Although Batwoman made a number of appearances during the late 1950s and early 1960s, declining sales of both Batman.
The modern incarnation of the character, Katherine „Kate“ Kane, first appears in week 7 of the maxi-series52 (2005). The modern Batwoman is written as being of Jewish descent and as a lesbian in an effort by DC editorial staff to diversify its publications and better connect to modern day readership. Batwoman’s sexual orientation has been both criticized and praised by the general public and the character has been described as the highest profile gay character to appear in stories produced by DC Comics.
New Batwoman star Javicia Leslie ‘can’t wait’ to see trans superheroes on screen
Javicia Leslie joins Batwoman in its second season. (The CW)
Batwoman star Javicia Leslie has delivered a powerful rallying cry for diversity on screen, saying she wants to see more trans superheroes in the spotlight.
The actor, who made her debut Sunday (17 January) as new Batwoman Ryan Wilder in the show’s second season opener after Ruby Rose quit her role as Kate Kane, told the Washington Post that representation in superhero shows is essential.
Leslie said her character will be “completely different” from Rose’s, but she confirmed that the new iteration of Batwoman will also be gay.
“Batwoman [is] gay in the comics,” Javicia Leslie said. “I think that is really important that [it] continues to be represented in our iteration of Batwoman as well.”
She added that “representation is so important”, and said: “I can’t wait until there [are] trans superheroes that [are] live-action.
“I think that… this role and other roles like this are constantly breaking the barriers of what normalcy is. And it’s creating a new normal that should represent everyone and not just what people think is the majority.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Leslie reflected on the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020, which occurred following the brutal killing of George Floyd after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes.
“I’m really saddened by the events that have happened within the last year. But it really just revealed that we have a lot of work to do as a world, more specifically as a country,” she said.
Viewers Blamed After Pro-LGBT Batman Spinoff Bombs
When a television show failed to impress viewers in years past, it was back to the drawing board. Storylines were rewritten, characters were improved or cut entirely, and the producers gave it another go.
In the brave new world of 2019, however, a show’s failure isn’t the result of bad writing, but the fault of viewers, apparently. Case in point: The CW network’s “Batwoman.”
“Batwoman,” which takes place in the same fictional DC Comics universe as the much more widely known “Batman,” premiered Oct. 6.
The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for the show’s first season are a study in bad television, with a dismal audience score of only 12 percent. Although the critic rating sits at a lukewarm 70 percent, many of those reviewers are simply celebrating a “superhero in step with the times.”
Oh, did I forget to mention that Batwoman is a loud and proud lesbian?
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The show certainly doesn’t, and many reviewers said they didn’t like the show’s relentless and blatant pushing of its agenda. Even LGBT supporters said they grew tired of the constant focus.
“It feels like I am having things I already support somehow shoved even further in my face,” a one-star review reads. “While this pestering social justice vibe they give off is a huge annoyance that takes away from what makes Batwoman actually cool, there are other problems too.”
Of course, challenging the status quo is frowned upon in our enlightened times. Thankfully, many in the media were quick to assure the world that “Batwoman” was simply bombing because of toxic trolls.
Forbes insisted the poor ratings were the result of a “review bombing campaign” nefariously targeting the show over its embrace of the LGBT community.
The evidence used to support this claim — that most of those reviewing the show are men — is shockingly sexist.
Pride was even more shameless in its defense of “Batwoman,” blaming “conservatives and straight white men” for the show’s poor reception.
Unfortunately for the gatekeepers of media, the critic reviews don’t reflect their assumptions of race and sex.
“The whole show is very, very interested in being diverse,” female critic Emily Brookes wrote, “and it’s so obvious it’s cringe-worthy.”
“Batwoman is ultimately painful to watch and a struggle to get through, lacking finesse, emotional depth, and a sense of direction,” wrote Mae Abdulbaki, another critic who just so happens to be a woman.
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“Batwoman” isn’t being targeted by straight white men, but a diverse mix of people who are honestly unimpressed with the show.
The media’s attempt to blame an insidious conservative campaign for the show’s shortcomings is about as shameless as it gets. With even LGBT reviewers being turned off by the show’s agenda, it’s starting to look like the media has an agenda of its own.
Hey, Ruby Rose — It Matters That Batwoman Is a Lesbian Superhero
Hey, Ruby Rose — It Matters That Batwoman Is a Lesbian Superhero
In a new interview the ‘Batwoman’ star says the show will be about ‚a superhero,‘ not ‚a gay superhero.‘
Ruby Rose is excited to play Batwoman, but not necessarily because the hero is a lesbian. In a new profile in Glamour, the star of the CW’s upcoming Batwoman says the show “is not about a gay superhero.” She clarifies, “It’s about a superhero.”
Batwoman, also known as Kate Kane, Bruce Wayne’s cousin, got much of her superhero training in the military, where she was kicked out under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” specifically because she refused to be just “a soldier” and not a lesbian soldier. Her commanding officer gave her an opportunity to hide her queerness, and instead she chose to leave the military so she could be herself.
The character’s history both in and out of the comics is one where she’s struggling to be a both lesbian and a superhero in a world where people want her to be just a superhero. The series’ original writers, J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, even quit when DC Comics wouldn’t let Batwoman get married to her lesbian partner, policewoman Maggie Sawyer.
I’ve been a big supporter of Rose in this role. After Orange is the New Black, the Aussie actress and model was a bonafide Lesbian Superstar, exactly the kind of person who should be playing a Lesbian Superhero. But if she’s not going to use this role to embrace the queer aspects of her character, I’m starting to rethink my support.
I do understand where her frustration is coming from, however. In the same Glamour profile, Rose talks about being pigeonholed throughout her career.
Batwoman premieres on the CW on Oct. 6. Let’s hope the show gets it, even if Rose doesn’t.
How Batwoman’s Big Decision Fits Into the History of Gay Superheroes [Spoilers]
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In *Batwoman *#17, available from DC Comics in print and digital versions today, the openly gay heroine Batwoman (aka Katherine “Kate” Kane) proposes to her girlfriend, police detective Maggie Sawyer. While we don’t yet know the answer, if all goes well they’ll presumably be getting hitched, bringing same-sex marriage squarely into the center of a mainstream comic.
Granted, this isn’t the first same-sex proposal in mainstream superhero comics; most recently, the Marvel Comics superhero Northstar — one of the first openly gay males in superhero comics — proposed to his boyfriend in an X-Men comic published last May, and married him in the subsequent issue.
But Batwoman’s proposal also comes at a time when Batwoman publisher DC Comics is taking heat from comics fans for another LGBTQ issue: the hiring of noted homophobe Orson Scott Card as the writer of an upcoming Superman story. The decision to hire Card, who is on the board of the National Organization of Marriage (NOM), drew fire last week from LGBTQ rights supporters, who started a petition to have him dropped by DC, which has currently garnered nearly 14,000 online signatures thus far.
While All Out co-founder Andre Banks, who started the petition, declared that „[superheroes] are a reflection of our values and they deeply influence our shared ideals,“ the official comment from DC was that “the personal views of individuals associated with DC Comics are just that — personal views — and not those of the company itself.” Basically, it was a mess, but not a terribly surprising one given the long, uneven history of gay issues in superhero titles.
„In the last ten if not twenty years, we have seen more characters who are identified as queer in mainstream comics,“ Batwoman co-creator Greg Rucka told Wired. „[But] I feel very strongly that it’s been two steps forward and one step back. Are we making progress? Yes. But it’s not satisfactory in any way shape or form.“
‚I feel very strongly that it’s been two steps forward and one step back. Are we making progress? Yes. But it’s not satisfactory in any way shape or form.‘
For most of superhero history, the love that dare not speak its name was, well, not really spoken about much. This was thanks in part to the moral panic instigated by psychiatrist Fredric Wertham in his 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent, which detailed the many ways comic books were turning young people into delinquents (delinquents, I say!). In particular, it argued that „only someone ignorant of the fundamentals of psychiatry and of the psychopathology of sex can fail to realize a subtle atmosphere of homoeroticism which pervades the adventures of the mature ‚Batman‘ and his young friend Robin.“
Although recent academic criticism suggests that Wertham’s research may have been flawed or even falsified, it was extremely influential at the time, leading to the Kefauver Senate hearings on juvenile delinquency as well as the Comics Code Authorityself-censoring body created by comics publishers that ended up stultifying mainstream comics for decades.
