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Adam Hughes on Batgirl #1: "It’s a real joy, but it’s sad to see Oracle go"

We talk to Batgirl #1 Cover artist Adam Hughes about the future of Barbara Gordon

The announcement of DC's massive revamp which claims to change everything we know about the DC Universe this September has left most comic fans confused. Why is now a good time to make these dramatic changes? Will dramatically changing these iconic characters really expand their readership? Everyone has an opinion when it comes to the revamp; including the creators working on these new books; so what do they think of the revamp? Since DC cover artist Adam Hughes will be one of the first artists to draw Barbara Gordon as Batgirl after 20 plus years; and since we consider that to be a pretty big responsibility; we decided to ask him how he feels about the upcoming changes-- check it out below!

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Comic Vine: What is it like for you to draw Barbara Gordon as Batgirl for the first time in 20 years?

Adam Hughes: It’s strangely ironic: I was born the same year Batgirl first appeared in comics – 1967, and I started working for DC Comics the same year Babs started doing her thing as Oracle – 1989. It’s a bittersweet dream come true. Apart from the occasional flashback, I’ve only gotten to draw Babs as Oracle. It’s a real joy, but it’s sad to see Oracle go. I was just rereading Alan Moore’s WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE MAN OF TOMORROW?, the official 2-part farewell to the pre-Crisis Superman before John Byrne & Jerry Ordway ushered in the version we’ve had for the last 25 years. I got tears in my eyes, all over again. Yes, those characters were to remain, albeit in a new form, but it was sad saying good-bye to characters you’d known and loved your whole life. I can understand how people who’ve only known Babs as Oracle must feel.

== TEASER ==

CV: What do you think of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl? Do you feel like this is a step forward for the character or no?

AH!: I’ve always loved Barbara as Batgirl, because she was always the one ‘night-time crimefighter’ who seemed to be doing it for a reason OTHER than the now-overused ‘death of a loved one’. Babs did it because she admired Batman. That’s different, and fun to explore, then AND now.

Is it a step forward? There’s no easy answer to that. I think superhero comics, by their very nature, are cycylical. I feel you can’t have 25-50+ year story continuities with characters that only age 5 or 6 years. So much melodrama happens to a character over that span, it becomes like a soap opera. A bad one. It just becomes ridiculously DENSE. DC tried reconciling the Golden and Silver age universes simultaneously with concepts like multiple Earths, but by the 1980s it was next to IMPOSSIBLE to tell good stories. There was just too much continuity to keep up with. Marvel has had wonderful success with the ULTIMATES books, but eventually too many worlds, with too many storylines can scare off new readers. They don’t know where to start.

Rebooting serialized stories that have no finite end or conclusion is sort of a necessary “evil”. Granted, we’re in an era were rebooting is being done for commercial reasons and not just because of content, so it’s become a sort of 4-letter word. However, both the JAMES BOND and BATMAN film series successfully rebooted, and both were successful because the stories were good and well-told. As a life-long STAR TREK fan, I wasn’t crazy about some of the elements of the recent reboot, but I still gave it a chance (and continue to). I hope fans will give the new DC stories the same chance, and approach things with an open mind. Just don’t talk to me when they get around to rebooting STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES. THAT, I’m gonna be cranky about. ;-)

Barbara Gordon - Adam Hughes
Barbara Gordon - Adam Hughes

CV: Can you discuss any other DC projects you are currently working on? If so, what are they, etc?

AH!: I wish I could talk about what DC has me lined up for. One project will get announced at San Diego Comic-Con, I know for sure; and possibly a second. Other stuff is in the works, so it’s hush-hush for now. BATGIRL is my current focus.

What do you think of the new DC revamp? Do you think this is the right time? Do you it will successfully bring in new readers to DC comics books?

Well, any time the comics industry is struggling for readership & a toehold on the future is a time for radical action. And you can’t get much more radical than 52 new titles a month, no? It’s a bold experiment, and one that we all can call a success if we get some great tales out of this. We’ll get new, curious readers from the sheer AUDACITY of the endeavor, but they’ll stick around if the stories are great. ACTION COMICS writer Paul Cornell recently said that for the first time in a long while, fans can stop arguing continuity and talk about story, plot, & character. I’m inclined to agree with that sentiment. As a 44 year-old fanboy, I’ve seen my favorite properties rebooted, revamped, and retooled many times. It’s the nature of the beast, and for many, this new chapter in DC’s history is their first exposure to such upheaval. It’s sad to say good-bye to old friends, but, hey – that’s part of life.

What do you guys think of Barbara Gordon's return as Batgirl? Are you looking forward to Batgirl #1 due in stores this September? Are you excited about the revamp?