Yvonne Craig, better known as Batgirl, has passed away. She was 78.
This isn’t about eulogizing tv’s Barbara Gordon. (Yes, I had a crush on her, but I had a bigger crush on Eartha Kitt as Catwoman.) This is about recognizing that a good portion of our creators and actors who originally brought our favorite heroes to life are of a certain age, and will be departing us soon.
I’m saddened by the loss of Ms. Craig. As Batgirl, she was a lot of fun to watch. But leaving us at 78 means she lived her life. It’s a sad thing for her to go (not young, but not old, either), but I feel she lived.
The rest of the main cast is aging, too. Adam West is 86, Burt Ward is 70, and the first Catwoman, Julie Newmar, is 82. (Lee Meriwether, who played Catwoman in the film version of Batman, is 80.)
There is a whole host of tv superheroic actors who have already left us, as well as a whole host of important comic book creators. The most well-known of these, however, is Stan “The Man” Lee, and he’s 92.
We all know the contributions Stan has made to comics. He’s the only true superstar comic book creator we have. His voice has been heard on television for decades (my earliest recollection is as the narrator of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends), and he’s been an advocate for comics for decades before that. He’s truly a comics guru. And at his age, he’s doing a lot: film appearances, tv shows, voice acting, conventions, and he still creates characters and the odd comic.
I will honestly be bereft when Stan leaves us. I’m talking about taking a day or two off from work and just watching all kinds of Marvel stuff. He’s that important to me. I only feel that way about one other celebrity.
Even though comics are the driving force behind a lot of today’s entertainment, we should take time to stop and reflect on the characters, their creators, and who portrayed them. That reminder shouldn’t come only when one of them leaves us.