Robot 6

Your Mileage May Vary: The New Batgirl Costume

Batgirl costume sketch, by Lee Garbett

Batgirl costume sketch, by Lee Garbett

Costume changes always makes for interesting discussions among comics bloggers. This time it’s Batgirl getting the makeover.

Diamondrock of Title Undetermined does not like the costume:

All the practicality has been thrown out the window in what I would see as a misguided attempt to tie Steph’s Bargirl costume to her Spoiler costume. The purple just doesn’t work. The leg pouch is all 90’s “anti-symmetry.” It just looks bad. And again, the free flowing hair is just going to get in her way. Couldn’t she tie it back in a ponytail or stuff it in her cowl like she did with her hood? Honestly, how many women athletes do you see competing with their hair loose? If a runner or a soccer player doesn’t do it, then a vigilante certainly shouldn’t.

Michelle of Supergirl: Maid of Might is pleasantly surprised:

There’s a couple versions of the new costume floating around at the moment: Lee Garbett’s original design (2nd above), and Phil Noto’s coloured version from the upcoming issue. If you don’t like one, you may like the other – I think it’s best to view them together because this is a very fresh design that will take some getting used to. But I think it’s a good change that gives the new character a distinct look of her own without screwing up the traditional design. Noto’s version has going for it a very sturdy, kind of rubberized look that’s a fit with the movie versions (which may not be everyone’s cup of tea). Garbett’s two-toned purple version is very sleek and attractive and definitely evokes Spoiler while solidly looking like ‘Batgirl’. I’m not sure which I prefer. But the already announced action figure (yay! – but is it too soon?) is modelled very closely on the spec design and it’s gorgeous.

While Caleb of Every Day is Like Wednesday is not so fond of the 90s elements:

Yes, her costume does have a utility garter on it. I hate those things. Not simply because they seem kinda dumb and impractical (Can she sit down wearing it? Can she run? And does she have so many Bat-gadgets they don’t fit in her over-sized belt that looks like it’s going to slide off her hip if she moves at all that she needs a utility garter?). No, I dislike them mostly because they seem like such a Jim Lee/Rob Liefeld circa 1992 design element. (In fact, it was right about that time that the last Bat-person who decided the best place to wear a utility belt would be his thigh tried that look out).

So what do you think?



Not a huge fan of it at the initial glance, but it may grow on me. Liked it better on the Constrictor.

I’m still trying to figure out what that thing on the sides is (and not just on her costume, but all the other ones similar to it). Rubber? Some other kind of plastic? Leather?

I could have done without the “utility garter” (heh) – interesting that DC chose to impose that particular element on Garbett’s design because they thought it evoked the Spoiler costume. Really? I think the colour scheme does that a lot better and yes, it’s very 90s. It sticks out like a sore thumb. While I didn’t bring it up in my post, I commented on Garbett’s site that the low slung belt was in the same camp as high heels – not a fan.

Non-visible hair would have been cool with me too – I assume the visible blond hair is there specifically to identify her as a different person. The batcowl is cut low enough that her hair should be kept back very well, provided the artists keep her hair at or above shoulder length. There’s no need to draw every super woman with super long hair blowing into her face (hint hint).

I am amused by people who complain about the practicality of elements of attractive design with regards to people who go into urban combat wearing tights…and capes.

I kinda like it. I’m not wowed or anything, but I could get used to it. The only thing that I think really out to go is the purple. I understand they’re obviously shooting to connect her in some way with her previous Spoiler identity, but it doesn’t look so hot here.

I am amused by people who complain about the practicality of elements of attractive design with regards to people who go into urban combat wearing tights…and capes.

Truer words have never been spoken.

And regardless of what we think about Steph’s costume, I think we can all agree that it’s still better than Mon-El’s. (And no, I don’t think that horse is dead–why do you ask?)

I don’t really care for it. I didn’t think you could screw up the Batgirl costume, but I was proven wrong. The purple that is incorporated into the design, and thigh pouches are not appealing. But atleast it isn’t as bad as the Azrael-Bats costume, that was some bad, bad 90’s design.

As with most modern costume redos, it’s uniformly AWFUL. And the tired flat boot trend needs to die a blood spattering death.

Hmmm, should the hair be pulled back? I don’t see how its any more of a distraction/hinderence than the cape. Its a visually striking design and while the utility garter seems out of place I find it to be somewhat charming.

If we were going to go for a more realistic approach here, then I would say cut the hair and keep it tucked, ditch the cape and find a tighter belt. Also, ditch any visible skin and all color schemes. Pretty much the best thing for her to do would be to wear a form fitting matte black armor with night vision goggles. After all, fast as she may be, she can’t dodge bullets and any color seen is going to present a target. Better yet, perhaps she should just stay out of the way and call the police to come in and deal with it.

