I’d like to tell you a story.
When I was 8, I got a Mego Batgirl action figure for Chanukah — and then didn’t tell anyone about it. Hell, I even lied and made up an imaginary toy that I got instead. Even if she’s a superhero, I didn’t want anyone to know that I had a Batgirl.
I thought about this when I tried to figure out what to write about the new DC Super Hero Girls line from Mattel. This is a new, girl-power-driven initiative by both companies designed to inspire young girls to find their inner superheroes (and to buy a lot of toys, books and videos). There are two 12-inch lines for different wallets (but they kinda veer toward fashion dolls) and there are role-play playsets.
But I was most interested in the 6-inch line — because these are full-on action figures, end of story. And I think that’s awesome and I hope they catch on. If I had a young daughter, I’d buy everything in sight. Since I don’t, I settled on the main three characters (of six) that are available, exclusively at Target: Batgirl, Wonder Woman and Supergirl. (The other three are Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Bumblebee.)
They’re really cool, highly poseable and seem to be pretty durable. They’re also only $10 a pop.
But then I started to wonder whether I’d ever buy them for a boy. Because while I think it’s cool that girls have their own action-figure line, I think it’d be even cooler if there were a line that appealed to girls and boys.
See, the earlier boys learn to have women heroes, the earlier you demystify them. So maybe boys won’t feel compelled to just like Superman and Batman. Maybe they won’t feel compelled to lie to their classmates because they’re afraid to say they think Batgirl is pretty cool too.
I mean, these Super Hero Girls kick ass. (The conceit is that they’re all in high school, which younger kids seem to think is a big deal.) Each character gets a description on the blister-pack card back, highlighting their heroic attributes: Wonder Woman is a leader, Supergirl is powerful and Batgirl is really smart.
Wonder Woman comes with her golden lasso and is appropriately star-spangled. I could do without those oddball wings — but hey, she has dark purple hair! (Or maybe it’s dark blue.)
Supergirl looks like a cross between Melissa Benoist, the Bruce Timm-style animated Kara and the version from Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade. One thing, though: Her red cape looks good but it throws off the weight distribution some. It was tough to get her to stand on her own, which is supposed to be a selling point for these figures. (As in, they’re not dressed in impractical heels.)
Now, to Batgirl, my favorite.
The outfit appears to adapt Barbara Gordon’s current comics suit, all purples, blacks and yellows.
She doesn’t have a cape but she does have a “Batpack,” which I imagine carries her all-important laptop, what with Babs being a computer expert and whatnot. And rather than a full cowl, she has a mask with a removable hood that obviously is meant to emulate a hoodie.
Purists may sniff but I think it’s only appropriate.
I mean, she looks kinda familiar, doesn’t she?