A super-heroine published by DC Comics.

Three different women have used the identity of Batgirl. They are Betty Kane, Barbara Gordon, and Cassandra.

Betty Kane was the original Batgirl. The niece of Kathy Kane, Betty discovered her aunt was also the hero Batwoman, and so went on several adventures with her as Batgirl.

The next woman to hold the title of Batgirl was Barbara Gordon. Her relationship to Comissioner James Gordon has changed over the years. In the pre-Crisis universe, Barbara was James Gordon's daughter. In the post-Crisis universe, Barbara is James' niece, who he and his wife raised after the death of her parents. In both realities, Barbara worked hard training both her mind and body, trying to emulate Batman. Then one day, while attending a costume fundraiser while dressed in a Batgirl costume of her own design, Barbara thwarted an attempt on the life of millionaire Bruce Wayne by the villain Killer Moth. Unbeknownst to Barbara, Wayne was actually Batman and she allowed him time to escape and change into his costume. The two heroes defeated Killer Moth and Batman agreed to aid in Batgirl's training.

For many years, Batgirl occasionally fought along side Batman and Robin. She developed a relationship with Dick Grayson for a while. Eventually, she hung up her costume, feeling as if she had accomplished all she could as Batgirl. Not long afterward, Barbara was attacked by the Joker in a plot to hurt Commissioner Gordon. Barbara was shot, paralyzing her from the waist down. Confined to a wheelchair, Barbara has continued to fight crime, using her computer skills to aid others. She now uses the name Oracle

The third and newest woman to use the name Batgirl is the mysterious Cassandra. An Asian-American teenager, Cassandra was trained by assassins in the art of combat. When she helped prevent Commissiner Gordon from being assassinated, Cassandra was given the mantle of Batgirl to wear, with Barbara Gordon's blessing. Cassandra does not speak much, causing it to be misreported that she is mute.

Batgirl has been portrayed on both the big and small screens. In the 1960's Batman television series, Batgirl was played by Yvonne Craig and instantly became the subject of millions of young boys' fantasies. In the movies, Batgirl was portrayed by Alicia Silverstone, although the character changed from being related to Commissioner Gordon to Alfred Pennyworth, Batman's butler.

Many thanks to Nekojin for correcting me on the whole "Cassandra: mute versus not very talkative" thing.

As of late 2009 and the launch of a new Batgirl series, Cassandra Cain is no longer Batgirl. She has passed the mantle to Stephanie Brown, previously known as Spoiler (and who was also Robin for a brief time). Barbara Gordon is acting as her mentor, reluctantly accepting Cassandra's decision to give the role to Stephanie.

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