Yvonne Craig: A pioneer of women’s representation in the super-hero world

craig021Today, Yyvone Craig, best known for originating the Barbara Gordon/Batgirl character in the 1960s, passed away due to complications from breast cancer. She was 78.

I met Craig once at a comic book convention in Austin. She was kind and generous with her time. When I met her, she was sitting at a table chatting with Noel Neill (Lois Lane from the 1940s/50s Superman film serials/tv show). I was a shy teenager who could do nothing but stand in awe of two actors who towered in my imagination.

She was an icon who told a generation of boys and girls that women could do it without a Bat-man’s permission. In the 1960s, she represented a stark contrast to the gender roles prescribed to women of the period. She did her own stunts. She even rode a motorcycle.

Her television portrayal of Batgirl inspired a comic character that continues the push the bounds. Batgirl has been a librarian, a congressperson, and hero in the comic books. In the late 1980s, the character was paralyzed, and she emerged one of the central members of the Justice League, next to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman.

Today, in her titular comic, she is working on her PhD in computer science. Her comics currently represent the only place trans issues have been a mainstay in mainstream comics for a number of years now.

Craig’s embodiment of the campy character transcended.

Also related: Batgirl Equal Pay Public Service Announcement, 1974

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