Okay, peeps, I’m gonna rant here.
Now, let’s start off by saying that I totally agree with the second half of this: Dick and Babs DO belong together! Always! I absolutely agree with that. You guys KNOW I agree with that.
But the first half.
First of all: I happen to think Kory is awesome. Look at how awesome Kory is:
Try telling me that isn’t awesome. I shan’t believe you. Furthermore, try telling me that Barbara Gordon would not respect that. Because she WOULD. She totally would.
Kory is a complex character. She is warm, energetic, sweet, feisty, loving, fierce, strong, uninhibited, loyal, and, when necessary, ruthless. She’s a powerhouse. If I had to describe her in one word it would be “powerhouse”. She’s a woman of extremes. When she’s happy, she’s the most bubbly, exuberant, over-the-top happy person in the world:
But when girlfriend gets angry, she is ANGRY:
And so on. She’s a person who feels things incredibly strongly. And that makes her many things - an incredibly loyal friend, a fiercely devoted lover, a formidable opponent. It forms the core of who she is. And it is awesome.
However: Enough about that. Because you know what? You don’t have to agree with me that Kory is awesome. Frankly, I suspect that most of her haters don’t actually know that much about her, especially not NTT-era Kory. But there are always valid reasons not to like a character, so if she’s just not your cup of tea, I get that. Hate her if you must.
But at least hate her for a better reason than because she gets in the way of Dick/Babs.
Here is the thing. Hating a character just because they get in the way of your ‘ship’ is, IMO, really stupid. I like to judge characters on their own merits, or lack thereof. I love Dick/Babs, but that doesn’t mean I automatically hate their other love interests. I like Kory, for all of the reasons stated above. I like Ted Kord, because he’s funny and goofy and nerdy and sweet. I dislike Raya, because she’s a useless and annoying character. I hate Tarantula, because she’s a complete creep who made Dick miserable (whether or not she actually raped him, which IMO she totally DID). You see what I’m saying? I judge these characters based on who they are. Not on who the fact that they were competition to my OTP.
So if you want to hate Starfire, by all means, hate her. But please, come up with a better reason than “Because Dick and Babs belong together.”
Now, secondly: Hating a character because they interfere with your ship is stupid in any case. But it’s especially stupid in this case.
See, if all you know about Dick’s relationship with Kory is from Nightwing Annual #2, you’ve probably got this image stuck in your head:
Kory and Babs standing opposite each other. Kory and Babs as rivals. Kory as the annoying “interference” getting in the way of Dick and Babs and their epic romance.
The only problem? This whole scenario is a TOTAL retcon. Like, seriously, until Nightwing Annual #2, this did not exist.
Kory did not “steal” Dick from Babs. Dick and Babs were not pining for each other while he was with Kory. Dick and Kory’s relationship was, in fact, probably pretty much irrelevant in Barbara’s mind.
Here is what actually happened.
So, if you are a Dick/Babs fan, you might happen to know that back in the day, they were Robin and Batgirl together:
They liked to flirt:
Dick had a huge crush on Babs:
Barbara’s feelings for Dick could basically be summed up as “Yeah, he’s cute, but he’s way too young for me”:
They were not a couple. They were NOT in love. Dick later told Babs that she was the first person who ever made his heart beat faster, and I have no doubt that that’s true. The kid had it bad for her. But it was puppy love. There was no actual romantic relationship between Dick and Babs, at least not then. And if you look at that last scan I posted, it’s easy to see why. He was 18, she was 25. That’s a big age difference. It would have been weird for them to have been involved back then. And so, despite the fact that Dick was interested, nothing ever came of it.
And so they both went on with their lives. Babs became engaged to Jason Bard, and Dick met Kory:
And Dick fell in love with Kory. People seem to get confused on that point, so let me repeat it: FELL. IN. LOVE. Not “passed the time while secretly longing for Babs”. No. Dick did not like Kory well enough. He was not with Kory because he needed a girlfriend and she was conveniently there. He LOVED her. Deeply. More than that, he considered her the love of his life:
Yeah, that’s Dick proposing to Kory. And let me tell you something: Men who are confused about their feelings or still have feelings for other women do not say things like “You’re the woman for me and you always will be”. No. Dick was completely in love with Kory. The crush he’d had on Babs was, in all honesty, probably the furthest thing from his mind.
And how did Babs feel about this? Well… we’ll never know. Her reaction to Dick and Kory’s relationship was precisely… nothing. Probably in part because Babs wasn’t much featured in the 1980’s, and Dick was sort of off doing his own thing with the Titans, so the two didn’t interact much. But probably also because it just wasn’t that important to her. If I had to guess at what she felt, it was probably along the lines of “Oh, how nice that Dick’s found himself a girlfriend”. He was her friend, someone she’d worked with and had fun with, but he wasn’t anything more than that to her. Not yet.
There was no jealousy. There was no pining. And why should there have been? Dick was just some kid who’d had a crush on her. Her feelings for him had never gone beyond “Aw, he’s cute”, and he was definitely not someone she’d ever been seriously interested in.
So it kind of really gets on my nerves when people hate on Kory for “stealing” Dick from Babs, or “getting in the way” of Dick and Barbara’s romance. Because she didn’t steal Dick from anyone, and she wasn’t getting in the way of anything. Babs. Was. Not. Interested. Later, yes. But not at the time that Dick and Kory were together. Period. So, PLEASE, can we stop giving Kory hate for reasons which are ridiculous and don’t even make sense?!
All of this! Completely. I hate that Kory lives or dies on her relation to Dick. She has a character outside him, guys. Outside whoever she loves or hates. She’s still a whole, individual person.
Also, it kind of baffles me that people seem to think a character can have only one love? How many people do you know to have married their first crush? You have to learn to be in a relationship the same as any other skill. When you’re young, you experiment. You make mistakes and you learn from them. You grow as a person. Who is honestly the same at 25 as they were at 18? Young loves are bright and hot and all-consuming, terrifying and intense, and they’re great. They’re so great. But they usually can’t sustain themselves. You make mistakes and they burn out, and that’s as it should be. Those first loves leave a permanent mark on you, and hopefully, it’s one you can look back on with a smile - but it’s very rare that your one and only is also your first.
Every relationship changes a person, makes them who they are. That’s not bad. Kory and Dick were young and loud and fun, and they helped each other grow. They were very important to each other, and it’s bullshit to devalue what they had just because they’ve moved on. Do you really think Babs and Dick WOULD belong together if he hadn’t grown into the man he is? Kory is a big part of that, whether you want to admit it or not.
She’s not the other woman, guys. They’re both important to him in different ways, and both are worthy of respect.