The suit gave me a little of Batman's confidence, like I'd stolen it. And he was so like the jocks who'd made my life miserable... I really enjoyed putting him in his place, putting him down a little bit. It felt like revenge.
And I was the wrong age, see? Too young for the JLA, too old to be a Titan. But it would've been nice to be asked. For a long time, I tried to convince myself that Power Girl was stupid— that she didn't deserve her powers. Just plain petty resentment over the fact that no guy could take his eyes off her. Is that pathetic, or what? I know it was unfair. I tried to make it up to her later, but... It didn't work out.
After... After I was shot. I made a promise that no one would see me cry. That was wrong of me. I should've let my friends in. I thought I could do everything myself.
Helena: Barbara... what is it you're trying to do, here?
Barbara: Telling you every secret that I have that's mine to give. Letting you know I've got a whole lifetime of mistakes of my own. I want to be even. ... I'm sorry for what I did, Helena. By the time I knew you — knew what you were really like — I'd already made a mess of things. You were right to be mad. If we don't see each other again, I wanted you to know... you were right to be mad. And I'm sorry.
  • Birds of Prey 84

About Barbara Gordon

One thing the book is truly about, is that the after-effects of something like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or other trauma-related syndromes, can strike even very smart, very intellectually tough people, even soldiers and cops. ~ Gail Simone
People have been talking about this as if it's some sort of mystical thing like returning from the dead, but there are treatments and surgeries that can restore mobility in some cases. Barbara's spine was not severed. That makes her a candidate. ~ Gail Simone
  • One could argue that curing Barbara and allowing her to be Batgirl again would simply allow her to do more good fighting crime than she ever could in a wheelchair, but then you look insensitive to the ability and usefulness she has in other capacities as Oracle. Conversely, you could say that removing Barbara from her wheelchair drastically alters her character, but then wouldn't that indicate that this is a character defined by her handicap? This begs the question [sic] of why so many fans adore her: is it because she's a bold and daring leader that rivals the Calculator in brains? Or is it because she's all of that, but stuck in a wheelchair? Think about the question, and surely many of you will find an answer you don't like.
  • Without much fanfare, Barbara Gordon has become the most popular handicapped character since Charles Xavier ... There WAS some idea of her being a role model ... We wanted her to cope with what had happened to her and becoming, in many ways, more effective as Oracle than she ever was as Batgirl. And we knew that others with disabilities might look at her and feel good reading about her ... I don't think people 'dance around' her disabilities as they don't want to focus on them, but on her character. These shouldn't be stories about a disabled person; they are stories about a compelling fascinating character who HAPPENS to be in a wheelchair and I think that's correct. Barbara isn't her handicap; there's more to her than that.
  • Both had their backs broken [Batman broke his in a dramatic Batcave confrontation with the villain Bane; Batgirl broke hers when she was ambushed in her home and shot in the spine by the Joker, never given a chance to fight]. Less than a year later, Batman was fine. Batgirl—now named Oracle—was in a wheelchair and remained so for many years.
  • Gail Simone in "The Cold Shoulder: Saving Superheroines from Comic-book Violence", Shannon Cochran, Bitch, (2007).
  • of the smartest and toughest women in comics ... One thing the book is truly about, is that the after-effects of something like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or other trauma-related syndromes, can strike even very smart, very intellectually tough people, even soldiers and cops.
  • ...some of the best real world work in the field of mobility rehabilitation is coming from South Africa. People have been talking about this as if it's some sort of mystical thing like returning from the dead, but there are treatments and surgeries that can restore mobility in some cases. Barbara's spine was not severed. That makes her a candidate.

  Encyclopedic article on Barbara Gordon on Wikipedia

  Creators     Bob Kane · Bill Finger  
  Characters     Anarky · Batgirl · Barbara Gordon · Dick Grayson · The Joker  
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