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Under the cut because this is long, by the way, it’s a DickBabs moment, but not a particularly happy one, so warnings there, but anyone who is knowledgable about Babs and Dick’s relationship, I’d like your opinion on whether it was OOC of Dick or not.
Devin Grayson, for some reason, LOVES to write Dick as callously oblivious and Babs as perpetually annoyed. To me, that characterization of Dick reached its absolute point of unbelievability in this scene, from Nightwing #85:
Okay, first of all, I have issues with the way Babs is characterized here too, but that’s an entirely separate post.
But Dick, just… no. Babs basically never voices that kind of naked insecurity over her disability, and whether you consider it in-character for her here or not, there’s no doubt that if she did, Dick would immediately take notice and respond appropriately to reassure her. The way he brushes her off here is so cruelly insensitive to her feelings, it just makes me wince.
I mean, just compare that to how well he reads and responds to her insecurities in Nightwing #38 (written by Chuck Dixon), for example:
Now, Dick’s not perfect, and it’s certainly plausible that he could be too distracted or overworked/tired to read Barbara’s (or anyone else’s) mood correctly every once in a while. It’s also perfectly plausible that this could lead to him being accidentally insensitive now and then. I can also see him realizing Babs was in a bad mood and thinking being silly would cheer her up, but having it misfire.
But Dick is, as a rule, a pretty sensitive guy, and he’s good at reading people. Especially someone he’s as close to as Babs. Unless there was something pretty major distracting him, he’d likely realize his mistake pretty quickly in either of those situations, switch into serious mode, and talk things out properly with her. The way Devin Grayson just writes him as obliviously trampling all over Barbara’s feelings all the time often feels false to me.
The fact is, the way Devin Grayson writes their relationship, you almost feel like Dick doesn’t really understand Babs (however well he might think he does), and Babs may love Dick but she doesn’t really like him all that much. Neither of which is the way I see their relationship, nor the way other writers have portrayed it.
What’s particularly frustrating about Devin Grayson’s writing is that she’ll get it so completely right one moment, and then so utterly wrong the next. She’s a good (if problematic) writer, and her characterization can be wonderfully spot-on at times. But issues like this keep me from really appreciating the way she writes Dick and Babs.
Dick would so kiss Barbara in the moment and dip her back, before accidentally dropping her when his name was called.
Tim’s actually canonically done that to Steph:
I’m just gonna come right out and say it: Casting a regularly-abled actress to play Oracle would be a complete and utter betrayal of what Oracle stands for.
I mean, trust me, I get why people do it. There aren’t a lot of well-known actresses in wheelchairs out there. So if you just need someone to use for your gifs or your manips, I totally get it, that’s cool. But if that’s actually who they’d want to see playing Oracle… that really bothers me, honestly.
Because, I mean, honestly? The fact that there are next to no well-known actresses in wheelchairs is exactly why we need a wheelchair-bound actress playing Oracle. (I once made a similar point about why it’s so important to me that Dick be played by a Romani actor.) Performers with disabilities get so, so few opportunities in the acting industry, and in the superhero genre? Forget about it. You can be Professor X or you can be Oracle. That’s it. And they already cast a regularly-abled actor to play Professor X. (And I love Patrick Stewart - who doesn’t? - so this isn’t in any way meant as a criticism of him. But that doesn’t mean his casting wasn’t problematic.) Do you really want to take arguably the only other chance to play a mainstream comicbook hero away from a disabled actor?
And furthermore, what message does that send? “Oracle proves that being in a wheelchair can’t stop you from doing what you’re good at - unless, of course, what you want to do is play Oracle”? “Oracle should be an inspiration to disabled people - but don’t start getting so inspired that you actually think you’re good enough to play her”? That’s nauseating. And that’s what I mean that it would betray what Oracle stands for. It would just take that message and stab it right through the heart.
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