Batgirl is the name of several fictional characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, depicted as female counterparts to the superhero Batman.
Although the character Betty Kane was introduced into publication in 1961 by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff as Bat-Girl, she is replaced by Barbara Gordon in 1967, who later came to be identified as the iconic Batgirl. Her creation came about as a joint project between DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz and the producers of the 1960s Batman television series. In order to boost ratings for the third season of Batman, the producers requested a new female character be introduced into publication that could be adapted into the television series. At Schwartz's direction, Barbara Gordon debuted in Detective Comics #359 titled, "The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl!" (1967) by writer Gardner Fox and artist Carmine Infantino. Depicted as the daughter of Gotham City police commissioner James Gordon, her civilian identity is given a doctorate in library science and she is employed as head of Gotham City Public Library, as well as later being elected to the United States Congress. As Batgirl, the character operates primarily in Gotham City, allying herself with Batman and the original Robin Dick Grayson, as well as other prominent heroes in the DC Universe.
While the introduction of Batgirl into the Batman television series failed to save it from cancellation, her comic book counterpart gained popularity and makes regular appearances in Detective Comics, Batman Family and several other books produced by DC until 1988. That year, she appears in Barbara Kesel's Batgirl Special #1, in which she retires from crime-fighting. She subsequently appears in Alan Moore's graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke where, in her civilian identity, she is shot through the spinal cord by the Joker and left paraplegic. Although she is recreated as the computer expert and information broker Oracle by editor Kim Yale and writer John Ostrander the following year, her paralysis sparked debate about the portrayal of women in comics, particularly violence depicted toward female characters. Despite her paralysis in mainstream continuity, alternative versions of Barbara Gordon in her Batgirl persona have continued to appear in non-canon storylines produced by DC, typically under the company's imprint labels, Elseworlds and All Star DC Comics.
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