Batgirl is simultaneously one of the most popular DC heroes, and one of the most underrated. Due to her Bat-family status, Batgirl can seem like an anachronistic also-ran to new DC readers, when the reality is Batgirl – in all of her various identities – is an essential cornerstone within the DC Universe.
Batgirl’s most well-known identity is Barbara Gordon, the adopted daughter of Gotham Police commissioner Jim Gordon. Barbara, or Babs, has plenty of great Batgirl stories, both in classic Batman comics and in DC’s New 52 and Rebirth. Additionally, following the events of Batman: The Killing Joke, Barbara is forced to take on a new role in the DCU as Oracle, and ultimately becomes even more of a power player with Batman, the Justice League, and the Birds of Prey.
You’ll also find reading orders for new 2000’s era Batgirls, Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown. If you have any questions about the reading order guide below, do what feels right in the comments. And as always, enjoy the comics!
Related Reading Orders:
Batgirl Comics Reading Order
Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, The Early Days
Collects: Batgirl/Robin Year One
Includes Batgirl: Year One #1 to #9 by Scott Beatty and Chuck Dixon. There’s a collection with just the Batgirl issues, but the combo with Robin: Year One (also good) remains in print and more affordable.
Collects: Batman: Batgirl
Another look at Barbara Gordon’s early days as Batgirl.
Collects: Adventure Comics 381, Batman 197 & 214, The Brave And The Bold 78, Detective Comics 359, 363, 369, 371, 384, 385, 388-389, 396-397, 400-401, 404 To 413, 415 To 421, 423 To 424, Justice League Of America 60, Superman 268 & 279, The Superman Family 171, World’S Finest Comics 169, 176
Some of Batgirl’s earliest comic book adventures from the late 60’s through the early 70’s. While chronologically these stories occur prior to Batgirl: Year One, I’d recommend most new readers start with the more modern take on Batgirl from the 90’s.
Collects: Batman Confidential #17 To #21
Batgirl and Catwoman face off for a mysterious notebook. It’s a reasonably solid story by Fabian Nicieza and Kevin Maguire, but this book is LOADED with cheesecake art, which really isn’t the point of Batgirl. There’s a fight in a strip club at one point… and then they literally fight naked during an orgy? Far from all ages, and going to come across as tasteless to plenty.
Collects: Nightwing Year One
As you’d expect, this is a Nightwing story through and through, but it helps build some of the relationship between Richard Grayson and Barbara Gordon.
The Killing Joke And Rise of Oracle
Collects: Original Graphic Novel
The Killing Joke is the increasingly controversial graphic novel from Alan Moore and Brian Bolland. In my opinion, Moore is the best comic book writer of all time, and while this isn’t his best work, it’s a formative Batman graphic novel, with lasting ramifications for Batman, Joker, and the Gordon family.
Collects: Suicide Squad #48 To #49
After Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke effectively ended Batgirl as we knew, the Suicide Squad creative team of John Ostrander and Kim Yale revived her as a new character: Oracle. The earliest Oracle appearance can technically be traced to a single panel in Suicide Squad #23 (seriously, it’s just a computer monitor saying “Hello… I Am Oracle”), and there are clues throughout Squad including the reveal of Oracle’s identity in Suicide Squad #38.
The two key issues for developing this all-new direction, though, are #48 and #49, where Ostrander and Yale begin to rebuild the damage done to Batgirl with some of the sensitivity it deserves. Oracle will appear in Suicide Squad on and off for the remainder of the run, and while I’d always recommend reading this era of Suicide Squad in its entirety, you can really start with #48 if you’re just here for the Babs.
The Batman Chronicles (AKA Oracle: Year One)
Collects: The Batman Chronicles #5, The Batman Chronicles #9
Ostrander and Yale effectively write “Oracle Year One” in the pages of Batman Chronicles #5. Then, in Batman Chronicles #9, we get a flashback team-up between Batgirl and Robin, before The Killing Joke.
This prelude to Batman: Knightfall by Denny O’Neil and Joe Quesada makes strong use of Oracle, beginning to highlight her role for the Bat family throughout the 90s. If you’re so inclined to read the entire Batman: Knightfall arc, Oracle starts to get major play towards the end of the KnightsEnd, particularly in Detective Comics #680.
Enter The Birds of Prey
Collects: Black Canary/Oracle: Birds Of Prey #1, Showcase ’96 #3, Birds Of Prey: Manhunt #1-4, Birds Of Prey: Revolution #1, Birds Of Prey: Wolves #1 And Birds Of Prey: Batgirl #1
Collects: Birds Of Prey #1 To #11, Birds Of Prey: Raven #1
Collects: Birds Of Prey #12 To #21, Nightwing #45 To #46
Collects: Jla #1 To #9
Not a Batgirl story persay, but Oracle plays a role thoughout Grant Morrison’s great 90’s run on JLA.
Collects: Jla #10 To #17
Collects: Jla #22-26, 28-31 And 1,000,000
Collects: Jla #34 And 36-41, Plus Jla Classified #1-3
Batgirl: Cassandra Cain & Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey (2000’s)
Collects: Batgirl #1-12 And Batgirl Annual #1
In the wake of Batman: No Man’s Land, Cassandra Cain takes on the mantle of Batgirl under the tutelage of Barbara Gordon. Opening arc by Kelley Puckett and Scott Peterson, as an all-new chapter in Batgirl, daughter of assassin, carries through the 2000’s.
Collects: Batgirl #13-25
Note that Issue #24 overlaps with the Bruce Wayne: Murderer? Storyline that ran throug the Batman family titles in the early 2000’s.