As for Batman, he got Batwoman. She was fabulous, carried a cute purse full of Bat-lipstick, wore fantastic outfits, and (ironically, given today’s news) reassured readers that absolutely nothing gay was happening in world of Batman comics. Meanwhile, the Comics Code prohibition against „sex perversion“ made it clear that there was no room for LGBTQ characters in the world of mainstream comics.
Of course, the Comics Code didn’t affect underground comics and other illustrated works – from Tom of Finland’s erotic art to Dyke Shorts in the 1970s to Gay Comix in the ’80s and ’90s. There were even relatively popular comic strips like Alison Bechdel’s , which ran from the 80s through the 2000s in alternative newspapers and was once speculated by The New York Times to be as important to new generations of lesbians as landmark novels like Rita Mae Brown’s Rubyfruit Jungle (1973) and Lisa Alther’s Kinflicks (1976) were to an earlier one.“ (There is also the phenomenon of Japanese „yaoi“ or „Boys‘ Love“ comics, which are homoerotic works targeted at women, but that’s another story.)
But the emergence of more openly queer characters like Batwoman into the world of mainstream comics is still a new phenomenon particularly in an industry where the Comics Code persisted into the ’00s at the biggest publishers (although it was revised in 1989 to permit homosexuality).
„The biggest question on panels about gay comics over the past ten years has been ‚How did you get that story done?‘ or ‚What was the editorial response like?‘ and there was so much concern about whether this representation was going to be allowed to happen,“ said Charles „Zan“ Christensen, who founded the non-profit publisher Prism Comics in 2003 to increase LGBTQ presence and visibility in comics. „Now it’s so different. Every time somebody asks a question about how you get a character past editorial or a story past editorial the answer is almost invariably, ‚Why would it be a problem?'“
Still, others feel that the progress hasn’t come quite fast enough, and that compared to media that have made big strides to include LGBTQ characters, comics hasn’t kept pace.
„I think comics are catching up with other media like TV and movies, and I think they’re catching up in the way mainstream comics always have: they’re the last to do it,“ said Rucka. „Superhero comics are an extraordinarily conservative medium because of the persistent [Fredric] Wertham effect of *won’t somebody think of the children? *And when I say that it’s a conservative medium, it is paradoxically conservative. It’s not necessarily politically so, but it’s bound by its history.“
Dorian Wright, a noted blogger on gay issues in comics and co-author of *Write More Good *told Wired that „there are a lot of writers who want to be inclusive and want to do well by gay characters and fans, but they’re writing for a medium that’s been focused almost exclusively on straight white male characters for nearly the entire time it’s been in existence. So they repeat bad clichés and tired old stereotypes that novels, film and television have mostly moved beyond.“
Still, having Kate Kane propose to Maggie Sawyer in a genre that has only acknowledged gay characters in the last few decades is still what Joe Biden might call a BFD, almost by merit of that history. Yes, Orson Scott Card is writing a Superman story, but the arc of the moral universe is long, and it bends towards justice, if not the Justice League. And if superhero comics can handle gay marriage without their universe imploding, then perhaps other historically conservative corners of the cultural spectrum can too.
Kate Kane may be one of the very few queer characters gracing the pages of superhero books, but she’s there and she’s trying to put a ring on it. Mazel tov, Batwoman. It’s been a long time coming.
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Clad in the Hebrew colors of war, former West Point Academy cadet Kate Kane is Batman’s cousin, but she fights a battle all her own against injustice.
Bruce Wayne was robbed of both of his parents when he was just a small child, but his work as Batman has inspired those more fortunate than he was to follow his lead.
Trained by the military, Kate Kane was an heiress inspired to fight crime by the Dark Knight’s example after he rescued her from a mugger. But Kate’s story is unique. One of the few openly gay superheroes, she struggles for respect in her personal life as she protects all of Gotham City’s citizens, whether they respect her or not.
New Batwoman Javicia Leslie always wanted to be a superhero
Last year, Javicia Leslie was asked on a podcast what she wanted her next acting role to be.
“I said I wanted to be a superhero,” Leslie recalled recently toThe Washington Post.
In July, just two months after stating her desire, the star of “God Friended Me” and “The Family Business”answered the call to a bat-signal put up in the sky just for her — finding out she was the new star of the CW’s “Batwoman.” The announcement instantly made her the new face of the network’s successful tradition of televised superheroes.
The black-and-red cape and cowl of the DC Comics-inspired character had become available in May, when actress Ruby Rose made the shocking announcement that she was leaving the titular role(due to both injury and rethinking her future while isolating during the pandemic). Leslie self-taped her audition in her Los Angeles home due to covid-19 restrictions.
She spoke to The Post from Vancouver, where Season 2 of “Batwoman” is filmed — but had arrived from the United States three days prior, so she was in a required quarantine.the season premieres on the CW at 8 p.m.
Leslie says she’s always been a Batman fan. Which Batman? Val Kilmer in 1995′s “Batman Forever.”
Leslie and Kilmer are kindred acting spirits of sorts, both having dealt with the attention that comes with replacing a high-profile Bat-person upon their departure. Kilmer’s solo venture as Batman followed Michael Keaton’s two-film run as the Dark Knight just as Leslie must now cast a new shadow over the one Rose left behind.
And just like Kilmer’s blond Batman didn’t attempt to mimic what Keaton accomplished under the mask a quarter century ago, Leslie isn’t trying to do what’d been done before.
“What makes me me will always be different than what makes someone else who they are,” Leslie said. “We’re talking about two completely different characters that are obviously going to be two completely different Batwomen.”
Despite a change in secret identities from Rose’s Kate Kane to Leslie’s Ryan Wilder, Batwoman will remain a gay character. Leslie, who identifies as bisexual, says that was a key characteristic that had to be kept.
“Batwoman [is] gay in the comics. I think that is really important that [it] continues to be represented in our iteration of Batwoman as well,” Leslie said. “Representation is so important. I can’t wait until there [are more] trans superheroes that [are] live-action. I think that … this role and other roles like this are constantly breaking the barriers of what normalcy is. And it’s creating a new normal that should represent everyone and not just what people think is the majority.”
One norm going away is the trademark black eye makeup that every on-screen bat-hero since Keaton has worn under the mask — Rose eventually parted with itand Leslie will also decline.
“Being a woman of color, it was important that we didn’t black out my eyes,” Leslie said. “We wanted to play with light instead of playing with darkness to help accentuate me being a black woman in playing this role.”
Leslie auditioned to be Batwoman while the Black Lives Matter movement was protesting the death of George Floyd, which happened on thesame day in May that Christian Cooper was racially harassed while birdwatching in Central Park. “Batwoman’s” new season debuts less than two weeks after the violence and death that took place at the Capitol, a day where a noose and Confederate flag breached the United States’ beacon of democracy not far from where Leslie grew up in Upper Marlboro, Md.
The significance of being Batwoman now is not lost on Leslie.
“I’m really saddened by the events that have happened within the last year. But it really just revealed that we have a lot of work to do as a world, more specifically as a country,” Leslie said. “Life imitates art, so it’s very important that what we see on television represents who we really are and that it continues to inspire people that may be voiceless or scared to [be] who they are.”
Diversity in comic storytelling has shown gradual improvement over the years. It has been almost a decade since Miles Morales debuted as the half-Puerto Rican, half-African American Spider-Man over at Marvel Comics. Since then, the wall-crawler has starred in an Academy Award-winning animated film and is currently the star of one of the most popular video games on the PS5.
