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'Batgirl' artist Babs Tarr on the reinvention of a classic DC Comics heroine

Batgirl by artist Babs Tarr

Batgirl by artist Babs Tarr Photo Credit: DC Entertainment

Late last year, DC Comics relaunched its fan-favorite character Batgirl, taking a completely new, modern approach to the heroine. Writers Cameron Stewart and Brendan Fletcher, along with artist Babs Tarr, created a hip new Brooklyn-esque locale, Burnside, and a new costume that Tarr says "is more thrifty, more trendy and more what a young woman would choose for herself. I think the coolest thing is that it's not a costume that was given to her by Batman; rather, it's a costume she made all by herself."

Meanwhile, Batgirl's adventures hit on a broader note unlike many comics that are steeped in massive, complicated back stories. The recently released collection, "Batgirl of Burnside," collects the first of six issues of this new run, and the latest issue, No. 41, is out in stores Wednesday.

amNewYork spoke with Tarr about the comic.

What was your initial reaction to this new interpretation of Batgirl?

I was excited! I was excited because the writers were changing her and I had the opportunity to draw her. When I heard the pitch and realized how well it fit with my art, I couldn't have been more excited.

The character has a very devoted fan base. Were you worried about the changes?

Yes. I was pretty new to American comics but I'd heard the fans had a reputation of not liking change. I figured it would ruffle a few feathers but I was surprised and happy when the fans seemed to embrace the change almost as a whole. That was pretty awesome!

What was your relationship with superhero comics before joining Batgirl?

It was very limited. I remember going into a comic shop when I was younger to see if they had anything for me, only to leave rather disappointed.

Were you surprised by how much and how fast the fandom embraced the book?

I was super surprised! I thought we'd get a little bit of buzz, but the phenomena it turned into was beyond my wildest dreams. I definitely believe there was an underserved audience that we struck a chord with and I didn't realize how underserved they were until I got pulled into the comic book world; I definitely count myself among them. I'm super proud to be part of this team and to have the opportunity that I do.

What other DC characters do you want to take a stab at drawing?

I think it would be fun to draw literally any other badass lady in the DC Universe! Especially Young Justice or the Teen Titans. I feel like I have a more youthful and trendy style that would lend itself really well to the characters and I'd be able to keep them stylish but powerful all the same.

How is it working with Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher?

It's really fun! We didn't get to meet initially starting this project, so it was wild meeting them last year at Comic Con and finding out how well we got along in person. I honestly couldn't dream of doing this book with anyone else. I love them both very much! I'm especially thankful to Cameron for bringing me into the comic industry and mentoring me through the first issues.

Where would you like to see Batgirl go in the new few months?

My favorite bits to draw are the slice of life and romance moments so I'd like to see lots more of that! And more badass villain ladies. They're always fun to draw.


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