When I was a tiny little thing, I used to sit up watching reruns of old television with my father. We’d watch all sorts of shows, from Leave it to Beaver, to Bewitched. My favorite, even then, was Batman. I wasn’t there for him, though, not at the time. Eventually I would delve into the full world that was Batman, the rest of DC, and then Marvel, but it all started with one woman. That woman, was Yvonne Craig.
Having a character, or characters that help form you as a person is a common theme amongst geeks. We all have our favorites, and we take those traits that we respect and admire and attempt to emulate them the best we can. Barbara Gordon is, without a doubt, one of those characters for me. That started because of Yvonne.
Every episode, I would sit on the edge of my father’s huge bed (which now as an adult seems quite normal in size), and I would wait till the end of the opening credits, hoping to see her scooter buzz across the bottom of the screen. I would scream with glee on the episodes that it did.
The character in the 60’s television show was much different from the character that we see today in the comics, just the same as Batman and Robin, but at the heart of themselves, they are the same. Compared to the comics and movies of today, the original television show is comedy, but at its core, it is still Batman.
Librarian by day, crime fighter by night, Yvonne portrayed the first iteration of a character that would help mold generations of young women to not be held back by their gender, and to be their own heroes. This was all while looking fabulous, of course.
“I meet women today who tell me that they grew up viewing Batgirl as an important role model. If they choose to know me in that context, well, I’ll take it.”
I can’t say I followed her career outside of Batman, nor can I say that I was a die hard fan, but I can say that because of her, this website exists. For that, I must share my unyielding gratitude toward this woman who I did not know. We never met, we never shared correspondence, but because of her loss, I am truly saddened.
Yvonne lost her battle with breast cancer on Monday, August 17th. She was 78.
Hopefully, somewhere up in heaven, she’s cruising along on her Batgirl cycle, looking down on all the young women who’s lives she changed.