20 most upbeat superhero stories

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Cover of Batgirl Volume 1 (Image via DC Comics)

10. Batgirl (Fletcher, Stewart and Tarr)

Maybe the oddest thing here is seeing anything associated with the Batman title included in a list of upbeat comics. Thanks to people like Frank Miller, Christopher Nolan, and Zack Snyder, Batman has become the epitome of self-serious, grimdark comics.

That’s especially weird when you consider the early history of Batman, both in comics and on the screen. Consider that 1960s Batman encountered a slew of strange, quirky villains and employed odd tactics like a zebra-striped suit to … confuse bad guys, I guess? And, of course, who could forget the campy, self-aware Batman TV series, starring Burt Ward as Robin and Adam West as Batman?

So, considering the overall history of the Bat-verse, it’s not that surprising to encounter a generally happy, upbeat Batgirl story. That’s actually thanks to a post-New 52 reboot. Yes, after the DC Comics-wide revamp of New 52, higher-ups decided that everyone had to hit the reset button the second time. Hence, DC Rebirth was, well, born. Titles retained some elements of the New 52 era, while discarding others.

While I won’t blame you for rolling your eyes so hard that they almost fall out, this reboot-of-a-reboot gave us a new and improved Batgirl. This time around, Barbara Gordon is no longer a traumatized victim. Instead, she’s a young college student attending Burnside College in the trendy Burnside neighborhood of Gotham City. This is, essentially, DC Comics’ answer to Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The series is generally a lot of fun, though it did have a rather public misstep regarding a transgender character (to their credit, the creators immediately and apparently sincerely apologized). Also, for what it’s worth, Batgirl has an eminently practical wardrobe, including some bright yellow Doc Martens. It’s a good ride overall.