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Oh, that’s absolutely true, and a whole different kettle of fish - Bruce loves to compare the Batkids to himself, which is natural, but it can lead to each of them trying to remold themselves in his image.
There’s literally a scene (and I tried, but I can’t find it right now) where Dick literally says that he tried to become what he thought Bruce wanted - a younger version of himself.
I could write an entirely separate post about the Batkids trying to live up to Bruce’s image and feeling like they come up short.
With Cass feeling like she doesn’t measure up to Babs, I think a lot of that is tied into Cass’s insecurities about her own intelligence. With the physical fighting, I don’t feel like Cass has many insecurities - she knows she’s good. She knows she’s better than Barbara, better than almost any other fighter out there, pretty much. But the detective side is more of a struggle for her, because she was never taught that, and the fact that she has troubles with reading and language is something she’s very self-conscious about, I think. (At least at first - these insecurities are things she gets over as time goes on.)
Now, none of this is because Cass isn’t intelligent - she’s actually incredibly intelligent, and incredibly perceptive. She often notices details that other people overlook. But, I do think she has some insecurities in that area, and considering that Barbara’s greatest strength is her mind, I wonder if that doesn’t feed into Cass’s insecurities somewhat.
Dick and Babs :)
No ship bashing is going on here (obviously), it’s just that I got carried away and wrote too much. Brace yourselves :|
This is all good but I do want to step in and say that in the original canon, Babs was 7 years older than Dick. This was made pretty darn explicit:
(Batman Family #7)
(Batman Family #10. Dick was in Hudson University at this time, so he was around 18 to Barbara’s 25 - which fits perfectly with the 7-year age difference mentioned in the last scene.)
Fans (and early shippers!) even commented on this at the time:
(For the record, while I agree with Mr. (or Ms.?) Rivera in sentiment, I would point out that while 18 may technically be of legal age, a relationship between a teenager and someone significantly older is often problematic, regardless of gender.)
So you can accept whatever canon you like about their age difference (DC’s certainly changed their story plenty over the years), but you can’t really come along and say “Babs was 17 when she became Batgirl and anyone who doesn’t think so is wrong”, because that wasn’t the original canon and it wouldn’t become the canon until decades later. Per the original canon, Babs was old enough to already have a PhD when she became Batgirl:
That’s from Detective Comics #359, the issue that introduced Babs to the world. In fact, those are the very first panels she appears in in her civilian identity. And one of the very first facts that the story goes out of its way to establish about her is that she has a PhD and graduated summa cum laude (with the highest honors).
Bear in mind that this was the sixties. The women’s lib movement was in full swing. Women around the world were fighting to break glass ceilings in education and careers. Barbara was officially conceived of and promoted as the new, feminist Batgirl (as opposed to Betty and Kathy Kane). If you don’t think her degree of education was part of that, I think you’re missing a big part of the picture here. Barbara’s PhD was a symbol of her power and intelligence, just like the fact that she later became a Congresswoman.
And the fact that DC felt the need to de-age her over the years, until in later versions of her backstory she’s too young to have had a PhD when she became Batgirl (although I’d point out that even in Batgirl: Year One, she’s already graduated from college early, not high school. That’s why she’s thinking of applying to police academy. Read the book’s Wikipedia entry, for example), too young to have been a Congresswoman in her Batgirl years, and so DC just retconned these elements right out of her backstory… well, that says something pretty un-empowering, IMO. Especially when you consider that Barbara’s romantic relationship with Dick, and the idea that people would be put off by having her be too much older than him, may well have played a role in the change. I’ll give DC the benefit of the doubt and say maybe they were just trying to appeal to a younger audience, and thought books like Batgirl: Year One would sell better with a teenage protagonist. But the implications there aren’t so great, either.
But back to the original canon. Regardless of which origin story you’re going by, you’re definitely right that Dick was a teenager and not a child when Babs became Batgirl. How old exactly? Unclear. Old enough to have already founded the Teen Titans a while back (the Titans were officially formed in 1965, Babs debuted in ‘67). Also old enough that it wouldn’t be too long before he headed off to college (which happened in Batman #217, published in 1969). But still young enough that he was drawn as significantly shorter than Babs:
(Detective Comics #359)
So… my best guess would be that Dick’s around sixteen here, and that him heading off to college was around a year later in comic-time. According to the seven-year age difference established in the Batman Family era, that makes Babs around 23. Which is a bit young to already have a PhD, but we can just accept that maybe she skipped some grades in this version of canon as well. ;-)
Sorry to be going on and on about this, but the thing is, I’m one of those people who actually likes Dick and Barbara’s original age difference. I like Babs having been a bit older and more mature (and do bear in mind, 23 is still not old) as Batgirl. I like her already having been highly educated. I like the element it brings to Dick’s unrequited crush on her back in his Robin days - it makes sense to me that as someone who was dealing with some very adult issues at a young age and had to grow up fast, Dick would have felt drawn towards someone older. It also makes sense that Babs, although thinking he was cute, wouldn’t have been interested in a teenager. (The fact that my own first crush was on someone older probably also factors into why I like this version of canon so much, I admit!) And I also like the element it bring to their adult relationship - even today, it’s still common to see younger women paired up with older men but pretty rare to see the reverse (especially without obnoxious “cougar” comments). And it’s not like seven years would have been a problematic age difference once they were in their twenties-thirties (which is when they actually became a couple, as you rightly point out).
So, IDK, I actually really like the original canon here, and I don’t think there was any good reason for DC to change it. And you can absolutely think differently, but the point is that people who canon Babs as being significantly older than Dick aren’t actually wrong.
But what if Bruce gave Cass his mothers old jewelry. Like they’re going to a posh event and Cass doesn’t have any to wear, so he just lets her wear it. And then afterwards when she tries to give it back he tells her to keep it.
"Heirlooms are meant to be passed down, and they suit you infinitely better than they would Dick"
top 5 best brother ever dick grayson moments ;)
*consults my handy-dandy tag*
#1 - The moment I consider “big brother Dick” to really have been born - giving Jason his blessing as Robin and telling him to call on him any time:
#2 - Reading Cinderella for Cass and acting out all the parts:
(Do I care that we never actually see this happen on-panel? No. No, I do not. It is still one of my all-time favorites, because it’s amazing and perfect and that is all.)
#3 - A thousand ninjas is just the start of what he would do for Tim:
#4 - His love and belief in Tim:
#5 - Teaching and reassuring Damian:
Was just stumbling along and then I came across this curious pairing:
No like they’re really
and utterly hilarious
they have sass competitions to out-sass each other
they literally worship each other
my god you guys get a room already look at all the PDA
even confessing his love in front of Bat-freaking-MAN.
even when they’re angsty together they manage to be entertaining
look at this pretty-looking couple sobs at their perfection (and they’re badass together too)
like what a waste DC how could you ruin a pairing like this we could have had it aaaaall
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