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Barbara Gordon Reading Order (Batgirl and Oracle)

Barbara Gordon Reading Order

Created by television producer William Dozier, editor Julius Schwartz, writer Gardner Fox, and artist Carmine Infantino, Barbara Gordon first appeared in the pages of Detective Comics #359 published in January 1967 as Batgirl. As she was the by-product of the Adam-West Television show, following a request by Schwartz who wanted a new female counterpart to Batman, she was introduced into the television series in September of that same year, in the season 3 premiere of Batman.

Barbara Joan Gordon is the daughter of Gotham City police commissioner James Gordon and one of the most female iconic vigilante super-hero in the DC Universe. She began her career as Batgirl, working close to Batman and the first Robin. Quite a popular character during the Silver era thanks to her presence in the media, Barbara has a tumultuous history, filled with violence and tragedy but also reinvention and successes and love.

Following the events of Alan Moore’s Killing Joke, where the Joker paralyzed her from the waist down with a gunshot, Barbara lost everything and was changed forever. After that, Barbara reinvented herself as Oracle (created by Kim Yale and John Ostrander in the pages of Suicide Squad). Behind a computer, Babs as Oracle became one of the most valuable assets to Batman and other DC superheroes, using her above than normal intellect, eidetic memory, and hacking talents to fight crimes. She became one of the most emblematic characters for disabled people, regarded as a symbol of empowerment.

So, it was controversial when DC decided, as part of The New 52 relaunch, that Barbara had finally recovered from her paralysis following a surgical procedure and returned as Batgirl. The character was still affected by posttraumatic stress disorder and had difficulty asking for help. Barbara Gordon is as much Batgirl as she is Oracle, and now, she embodies her two vigilante identities.

As both Batgirl and Oracle, Barbara Gordon has gone through a lot and has one of the richest histories in the Batfamily. And to know more about it, here is a Barbara Gordon reading order:

Barbara Gordon Reading Order:

Bronze Age (1967-1989)

Batgirl started her vigilante career when mild-mannered librarian Barbara Gordon, daughter of famed police commissioner Jim Gordon, attended a costume party gone awry. It wasn’t long before the teenage genius crime-fighter became a regular feature of Batman’s world and you can discover her first exploits in the following omnibus, where she fights crime, team up with Robin and runs for congresswoman among other things:

Batgirl Icon Barbara Gordon Reading OrderDuring this era, Batgirl is a recurring character in Detective Comics and make guest appearances in other DC titles, such as Justice League of America, World’s Finest Comics, The Brave and the Bold, Action Comics, and Superman. Don’t hesitate to tell us in the comments what issues are worth reading!

Crisis on Infinite Earths Icon Reading OrderIn 1985-1986, DC published Crisis on Infinite Earths, the first redefining crossover comic book event written by Marv Wolfman and penciled by George Pérez. The goal was to simplify and unify the DC Universe in order to help new (and old) readers to get a better understanding and reading experience. If Batgirl participates, her role is limited and small. But this marks the end of an era and the beginning of another…

Batgirl Year One Barbara Gordon Reading Order

Post Crisis: Barbara Gordon in the Modern Age (1988-2011)

Following the reboot, DC chose to abandon the light-hearted themes of earlier ages in favor of darker and psychologically complex stories. Barbara is, first, still Batgirl, but not for long as The Joker changed her future in The Killing Joke (written by Alan Moore) when he shot her, severing her spine and permanently paralyzing her from the waist down. A new chapter began for Babs, as she had two choices: let her depression consumes her or reinvents herself. She chose the second path. Using her expert skills as a hacker, her knowledge of computers and electronics, her genius-level intellect, and her eidetic memory, Babs took the codename Oracle.

The following stories starring Barbara Gordon as Batgirl have been published during the Modern era and are, tentatively, organized in chronological order. You can find the publication date next to the title.

