For the past three years, Big Shiny Robot! (BigShinyRobot.com) has been proselytizing for the world of comics and geekdom, making sweet geek love to all comers across the Internet. Readers of this fine publication took notice and awarded our Website with a Best of Utah 2011 award. Knowing City Weekly readers seem to “get” us, we will now be bringing our nerdy stylings to these pages on a regular basis. We’ll be talking about comics, video games, geek movies and anything else under the sun that reeks of nerdiness.
Who am I, you ask? I’m Bryan Young, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Big Shiny Robot! I’m a filmmaker and a writer, but, more importantly, I’m a big damned geek—one of the biggest in the area. In the coming weeks and months (years, hopefully), I’ll be giving recommendations, keeping readers up to date on the latest happenings in the world of comics and nerdery and, whenever possible, I will inject it with as much preposterous liberal politics as I can manage.
Although I’m going to do more than my fair share of pontificating, I want to hear from readers, too. I want to know their questions about the world of nerds. Ask me anything in the realm of geek: recommendations, advice, comic history, anything. I’ll answer to the best of my abilities.
Now that we’ve dispensed with the pleasantries, I’d like to start off with a little-known debate. DC Comics, publisher of Superman, Batman and Green Lantern, among hundreds of others, announced that, in September, it would be rebooting its entire line of comics, 52 in all, with brand-new No. 1 issues. We don’t know a whole lot about what exactly is going to happen with some of the characters, but it has been announced that Barbara Gordon will be returning to a life of vigilantism as Batgirl. If that doesn’t sound controversial, consider that she has spent the past 23 years in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down by the Joker’s bullet. In the world of comics, few things have stuck as solidly as Barbara Gordon’s paralysis. Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, where Barbara was wounded, is a landmark of the comics form and elevated the character to heights never before possible. From the wheelchair, she proved she could still be a hero; changing her alter-ego to “Oracle,” she became the information nerve center for the entire Bat-family.
Some have said that taking Barbara out of the chair and putting her back in the suit does a disservice to all of those comics readers who must use wheelchairs and look up to Barbara as a role model. My reasons for being hesitant about these changes are a bit different. I agree with that reasoning, but my reasons are simpler: I absolutely adore the current Batgirl, Stephanie Brown, and don’t really care to see her fade into obscurity.
That said, Gail Simone is writing the new Batgirl book, and she’s written some of Barbara Gordon’s best moments during her runs on Birds of Prey, a team book that saw Oracle as the leader. She’s a fantastic writer and understands Babs inside and out. If anyone can force this to make sense, it’s Simone.
I’m going to give her, and DC, the benefit of the doubt on this one, and see what it’s about. After all, the price of one comic is pretty cheap. I don’t have much to lose by giving it a shot.
But I want to hear your opinions. You can reach me at Editor@bigshinyrobot.com. Just like Rick and Captain Renault, I think this is going to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship ...