Daughter to Commissioner Gordon. She becomes a protégé to Batman under the guise of 'Batgirl' and after being shot and paralyzed by the Joker, becomes the technological guru, the all-knowing 'Oracle'.
First conceived via a joint project between DC editor Julius Schwartz and the producers of the Batman TV series, it was decided to boost ratings for the third season of the television show by the creation of a female counterpart to Batman.
Thus, Barbara Gordon was created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Carmine Infantino and appeared in Detective Comics #359 (January 1967) followed shortly by Yvonne Craig portraying the character in Batman in "Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin" on September 14, 1967.
Since that time, she has been portrayed in the various media in live action television, animated cartoons, movies, video games, and comics as being a major part of the Batman mythos and an important character in her own right. Barbara Gordon has always been portrayed as being closely tied to Commissioner James Gordon; but depending on the series, she has been either his niece, his niece whom he adopted as his daughter, or his own biological daughter.
Often encountering Batman at a young age, she is inspired to adopt a costumed identity based upon him and often through her sheer guts, determination, and ability; is awarded his reluctant approval as a close associate before graduating to a more trusted position as an ally if not equal. She is frequently friends or romantically involved with Dick Grayson aka Robin as well.
At first, a frequent guest star in the Batman comics, her popularity diminished and she was regulated to backup features until March of 1988, when DC officially 'retired' her as Batgirl in Alan Moore's infamous "Killing Joke" graphic novel which had the Joker shot her and caused her to be permanently paralyzed from the waist down and in a wheelchair.
Afterwards, Barbara would evolve a new identity as a computer hacker and information broker known as 'Oracle' who has been called upon by Batman as a vital part of his network, joining the Justice League of America, and running her own separate group of vigilantes who operate as 'The Birds of Prey' as her field agents.
Although there have five other Batgirls who have appeared DC Comics, none of them have yet to appear outside the comic book medium. Barbara Gordon remains the most iconic of them and the one who is most widely associated with the name of Batgirl; which is slightly ironic considering the fact that Barbara Gordon is actually the second Batgirl to appear in Batman series.
Her predecessor, Betty Kane was the niece to Kathy Kane, the first Batwoman who after discovering her aunt's secret identity convinced her to train her as her sidekick and made her debut in Batman #139 (April 1961).
As Batgirl, Betty Kane made several appearances over the years since her appearance where she often played the role of a hapless damsel in distress (along with the original Batwoman) and had to be rescued, usually by Robin whom she had a huge crush on. Ultimately, Betty Kane and a number of other associated characters such as Ace the Bat Hound, Bat-Mite, and Batwoman were deemed as being 'too silly' for DC Comics by editor Julius Schwartz and disappeared from the DC continuity for decades.
Batgirl's first appearance was in the Batman TV series during it's third season and she appeared through the entire 26 episodes. Introduced as Barbara Gordon, Commissioner Gordon's daughter who was also a librarian. Alfred Pennyworth inadvertently discovered her secret identity, although he swore never to reveal it even to Batman. She assisted Batman and Robin throughout the course of the series and as part of her costume, wore a long red wig to throw off people from suspecting the short-haired black haired Barbara Gordon.
In Birds of Prey, she is portrayed by Dina Meyer. Like in the comics, she was shot during a revenge plot by the Joker, that paralysed her from the waist down. She gives up being Batgirl and becomes 'Oracle', using high-tech equipment to help Huntress and a modernised version of Black Canary fight crime and the villainous Harleen Quinzel.
In The Batman animated cartoon series, Barbara Gordon was first mentioned in the second season by her father, Commissioner James Gordon but did not appear until the third season where she becomes a semi-regular cast member. Unlike the majority of the incarnations, Batgirl predated Batman's partnership with Robin.
She was friends with Pamela Isley, a radical ecologist who was accidentally exposed to a plant mutagen that transformed her into Poison Ivy and subsequently captured her father. In order to save him, Barbara assumed the identity of 'Batwoman' and assisted Batman in defeating Poison Ivy. Afterwards, Commissioner Gordon referred to her as Batgirl which she accepted as her alias. She continued her role as Batgirl but suffered from Batman's disapproval, not to mention he felt it would strain his tenuous relationship with her father.