DC is finally catching up to Marvel’s progress. Leslie is the CW’s second Black superhero in a lead role, after DC’s “Black Lightning.” Her character’s alter ego, Ryan Wilder, recently made her comics debut. The company also just introduced a Black Batman and a Brazilian Wonder Woman in the pages of its new publishing initiative, “Future State.” Milestone Comics, a DC imprint, will resume publishing some of the world’s most popular Black superheroes after a long hiatus, with plans to grow on big and small screens.
“To be a part of [the Batman franchise] in the capacity where I’m the one saving the day … I think it’s so powerful,” Leslie said. “I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that my version of a superhero would have been something that was so groundbreaking.”
Fear of a Gay Batman Brought Batwoman to Life
In the mid-1950s, Batman and Robin comics had a tried-and-true formula: The Dynamic Duo encounter the Joker/Penguin/Catwoman, slug it out with Gotham City’s most fiendish villains, save the day, and retire to stately Wayne Manor for some well-earned down time. That basic rhythm dictated the adventures of the Caped Crusaders since Robin was introduced in 1940, but in July 1956 readers were wham-pow-zapped by a colorful, ravishing new addition to the Bat-family.
Batwoman, announced on the cover of 223, rocked the Batcave’s status quo. Here was a major addition to Gotham’s ranks, and she was capable of besting Batman and Robin at the superhero game. But the female superhero’s arrival wasn’t just about spicing up Batman and Robin’s routine; it was also intended to short circuit the perceived subtext that the Dark Knight and Boy Wonder shared more than an interest in punching out bad guys.
In 1954, German psychiatrist Fredric Wertham’s book Seduction of the Innocent gripped America. The country was in the midst of a 10-cent panic, paralyzed with fear that lurid comics—not only superhero tales, but pulpy romances, war stories, westerns, horror and sci-fi books—were corrupting the nation’s kids with delusions of grandeur and fantasies of depraved violence. (EC Comics’ Crime SuspenStories 22, from April/May 1954 featured a man holding a bloody axe and a woman’s severed head as the body lay in the background.)
Wertham and his book told parents and other agents of conformity that, yes, comic books were indeed rotting adolescents’ moral, emotional, spiritual and sexual well-being. His dubious claims were later shown as coming from falsified research, but at the time they landed forcefully, especially when it came to superheroes. Superman, the most popular comic book hero of the time, was fascist. And in the dynamic between Batman and Robin, Wertham saw “a wish dream of two homosexuals living together.”
For the industry generally, Seduction of the Innocent led to the self-censoring Comics Code Authority, to keep the government from touching books. And when it came specifically to making Batman “safe,” National Comics (the predecessor to DC Comics) decided he needed a love interest—and Batwoman was born.
Bob Kane, who created the comic strip character Batman, posing with some of his original drawings of Batman, Robin and Batwoman, in 1979. (Credit: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)
Kathy Kane, a top circus acrobat and stunt motorcyclist, yearned to follow in Batman’s crime-fighting bootsteps. She got her chance after inheriting a large fortune, which she used to stock her satchel of gadgets—sneezing-powder powder puff, charm bracelets that double as handcuffs, tear gas perfume. She even had her own Batcave, hidden in an abandoned mine under her estate. After her 1956 debut, Batwoman became a Bat-family regular through the ‘50s and early ‘60s; her niece, Betty Kane, even became the original Bat-Girl—introduced in 1961, replaced by Barbara Gordon in 1967—giving Robin his own heterosexual love interest.
But while Batwoman served her purpose—to straighten up Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson—she was perhaps more transgressive than Batman and Robin ever were. Three years after Marlon Brando set the template for leather-clad biker rebellion in and nearly a decade before The Shangri-Las immortalized the “Leader of the Pack,” Kathy Kane—a single woman in an era defined by shackling women to marriage and kitchens—cruised Gotham on a motorcycle, busting bad guys in a skin-tight bodysuit. She was a brainy, beautiful badass, and Bruce Wayne—and Batman fans—couldn’t get enough.
By 1964, though, National phased Kathy Kane out of Gotham. She appeared here and there over the next 15 years, before being killed off in Detective Comics 485 (September 1979). The move didn’t sit well with longtime Batwoman fans.
“Few female characters ever developed for long periods in either Batman or Detective,” Marianne T. Hauser wrote to DC editors. “The Batwoman was a refreshing change from the stuffy, inflexible, overly-moral attitudes of a former Batman. He changed and grew, why couldn’t she?”
It took some time for Batwoman’s fortunes to turn. After being wiped out of DC continuity during the seminal event Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985-86), Batwoman became a virtual non-entity for 30 years. But as part of another line-wide event, she was resurrected in an incarnation that, again, proved immensely popular and demonstrated how far DC—and mainstream superhero comics—had come since 1956.
Introduced in 52 issue 11 (September 2006), the new Batwoman, a/k/a Kate Kane (who first appeared in 52 issue 7) was a fiery redhead with ghost-white skin clad in a black costume accented with red boots and gloves and bat crest across her chest. Like Kathy, Kate was inspired by Batman to clean up Gotham’s streets and used access to a fortune to turn vigilante. And after the Caped Crusader disappeared (long story), she became Gotham’s no-nonsense dark knight.
But what made the world (not just comic fans) take notice of the new Batwoman was DC’s decision to make her a lesbian. The character who originated as a heterosexual solve for Batman’s perceived homosexual problems was now, herself, queer.
It was a move that attracted attention from publications not normally on the comics beat, and it unsurprisingly drew criticism from some fans and pundits. But since her return, Batwoman has been given a prominent role in the DC universe. For a while, she was the lead character in Detective Comics, and she’s a key figure in the twisted soap opera unfurling in the Batman books. Since 2019, Kate Kane has been the star of a Batwoman series written by Caroline Dries (The Vampire Diaries) on The CW. In the first season, Kane was played by actor Ruby Rose.
“Growing up, watching TV, I never saw somebody on TV I could identify with—let alone a superhero,” Rose, who identifies as a lesbian, told Jimmy Fallon. After getting cast as Batwoman, she realized kids like her will now be able to “watch this growing up and relate to it and feel empowered and think they can be a superhero.”
In her 60-plus years as crime fighter, Batwoman has endured dastardly plots and difficult trials—including being erased from existence. And yet, like all the great superheroes, she has endured by connecting with readers, fans and creators beyond the action in the panels. It’s an enviable trajectory for any character—especially one born out of prudish fears.
Comic-Con: Ruby Rose Is Totally Gay and Totally Cool in the Batwoman Pilot
In the interest of protecting spoilers, Vulture will not divulge plot details of the debut episode of the Batwoman, which aired today for fans at the show’s San Diego Comic-Con panel. But we will say: The network’s first out-gay titular superhero gets to be totally queer and totally kick some ass in the pilot. Rose’s Kate Kane, the true identity of Batwoman, is canonically a lesbian, and in her first standalone CW episode — she appeared in an episode of Arrow last year — Rose gets to do more than just smile at pretty girls or share warm hugs. She gets to join the proud CW tradition of giving you sexy onscreen makeouts between preternaturally hot people. Though Kane did not say it out loud, you could hear the wind whispering “gay rights” as it passed through Ballroom 20 of the San Diego Convention Center. “Representation is everything and diversity is our strength,” said producer Sarah Schechter, who was wearing a T-shirt that said Unfuck The World. “We love this character, and we love her sexuality and we love her beyond her sexuality.”
There’s also some tragic origin-story action, intense combat training, a dastardly villain, and plenty of Kane family drama, but you can find out the specifics when the show premieres on Sunday, October 6. Once things are up and rolling, can Arrow-verse fans expect any crossover events? This is the CW, so absolutely yes, they can, and producer Caroline Dries said they’re already at work on a massive tie-in event that will connect the network’s super squad with its newest member. On top of that, the two women on hand said fans can expect a strong rapport between Supergirl and Batwoman.
