Warning: contains spoilers for DC/RWBY #1!Batgirl Barbara Gordon has always been one of the most capable members of the Bat-Family, and a new glimpse into her past reveals another skill that first helped her don the cape and cowl: cosplay. When this new tidbit is added to the rest of her background in detective and police work, it becomes more apparent than ever that young Barbara was always destined to become a costumed hero, Bat-Family or not.
Marguerite Bennet, Meghan Hetrick, and Marissa Louise’s DC/RWBY #1 sees Gotham city besieged by rampaging Grimm attacks. After Batman successfully fends off one of the monsters, he drops in on the investigation headed by James Gordon and Renee Montoya as they inspect the remains of another fallen Grimm. According to Gordon’s report, Team RWBY has been seen dispatching Grimm throughout Gotham – or, as Gordon puts it, “A bunch of girls…dressed real funny. That “cosplay” stuff Babs used to be all into – big skirts and swords and cloaks and wacky hairstyles.”
An Unexpected Crossover Reveals Batgirl’s Cosplay Past
Barbara Gordon has a surprisingly extensive history with costuming. The 1988 Batgirl Special #1 by Barbara Kesel, Barry Kitson, and Bruce Patterson reveals she spent an extensive time in her youth drawing superhero costumes, and her debut as ‘Batgirl’ actually began with a homemade Halloween costume she wore to a masquerade ball in an attempt to mock her father’s unorthodox partnership with the Caped Crusader. 2014’s Batgirl #35 by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr, and Maris Wicks shows her having to create a new costume after her old gear is destroyed in a fire.
Batgirl’s Cosplay Past Justifies Her Superhero Debut
Making cosplay a part of Barbara’s backstory is a perfect fit for the character, as creating her own costume and striking out on her own is a key moment in her origin. Depicting her with a background in cosplay makes the circumstances of her first Batgirl costume more feasible, portraying her as a woman with the skills to design and execute these complicated outfits as opposed to someone who simply put on a costume and found herself in a position to fight crime while wearing it. It’s a genius modern detail that makes her coincidental costumed debut all the more believable.
None of Batman’s other proteges have quite the same relationship with their costume as Batgirl does: she crafted it before ever becoming a hero and made the identity her own. Given this, a history with cosplay seems only natural to incorporate into her backstory alongside her learning investigative procedure through her police officer father. A love of cosplay may be a slight change to her origin, but it does a lot to round out Batgirl’s character and establishes her destiny as one of DC’s greatest costumed characters.
More: DC’s First Black Batgirl Shouldn’t Be Forgotten
DC/RWBY #1 is now available from DC Comics.