24 years ago - Betty Kane is born.
18 years ago - Already a tennis progeny, 6-year-old Betty begins studying gymnastics.
14 years ago - 10-year-old Betty, a nationally ranked gymnast, is selected as an olympic hopeful.
9 years ago - 15-year-old Betty goes to the olympics, but suffers a career ending injury.
8 years ago - 16-year-old Betty meets the Teen Titans and decides to dedicate herself to joining them, but the team breaks apart shortly afterward.
6 years ago - With Beast Boy's permission, 18-year-old Betty becomes Flamebird & recruits her own new team of Teen Titans, but most of them are killed in the Quarac bombing. She retires as Flamebird.
4 years ago - 20-year-old Betty begins sparring with Dick Grayson, not realizing that he is Nightwing. She begins rethinking being Flamebird.
1 years ago - 23-year-old Betty helps Dick Grayson assemble the surviving Titans to save Donna Troy. Dick helps outfit Betty to become Flamebird again.
Okay, here we go: Betty Kane was the original Batgirl, back when she was the niece of Batwoman, but those characters were removed from continuity in the original Crisis. She was replaced in her limited Titans appearances with Flamebird, a name actually derived from Nightwing and Flamebird, the alter-egos of Superman and Jimmy Olsen when they operated as Batman-and-Robin-style vigilantes in the miniaturized Kryptonian City of Kandor.
Everybody still with me? Good.
Her character was never really given a solid groundwork. She was played as a wannabe Titan, occasionally joining teams that never took off, even being depicted as sitting by the phone in her costume, waiting for someone to call her. It's never been a flattering character concept.
We crafted our version of the character around the idea that she WAS a fan of the Titans, and who had the skills to join them, but who missed her chance because the team broke up. Later she formed her own Titans, but we've structured them around a disaster that winds up decimating the team. There's actually a lot of precedent for Titans teams being brought together only to be killed in their first outing, and it allowed us to build a team out of characters that weren't really useful, but who had an element of nostalgia to them. This might seem dark, but it fit into the larger timeline and let us make the crisis of confidence that seemed a constant part of Betty's character be ABOUT something. Also, we could depict her slow recovery of her confidence in her civilian life. We even paired her with Nightwing, creating our own version of Nightwing and Flamebird.
It even allowed us to use both of these costumes in her story, the one here in her original career, and the one on the top of the page when she comes back with a renewed sense of purpose and self-worth. We're pretty proud of this one.