1744 - Big Barda is born on Apokolips and is raised in Granny Goodness's Terror Orphanages, where she becomes leader of the Female Furies.
6 years ago - Barda leads the Female Furies to Earth to capture Scott Free, but betrays Apokolips to join him. They are married on New Genesis by All-Father, and retire to Earth.
4 years ago - Barda & Scott Free are attacked by a Parademon wave. they return to Apokolips to win their freedom in combat.
2 years ago - Barda joins the Watchtower at the request of the All-Father to help prepare them for Maggeddon.
1 year ago - Barda battles Maggeddon alongside the Watchtower. Gives birth to Shiloh Free her son with her husband Scott Free. Her duty to the Watchtower completed, she joins the Justice League along with her husband.
Barda is awesome. She is exactly as hardcore as Wonder Woman, but without the scrutiny of being the only long-running female superhero in the world, which means she gets to actually deliver on her rampant badassery. She is a Death Metal album cover, a punk rock middle finger pointed straight at the patriarchy. When she is written correctly, she goes off like an atom bomb. You have to be careful with the New Gods because they can be too overpowered to interact with the less Kirby-tastic characters, but certain characters are absolutely worth the effort. Just want to say it one more time; Barda is awesome.
Barda's Comic History
Big Barda first appeared in the pages of Mister Miracle in 1971, one of the new series depicting Jack Kirby's revolutionary fourth world. She was evidentally visually based on actress and recent playboy playmate Lainie Kazan, who I know as the mom from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. She was a foil and eventual romantic interest of the hero Scott Free, their interaction evidentally based on Kriby's relationship with his wife Roz, which really makes me want to know more about their relationship.
Barda was definitely concieved as a supporting character for Mister Miracle, and perhaps that was part of what allowed her to be SO cool. She's clearly a deliberate reveral of traditional female character stereotypes, but that probably wouldn't have been permitted if she was being asked to carry the narrative herself. Even when Mister Miracle joined various incarnations of the Justice League, Barda was never really considered a full member herself. She was still a supporting character, no more an actual active member of the League than Elongated Man's wife Sue DInby. The fact that she would regularly suit up and fight alongside the team didn't really change that fact.
She finally actually joined a Justice League team in the pages of Grant Morrison's JLA when he was building an allegory for the greek pantheon. We finally saw just how lucky we were that she had been a more peripheral character for so long because once she was finally up front with the big guns she totally rocked. She continues to be a side character in the current continuity, but whenever she shows up you know that literally everything is getting punched real soon.
Our Big Barda Story
When we first started to add certain characters from the cannon of the New Gods, we tred very carefully. Kirby's fourth world has always seemed odly distinct from the rest of DC. It's meant to be a self-contained story, and to use them too much very much undermines the power levels of the Earth-based heroes. We wanted to do that, but you can't not use Barda. Barda rules.
So yes, we were careful with just how we went about using her, the same way we were with the rest of the New Gods. Her story unfolds much like the comics with her growing up in Granny Goodness's Terror Orphanages where she was given a name meant to insult her that she turned into a badge of awesomeness, leading the Furies to Earth to track Mister Miracle before she ultimately rejects her brutal upbringing and instead chooses to fight alongside the man she loves. We only used a few of her adventures on Earth, mostly showing them attempting to live a normal life, but ultimately the call to adventure is just too much. She joins the Watchtower at the behest of Highfather to prepare Earth for the arrival of Maggeddon.
What we added here is her inclusion as a member of our original Justice League team. The idea of trying to assemble a totally new group of heroes and not taking advantage of this incredibly likeable, powerful, empowering hero was just an impossiblity.
Barda & Scott Free
This is a great example of just how awesome comics can be given the opportunity. The relationship between these two characters is born out of a wild, galaxy spanning adventure... but at the same time their romance blossomed from a very human, very true-to-life place. Watching them fall in love was believable. It felt real. They are one of the best couples in FICTION, let alone comics, because the devotion they feel for each other is palpable. The visual of them together, with Barda towering over her totally-cool-with-it husband is one of those iconic images that define the stories of these characters.
Of course, while lots of "future" timelines that have been depicted in comics have featured a child of Barda & Scott, we've decided to pull the trigger and actually make them parents. Comics, like a lot of fiction, really delight in depicting disfunction, but this could has always stood out in the way they make their partnership work despite the challenges they face. Depicting this sort of functional couple actually suceed in parenting while both serving on the new Justice League is a really great new story idea.
Barda 's battle armor is incredibly iconic. One of the best parts of the New Gods is the fact that it feels like Jack Kirby's imagination completely un amok, and Barda might be one of the best examples of that. It's undergone a lot of tiny little changes over the years based on the artist that drew her, but she is always such a unique presence that she is unmistakeable.
Now, Barda has also appeared in an alternate costume a few times. It might seem rediculous, but she has gone into battle wearing a red... battle-bikini? It's ludacrious, right?
Well... yes... but... it... kinda works. Barda is such a unquestionable badass, and she also managed to be incredibly sexy even when NO skin is on display. Somehow she manages to have the exact same esthetic when she is wearing this rediculous ensamble. It's actually kinda badass. You can kind of imagine that she actually would wear this in less formal battle scenerios?
Still, obviously the correct look is her full battle armor. How could it not? It's one of the coolest superhero costumes in existance.
Barda has always been one of the most visible of the New Gods; actually living on earth with her husband. There was a long-standing notion that she was trying to live a very domestic life; I actually own a trading card for her that features her vacuming a carpet with a framed photo of her in her costume in the background. It's funny, I guess, but what a massive waste of one of the single coolest characters comics have ever created.
Barda HAD to be in the Justice League. This is a character that should be in four comics every month. She should be on lunchboxes and have a dozen movies with a new actress playing her every few years. We should never, ever get enough of her. She was a member of the Watchtower briefly, but that team is incredibly distant from humanity. Her new status as part of the new Earth-based Hall of Justice League puts her front and center in the superheroic community; she is going to be on the front lines of every major battle, fighting alongside the best of the best. Where she SHOULD be.
Moving forward, we get to watch her and Scott as parents. She's always been this fantastic juxtaposition of what women are expected to be with just how powerful and awesome they actually ARE, and watching her absolutely crush motherhood is going to rock.