This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is Cassandra Cain, a DC Comics character.
Cassandra’s the second person (after Barbara Gordon) to serve as Batgirl. Cassandra first appeared in “Batman” #567 (July 1999). Kelley Puckett, Damion Scott, and Jordan B. Gorfinkel created Cassandra.
Cassandra’s backstory states she was born the daughter of two assassins, David Cain and Lady Shiva. She was from birth to become the perfect assassin and servant of the villain Ra’s al Ghul.
Cassandra wasn’t taught to read or write, but instead how to read others’ body language to a high degree. This came at the cost of greatly impairing her ability to learn to read or write later in life.
At the age of 8, Cassandra was used by her father to kill a man. Afterwards, Cassandra realized what she did was wrong, and ran away, vowing to never again use her abilities to kill. She spent the next eight years homeless, wandering the world before winding up in Gotham City during the “No Man’s Land” storyline. There, she served as an agent of Oracle, and eventually saved Commissioner Gordon’s life. Having proved her value, Batman and Barbara gave Cassandra permission to become the new Batgirl.
Cassandra gained her own book in 2000 (the first “Batgirl” ongoing title DC published). She served in the Batgirl role until her title’s cancellation in 2006. A new “Batgirl” series shows Cassandra had turned her role over to her friend and fellow extended-Batman-family member Stephanie Brown (formerly the heroine Spoiler). Cassandra had also started taking speech therapy to help her learn to speak. After several adventures, Cassandra returned to the Batman family with a new heroic identity, “Black Bat.”
Cassandra went largely unused after 2011’s New 52 reboot. She finally reappeared in 2015.
Outside of comics, Cassandra’s appeared in several video games, including an educational one.
She also supposedly makes an unbilled cameo in an episode of “Justice League Unlimited.”
Image art by Carlos Rodriguez. (DC Comics)