A (Perhaps Unnecessary) Guide to Oracle's Formative Years

Later in 1992, Denny O'Neil introduced the concept of Oracle being Batman's main source of info in the pages of Sword of Azrael #1, which was the biggest mini-series of that year, giving Barbara a nice shot of exposure.

However, she still did not have a high profile for the next year (she made an appearance in two issues of the Hacker Files series, but that would be expected, as it was a series about computer hackers, for crissakes).

Significantly, though, if only for later events, Oracle DID make an appearance in an issue of Black Canary!! It was only as a way for Huntress to come into contact with Nightwing to go save a captured Black Canary, but still, looking back, that appearance is interesting.

Barbara's next big appearance was in Detective Comics #680, where Robin uses Oracle for information for the first time (that issue was written by Chuck Dixon, which is significant because, as you may know, once Dixon has decided to use a concept, he is committed to that concept for YEARS). This began the trend of Batman writers using Oracle more and more frequently, but surprisingly the character STILL did not appear all that much over the next two years, only making appearances every other month or so (in Dixon comics, mostly).

This would change with 1996's Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey one-shot (by, who else, Chuck Dixon), which came out the same summer that John Ostrander and Kim Yale conspired to tell the origin of Oracle in Batman Chronicles #5 - "Oracle: Year One."

This was to be the last story that Ostrander and Yale worked together on, as Yale was sadly quite sick at the time. In fact, just writing that one story was a struggle for her, but in retrospect, it is one of the strongest issues that John and Kim ever did together.

Kim Yale passed away in 1997.

She lived long enough to see Oracle: Year One published, as well as the launch of Chuck Dixon's Birds of Prey series of mini-series (as well as Barbara becoming a MAJOR part of the Batverse, during the Contagion crossover of 1996).

The rest, I suppose, is history.

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