  • Batgirl Year One (2003)
    Collects Batgirl: Year One #1-9. This re-imagining of Batgirl’s origins by Scott Beatty and Chuck Dixon (the duo behind Robin: Year One) was published in 2003 but is a perfect entry point for the character.
  • Batman: Batgirl (1997)
    One-shot collected in Batman: Arkham – Victor Zsasz. This one-shot is one of the four one-shot graphic novels published in order to introduce the public to the new characters appearing in the 1997 feature film Batman and Robin.
  • Batman: The Cat and the Bat (2008)
    Collects: Batman Confidential #17-#21. Batgirl meets Catwoman.
  • Nightwing: Year One (2005)
    Collects Nightwing #101-106. This is obviously a Dick Grayson’s story, but a nice read for the Dick/Babs lovers out there!
  • Batgirl: Girl Frenzy (1998)
    Not Collected. One of those stories that take place before she hangs up the cowl, and totally optional.
  • Batgirl Special 1988
    Collected in Batgirl: A Celebration of 50 Years and titled “The Last Batgirl Story”.
  • Batman: The Killing Joke (1988)
    Collects Batman: The Killing Joke #1 and stories from Batman Black & White #4 and Countdown #31.

Barbara Gordon as Oracle in Suicide Squad - Barbara Gordon reading Order

John Ostrander and Kim Yale reinvented Barbara Gordon as Oracle, who made her first appearance in Suicide Squad #23 (1989), although this new identity wouldn’t be fully revealed until Suicide Squad #38 (1990). After that, she will appear on a recurring basis from issues #48 to #66. Check out our Suicide Squad reading order to know more about this less than ordinary team.

Batman Reading Order - Logo 1998The end of the 1990s was full of disasters for Batman and Gotham City with Batman Knightfall, Batman: Contagion, and Batman: Legacy. After that, there was the Batman: Cataclysm crossover event that lead right to Batman No Man’s Land. Barbara Gordon lives in The Gotham Clock Tower, which was able to withstand the earthquake that leveled Gotham and was then used as a meeting point for the Bat-Family. This is also during this event that the new Batgirl is introduced. Check out our Batman: No Man’s Land reading order for the full experience.

  • Batman: Cataclysm
    Collects Batman #553-554, Detective Comics #719-721, Batman Shadow Of The Bat #73-74, Nightwing #19-20, Catwoman #56-57, Robin #52-53, Azrael #40, Batman Chronicles #12, Batman Blackgate #1, Batman: Huntress/Spoiler #1, And Batman Arkham Asylum Tales Of Madness #1.
  • Batman: No Man’s Land Omnibus Vol. 1
    Collects Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #116-121, Azrael: Agent of the Bat #51-57, Batman #563-568, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #83-88, Detective Comics #730-735, Catwoman #72-74, Robin #67, The Batman Chronicles #16-17, Nightwing #35-37, Batman: No Man’s Land (Collector’s) #1, Batman: No Man’s Land Gallery #1, and Young Justice In No Man’s Land #1.

Birds of Prey Vol. 1 - Barbara Gordon Reading Order

In the wake of Batman: No Man’s Land, Cassandra Cain takes on the mantle of Batgirl under the tutelage of Barbara Gordon. If Babs has a sort-of recurring role at the beginning of the new Batgirl title, she also struck out a partnership with ex-Justice Leaguer Black Canary and other female heroes of the DC Universe in globetrotting adventures in espionage. Together, they form the Birds of Prey! The series was conceived by Jordan B. Gorfinkel and originally written by Chuck Dixon.

Birds of Prey Icon Reading OrderBirds of Prey Vol. 1 #22–38 are not collected for now, at least…
With the exception of issue #27, available on 
Batman: Officer Down

  • Bruce Wayne: Murderer?
    Collects Batgirl #24, #27, Batman #599-602, Batman: Gotham Knights #25-29, Batman: The 10-Cent Adventure #1, Birds Of Prey #39-41 & #43?, Detective Comics #766-770, Nightwing #65-66, #68-69, and Robin #98-99. The story continues in Bruce Wayne: Fugitive

Birds of Prey Icon Reading OrderBirds of Prey Vol. 1 #42-#55 are not collected.
For now, at least…

At this stage, writer Gail Simone and artist Ed Benes take over Birds of Prey, where Huntress becomes one of Oracle’s full-time agents in Birds of Prey #68.

