Originally created by DC for the Batman television show Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl outlived the show and went on to a long costumed career in the comics which ended ignominously at the hands of Joker. To add insult to injury he didn't even know he'd just shot Batgirl, it was all part of a plot to drive her father mad. Comics were definitely getting grim in the late eighties/early nineties. Backtracking a bit people tend to forget Barbara was actually the second Batgirl. The original Bat-Girl was Betty Kane, niece of Kathy Kane aka Batwoman. She was closer to Robin's age than Barbara and had a definite crush on the Boy Wonder. Like Bat-Mite, time travel, aliens and all the other gimmick of the 1950's she vanished without a trace once the sixties rolled around apart from a brief reappearance the first time DC revived the Teen Titans back in the seventies. Anyway Barbara Gordon got around, originally a librarian she was a Congesswoman for awhile. However after breaking with her party on a matter of conscience she had to run for re-election as an independant and lost. Come to think of it they never stated if she was a Republic or a Democract, which party constituted her political opposition and what issue prompted the division. Speculation aside Babs returned to Gotham and tried to get on with her life. Problem was the guy when who had beaten her in the election turned up dead she was a natural suspect. Especially with a witness who placed her at the crime scene, In the best heroic tradition Batgirl set out to prove she was being framed and confronted the witness. The witness confessed she had been forced into testifying and had no idea it would lead to a murder charge against Barbara. Unfortunately a trio of thugs showed up to make the witness disappear before she could recant her story. Batgirl knocked down two but the third put a gun to the witness's head which froze her long enough for a battered thug to knock her out. The trio had orders to take the witness to a safe house and decided Batgirl needed to disappear as well. Since they had no orders to bring her in they stopped off at the harbour to dispose of Batgirl enroute. All of which meant that in Detective Comics #499 (Feb. 1981) Batgirl awoke in a very distressing situation.
To shorten the rest of the story Batgirl found and freed the witness and solved the frame up. The late Congessman was killed by a contractor who was supposedly a friend after discovering millions had been embezzled from a housing project scheme. More than enough to kill for. Her name cleared Barbara settled down in Gotham though as the eighties dragged on she appeared less and less in costume. After The Killing Joke she popped up in the pages of Suicide Squad as the hacker supreme, Oracle. It should be no surprise that she was suffering severe trauma from being paralysed and still having nightmares about the Joker. But she learned to cope with life in a wheelchair and after the Suicide Squad broke up Oracle turned up as a regular in Birds of Prey. DC's second Huntress (second superheroine by that name she was actually the third if you count the villainous original) assumed the role of Batgirl for awhile and someone else took over the name more recently but crippled or not Barbara will always be the one true Batgirl as far as I'm concerned.
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