Hey, That's My Cape!: Batlove

Posted at 11:35 AM Feb 17, 2010

By Jill Pantozzi

There are a few classic couples in comics. Superman and Lois Lane and Spider-Man and Mary Jane are probably the first that pop into anyone's mind. For the most part, these couples have stood the test of time. Their romances aren't dramatic, soap opera-worthy stories, just true love. On the other hand, you've got your star-crossed affairs. Your Batman and Catwoman, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Cyclops and...well, I'm not gonna go there. These couples may have an undying passion for each other but something always seems to stand in their way, preventing them from pure bliss.

Seeing as how Valentine's Day just passed us by, I thought I'd take a few minutes to ponder the relationship between my favorite couple in comics. I'm talking about Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson. They both served as Batman's protégés, Batgirl and Robin, at one time and have since grown up and moved on to become the superheroes Oracle and Nightwing. Unfortunately, these two fall under the second, troubled relationship group. But why?! BUT WHY I SAY!?!

Recently we discovered Barbara and Dick's young courtship involved a lot of trouble fighting villains, getting trapped in tight spaces together and Dick not being able to stand up afterward.  They were making some progress when Babs was gunned down by the Joker, paralyzing her from the waste down. Dick was devastated, but nothing would have stopped him from being with the girl he loved, that is, until they had some time apart and Starfire came into the picture. And well, she's Starfire. Kind of hard to compete with a 6'5" orange-skinned bombshell, no?

Unlike Batman, who tends to love 'em and leave 'em, Dick is a pretty stand-up guy when it comes to his girlfriends. Except for that one time he slept with Babs then proceeded to hand her an engagement announcement for him and Starfire. Oh, yeah, and that time he had a one-night stand with Huntress, one of Bab's best friends. What a dick! To be fair, Babs eventually went off and got engaged to a guy named Jason Bard, but that didn't last long and before we knew it Dick was finally proposing to Babs himself.

Happily ever after? Of course not. They decided to put off the engagement while Dick went off to find himself or...whatever, and he's been too busy being Batman since he's been back for anyone to mention it again. The good news? Birds of Prey writer Gail Simone has promised some sexy time when the series starts back up in the spring, which might translate into some Babs on Dick action. So what's the bad news? Dick is joining the new Justice League lineup soon. With Starfire. Comics, sometimes I hate you.


Momo said:

Ahh, Dick. You whore.

(I forgive him though, because one, well. Just because, really. Also, if you've read the Nightwing seirse, every issue has at lesat one panel of him naked and broody in the shower, which is hysterical. Also he's, as far as I know, the only male charecter ever raped by a woman.)

A Boy Named Art said:

Re: Dick & Huntress

I believe the Ross Geller Defense applies here, your honor: He and Babs were on a break!

Jill aka The Nerdy Bird said:

Art, you are just asking for trouble.

Dominique said:

Thank you for explaining. I didn't know about the Starfire thing except for some brief allusion to her somewhere, like once I think.

You're right. They are a great couple. I find myself rooting for them throughout the BOP series. Now I'm excited Simone promised to join them up again.

One question though. When did he hook up with Huntress?

Dominique said:

Who raped him???

"Starman" Matt Morrison said:

@Jill - great article! I love the Dick and Babs relationship too.

One small comment - at the time Dick slept with Helena, Babs HATED Huntress and she was annoyed about Dick sleeping with "the wannabe Batgirl" - not sleeping with a good friend. Babs and Helena didn't become pals until the Gail Simone run of Birds of Prey.

@Momo - No. Dick isn't the only male hero to be raped by a female super-villain. He's not even the first male hero to get raped by a female super-villain.

That honor (such as it is) belongs to Oliver Queen who was raped by Shado in the 1980s' Green Arrow series. Jack Knight (Starman) was also raped by his arch-enemy, The Mist.

@A Boy Named Art - actually, Dick and Babs weren't dating at the time he slept with Huntress. They were flirting but there was no official relationship until later on in the comics.

@Dominique - the hook-up occured in the Nightwing/Huntress mini-series written by Devin Grayson.

Dick's rape occured in his own title, at the hands of the female super-villain Tarantula. That entire storyline was written by... gosh, what a coincidence... Devin Grayson.

Jill aka The Nerdy Bird said:

Dominique, yes the rapist was Catalina Flores (Tarantula).

Ah yes Starman, you are correct. Though in a recent issue (Streets of Gotham maybe?) the two wound up kissing to protect themselves from being discovered during a mission and caused that particular can of worms to be opened again.

Randy said:

I am of two minds on this subject. While I DO like the two of them together, my introduction to Dick and Babd stem back to the pre-Crisis DCU, wherein Batgirl and Robin's relationship consisted of just minor flirtation. Batgirl was a congresswoman then and Robin was the Teen Wonder. He wanted more, she didn't.

Then Dick joined the Teen Titans, met Starfire and I really liked them together. The protege of the grim Darknight Detective involved with a woman who would have worn her emotions on her sleeves....if she had worn something with sleeves.

Sorry, Jill, but I'm really more partial to the Grayson/Starfire relationship.

Jill aka The Nerdy Bird said:

Haha, "if she had worn something with sleeves." This is why I like you Randy. Even if you do hate women in wheelchairs...sniffle, sniffle.... :P

manobon said:

Didn't Dick and Starfire almost get married? At least once? Meanwhile, at least according to the comments so far, Babs has rejected/"put off" his proposals (marriage or otherwise), at least twice.

Starfire, for the win!

Randy said:

Barbara Gordon happens to be one of my favorite characters, Jill. She has really come a long way from being a back-up strip in Batman comics with crappy art, crappy writing and crappy villains to one of the most important figures in the DCU.

Oracle is one of the most fascinating characters in comics and I cannot wait for the revamped Birds of Prey series. I just think Babs and Dick work best as friends with the the possibility of something more.

I also happen to believe that Moonlighting started to suck majorly after David Addison and Maddie Hayes slept together.

Look them up on Wikipedia if you have no idea who they are.

Tatiana said:

Excellent choice. Dick Grayson is my favorite. He and Babs make a cute couple.

kai charles said:

I know the whole dick and babs thing :) but I still like him with starfire, I ws a big perez tians fan and the two of them just seemed to work, but I love Barbara too,great re-cap of their history

chkno said:

See also: X-men relationship graph.

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