Minorities in cartoons: Talia al Ghul

This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is Talia al Ghul, the daughter of Batman villain Ra’s al Ghul. Talia first appeared in “Detective Comics” #411 (May 1971). She was created by Dennis O’Neil and Bob Brown.

Background

Talia sometimes finds herself split between her affections for Batman (or “beloved” as she sometimes called Bruce) and her loyalties to her father. As such, Talia is often involved in various villainous doings related to Ra’s or the League of Assassins, the organization that serves under her or Ra’s al Ghul’s control. Talia’s first appearance saw her save Batman’s life from one of the League’s assassins gone rogue.

A 1987 graphic novel, “Son of the Demon,” saw Talia and Bruce marry, with Talia secretly giving birth to their child. DC later declared the story non-canonical. However, in the 2000s, the story was brought into mainstream continuity via the character Damian Wayne. It was later revealed that Damian (without Bruce’s knowledge) was grown in a lab from Talia’s and Bruce’s DNA. Damian was presumably aged to childhood artificially, given DC’s timeline issues.

A 1992 graphic novel (that may or may not be canonical) suggests Talia’s mother was a woman of mixed Chinese and Arab descent Ra’s had met at Woodstock, who’d later died of a drug overdose.

In the early 2000s, Talia tried to get away from her father’s influence. Talia took control of LexCorp when Lex Luthor was elected President of the United States. She started to work against Luthor, eventually selling his company’s assets to Bruce Wayne after Lex’s misdeeds were made public.

Other media

Talia’s appeared in some Batman related media in recent decades.

Helen Slater (of “Supergirl” fame) and Olivia Hussey voiced Talia in “Batman: The Animated Series” and follow-up series.

Talia also appeared in “The Dark Knight Rises.” Actress Marion Cotillard played Talia.

(Updated 11/26/16)

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