On her blog earlier this week, Birds of Prey writer Gail Simone asked readers for suggestions regarding the wheelchair-bound, super-information officer Barbara “Oracle” Gordon’s official wheelchair.
Simone noted that…
…over the years and the course of many, many appearances, she’s had like eight million different chairs, mostly generic, but some a little ridiculous, and quite a few very obsolete in appearance. Unobtrusive is one thing, but some of these chairs looked like they came from the 1700’s.
What I want to, and it’s way past time, is to update her chair, and to make it a consistent, reasonable design, that is still not hugely obtrusive.
The first thought that popped into my mind was that Oracle should call Niles “The Chief” Caulder of The Doom Patrol, because he had a totally rad wheelchair (I’m sure Oracle has his contact information, or could get it pretty quickly).
Unfortunately, Simone specifically notes that Oracle “was never supposed to have a high tech, flying battleship wheelchair, as Professor X and the Chief from Doom Patrol are sometimes shown to have” and that “we don’t want a chair with hidden missile launchers.”
The high-tech, battle-ready wheelchair Caulder constructed in 1965′s Doom Patrol #94 (conveniently collected in Showcase Presents: The Doom Patrol Vol. 1) does not have a hidden missile launchers.
It merely has a hidden machine gun, a flamer-thrower and a gigantic metal claw. No missiles.
Of course, because of all that, it probably wouldn’t meet Oracle’s needs, as stated by Simone. Of course, the Cheif’s chair can also “WHOOSH” off all its gadgets and armor at the pull of a lever, should he need to engage in hand-to-hand combat with a bird-themed villain like The Claw, as he did in that 1965 story by Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani, which is entitled “The Chief ‘Stands” Alone,” quotation marks actually around the word “stands.”
(Given the name of Oracle’s team, it’s really only a matter of time before she has to fight The Claw, and his mechanical, bomb-dropping falcons).
The chair’s greatest virtue, however, is probably the name The Chief came up with for it—
It’s his “Action Chair!”
In the 46 years since that story saw publication, I’m not sure if The Chief ever managed to perfect the Bossa Nova dancing function he is talking about there, but that name still stands the test of time.In addition to being a gifted surgeon and engineer, Caulder is pretty good at marketing.
Well, my suggestion has been preemptively shot down. If you have a more sensible one to make, visit Simone’s blog to do so.