Three things struck me about Peterson’s recollection. The first was an aspect of his editorial job at DC in the 1990s:
I was, among other things, the Batoffice’s designed heavy, the guy tasked with saying “no” to people who wanted to use Batman or one of the other Batcharacters. My job title was Editor/Batman Group Liaison, which meant that as the liaison, I was the guy who looked at everything from toothbrushes and lunchboxes to posters and novels and beach towels and, yes, the scripts and pencils when other editors borrowed a Batcharacter. The feeling was that even a character as great as Batman could be overused, so that most requests had to be turned down. Which meant I said “no” a lot. You can guess how popular that made me.Of course, saying that other departments or licensors couldn’t use Batman and his supporting cast is different from limiting one’s own department. By mid-1999 the Batman desk was carrying Batman, Detective, Robin, Nightwing, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Batman: Shadow of the Bat, Azrael: Agent of the Bat, Catwoman, and Anarky. In addition, prominent members of the bat-family were appearing in JLA, World’s Finest, and Young Justice. And for the kids, there was Batman: The Gotham Adventures, with scripts by Peterson (by then a freelance writer).
The creation of Batgirl was thus an editorial mandate. And not even from within the Batman office—from a higher manager. Peterson begins his article with the news:
“Create a new Batgirl. Or I will.”Peterson writes that Carlin had been suggesting a new Batgirl “for years” before he turned that suggestion into a demand. He might have seen value in a recognized name, or a corporate need to keep the Batgirl trademark alive and valuable. Peterson resisted out of nostalgic fondness for the Barbara Gordon version (and Carlin was merely the Superman group editor until 1996). But once the company realized it might be leaving money on the table, Carlin’s idea became a mandate.
So said then DC Universe Executive Editor Mike Carlin in his always cute and cuddly way.
COMING UP: The new Batgirl’s Unresolvable Foundational Conlfict.