Kevin Smith mentions TFT’s Batgirl article on podcast (UPDATED 7/21/2011)
Kevin Smith used air time on his weekday podcast “Plus One Per Diem” to talk over Barbara’s Not Broken, a campaign initiated in reaction to DC Comics’ decision to regress its paralyzed Barbara Gordon character to her able-bodied Batgirl persona. Kevin and wife Jennifer Schwalbach Smith referred to The Faster Times’ op-ed Batgirl and the Big, Gay Wheelchair, the narrative linchpin of the campaign, and offered their own opinions on the social ramifications of DC’s direction with the heroine.
While Jennifer expressed sympathy toward the Barbara’s Not Broken cause, Kevin’s feelings on the matter were mixed, due to his confidence that DC Comics will eventually return Barbara to her paraplegic state. DC, however, has neither promised nor implied any such rehash of Barbara’s paralyzing event, and Batgirl writer Gail Simone has essentially regarded Barbara’s new condition as a permanent status quo moving forward.
Further, Kevin’s sentiment was based on a premise that the change is excused by DC’s upcoming relaunch of all its titles–and the assumption that the relaunch will revert all of its characters back to a kind of communal “day one.” Smith’s logic was that the universal nature of the rewind dictates that Barbara be Batgirl before she becomes paralyzed sometime later on. However, this is not exactly the case; DC has stated that its overhaul is more of a revamp than a reboot, meaning only certain aspects of the DC universe will be tweaked–and that while some characters will be thrown back to their beginnings, others will remain advanced in age, experience, etc. In other words, Barbara could have easily stayed a woman with a disability, much like several other heroes in the DC universe will retain aspects of their characters that developed well after their “day one” stages. And in a fictional community so incredibly low on characters with disabilities, DC’s choice to unnecessarily revert Barbara to her pre-paralysis days remains a troubling issue of a minority group’s underrepresentation.
Kevin argued that the X-Men’s Professor X compensates for that underrepresentation, although adding that one popular icon with a disability outside of Barbara doesn’t suffice as a true presence of disabled characters. However, even using the paraplegic Professor X as a champion of disability is a bit problematic, seeing as the character has walked multiple times, and remains able-bodied in current comics.
Toward the end of their discussion, Kevin and Jennifer speculated on why Barbara never uses the technological advancements available to her to work around her paralysis. But as Batgirl and the Big, Gay Wheelchair touches on, doing so would make her the latest in a long trend of comic characters using technology or superpowers that render their disabilities negligible. For instance, a wheelchair with a jetpack, as Jennifer talks about, works against the gravity of Barbara’s paralysis, as well as its purpose in highlighting the character’s strength of will and adaptability when dealing with potentially daunting limitations.
However, the overall attitude between the hosts was a fundamentally understanding one, despite the the slight workings of misinformation and their brand new exposure to the issue in the first place. You can listen to an excerpt of the podcast below:
UPDATE (7/21/2011): DC Comics recently announced that the new version of Batgirl’s history will include her experiences as the disabled Oracle, likely alluding to a tweaked mythology that will involve her being shot and temporarily in a wheelchair, then subsequently achieving full physical rehabilitation and returning to her life in tights. More simply, this means that Kevin Smith’s assumption of disability later in the character’s timeline has an extremely small chance of being part of DC’s plans. More probable is that the new Batgirl will only have been disabled in her past, and won’t ever be in her future.
More Faster Politically Correct Pop
Follow us on twitter@thefastertimes
- 1 First Openly Straight Figure Skater Comes Forward
- 2 Brooklyn Man Now Living Entirely Off Own Beard Garden
- 3 “Cra Cra” Now Official Diagnosis in New DSM (DSM-5)
- 4 OfficeMax Marketing Director Struggling to Make Staplers ‘Sexy’ and ‘Conversational’
- 5 Homeless Guy Woos Silicon Valley VCs with Low-Tech Crowdfunding Startup
- 6 Area Man Tailors Life To Be More Relevant To His Hulu Advertisements
- 7 Fan Banging Furiously on Glass Could Be the Difference in Hockey Playoffs
- 8 Survey: 88% of Eagles Fans Too Drunk To Spell Nnamdi Asomugha Last Season
- 9 Attorney Actually Starting to Believe Own Bullshit
- 10 Local Mom Won’t Stop Being First Person to Like Every Goddamn Thing Son Posts to Facebook