Since her first appearance in 1961, Batgirl has worn many iconic costumes, as shown in an exciting new set of fan art. From Betty Kane to Barbara Gordon, the Batgirl mantle was worn by several women, each of whom brought a special twist to their costumes. After more than 60 years of stories about Batgirl, some costumes have gained a foothold among fans, having received the status of classics.
First introduced as Robin from Batwoman, the original Batgirl Bette Kane was eventually shelved by a DC editorial to reunite Batman with his darker roots. Bette was later replaced by Commissioner Gordon’s daughter, Barbara Gordon, who became the most famous iteration of the hero. Barbara became an Oracle after the scandalous shooting and torture of the Joker in Batman: The Killing Joke. Since Batgirl is a vital member of the bat family, the identity was later taken over by characters such as Helena Bertinelli, Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown. During New 52, Barbara reprised her role as Batgirl in hugely popular storylines, including Batgirl from Burnside. In later stories, Barbara mostly acts as an Oracle, but still disguises herself as Batgirl when necessary.
Paintings by artist John Keaveny depicting Barbara in various iconic costumes have recently surfaced, appearing all over social media as fans rediscover the stunning art originally sold and tweeted by Bottleneck Gallery in 2019. These costumes include Bette Kane’s original red and green Batgirl costume and Barbara’s costume. Gordon’s Bronze Age, classic black and gold suits and Burnside suits. The fan art is made in pin-up style, Bette and Barbara pose the same way to show the smooth development of their famous Batgirl costumes. The differences in their poses subtly convey the different attitudes of the women in each costume.
For example, Bette Kane’s Batgirl holds one hand on her hip and the other on her chest, as if pointing at herself. She looks confident and happy in her bright suit, which makes her a perfect copy Robin. Next comes Barbara’s Bronze Age and classic black and gold costumes. In these drawings, Barbara seems to be swinging on the roofs, paying tribute to her skills as a crime fighter. Additionally, these versions of the Batgirl costumes are taken from the Batman costume, but remain unique, implying that Barbara is a more independent hero than Betty’s Batgirl. Finally, the fan art of Burnside’s Batgirl costume depicts her jumping into battle, holding a peace sign. The pose, along with the more modern costume, highlights the reinterpretation of Barbara’s character to match the fashionable run of the Batgirl from Burnside.
Being an impressive character with a rich history, it’s great to see such a talented artist highlight some of the most iconic images of Batgirl. With so many other Batgirls, each with their own classic costumes, it would be incredible to see them embodied in the style of Kiweni. At the moment, fans can appreciate the changes in the famous costumes of Batgirl Bette Kane and Barbara Gordon, which are illustrated by the art of Kiweni.