But what of Batman, whose mantle Kane is picking up in the absence of Bruce Wayne? Well, Dries says “anything is possible,” but emphasized that DC is very selective with how they dole out access to the Dark Knight property. So, don’t hold your breath for Batsy, but do expect a lot of local baddies who hate him to crawl out of the woodwork now that there’s another winged vigilante taking to the streets and skies of Gotham again. Both fortunately and unfortunately for them, Ruby Rose will be waiting to dispense justice. And honestly, we can think of worse ways to go out.
DC Comics Steps Up Its LGBTQ Representation with Batgirl, Harley and Ivy, Renee Montoya and More!
It’s not exactly a secret that I’ve been fairly critical of DC Comics since their New 52 relaunch, especially when it comes to their treatment of queer characters. They benched some terrific queer WOC like Renee Montoya, Scandal Savage, Grace Choi and Thunder. Batwoman, the most prominent lesbian in all of superhero comics, was raped; and then her writer said it wasn’t rape on twitter. Batwoman’s comic was cancelled. And then Batgirl, which had been my one bright spot in DC’s lineup, messed up, and messed up big time.
In Issue #37, Batgirl was fighting a Bat-imposter who looked just like her and was giving her a bad reputation all around town. In the climactic scene of the issue, the real Batgirl pulls off this imposter’s cowl to see that it’s the male performance artist Dagger Type. This was already playing into a bunch of stereotypes about trans women — that we’re deceptive and dangerous, that we’re “creepy crossdressers” — but then Batgirl’s reaction made it hurt so much more. Batgirl, the one superhero in mainstream comics who had a trans woman for a best friend, the one who I knew wouldn’t be transphobic, shouted “Dagger Type? But you’re a —” clearly about to say “but you’re a man!” I’ve already talked about this at length, but if you think someone is a woman, and then you pull off their wig, it is absolutely transmisogynistic to call them a man, especially if you’re shouting it. That was the part of the comic that most bothered, offended and hurt me. I’m completely fine with transgender villains, I’d love an awesome trans woman villain, but Dagger Type wasn’t trans; he was just playing into negative trans woman stereotypes and then Batgirl herself reacted in one of the worst possible ways to the reveal.
The new Batgirl of Burnside collected edition with changes made to issue #37.
I was hurt by this issue. It was one of my favorite comics (and I read around thirty a month) and it was the only comic put out by DC or Marvel that I thought I knew I would be safe from transphobia. I mean, if Alysia Yeoh, Barbara Gordon’s friend and former roommate knew she was doing anything transphobic (like, let’s say, pulling someone’s wig off and calling them a man) she would be sure to set her straight. I actually had to put the comic down and stop reading it. But in the end, I thought it was just another example of DC throwing its LGBTQ characters under the bus.
Now, seven months later, DC is looking like it’s turning over an entirely new leaf.
Some of the changed dialogue in the collected edition via MTV
I was extremely impressed (not to mention relieved and comforted) back in December when writers Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and artist Babs Tarr very quickly apologized, acknowledged what they had done wrong and promised to do better. I was even more impressed when I learned that in the trade paperback version of this first Batgirl run, Batgirl of Burnside, they actually changed the dialogue in the most offensive and hurtful scene. Stewart told me that as soon as they realized what they had done, they wanted to fix it, “Brenden, Babs and I immediately realised the mistakes we’d made and felt it was really important to us, not only as creators, but also on a personal level, to try to make amends to the transgender community, whom we all value as a part of our readership. The collected edition provided us with an opportunity to examine the story and make improvements.”
This is how companies and creators should react when they mess up like this. This is a huge company, DC, in one of their big franchises, stepping up and not only admitting and acknowledging their mistake, but doing what they can to fix it. As I told Stewart, the new version of the comic will prevent other readers and fans like me from feeling the hurt, self-disgust and betrayal that I felt when I read the original issue. Stewart says that he and the rest of the Batgirl team hope that those who were hurt by the original issue “will now find the story handled with greater sensitivity, and that the changes indicate a commitment to our pledge to be better allies moving forward.”
I know this might seem kind of hokey, but Team Batgirl’s words and actions here really give me hope for the future of comics. I was already looking forward to the future of comics at other companies like Boom!, Image and even Marvel, but this commitment to do better shows that DC is taking it’s place at the front of the movement to make comics more friendly for readers who aren’t cis, straight, white men. Stewart’s promise that Alysia Yeoh “will be a key component of an approaching storyline, the culmination of which will occur in the October issue” makes me even more excited.
So do some other moves DC has made recently. First of all, they gave a monthly title to Midnighter, who is openly gay. They also have two bisexual men, Catman (in Secret Six) and John Constantine (in Constantine: The Hellblazer) who are starring in titles and being very open about their sexuality. This is especially welcome after the recent Constantine TV show erased its title character’s bisexuality.
Queer women are getting a lot more attention too. Not only will Alysia Yeoh be heavily featured in upcoming issues of Batgirl, but Barbara’s other friend, Frankie, is a disabled queer woman of color, and also the new Oracle. In non-Batgirl titles, DC recently announced that Maguerite Bennett (of the terrific A-Force and Angela comics, as well as a dozen others) will be writing an alternate history WW2 DC Bombshells comic starring Wonder Woman, Supergirl and the very queer Batwoman. They also just reintroduced Renee Montoya, one of the greatest comics characters of all-time and a Latina lesbian, into the pages of Detective Comics #41, which gave off a lot of very Gotham Central-type vibes. If you’ve read that series, than you know that that’s a stupendous thing.
Now, in news that could have been the headline of this week’s article, DC also made an announcement that they should have made back when Batman: The Animated Series was still on the air: Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are real-life honest-to-god girlfriends!!! On Twitter, Harley Quinn writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner answered the question “are harley and ivy girlfriends? Please confirm this” with “Yes, they are Girlfriends without the jealousy of monogamy.” Seriously, finally. So, that makes at least eight titles at DC this summer that have an LGBTQ character as the lead or co-lead (Secret Six, Midnighter, Constantine: The Hellblazer, Harley Quinn, Harley Quinn and Power Girl, Catwoman, Detective Comics, Bombshells). Did I miss any?
Yes, they are Girlfriends without the jealousy of monogamy. @jpalmiotti @AmandaRantsAlot #HarleyQuinnChat
I’m really loving this new direction for DC. It seems like they’re doing their best to make up for their mistakes and to listen to their readers. The Batgirl of Burnside trade paperback is one of the very few trades that I’ve bought after buying all of the single issues, and I plan on continuing my support of this comic as long as they’re going to commit to being the best allies they can be. With DC on board, the future definitely looks bright for queer characters in comics and I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.
Javicia Leslie as Black Batwoman revealed in stunning photos: ‚Her swag and her moment‘
Here’s a nice antidote to help us get over Ruby Rose’s surprising departure as Batwoman.
The CW revealed a pair of first looks (see above and below) at its new series lead Javicia Leslie – the first-ever Black Batwoman — and they are stunning shots of the relatively unknown God Friended Me actress in a newly redesigned black and red batsuit.
Leslie’s new character Ryan Wilder will begin Batwoman Season 2 donning the same suit as Rose’s Kate Kane before debuting her new threads in the third episode, according to a press release issued by The CW.
The changes to Batwoman’s look include “a new cowl featuring natural, curly hair with red streaks, red gauntlets over the forearms, and shorter boots” and “a redesign with new materials, featuring laser etching to create more visual depth and a stronger silhouette.”
The redesigned suit was conceptualized by costume designer Maya Mani and created by Ocean Drive Leather, while overseen by series executive producer Caroline Dries.
“I love the fact that Ryan is becoming her own Batwoman — it’s her style, her swag, and her moment!” Leslie said in a statement. “It was an honor to be able to collaborate with Caroline and Maya. I felt it was important that viewers could tell by the silhouette that Batwoman was a Black girl. With the form-fitting suit and beautiful Afro, we definitely nailed it!”
Reactions to Batwoman’s new look were largely positive on social media, including one from Leslie’s co-star Camrus Johnson.
Wow. The power in this. Our Batwoman, @JaviciaLeslie @CWBatwoman
I’m excited to see the #Batwoman suit in action because this honestly could be the best Arrowverse costume to date. ??
