hi. found you from our mutual dislike of new 52 batgirl (of burnside? i don't even know.) aside from the poor characterization of barbara gordon, i think what bugs me the MOST about this "reboot" is the fact that they kept the killing joke canon. that's absolutely fucking disgusting to me.
Yeah, we’d definitely get along over that mutual dislike. Hmm, concerning keeping The Killing Joke canon, hear me out.
For starters, things that are wrong with The Killing Joke:
My biggest issue is the editor who said to “Shoot the bitch.” I don’t think Alan Moore himself (the writer) was misogynistic in how he approached this story, and in past interviews, he’s indicated that he regrets this story and is not proud of it. I remember him saying that he wishes DC editors would try to stop him rather than giving him free reign. This is important, I think, because I get the vibe that Alan Moore didn’t realize the repercussions of what he did until after the fact. The Killing Joke was originally meant to be a stand-alone story outside of the main continuity, hence the ending where it’s suggested that Bruce kills the Joker. Clearly this can’t happen in main continuity, yet The Killing Joke became so popular that DC adapted it to their main continuity… meaning suddenly Barbara is paralyzed in the main continuity. I don’t think this was ever Alan Moore’s intention.
I do think misogyny was involved in this process. For one thing, that editor is an ass hole. For another, there was clearly a discussion among the DC heads that got this storyline to be their main canon, and that seems to have misogynistic implications as well, because they didn’t have any plans for Barbara outside of that. They were basically crippling her for the hell of it and being done with it. Editors notoriously have a bad grasp of how to do a writer’s job -glances at the entire New 52- With the way writers and editors clash in the comic medium, it’s a really blurry process on how certain things become canon.
I personally don’t take issue with the story of The Killing Joke itself. I don’t mind dark storylines so long as they’re handled respectfully, and I don’t think TKJ was really disrespectful (it’s also not really my thing and I don’t care much about the story itself). It was disturbing and uncomfortable, but it was supposed to be disturbing and uncomfortable, and it wasn’t glorifying anything that happened in a positive way. Not everyone enjoys a story like this, but I don’t think the story itself was problematic. What I do take issue with is the creative process that caused this story to happen at all (”shoot the bitch”) and the fact that it was merged into main continuity without any plans for Babs once she was paralyzed. There’s definitely something wrong there.
The inner politics of DC screwed it up, and Babs could have disappeared as a character entirely if it weren’t for other creators.
Those creators are Kim Yale and John Ostrander, who made this character a famous hacker and one of the most recognizable disabled heroes, period. We’re always talking about how we want more disabled representation, and Babs filled this role beautifully once she got writers who cared about making that happen.
Theoretically speaking, if TKJ happened in a different way– if the editors and the writers had a discussion from the very beginning about making Babs an important paraplegic hacker / hero, then I would take no issue with that story (I’d be apprehensive maybe, but…). I’m okay with a dark story if it’s done to drive a character. It’s how it should have happened. Instead, DC editorial got involved in a negative way, which is why we now associate that story with misogynistic implications, because it was handled by editors in a shitty way.
So concerning TKJ being canon New 52? It doesn’t bother me that the story itself is canon. Ideally, with it being a reboot, it means we’re detaching Babs from the gross DC politics surrounding that storyline. My personal issue with New 52 Babs is not necessarily that the TKJ is still canon– it’s that TKJ is still canon and yet Babs is not a disabled hero. She experienced the same trauma as before, yet we don’t have strong disabled representation to go with it. It basically comes back to editors. They wanted TKJ to be canon because it’s such a critically acclaimed story, and yet they don’t want Babs to be disabled because they want her to run around and be Batgirl. We barely even see the implications of this in how she’s being written.
So, yeah… I agree with you about it being gross. I wouldn’t mind them keeping it canon if it meant we still get Oracle out of it, but I do think it’s gross that they wanted it to be canon while still denying us Oracle, because IMO it means they only care about that story in terms of how much money it’s made them rather than the impact it should have on Babs and the importance it has to disabled people who look up to Babs.
I realize TKJ is a sensitive topic in this fandom, but that’s my personal view on the entire thing.