The TOP 13 BATGIRL ARTISTS of the Silver and Bronze Ages

An ANNIVERSARY SALUTE to one of comics’ great characters…

Quick story: A year ago, I promised readers a story about Batgirl’s TOP 13 artists in celebration of the 55th anniversary of her debut in Detective Comics #359, which was released Nov. 29, 1966. Unfortunately, a time crunch hit and I wasn’t able to swing it (which is why I almost never promise anything in advance unless it’s locked down).

Anyway, my bad. But it was something I really wanted to do and even if this is an oddball 56th anniversary, here’s the TOP 13 BATGIRL ARTISTS OF THE SILVER AND BRONZE AGES.

Where it started. Carmine Infantino pencils, Murphy Anderson inks.

I’ve grown accustomed to ranking my picks in these sorts of columns, but here was a case where I just couldn’t, basically because it’s not a level playing field: I don’t think it’s entirely fair to judge the work of a penciller who did a bunch of stories against one who maybe did some pin-ups or occasional stories. I decided to instead post them alphabetically.

Detective Comics #389. Gil Kane pencils, Murphy Anderson inks.

OK, enough with the self-referential explanation. Let’s get to the art!

Dig it.

Neal Adams. Adams didn’t draw much Batgirl in his career but, as always, he left an impression nonetheless. This is one of the most striking images of Batgirl/Barbara Gordon in the Bronze Age – even if the gloves and boots are the wrong color.


Jim Aparo. Aparo’s Batgirl output was generally confined to covers but he put together some humdingers, especially those for Batman Family.


Ernie Chan. Like Aparo, Chan generally drew Batgirl on covers and his Batman Family #3 is a real winner. That said, I’ll take his Batman Family #9 as one of the most memorable Bat-covers of the ‘70s.

Chan pencils, Vince Colletta inks

Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. Another artist whose Batgirl can be judged in quality over quantity. There were a couple of comics appearances but JLGL’s best known Batgirl is his DC Style Guide model — to some the Bronze Age’s quintessential version of the Dominoed Daredoll.

Dick Giordano. Giordano drew Batgirl mostly in pin-ups and the like and each time he nailed it. Then again, Giordano nailed everything he worked on. In any event, the back cover of Detective Comics #483 is one of my favorite images of the Bronze Age and Batgirl looks perfect.

Mike Grell. Male or female, it was nearly impossible for Grell not to draw any character at their sexiest. Such was the case in Batman Family #1. This entire page kickstarted puberty for many a reader.


Don Heck. I’m sorry to say I’m just not a huge Don Heck fan, though I respect those of you who are. That said, Heck makes the list because he probably drew Batgirl more than any other artist. He illustrated a ton of stories in Detective Comics, including the early 1970s issues where she ran for Congress (and won).

Detective Comics #424. Heck art.

Carmine Infantino. Infantino designed Batgirl – and her original outfit is one of the best ever. The all-black leotard is an inspired choice, set off by the bright yellow bat, belt, gloves and boots. Eventually, artists began coloring her suit full-on gray and I can’t decide which version I like more. Further, its glorious adaptation in purple and gold, as worn by Yvonne Craig, cemented Batgirl as an A-Lister, even if she hasn’t always been treated like one.

Detective Comics #359. Infantino pencils, Sid Greene inks.

Gil Kane. Gil Kane might, just might, be the best Batgirl artist ever. He was the penciller on her Detective Comics back-up strip from the late ’60s to the early ’70s and, oddly, nobody ever seems to talk about it. But Kane’s dynamism in layouts and action gave Batgirl a potent vibrancy she hadn’t had before; I wish Kane’s run could have lasted forever.

Detective Comics #407. Kane pencils., Colletta inks.

Bob Oksner. Oksner defined Supergirl in the ’70s but you’d be forgiven if you’d forgotten he also illustrated Batgirl in a couple of issues of Detective after it merged with Batman Family. Oksner was the penciller (inked by Vince Colletta) on ’Tec #483’s A Date With Batgirl, in which a flustered soldier asks her out. A lot of people hated that story. I loved it.

Oksner and Colletta

Juan Ortiz. It doesn’t really stand up to today’s cultural sensibilities but one of the most entertaining Batgirl storylines of the Bronze Age was when she battled the Sino-Supermen, a group of Chinese operatives who were given state-sponsored powers and abilities that emulated American superheroes. Ortiz drew the first couple of chapters in Batman Family and turned in fine work.

Batman Family #19. Ortiz pencils, Colletta inks.

Curt Swan. The definitive Superman artist illustrated a surprising number of Batgirl appearances in Batman Family, World’s Finest, Superman and Superman Family. His most memorable work? The classic Batgirl/Robin “wedding” in Batman Family #11, featuring this superb action sequence.

Swan pencils, Colletta inks.

Trevor Von Eeden. Until I read these issues relatively recently, I had zero recollection that Von Eeden illustrated Batgirl in three Detective Comics appearances. Other artists made her va-va-voom or the Girl Next Door. Von Eeden was the first to make her dangerous. This Batgirl could have been an ’80s megastar but sadly, DC just didn’t have a handle on what to do with the character and she ended up brutalized by Alan Moore. If only writer Barbara Kesel and Von Eeden had been able to continue their run. It might have been something very special.

Detective Comics #518. Von Eeden.


— Dig DC’s Groovy 1966 House Ad That Heralded BATGIRL’s Arrival. Click here.

— How Fans Immediately Reacted to BATGIRL’s Debut — Over Five Decades Ago. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. My memory was that Trevor Von Eden only drew two or three Batgirl stories, but they were terrific. He brought something to the character that differentiated her in a way that no other artist ever did.

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  2. Gil Kane for the win! Those stories were terrific.

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  3. I would’ve loved for a story or two from Dick Dillin for Batgirl! Hell, he practically illustrated MOST of the DC Universe in the 70’s, anyways!

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  4. I belive Filmation Studios changed Batgirl’s costume from black to gray in 1968 since a shade of gray would work better animation wise than the darker suit.

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  5. Vince Colletta’s inks on Gil Kane’s Batgirl stories aren’t bad. Some of his less-rushed work in that era. But that Kane/Anderson combo is DYNAMITE. I think I may prefer it to Infantino/Anderson even! Babs looks fantastic in those stories. Kane seemed to pull her out of her “dowdy” Leia-bun look too.

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  6. Oh, Man!! Those Colletta inked stories have the most masterful graphic brushwork I’ve seen. Vince was known as an illustrative inker but these are outstanding in their boldness. Just mention “girl” and Colletta is the choice as nobody came close when it came to depicting beautiful women.

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  7. Does anyone know if are any of these are available in omnibus collections or trade paperbacks?

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    • Yes, there’s a Batgirl Bronze Age omnibus in two volumes.

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  8. You forgot to include Nick Cardy’s Superman 279 cover featuring a falling Batgirl telling Superman not to save her…

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  9. Dan, you forget argentinian artist Josè Delbo

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  10. Carmine is my pick and it must included the red utility purse. Oh, all black too! If we were talking Black Canary then Cardy for the win (if I might be so bold as to steal from Joe).

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  11. Don Newton was by far the best to draw Batgirl. After shoddy art by Heck, Delbo, and others it was a treat when he drew the Domino Daredoll in action.

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