*inhales* y’all… *SCREAMS* LOOK AT OUR BATWOMAN! Source: @CWBatwoman
Based on the iconic DC Comics character and set in the same Arrowverse as The CW’s The Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning and the upcoming Superman & Lois, Batwoman premiered in Octotber 2019 with the out lesbian Rose playing the out lesbian Kane, a street fighter battling Gotham City’s criminal resurgence. The TV version of Kane was based on Batwoman’s 2006 reintroduction in the comics and made her the first gay lead character in a live-action superhero series.
After Rose announced she was leaving the show in 2020 – a mutual decision reached by Rose, the series and network that the actress later attributed to lingering effects from back surgery – the producers reaffirmed their commitment to casting another LGBTQ actress in the role.
Leslie, who identifies as bisexual, will play a character described in the press release as “relatable, messy, loyal, a little goofy, and apart from being a lesbian, she couldn’t be more different than the woman who wore the Batsuit before her, billionaire Kate Kane. Ryan, who we meet living in her van with only her plant for company, has been made to feel trapped and powerless by the system her whole life, and believes the Batsuit is the key to breaking out of it. But what she’ll come to discover is that it’s not the suit that makes Ryan Wilder powerful, it’s the woman inside of it who finds her destiny in changing Gotham City for good.”
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Batwoman, American comic strip superhero created for DC Comics to serve as a strong female counterpart to Batman.
The original Batwoman, Kathy Kane, made her debut in Detective Comics no. 233 (July 1956). She was to serve as a female romantic interest for Batman, thereby countering the charge made by Frederic Wertham in his book Seduction of the Innocent (1954) that Batman and his teen sidekick Robin were promoting a gay lifestyle. According to the first version of her origin, Kathy Kane is a rich heiress with an unusual background as a former circus performer. She decides to use her athletic skills to become a costumed crime fighter in imitation of Batman, and she eventually becomes a frequent ally of Batman and Robin. In 1961 Kathy’s niece, Betty Kane, became Batwoman’s sidekick, Bat-Girl. Thus Robin was given a romantic interest as well.
When DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz and Detective Comics in 1964, he dropped Batwoman and Bat-Girl from the series. Two years later he presided over the creation of Barbara Gordon, the new Batgirl (without the hyphen in her name), thus creating what was widely regarded as the definitive version of that character. Eventually, Batwoman emerged from retirement in 1979, only to be killed that same year by Batman’s foes, the League of Assassins.
Decades later, DC Comics introduced a new Batwoman, Kate Kane, who made her first appearance in issue no. 7 of the yearlong series 52 (July 2006). Artist Alex Ross designed the new Batwoman’s costume, which was boldly contemporary. Attitudes in American society had changed tremendously in the half century since the first Batwoman’s debut. Whereas the original Batwoman was created partially to show that Batman was not gay, DC Comics presented the new Batwoman as a lesbian from her very first appearance, and she was portrayed as having been in a long-term relationship with Gotham City police detective Renee Montoya. The new Batwoman appeared as the lead character in a 10-issue Detective Comics run beginning in June 2009, and she received her own ongoing comic book series in 2011. The title was greeted with critical acclaim and was widely embraced by fans of the Batman franchise, thanks to strong storytelling by writer Greg Rucka and the revolutionary artwork of J.H. Williams III. Williams, who had previously worked on Promethea, redefined the visual expectations of a monthly superhero book with bold pencil work and innovative page layouts that were complex without looking cluttered.
Batwoman: Kate Kane’s Exit, Explained
By Jenna Anderson – January 17, 2021 08:59 pm EST
It’s been a number of months since wrapped up its first season, and the DC Comics-inspired series has gone through a lot of major changes in that stretch of time. The biggest arrived shortly after the show’s Season 1 finale, when it was announced that Ruby Rose would be stepping down from her role as Kate Kane/Batwoman. Instead of recasting the role or introducing another character from the comics, the series‘ decided to focus on an entirely new character named Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie). Of course, there was still the question of exactly how the series was going to write Kate Kane out of the show — and tonight, we got our answer. Spoilers for the Season 2 premiere of , „What Happened to Kate Kane?“, below! Only look if you want to know!
The episode opens with Ryan sleeping in her van by Gotham’s harbor, which is suddenly interrupted by a plane crashing in front of her. As Ryan surveys the wreckage, she finds a few dying passengers of the plane — and a bag containing Kate Kane’s Batsuit. This is juxtaposed with Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson) and Mary Hamilton (Nicole Kang) realizing that Kate’s plane back from National City – where she had gone to ask Kara Danvers/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) about the shard of Kryptonite in her possession – had been delayed due to bad weather. After putting two-and-two together, they realize that Kate was on the plane that crashed, and that she’s now nowhere to be found.
Word of Kate’s plane crash quickly goes public, complete with a front-page newspaper article proclaiming „What Happened to Kate Kane?“, and arguing that she has now gone missing due to the plane crash. The characters that were in Kate’s orbit begin to have very different reactions to this news — Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott) tries to use his resources with The Crows to find Kate dead or alive, but resigns himself to the fact that she might be dead, especially after having something similar happen with Elizabeth Kane/Alice (Rachel Skarsten) years ago. Luke also assumes that Kate didn’t survive the crash, and blames himself for it, since he set off the chain of events that led her to National City with the Kryptonite. Mary, meanwhile, tries to have a more hopeful outlook, believing that Kate could have potentially survived even without wearing the Batsuit.
As the episode goes along, some of the theories surrounding Kate’s fate begin to potentially hold water – particularly Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy) believing that the plane was targeted by Safiyah Sohail (Shivani Ghai) because of Kate’s romantic history with Julia Pennyworth (Christina Wolfe). Towards the episode’s end, Sophie’s theory does get a major bombshell, when she receives a letter addressed to her from Kate’s safe, which proclaims that she was Batwoman and that she still loved her.
Meanwhile, Alice is also distraught about Kate’s apparent death — because she didn’t get to be the person to make her disappear, and she is unsure of exactly who did. In the episode’s final scene, she seems to get her answer, with an ominous note from Safiyah proclaiming „Now we’re even.“
So, is Kate Kane dead? The episode doesn’t definitively say, especially after Batwoman showrunner Caroline Dries confirmed last year that they wouldn’t kill Kate off, especially for the sake of not falling into the problematic „Bury Your Gays“ trope. Nevertheless, some fans might wonder exactly how Kate could have survived such a brutal plane crash, even though there definitely is comic precedent for superheroes surviving unspeakable events even without their superhero suits. Of course, that raises the question of exactly what her status will be, and how the different theories surrounding that will impact ’s supporting cast.
„What happened to Kate? Is she alive? Did she die? Is she missing? Is she on the run? Is she held captive? Is she lost?“ Dries said during the DC FanDome virtual convention last year. „These are all huge mysteries that push us in deep into the season, and all of our characters are going to have different perspectives on that. Different conspiracy theories, different points of view, and it will create a lot of drama, tension, mystery, and intrigue. It will be shocking and awesome and amazing.“
What do you think happened to Kate Kane in the Season 2 premiere of Batwoman? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Ruby Rose knows Batwoman is a step forward for LGBTQ superheroes — but she’s more interested in how she saves the day
Ruby Rose knows it’s a big deal that Batwoman is gay. She’s read the comics and has seen the clickbait headlines. But she also wants you to know there’s more to her new character than just her dating life.
Despite the cool black-and-red bat-suit and gritty, action-filled stories, Batwoman’s sexuality is always one of the first things mentioned when she makes the news. And now the new “Batwoman” series has mostly gotten attention for featuring the first gay superhero in a lead TV role. But that’s something Rose hopes the show, which debuts Sunday on the CW, can change over time.
“[That’s] why this show is so important,” Rose said — she’s a gay superhero whose sexuality is intended to be no big deal. “People being straight doesn’t get that kind of attention. It’s the least interesting thing about [Batwoman].
