2016 is almost over, which means our last chance to take a long look at the fiftieth anniversary of Batgirl.
Batgirl is such an iconic character that it's hardly a surprise she has had dozens of revisions and re-inventions to her character -- on the comic book page, in TV shows, and -- whether or not we want to remember it -- on the big screen.
One big part of Batgirl's iconography is, of course, her costume. It's had even more changes than the character herself, and in honor of Batgirl's anniversary, we're taking look back over fifty years of her (sometimes questionable) personal fashion.
The good folks over at Fun.com have assembled an infographic that helped us fill in some gaps -- and so here's a guided tour through the decades.
THE SILVER AGE
In the early days of Batgirl, she was a character who took a few different forms. There was a Batwoman, written as a one-off character, followed by a Bat-Girl who hung around for a while longer...
...but then Batman (the TV series with Adam West) happened, and the popularity of Catwoman on that show led the comics to bring in another pretty young woman -- a new Batgirl, this one related to Commissioner Jim Gordon.prevnext
In other media, Batgirl took on a life of her own. Between the Batman TV show and The Adventures of Batman from Filmation, she got a couple of looks that evolved past the black suit seen in her earliest comics appearances -- a purple one that would inspire numerous later costumes, and a blue-and-grey number evocative of Batman's costume.prevnext
Things stayed the same for Batgirl's look for a lot of years -- but after Batman: The Killing Joke, she was left paralyzed. She took on the non-costumed heroic hacker identity of Oracle in an issue of Suicide Squad, and ultimately became the pre-eminent source of information to the superhero community for years in the DCU.prevnext
BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES
While DC had been developing a continuous narrative throughout their post- Crisis on Infinite Earths history and it seemed to be generally frowned upon to regress by depicting Barbara Gordon as Batgirl rather than Oracle in the comics, there were no such rules on TV.
In fact, Batman: The Animated Series tried to take the most iconic, memorable version of each character and just update them slightly, tweaking the aesthetics for the needs of the show.
This meant Barbara as Batgirl and another new (albeit very familiar) look...prevnext
BATMAN & ROBIN
In Batman & Robin, they introduced Batgirl -- or a version of her. Here, she wasn't related to Jim Gordon but to Alfred Pennyworth...and she not only muscled her way into Team Batman, but got two costumes out of the deal.prevnext
NO MAN'S LAND
Helena Bertinelli may have spearheaded this costume as "The Bat" in the absence of Batman during "No Man's Land," but it was after Cassandra Cain came along and became the first Batgirl to get her own monthly series -- and a fan favorite for years, leading her toprevnext
BACK TO TV
Starting with Birds of Prey -- a short-lived live-action series in 2002 -- we saw a rapid-fire succession of new Batgirls in the early 2000s.
Batgirl was shown primarily in flashbacks in Birds of Prey -- then Batwoman showed up again in a feature film set in the world of Batman: The Animated Series and inspired by Batman Beyond designs.
The Batman took on a stylized take on the classic Batman universe, complete with a kind of '60s-inspired look for Batgirl.prevnext
After a long run as Spoiler and a short time as Robin, Stephanie Brown came back from the apparently-dead to be Batgirl.
Her run was a fan-favorite and one of the best-reviewed books of the late aughts...and then, of course, she got rebooted out of existence when The New 52 came around.prevnext
THE NEW 52
After years as Oracle, Barbara Gordon had her paralysis cured and came back to action as Batgirl at the start of The New 52, DC's 2011 line-wide reboot that gave the DC Universe a shortened history and a more "iconic" take on the world.prevnext
YET MORE TV
Wow -- this really is a character whose career has seen her reinvented on TV more than almost anybody else.
We get a very Birds of Prey-looking Batgirl in the Young Justice design, which brought Barbara's Batgirl to TV just after she came back into action in the comics.
On DC Super Hero Girls, tis' obviously pretty inspired by the Batgirl of Burnside...but the Super Hero Girls line has its own aesthetic, which you can see pretty clearly here.
There are some other, similar designs that we don't cover here (and Fun.com didn't cover), like the DC Bombshells alternate universe and various other Elseworlds stories from the post-Crisis era.prevnext
BATGIRL OF BURNSIDE
Even after having appeared for two years in the New 52, Batgirl seemingly got "younger," and took a much more Batman TV show-inspired look for the "hipster Batgirl" relaunch that, again, became a critically-acclaimed and best-selling take on the character.prev