New 'Batgirl' Writer Reveals Why She Moved the Superhero Out of Gotham

After years of beating up bad guys in Gotham, Barbara Gordon is on a world journey to find hersef.
Courtesy of DC Comics
'Batgirl' No. 1

Barbara Gordon will travel the globe  and go through an expedition of self-discovery in the new Batgirl  No. 1, which debuts Wednesday.

When last seen in the pervious Batgirl series of the same name (2011-2016), Barbara decided she needed a break from Gotham and traveled to Japan, and the new series from writer Hope Larson and artist Rafael Albuquerque will guide Batgirl on her world tour.

Larson, the Eisner Award-winning writer of A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel, is a newcomer to DC Comics. She has been a part of the indie comic’s scene since 2004, and Batgirl will be her first time writing a big, mainstream character. In a conversation with Heat Vision, the Batgirl writer talked about the big changes in Barbara's life and why she decided to take on the project. 

What about Batgirl made her appealing to you?

I felt like I knew her really well and she was relatable. It’s been so much fun to write someone I have some things in common with. We’re fairly close in age and she’s still trying to figure out how to be an adult, and I think I am still kind of am too at 33. She has qualities I was wish I had too, like knowing martial arts, being a genius and having an eidetic memory.

How did Rafael come aboard on the book?

My editor Mark Doyle, who I had worked with previously on several things, put us together. It’s just been so fun to work with Rafael. He’s so nice and hunted and full of sass.  

In the first issue you and Rafael take Barbara to Japan. Why set the story in Asia?

It was my editor's suggestion that I send Batgirl on a backpacking trip, and because I've written a number of projects about travel, or tied to specific locations, I was excited to take this on. Rather than send her to Europe, which is a more typical backpacking destination, I sent her where I would like to go if I was traveling myself. Doing all the research for this project was a little bit like visiting these places, and now I'm even more eager to go for real.

There is a new character introduced to the Batgirl mythology, Barbara’s childhood friend Kai. What role will Kai play in the series besides being Batgirl’s traveling companion?

He is driving a lot of the plot. Let’s just say he has some secrets and he’s in some trouble, and those secrets will be uncovered latter.

A big thematic conflict of the book seems to be past verses progress, how will this theme carry through the story arc?

For me, this is a story really about Barbara getting to know herself better and understand her strengths and weaknesses. The thing about travel is you really can go somewhere, but you can’t really get away from yourself, so that’s working I’m working with.

There has been some of controversy over the addition of a Batman/Batgirl relationship to the Batman: The Killing Joke adaptation. Are there any plans for exploring a Bruce Wayne-Barbara Gordon romance in the future?

I have no involvement with the film or animation side of things. The story I am writing is completely unrelated. If it was me, I would not be pairing Barbara up with Batman. She’s her own person.

How do you feel about the state of diversity in comics?

There should be more. We’re in a place right now where we’re taking steps in the right direction as an industry, but I think it’s particularly important for all publishers be making an effort to cultivate and hire creators from the color and LGBTQ communities. It’s a pretty straight, white male industry and that’s starting to change, but we have a long way to go.