“I mean, I even look at her as I look at my own sexuality,” added Rose, who identifies as gay. “I would think my sexuality is the least interesting thing about me. We all identify as something. We wake up in the morning and we don’t think about it, it just is. Being straight and being gay, it’s the same thing. It’s just love. It’s who you love.”
Gay heroes have appeared throughout the CW’s DC shows as supporting characters, but never as a headliner. Batwoman is also known as Kate Kane, billionaire Bruce Wayne’s kid cousin, who becomes a bat-vigilante herself and watches over the night skies of Gotham City. The Australian-born Rose, an MTV personality and model turned actress, was the No. 1 choice by “Batwoman” showrunner Caroline Dries for the cape, cowl and, most important for the comic book die-hards, the red wig.
But Dries thought Rose — a budding movie star, recently seen on Netflix in “Orange is the New Black” and on film in “John Wick 2” and “The Meg” — was too big of a name to accept, even if she was offering the keys to her very own Batcave.
“You kind of can’t take your eye off of her. [To me,] it’s like asking Angelina Jolie or Kristen Stewart or something,” Dries said. “In my mind, I was sort of … looking for the gettable version of Ruby Rose and [someone] who possessed all of her characteristics. That hard edge … emotionally vulnerable and smart. All those characteristics. I think I was scared to just reach out and say, hey, what about this crazy idea.”
After going through “tons” of auditions looking for a Rose alternative, David Rapaport, the CW’s casting director, told Dries she should just go after the real deal.
Rose did a bit of soul searching when CW called. Shooting a network TV season often means filming almost year round, leaving a limited window for Rose to make movies. She would have to move from Los Angeles to Vancouver, where most of the CW’s DC shows film.
But ultimately, Rose answered the bat-signal call — the role was too emotionally appealing to pass up. She tried to think of any upcoming role she’d been offered that could make her feel the same way. There weren’t any.
“[This role is] something that we all wish did exist when we were growing up [watching] television. It would have helped [us] as well as other people feel less alone and less misunderstood or all confused or isolated and different and not unlike many other things that come with being young and gay,” Rose said. She hopes the show will impact people who feel alone — “and empower them to feel like they’re a superhero too and that they can change the world too.”
Rose also has an unexpected connection to the Batman universe: She was close with fellow Aussie Heath Ledger, who passed away before winning an Oscar for playing the Joker in 2008’s “The Dark Knight.“
“I just thought, wow, he’s really made it,” she said. “When I got the [Batwoman] opportunity as well I felt, well, I guess I need to pinch myself, because it’s the same thing.”
Batwoman first appeared in the pages of DC Comics as Kathy Kane in “Detective Comics” No. 233 on May 22, 1956, as a romantic interest to Batman. Her debut was speculated to have been a push back against the rumor that Batman and Robin were a gay couple, which was perpetuated by Fredric Wertham, who spoke frequently on the effects he thought comic books had on child development.
She was killed off in 1977, with occasional resurrections typical of superhero story lines. But she didn’t come back for good until June 21, 2006, in “52” No. 7, when she was reintroduced as Kate Kane — and, for the first time, openly gay, as it was revealed she had a prior relationship with Gotham City police detective Renee Montoya.
In 2009, she took over for Batman as the lead character of “Detective Comics” for 10 issues (she’s since had two solo series). Writer Greg Rucka and artist J.H. Williams used those issues to retell Batwoman’s origin story, which serves as a heavy influence on the TV show’s first season. The new story focused on her exit from the military after she was outed and her complicated relationship with her father as they dealt with survivors’ guilt from the accidental death of Kate’s mother and sister.
Rucka knew a lesbian superhero would make waves, but said he was determined to help create a story that would give Kate Kane staying power.
“She’s got her baggage. She has her complex. She has her complications,” Rucka said. “But at the end of the day, you’re always going to have a hero.”
On the TV show, Batwoman will go up against the Joker-esque, Alice in Wonderland-themed character Alice (Rachel Skarsten), with whom she shares a tragic connection. When the cowl comes off, Kate Kane will battle emotions after reuniting with Sophie (Meagan Tandy), the woman she had to let go after being expelled from the military.
“The interesting part of [Batwoman] that I don’t really think they explored in the comics [is] … it’s a show about a girl who is so comfortable with her sexuality and it’s never been a question that she would be in the closet or lie about it,” Dries said. “Now here she is wearing a mask. Lying about who she is. Allowing people to think the wrong things about her. And she has to find a way to reconcile that. … She’s going into the closet for the first time and trying to figure out where she fits in that paradigm as a superhero.”
But Rose noted that each time she suits up as Batwoman, the main theme should always be saving the day.
“You don’t fight crime in a gay way or in a lesbian way,” Rose said. “She’s a superhero. That’s what she is.”
Catwoman revealed as bisexual in new DC comic
Batwoman is lesbian, the Green Lantern is gay, and now Catwoman, the leather-clad denizen of Gotham City who made her comic book debut in 1940, has been confirmed as bisexual.
In the new issue of the DC comic, Catwoman #39, the character Selina Kyle, also known as Catwoman, kisses another woman and confirms a long-held rumour about her sexuality.
“She’s flirted around it – often quite literally – for years now; for me, this wasn’t a revelation so much as a confirmation,” said writer Genevieve Valentine on her blog, adding that Kyle was “canon bisexual”, meaning that this isn’t a plot that will be quietly forgotten about.
The current Catwoman storyline sees Kyle having hung up her catsuit to head up a crime family in Gotham City, with a new character, Eiko, having taken on the masked identity. Eiko warns Kyle that “they’re going to declare war on you”, adding: “Be careful. Please.” Kyle responds “I know”, before the two kiss. “Was that for me, or the suit?” asks Eiko. “I don’t know,” responds Kyle, before walking away while the words “if we survive this, might be nice to find out” hang in the air.
“Eiko seemed like the right person: intelligent, driven, in that uncanny valley of Almost Catwoman, and knows enough about Selina that their honesty has become something of a shelter in a situation that’s getting increasingly dishonest for everybody involved. The more we talked about it, the more it was something I wanted to make happen,” writes Valentine on her blog.
“Was it a surprise for them? In terms of their sexualities, not particularly; certainly it’s no surprise to Selina that she has an attraction to a woman. Is this particular kiss a surprise? It’s definitely surprising; this is the very last thing you’re supposed to be getting into on the brink of war, and they both know it.”
While Valentine promised that Catwoman’s “longstanding connection” to Batman had not been forgotten about – “that is not how bisexuality (or humanity) works” – she said that the relationship with Eiko was set to be explored further.
“This also isn’t a throwaway; as soon as my renewal as the ongoing Catwoman writer was confirmed (early enough in the scripting process to give the major relationships some breathing room across arcs), I was able to start work on a thread for them that would be woven into the next arc,” she wrote on her blog. “Will they dramatically implode? I mean, it’s comics, it could happen. But it will be a relationship.”
The move was welcomed by the comics community. Comics expert Laura Sneddon, who blogs at comicbookgrrrl, called it a “a big deal as although Catwoman has flirted with woman in the past, that’s been in keeping with her hypersexual portrayal rather than an actual meaningful character development”.
“In terms of LGBT representation in DC Comics, it’s great that we have Batwoman, an original gay character, and it’s nice that they reintroduced the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott, as gay but neither of those characters have the same popular recognition that Catwoman does,” said Sneddon. “This is the real Catwoman, not an alternate-world or different woman, but Selina Kyle herself.”
She added that Valentine’s confirmation of the character’s sexuality as canon, “and that it isn’t a mistake or mind-control or various other tropes that have been used to explain away ‘shocking’ kisses in the past”, makes the development “a huge deal for LGBT fans, and for bisexual women in particular who are often hard done by when it comes to non-sensationalised portrayals in our media in general, and superhero comics in particular”.
“Some ardent fanboys may be up in arms, or making boorish comments of pleasure, but for many women this is a great moment of Selina stepping outside the male gaze in a meaningful and powerful way,” said Sneddon. “Hopefully Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn won’t be too far behind.”