Hmm, this could be the start of an entirely new trend in comics…

Personally, I dislike it; it looks clunky to me. I like my Bat-outfits sleek and (more or less) uniform. I think making it black and purple is bad; it should be supplementary shades of a deep purple or not colored at all … and padding on the bat-suit makes me wonder. I know, “realism in comics” blah blah … but it seems to me that if a criminal sees a character in an obviously-padded costume, it won’t evoke the fear and uncertainty when facing a weird figure who must be crazy or protected to go out like that … It looks like a person who’s afraid they’re about to get hurt.

It looks like a redo of the Azrael armor, as has already been noted here. The flat boots are good, but everything else, especially that idiotic belt/garter combo, have to go. And she needs to be in matte black, not purple.

The Barbara Gordon Batgirl costume is perfect. Why bother changing it? This looks very 90s. Just needs a bomber jacket.

It’s certainly better than mute bondage ninja Batgirl’s costume, but that kind of goes without saying.

The Ugly American

September 20, 2009 at 6:21 am

I will place a bet, right now, that we NEVER see her pull more than 3 distinct items out of those dozen pouches in her entire run as Batgirl.

Yep; those are definitely Liefeld pouches.

Poor Steph can’t even catch a break from her fans.

She’s a 90’s character who has taken over a classic mantle for a bit. The pouches and purple and blond make it “That time Spoiler was Bat Girl.”

This will last a bit. She’ll have a fight with Barbara and become the new Huntress… with asymmetrical pouches. :)

…Wow. That’s ugly.

Even if I wasn’t already turned off by the idea of yet ANOTHER Batgirl series without Barb in the costume, this outfit woulda finished any chance of my reading this off.

YO! DC! Stop messing with what works! The girl needs to use the classic outfit. And a red wig.

And a magic spell to put Barb in it instead of her. (dead horse officially beaten)

I like it. A lot. Yes, she’s Batgirl now, but the fact is that she’s still Stephanie Brown underneath that costume. She’s taking the outfit, she’s taking the title, she’s owning it and she’s making it her own, and honestly, she has every right to. She’s not Barbara, Bette, or Cass. And the purple on the costume? It not only connects her to the Spoiler identity, but my first thought upon seeing it was thinking that it was an homage to the 1960’s television costume, which was a sparkly purple.

As for her hair, if you actually think about it, a slit in the back of the cowl like that? It would keep her hair out of her face and flowing down her back – much like a ponytail would. Yeah, some strands could be pushed forward the way it is in the pics, but that’s really more of an artistic thing. Besides, both Catwoman and Black Canary have kept their hair out like that at one point and time. Also, Huntress. It’s a comic book thing. I mean, how much realism can you look for in a comic book universe where there are aliens and the timelines and histories of characters somehow reset themselves every few years?

This may be my second favourite Batgirl costume, next to Babs’ classic look.

@ Sureiachan

What protective padding are you referring to? I’m not seeing it.

She’s got a clumsy CAPE and a movement restricting COWL. Should we really expect added costume padding and ridiculous Liefeldian utility-fanny packs (especially when they don’t even look properly fitted to the waist).

This is why I abhor the “practicality in superhero costuming” element when if the clothing intent was to be truly practical, they wouldn’t be donning costumes in the first place.

@ Michelle

The scalloped (I think that’s the term) pieces under the arms, up the sides; the purple stripes for lack of a better term; It looks like padding to me.

I like the new look personally. Although I enjoyed Cassandra’s Batgirl a lot, I never liked that her costume was always so closed up. Of course, this also was a reflection on her character. If this costume is supposed to be more of a reflection on Stephanie’s character, then it makes sense. I also like the hair because the first two Batgirls I was ever exposed to was Yvonne Craig’s purple suit from the 60s and Tara Strong’s cartoon version in Batman: The Animated Series. Both had their hair out (although Yvonne’s suit featured a wig if I remember correctly because her real hair was brown, not red).
Also, the purple could not only be a tribute to Spoiler but to Yvonne’s Batgirl since DC has been making a lot of golden and silver age references in comics recently and reaching back into the archives for new ideas (Composite Batman/Superman a few issues ago in Batman/Superman and King Tut from the 60s TV series in Batman: Confidential a few months ago as well).

I think it’s a great costume.
Why all the hate for 90’s comics? The 90’s is when artwork started getting really detailed and cool. Okay, they overdid it with the pouches and stuff, but this new Batgirl costume does not over do it. It looks utilitarian, yet flashy. Anyone complaining about a couple of pockets on the leg and hair flowing as being impractical, but finds no problems with all the capes that heroes wear, is just being nitpicky. It’s a comic book, not plans for actual military suits!

Leave a Comment


Browse the Robot 6 Archives