Collects: Batgirl #26-37
Batgirl issues #29 and #33 are included in the Bruce Wayne: Fugitive crossover collection.
Collects: Birds Of Prey #56 To #61
Gail Simone and Ed Benes takeover of Birds of Prey is one of the best runs on DC Comics in the 90’s, starring an initial crew of Oracle, Black Canary, and Huntress. Fantastic work on Barbara Gordon here, and a great starting place for fans of the character.
Collects: Birds Of Prey #62 To #68
Collects: Birds Of Prey #69 To #75
Collects: Birds Of Prey #76 To #85
Collects: Birds Of Prey #86 To #90, #92 To #95
Collects: Birds Of Prey #96 To #103
Collects: Birds Of Prey #104 To #108
Collects: Detective Comics #797, Batman #631, Legends Of The Dark Knight #182, Nightwing #96, Gotham Knights #56, Robin #129, Batgirl #55, Catwoman #34
Collects: Detective Comics #798, Batman #632, Legends Of The Dark Knight #183, Nightwing #97, Gotham Knights #57, Robin #130, Batgirl #56, Catwoman #35
Collects: Batman #633, Batgirl #57, Catwoman #36, Robin #131, Batman: Gotham Knights #58
Collects: Robin #132-133 And Batgirl #58-59
Collects: Batgirl #60 To #64
Collects: Batgirl #65 To #73
In the aftermath of Infinite Crisis.
From Cassandra Cain to Stephanie Brown, a New Batgirl
Collects: Batgirl #1 To #6
Cassie Cain gets a relaunched solo series, although at only six issues it was fairly short-lived.
Collects: Batgirl #1 To #13
After Final Crisis, we get our third Batgirl in the form of Stephanie Brown. By Bryan Q. Miller and Lee Garbett, with a 2009 to 2011 Batgirl series that ran for 24 issues.
Collects: Batman, Incorporated #1-8
The first, Pre-New 52 series of Grant Morrison’s Batman Inc. includes a great techspionage team-up starring Oracle in Batman Inc. #8, “Nightmares in Numberland.” Then, Stephanie Brown stars alongside Batman in Batman, Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes.
New 52 Batgirl Reading Order
For the full context of Batgirl’s New 52 comics appearances, you can check out Comic Book Herald’s complete New 52 reading order.
Collects: Batgirl #1 To #6
Gail Simone and Ardian Syaf’s New 52 Batgirl relaunch restores Barbara Gordon’s mobility and original hero title. The first arc expertly weaves the events of The Killing Joke into a complex psychology for Batgirl without wiping away her time as Oracle.
Collects: Batgirl #7 To #13
Collects: Batgirl Annual #1, Batgirl #14 to #16, Batman #17, Batgirl #17 to #19
Crossover with the Batman Death of the Family story carrying through Scott Synder and Greg Capullo’s run on New 52 Batman. Barbara finally gets her New 52 face to face with the Joker.
Collects: Batgirl #20-26 And Batman: The Dark Knight #23.1 – Ventriloquist
Collects: Batgirl #27-34, Batgirl Annual #2 And Batgirl: Future’S End #1
Collects: Birds Of Prey #1 To #6
You could either read the New 52 Batgirl and Birds of Prey in alternating volumes (Batgirl Vol. 1 then Birds of Prey Vol. 1, etc) or simply in chunks like I have them listed out here. Chunks is easier, but if you really want to be careful with the chronology, alternate.
Collects: Birds Of Prey #7 To #12
Collects: Birds Of Prey #13-17 And Batgirl Annual #1
Collects: Birds Of Prey #18-24 And 26 And Talon #9
Collects: Birds Of Prey #25, #27-34 And Birds Of Prey: Futures End #1
Batgirl of Burnside Relaunch and Batman: Endgame
Collects: Batgirl #35 To #40
Collects: Batman: Endgame Reading Order:
Batman Annual #3
Gotham Academy: Endgame #1
Batgirl: Endgame #1
Detective Comics: Endgame #1
Arkham Manor: Endgame #1
Batgirl gets an Endgame one-shot tie-in during the mega Batman vs. Joker event taking place in the Snyder and Capullo run.
Collects: Batgirl #41-45, DC Sneak Peek: Batgirl #1, Batgirl Annual #3
Collects: Batgirl #46-52
Collects: Convergence: Batgirl #1 To #2
Batgirl’s Convergence tie-in brings back Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain for stints as Batgirl.
You don’t need it, but you can see how these tie-ins fit into the full Convergence event reading order.
Batgirl Rebirth Reading Order
For full context to Batgirl’s DC Rebirth appearances, you can view Comic Book Herald’s complete DC Rebirth reading order.
Collects: Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey: Rebirth #1, Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey #1 To #6
Rebirth launches an all-new status quo for Batgirl and the Birds of Prey.
Collects: Batgirl #1-6
Beyond the Birds of Prey, Batgirl gets her own Rebirth ongoing.
Collects: Detective Comics #934 to #940
Although there’s no Batgirl in Rebirth’s Detective Comics, the all-new team does include Cassandra Cain as Orphan and Stephanie Brown as Spoiler (Not to mention Batwoman!).
Collects: Nightwing: Rebirth #1, Nightwing #1 to #6
Batgirl is a key supporting character throughout Nightwing, as the longtime romantic interest of Dick Grayson.
Collects: Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey #7-12
Collects: Batgirl #7-11 And Stories From Batgirl Annual #1
Collects: Detective Comics #943 to #949