Since Kate Kane is getting her titular television series, it’s time that we remind everyone of Batwoman’s comic book history and how she became a fierce Jewish, lesbian superhero.
The CW put a developing show has been swirling since then. Thankfully, we have the rundown on most things Kate Kane, the drawn-out history of Kate donning the Batwoman costume and alias. We’d say we have a layout of everything Kate Kane, but it would take us several thousand words to review everything that makes Kate one of the best superheroes. Because Kate Kane’s Jewish and lesbian identities are important to both her personal and heroic endeavors, we thought we’d highlight some of her comic history and her Batwoman predecessor, Kathy Kane, who indirectly inspired future comic writers to create an openly lesbian superhero within the BatFam.
That’s right: There’s been more than one woman to wear the scarlet cape and mostly black spandex. In fact, there have been more than one Kathy Kanes to wear the Batwoman suit. Kathy Kane initially joined the DC Comics circuit in 1956 in Detective Comics #233. In a strange series of events, Kathy Kane, with no relation to Kate, was incorporated into Detective Comics as a weird plot device to keep Batman straight.
According to History, a psychiatrist, Fredric Wertham, in the 1950s claimed that Batman was gay and reading his comics could “turn kids gay and violent.” In an attempt to keep Bruce Wayne heteronormative reputation intact, DC Comics introduced Kathy Kane as both Batwoman and Batwoman’s love interest.
Although Kathy Kane and her symbolic alias, Batwoman, earned positive reviews from comic fans, she was neglected for nearly a decade before she came back into the DC Comics scene in 1964, only to die 15 years later in Detective Comics #485. DC retconned Kathy’s death to reprise an alternate version Kathy Kane in an alternate universe. However, the second Kathy only made a few brief appearances in Brave and the Bold in the early 1980s.
It wasn’t until after the Crisis on Infinite Earths in the New 52 that Batwoman resurfaced in the DC Comics scene under a new name and a new face in 2006. Under the guise of Kate Kane (i.e., Katherine Kane), DC Comics finally embraced including more openly gay characters to introduce Bruce Wayne’s cousin and the new Batwoman: Kate Kane.
Like Kathy Kane, Kate cane was also introduced simultaneously as a superhero and a hero’s girlfriend. Upon her Batwoman’s revival in the comic multiverse, DC introduced Kate as Renee Montoya‘s girlfriend. At one point in the post-Crisis run, Kate and Renee celebrate Hanukkah together. Granted, Kate and Renee’s relationship didn’t last.
Thankfully, Kate got a happily-ever-after as much as any superhero in the DC Comics’ universes. Kate has been in a longtime relationship with police officer Maggie Sawyer. After Batwoman’s titular comic series continued in 2011 and after one of the most iconic kisses in comic book history, and, yes, we’re talking about that kiss between Maggie and Kate, Batwoman writers were gearing up for the next step in the dynamic couple’s relationship: marriage.
After DC Comics wanted Batwoman writers to retcon the already scripted wedding between the two (even though Kate already proposed to Maggie in the comic run), the writers of Kate’s comic series quit in symbolic solidarity for the lesbian superhero, as Business Insider reports. Granted, DC Comics claims their adversity to the Maggie and Kate wedding was being superheroes don’t get married, which accounts for Selina leaving Bruce at the altar. However, fans are still rutting for a Batwoman wedding.
Regardless of the status of their wedding vows, it’s clear that Maggie and Kate are soulmates. Even in alternate universes, they’re still girlfriends who are supportive of each other’s own crimefighting methods.
Though set in an alternate universe during World War II, DC Bombshells encapsulates the canon characteristics of our favorite leading women heroes in DC Comics, from Zatanna, Wonder Woman, and Batwoman (Kate Kane). Being the canon Jewish hero in the DC Comics multiverse, Kate uses her combat prowess to fight Nazi in Germany. Kate Kane symbolically rewrote the tragedies in this alternate realm as she stopped crime syndicates that were selling Jewish names to the Nazi regime.
Aside from actively rebelling against Nazis and saving fellow Jewish citizens in the Berlin area from the Holocaust, the DC Bombshells runs also allows for readers to see more cathartic moments in Kate’s Jewish pride. After forming the Justice League with some of our favorite Bombshell gals, Kate meets a young Jewish girl in Berlin who educates her on why she isn’t afraid of all the genocide and oppression during the war.
In the process, the girl teaches Kate about the powerful Jewish heroes that came before her, and despite the Nazis’ and Hilter’s attempts to squander their faith, you can’t kill faith. The panels then soon transition into a Shabbat dinner, where Kate is obviously invited to join. Given the tension of the WWII setting, and the previous panels that expressed the young girl’s explicit Jewish pride.
While Kate mispronounces some of the Hebrew in the proceeding panels because, although she is heavily guided by her Judaism both in her constant insurgency against Nazis and drive to protect Jewish people and other disenfranchised people, she has never spoken Hebrew before. Being educated about years of Jewish heroes and being invited at the Shabbat dinner table gave Kate an explicit place in the community, where she’s always welcome.
DC Bombshells is indicative of dozens of examples of Kate’s faith, which is why we recommend you read it at your leisure, along with Kate’s titular series, Batwoman (2011), Batwoman (2017), and Batwoman: Rebirth. Even at the center of her heroism, Kate uses her identity as Batwoman to showcase her Judaism.
Even when Kate isn’t literally punching Nazis in a flashback universe, Batwoman carries her Judaism with her wherever she goes. One of the primary colors she designed into her suit pays homage to her Judaism. The color red on her suit symbolizes Kabbalah, so you could easily argue that any comic panel that includes Kate Kane in or out of her Batwoman suit exemplifies her Jewish pride.
Given how critical Kate’s Jewish and lesbian identities are to her civilian life and her life under the mask, many fans are upset that a Jewish lesbian actress wasn’t cast for the role of Batwoman. While the CW still hasn’t confirmed whether or not Batwoman will remain canonically Jewish in her television series, it’s easy to see why some fans are still skeptical that the production could commit Jewish erasure.
Like most members of the BatFam, Bruce in particular, Kate Kane has a complicated family history. Her twin sister Alice (birth name, Beth Kane) is evil and controlled by a religious-cult-turned-crime-syndicate. Whether Kate is fighting Nazis in the DC Bombshells‘ universe or trying to talk some sense into her sister in Gotham, Kate has always been Jewish, lesbian, and a hero (who was raised into a Jewish family).
Though these three identities don’t begin to summarize Kate Kane or her heroic pseudonym, Batwoman, they are important to her as a character, and they’re apart of her whether she’s wearing her sewn-in wig and Batmask or not.
10 Introduced To Make Batman Straight
An unfortunate episode in comics history is the reason Batwoman exists in the first place. In 1954, Dr. Fredric Wertham published a book called Seduction of the Innocent, which made the accusation that comic books made children gay. The book was a product of misguided thinking but made waves in public perception. He signaled out Batman in particular, for what he imagined to be an unnatural relationship with Robin. Desperate to change the perception that Batman was gay, DC introduced Kathy Kane as Batwoman to provide the Caped Crusader a female love interest.
9 Still Kind Of Gay
Batwoman’s romantic interest in Batman was unmistakable – almost to the point that modern readers might think she was overcompensating for something. While Batwoman’s sexuality in the Silver Age is never in doubt, her general vibe raises some questions. Her costume is a fairly loud sendup of a masculine one, with those positively gaudy ears, and her array of weapons are all based on female cosmetic products: compact mirrors, lipstick, etc., evidencing a subversive use of feminine traits. While not particularly overt, these aspects of her character seemed to play up the same thing she was supposed to be playing down.
1 Isn’t It Ironic
In 1956, Kathy Kane was introduced as a tool to make a character seem less gay. Fifty years later, her modern-day incarnation Kate Kane is one of the most prominent LGBTQ characters in all of comics. When Kate was introduced in 2006 as Batwoman, her sexuality was established upfront and made an essential part of her character. It remains so today and continues in the television adaptation starring Ruby Rose. It’s ironic – but ultimately rewarding – that Kathy Kane’s legacy ended up being so positive when it was born out of something so negative.
