Bat-morabilia has always spread its wings in the toy arena. Amidst Gotham City’s onslaught of Batman action figures from his very first vigilante crusades in that memorable blue Spandex suit to hyper-detailed miniature versions of the sculpted Batsuits last worn by Christian Bale and Ben Affleck, there have been various vinyl and plastic iterations of Batgirl fighting crime in the Caped Crusader’s shadow. On the 50th anniversary of her 1967 leap into the Bat family, Commissioner’s daughter-slash-librarian-slash-super-heroine Barbara Gordon is having her moment in the high beams.
Babs was originally dreamed up by Wlliam Dozier and Julius Schwartz when DC was approached about flying a female character onto the Gotham scene (at a time when even the concept of female superheroes was still mostly in the dark) during the run of the Batman live-action TV series. Long after the television series went off the air, Barbara still kept punching, socking, kicking and ka-pow-ing villains in the pages of the comics through 1988. After a stint as supercomputer Oracle, DC’s 2011 relaunch of The New 52 morphed her back into Batgirl. Action figures and art toys inspired by the lethal librarian have seen just as many transformations.
Press the transformation button, wait for the revolving wall, throw your cape on and soar straight into nostalgia with these 13 Batgirl collectible toys.
You might want to be Batgirl on Halloween, but did you ever wonder what Batgirl wants to be? She wouldn't want to be anything but her Joker-kicking, motorcycle-riding, Penguin-roping self, of course—except with fangs. And her signature Spandex suit in orange and black. And that unmistakable '60s hair that looks like it was sprayed and teased into fiery devil horns. Not to mention that her smoky eye look is purrrrfect enough to rival Catwoman. In Halloween vampire pinup couture, Batgirl actually looks evil enough to slink around with the villains without getting jump-scared. Maybe she ate the wholesome Barbara Gordon.
Mego Batgirl Bend ‘n Flex (1976)
Mego action figures have become a sacred vintage goldmine for many hardcore collectors, but you have to wonder sometimes. This 1976 Gumby-fied version of Barbara Gordon's alter ego doesn't even resemble Batgirl (or anything remotely human). She also doesn't look like she bends much. It's as if she breathed in the Joker's poison gas and is now standing there in the sadistic mastermind's glass vat waiting for boiling oil to hit her wig, except the only difference between that and the scene in the show is that her arms were down — and she snapped out of the stupor just in time.
Batgirl Batcycle Barbie
Barbie finally does something more than go to prom or lounge poolside in the back of her Barbie Dream House. As someone who grew up with the glittery pink confections and neon nightmares that were the candy-pop Barbies of the '80s and '90s, it's a refreshing change to see the iconic plastic princess press the transformation button to become Batgirl. This is also one of the only Barbies to ever be seen gunning around a motorcycle in shimmery spandex. No wonder she's almost worth more than Bruce Wayne: one of these with Yvonne Craig's autograph recently sold for $365 on eBay.
DC Comics Retro Sofubi Batgirl
Even the Joker would have a hard time deciding if this vinyl iteration of one of his arch-nemeses is really creepy or really cool. Sofubi are those addictive Japanese art toys (think Funko) that have recently Tokyo-stomped the States. Many share a rainbow of variations from one mold, like the Bear Model one our heroine sprang from. While she may not be a mirror image of the TV or comic version of Barbara Gordon, she probably isn't supposed to be, and the futuristic neons of her batsuit are straight from a Harajuku color palette. Maybe I'm just biased toward everything that comes out of Japan.
Tonner Batgirl 1966 Doll
Beyond Barbie and eerily lifelike, this Batgirl could have just leaped out of the screen. She is easily the most accurate vinyl rendering of Yvonne Craig’s take on the character anywhere. From her perfectly curled hair to her mini metallic purple boots, it’s almost as if a 3-D portrait of her was frozen in time, and you’d expect her to jump into action and pull her automatic fuse extinguisher or antidote pills from her Batgirl Belt any minute. Her cape even appears ready to take off. She almost looks alive—which may be a blessing for collectors but a curse for chronic doll-phobes.
