DC 30 Day Meme Day Five: Favourite Civvy

Posted: 07/27/2010 in Uncategorized

James Gordon. Who else is there, really? Alfred, I suppose. I briefly wanted to do Jake Kane, but Jake owes a lot to James and he’s had so much more time and incarnations. Take it as implicit that my love of Jake Kane is folded up neatly inside James Gordon. Ever since Batman: Year One you couldn’t really just call him “Commissioner Gordon” because his character had grown so far beyond just being the chief of police and Batman’s main point of contact at the GCPD. I used the image I did both because Jim’s story will always be tied tighter to Bruce’s than anyone else’s, and because Batman: Year One was an even more significant milestone for Gordon than it was for Bruce. Frank Miller’s greatest triumph in his work on Batman was to elevate Jim Gordon beyond being a contact and confidant to being the last honest cop in a crooked town and letting him rival Bruce for the most breathtaking achievements in the book. As much fun as it was to see Bruce starting out and finding his footing, Jim’s portion of the narrative was infinitely more compelling and human.

The part that overlaps Jake Kane is Jim Gordon as father of the millennium. As brilliant and adorable as Babs’ early days as Batgirl were (the Batgirl Showcase is vital reading), it was just as important to Jim’s development as a character as it was hers. Jim was the uber awesome dad who knew all along that his plucky daughter was Batgirl and instead of trying to shut her down or smother her, he quietly supported and protected her while she asserted herself and started her long and difficult journey to become the nerve center of the superhero community. I suppose it’s true that Jim didn’t enable and nurture Babs’ superhero exploits as actively as Jake did for Kate, but metafictionally speaking Jake grew out of Jim’s early example.

Then there’s Gary Oldman; the brilliant and unparalleled character actor who came around to breathe life into the character as if Jim had never stepped out of the comics before, filling Jim’s shoes with ease to drive the character to heights unseen and unimagined since the first printing of Year One.

As far as the up to the minute, right now Jim Gordon? Well he’s one hundred and ten percent at the top of his game in Grant Morrison’s Batman and Robin, subtly and powerfully taking Dick under his wing and bolstering his confidence to make him feel like more than just a stand in until Bruce’s return while working just as hard and firm to keep Dick honest the same way that he did Bruce. If Batman is Gotham’s protector, Jim Gordon is it’s heart and soul.


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