DC began to reprint Birds of Prey at the start of Simone’s run in 2020 and it’s still ongoing. Some old editions are included in the following list and will be replaced by the new ones when those trade paperbacks will be released.

Batman Reading Order - Logo 1998Another Bat-event with War Games. As Gotham’s biggest gang battle ignites, Batman must call on all his available allies—Oracle, Batgirl, Nightwing, Orpheus, Onyx and Tarantula—to preserve life and contain the chaos while trying to determine who started this outbreak of violence.

  • Batman: War Games Book One
    Collects Batgirl #53, #55, Batman #631, Batman: The 12-Cent Adventure, Batman Legends Of The Dark Knight #182, Batman Gotham Knights #56, Catwoman #34, Detective Comics #790-797, Nightwing #96, Robin #126-129 And Solo #10.
  • Batman: War Games Book Two
    Collects Batgirl #56-57, Batman #632-634,642-644, Batman Legends Of The Dark Knight #183-184, Batman Gotham Knights #57-58, Batman Secret Files And Origins Allies 2005, Batman Secret Files And Origins Villians 2005, Catwoman #35-36, Detective Comics #798-800, #809-810, Nightwing #97-98, And Robin #130-131

Batgirl Icon Barbara Gordon Reading Order

After War Games, Barbara decided that it was time for her to move away from Gotham. She cuts her ties with Batman and relocates to Metropolis.

Birds of Prey Icon Reading OrderBirds of Prey Vol. 1 #125 is not collected.
For now, at least…

  • Oracle: The Cure (old edition)
    Birds of Prey #126–127, Origins and Omens: Oracle, Oracle: The Cure #1–3

Birds of Prey Icon Reading OrderOracle, Black Canary, Huntress, and Lady Blackhawk all return to Gotham City, with Gail Simone returning to write the comics.

Batgirl 2011 Barbara Gordon Reading Order

Barbara Gordon as Batgirl in the New 52 era

Following the events of Flashpoint, DC rebooted its universe and gave us New 52. Barbara Gordon has recovered from her injuries at the hands of Joker, and has returned to the streets as Batgirl. She was the star of her own title, written again by Gail Simone.

Though more optional, Barbara also appears in the new volume of Birds of Prey, written by Duane Swierczynski (#1-#17) and Christy Marx (#18-34), but is not the focus of this series. You can read the title by alternating volumes of the two series, or if you prefer, one series at a time, if you don’t care about little spoilers.

Batgirl Icon Barbara Gordon Reading Order

Barbara Gordon is ready for a fresh start! The Batgirl title underwent a soft reboot with Brenden Fletcher (writer) Cameron Stewart (writer, layouts), and Babs Tarr (artist) as the new creative team. This marks a departure in tonality, as The Batgirl of Burnside is more lighthearted than ever before.

Batgirl Rebirth Barbara Gordon Reading Order

Batgirl DC Rebirth

We enter the Rebirth Era, where almost no continuity changes were introduced for Batgirl. It’s a direct follow-up to the New 52 where Babs continues to live solo adventures written by Hope Larson (#1-23), Mairghread Scott (#25-36), and Cecil Castellucci (#37-50). She also works alongside the Birds of Prey in stories written by Julie Benson and Shawna Benson, makes some appearances alongside Nightwing, and is sometimes entangled in some Bat-events.

Batgirl Icon Barbara Gordon Reading Order

Barbara Gordon during the Infinite Frontier Era

A new era begins with more of the same as James Tynion IV’s run on Batman coming to an end with another crossover event: Fear State (Reading order of the event here). In it, Barbara faces off with a hacker who hijacked her computer in order to spread more terror. Most of this story takes place in the Nightwing tie-ins, where Barbara is a recurring character since the beginning of this era. She also acts as a mentor for the Batgirls Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown in the Batgirls title.

The story continues…

Did we forget an important issue? Did we make a mistake? Let us know in the comments!

Last Updated on September 13, 2023.