Every day in April we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!
Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).
Today’s list is the Greatest Barbara Gordon (Batgirl/Oracle) Stories Ever Told!
10. “Folie a Deux” Legends of the DC Universe 10-11
Kelley Puckett re-tells Barbara Gordon’s origins as Batgirl in this two-parter with fabulous art by the art team of Terry Dodson and Kevin Nowlan (quite a pairing!).
9. “The Last Batgirl Story” Batgirl Special #1
Barbara Randall says goodbye to Barbara Gordon as Gordon says goodbye to being Batgirl in this bittersweet one-shot that was designed to set up Barbara for the tragic events of The Killing Joke. The art was by Barry Kitson and Bruce Patterson.
8. “Of Like Minds” Birds of Prey #56-59
Gail Simone’s run on Birds of Prey got off to a great start with this compelling four-part story that made the Birds of Prey a trio with the addition of the Huntress. It also introduced the fan favorite pairing of Savant and Creote, villains who are trying to extort Oracle into revealing Batman’s secret identity by capturing Black Canary. Canary, though, is far more formidable than they expect, but so, too, is Oracle. The artwork is done by Ed Benes and Alex Lei.
7. “The Cat and the Bat” Batman Confidential #17-21
This hilarious, raunchy and yet still really charming romp by Fabian Nicieza and Kevin Maguire shows Batgirl’s first meeting with Catwoman, where Catwoman steals a notebook from Commissioner Gordon and Batgirl will do anything (ANYthing) to get it back. The lengths that Barbara goes through to get the notebook back are alternately hilarious and action-packed, but always impressive.
6. “The Hunt for Oracle” Birds of Prey #20-21, Nightwing #46-47
Chuck Dixon had the first crossover between two of his closely related titles (as Nightwing and Oracle were dating at the time) with this thrilling story that centered around Blockbuster trying to track Oracle down to force her to reveal to him the location of Gorilla City. To do so, his agents capture and torture Nightwing and TRY to capture and torture Black Canary. This story changed Barbara’s status quo in a major way as she and Black Canary come face to face for the first time…not under good circumstance, though, of course. Butch Guice, Greg Land and Jose Marzan Jr. did the artwork (for the Birds of Prey and Nightwing issues, respectively).
The top five is on the next page!
5. “One Man’s Hell” Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey #1
Chuck Dixon had been using Oracle for awhile by the time he decided to give her her own title, choosing to pair her with Black Canary, who was pretty much in limbo at the time. This world-spanning adventure has amazing artwork from Gary Frank and John Dell and quickly showed how great of a pairing these two heroes were!
4. “Oracle–Year One: Born of Hope” Batman Chronicles #5
John Ostrander and Kim Yale were the ones who “saved” Barbara Gordon after she was shot and paralyzed in the one-shot The Killing Joke. They sort of celebrate the great job that they did with this “Year One” story in Batman Chronicles. The art was done by Brian Stelfreeze and Karl Story and it was the last job that Kim Yale did before she was tragically taken from us.
3. “On Wings” Birds of Prey #8
To give you an idea of how cool this story was, people are so desperate to read it (as DC never reprinted it) that it still fetched over $50 on eBay! It is available digitally from DC for just $2, though! Anyhow, this story is the first date between Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon and it is heartwarming and adorable and funny and just great. Chuck Dixon wrote it and Greg Land and Drew Geraci drew it.
2. “Out of Control” Suicide Squad #48-49
As I noted before, John Ostrander and Kim Yale were the ones who “saved” Barbara Gordon by making her Oracle. She had been a supporting character in Suicide Squad by this point, but this two-parter brought her front and center as the villainous Thinker underestimates her as he tries to track her down. We learn how she became Oracle. Powerful stuff. Geof Isherwood and Luke McDonnell did the art.
1. Batgirl: Year One #1-9
Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty wrote this nine-book maxi-series with their new re-defined origin for Batgirl as well as her early adventures. Meanwhile, the art was by a then-newcomer Marcos Martin (with inks by Alvaro Lopez) and they’re just astonishingly good. Chuck Dixon had such a great handle on Barbara’s characterization.
That’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!