Mattel 2015 SDCC Exclusive Batgirl
What makes this Batgirl really covetable besides the con-exclusive status (something I admit is my Kryptonite) isn't so much the kick-punch action as the amazing pop art. You know those cartoonish 'sound effects' that flash onscreen in an attempt to bring the comic to life? She comes with a two-sided stand illustrated with a Gotham City backdrop on one side, her likeness on the other, and the infamous SOCK! (complete with starburst effect) on the bottom. Even the packaging zooms straight out of the Silver Age. This one must have easily had the other exclusives at that year's Comic-Con seeing stars.
Batgirl Mego figure
This ridiculously rare holy grail of Batgirl collectibles is sought after even though she apparently had her hair — or wig — stolen from Velma of Scooby-Doo. It's also apparent that anatomy lessons in action figures have come a long way from the '70s when she was released with a Batman, Robin and several villains who look as if they have a supernatural skeletal structure. Neither her body nor her face are symmetrical. However, her abnormally oblong head (which could theoretically hold a supersized brain) might explain how she always conjures clever ways to outsmart, outrun and out-poison the scum of Gotham City.
Funko DC Superheroes 136 Batgirl
It's impossible for any self-respecting superhero toy list to go without at least one Funko Pop figure. Funko Pops (a variant of the Japanese Sofubi art toys that have invaded the world of collectibles) keep getting more and more detailed right down to Batgirl's intricate boot laces and winged eyeliner. The zippers on her Batsuit and compartments on her belt are so defined, you’d almost expect them to be loaded with anti-villain gizmos. Funko's Batgirl has evolved from her original debut at San Diego Comic Con 2010 into a chibi cartoon version that is still every bit the tough-girl superheroine.
Diamond Select Toys Batgirl Bust
Batgirl now has something in common with Caesar, Socrates, Aristotle and Alexander the Great — she's had a bust made in her honor. While she isn't carved from solid marble and is only as ancient as last year, her likeness is still worthy of residing in your own memorabilia museum for the fantastic sculpting alone. Her left arm swoops dramatically upward as if she's about to face off against the Joker's henchmen. What really sets Barbara apart this time is her stand — it's sculpted and painted with the skyline of Gotham City, complete with the Bat-symbol being projected into the night sky.
Batgirl Barbara Gordon Amigurumi
Amigurumi are so-adorable-you-can't-stand-it crochet dolls that were another Japanese import which quickly became a craze in the US, especially on (you guessed it) Etsy. They usually take the form of cuddly cats and baby bunnies, and since the resurgence of catching 'em all, Pokemon. Because someone eventually makes an amigurumi of everyone and everything in existence, 53Stitches, a mecca of amigurumi geekery including Deadpool and even Baby Groot, has made a departure from the usual cute creatures to immortalize Batgirl in yarn. I have to say she's really kawaii. You can even get Batman and Robin to complete the Dynamic Trio.
DC Comics McDonald’s Batgirl Action Figure (1993)
How I lament not collecting this whole set during the era of Batman: The Animated Series, but when you're a kid all but banned from having fast food, you miss out on awesome pieces of plastic. The McDonald's toys of the '90s were of infinitely better quality and didn't need to be hooked up to social media or some creepy online chat room. McBatgirl from 1993 is no exception. She and the rest of the cast could pass for legit action figures even if the faces aren't exactly right. So what? This makes me nostalgic for when Happy Meals were exciting.
Gold Batgirl Funko Super Heroes 03
Batgirl deserves to be cast in gold, so Funko brought their original Batgirl Pop figure back from the 2010 vault and gave her the royal treatment for this Gamestop exclusive. At first it might be hard to tell if this is really Barbara Gordon, but a glimpse of that undoubtedly '60s flipped hair (which is her signature shade of auburn on the packaging) gives away her identity as the librarian who combats crime on her off-hours. Batgirl already taken on the gold-drenched King Tut, but this could totally spark speculation as to whether she ever had to face off with King Midas.
Girl’s House Batgirl Shoe Slippers
What is almost supernatural about these is that they come form an era where superhero toys existed mostly in no-girls-allowed territory. Had I been around in 1966 when I could have begged Santa for these now-rare slippers, I would have never taken them off. I would have worn them to school insisting they were shoes, because you know, shoe slippers. The graphics are not some cheap-looking screenprint, and so intricate and well-done it seems they literally flew out of the comic. While these are long gone, plenty of Batgirl-related merch now exists for aspiring Barbara Gordons (hello glittery black Bat-flats).