Darby Harn is a contributor for Screenrant, , Star Wars News Net, and Movie News Net. His sci-fi superhero novel EVER THE HERO debuted in January. His short fiction appears in Strange Horizons, Interzone, Shimmer, and other venues.
Kate Wants To Be A Marine, Not a Crow
Another large part of Kate’s origin as Batwoman in the comics stems from her being unable to pursue her dream of becoming a U.S. Marine because she’s lesbian. The Batwoman CW series keeps this same core idea but alters it slightly, swapping out the dream of becoming a Marine with joining her father’s security company, The Crows. (In the comics, The Crows are actually a name for a group of Jacob’s old buddies from his days in the military. All former special ops soldiers, they help train Kate as Batwoman once her father learns of her intentions and agrees to help.)
In the comics, Kate attends not just any military academy, but the prestigious West Point, where she excels. While there, she begins a romantic relationship with another cadet, Sophie, similar to what we see happen in the CW pilot. However, instead of being caught, Kate is anonymously accused and when confronted by her superior officer, she refuses to deny her homosexuality and is discharged. After being kicked out of the military, Kate lives aimlessly, spending all her time drinking and partying, only cleaning up her act after her encounter with Batman.
For her Arrowverse origin, Kate is only attending the military academy as compromise with her father, who doesn’t want her joining The Crows, but she’s again discharged because her sexuality. Instead of becoming a party girl, though, the CW’s Kate continues her training by traveling the world, and she only supplants her dream of joining The Crows with becoming Batwoman after discovering the truth about her cousin.
Kate Protects Sophie From Being Outed
When originally written, Kate’s dismissal from West Point came under the era of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the U.S. military’s policy that prohibited discrimination but still barred members from serving while being openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual. In which case, it’s Kate’s refusal to deny her homosexuality that gets her kicked out, not her being a lesbian, specifically. Not that the distinction matters much in the end, but this moment serves to establish Kate’s strong sense of integrity – as does her refusal to involve Sophie, not wanting to also jeopardize her military career. When Kate runs into Sophie years later, she has in fact progressed far in the military, rising to rank of colonel and working as a teacher at a military college.
In the the Batwoman pilot, though, Sophie is found out just the same as Kate, but she chooses to deny her homosexuality and remain at the academy. This leads to Sophie joining the military proper and eventually The Crows as well, essentially stealing Kate’s dream along with breaking her heart. Still, Sophie’s actions aren’t depicted as being malicious but rather necessary given the hostility that still exists within such organizations even after policies like Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell have been repealed. When Kate is later reunited with Sophie, she’s married to a man, confirming that Sophie has been living her life as a closeted homosexual. However, Sophie reaction to being rescued by Batwoman implies that the CW’s Batwoman will continue exploring Sophie’s sexual orientation and identity, using both her and Kate’s experiences to offer up new perspectives for the Arrowverse.
Sarah Moran is a news editor for Screen Rant and has been contributing to the site since 2014. She primarily writes features and covers the ongoing development of current movies and television shows. Sarah is a graduate of THE Ohio State University where she earned her B.A. in Film Studies in 2009. Sarah’s favorite movies range from studio era classics to the latest sci-fi and superhero blockbusters. Her favorite TV shows are animated, and she’s always up to watch a documentary. Sarah spends her free time playing too many video games and proudly supporting the Columbus Crew, the greatest team the world has ever seen.
YEEEEEEEEES I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS ALL DAY DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDE
I was/am so, so excited. As soon as I heard about Harley and Ivy I immediately wanted to rewatch and find all of their interactions in anything and everything. Sadly I was at work and my fidgeting and squeals were disturbing my coworkers, buuut too bad.
I mostly stick to Marvel and Boom! for my comics, but I remember an article posting about the Dagger Type terribleness. I’m glad they redid the pages and posted an apology, and hope that they stay that accountable and hey maybe send Mey an advance copy for troubleshooting, editing, and insider tips mayhaps?
1) Good on the Batgirl team for recognizing that they were wrong and stepping up to fix it. That’s how everyone should handle things like these when they happen… with an apology, a promise to be better, and actual steps that show they’re trying to be better. Might pick up the TPB now, as I stopped reading after that issue for that reason.
2) I’m very curious about this new Constantine series. I’ve never read any Constantine but the premise is intriguing. I’m glad they’re keeping his bisexuality intact and not under wraps.
3) How did I not know about Bombshells until now? Dude, I need this. I also thought Batwoman was wearing roller skates and the derby player in me got very excited. Ah, well.
4) I am excited that Ivy and Harley are official, but I must confess that despite the knowledge that I enjoyed the animated Batman series when I was a kid, the only episode I remember is the one where Batman gets trapped in a maze by the Riddler, and he wins by answering a question wrong on purpose. So I guess my reaction to this is more a golf clap than a my-team-just-won-the-Superbowl clap.
5) Picked up Detective Comics #41 and was very happy to see Renee and even happier to see that she’s likely one of the main characters. Her and Maggie Sawyer. I know people who just couldn’t love Maggie because they missed Renee too much, but I was introduced to Batwoman (and to comics!!) through the Blackman & Williams series, so Maggie has a special place in my heart.
6) Not related to the content of the article, but… shit, 1602: Witch Hunter Angela was AMAZING. Not good, not great, but AMAZING. Hot damn. I’ve been waiting for this column so I could have a place to flail with joy a bit, because I know folks here will understand. I hadn’t read any Angela comics before but now I want them all because yes.
Yes! I agree about Witch Hunter Angela! I was actually going to write about that comic until I saw all this DC news and decided to write about DC instead.
I’m in Love with that Bombshells ;s huge news that DC listened and actually edited that panel and YES for Ivy and Harley, but I’m sorry, my brain just short circuited over that picture.A poster of that have,I must.
True story: when I was in high school, my best friend and I used to write to each other back and forth in a notebook. We had pennames for each other: she was Harley and I was Ivy. Not long after that we became real actual girlfriends.
This is one of the gayest, geekiest things I’ve ever heard and I love it!
Mey, I don’t even read comics. I’d love to, I wish I had the time! But I just love your column!
If you want to read comics, you could try picking up trade paperbacks, that way you can read multiple issues at one time and you don’t have to worry about doing it every week.
The Harley and Ivy storylines were always my favorite parts of the Batman animated series from the 90s, which made Harley so popular in the first place. Some years later they are finally acknowledging what I had already knew in my head and always wanted as a kid.
I’m not caught up on current comics from DC, so this may be inaccurate, but what bothers me about Palmiotti and Conner’s confirmation that Harley and Ivy are girlfriends is that they had to confirm it on Twitter at all. There’s always been an enormous amount of subtext between the characters that queer fans (including myself) have gone nuts over. But I feel like, if they’re going to confirm that they’re in a relationship, why not just actually put it in the comic? Like, have Harley and Ivy ever even actually kissed romantically or sexually? Have they been shown in bed together like Superman and Wonder Woman (ugh worst comics couple ever) have? And I mean in an obvious “we just fucked” sort of way and not a cutesy pinup way like Bruce Timm used to do. Like I said, I’m not caught up so they may have done those things and more by now, but the fact that someone had to ask about it on Twitter leads me to believe that they’re still just relying on lesbian subtext.
But the changes to the Batgirl trade paperback make me incredibly happy! It’s almost unbelievable to see comics creators actually listening to their trans audience and making changes to make us feel comfortable. I love it.
I’m pretty sure in Harley Quinn’s solo there is definitely implicit “we’re going to fuck/we just fucked” between her and Poison Ivy. I was confused why there needed to be a confirmation at all, as far as I was aware it was already 100% canon.
Well, that’s good to hear! But still, they should make out and stuff just so no one’s confused.
I just went and got my harley quinn tpb to check and in the very first issue, Harley says “Driving in a hot car with my even hotter girlfriend, Poison Ivy” later she’s like “isn’t this where you tell me you love me?” to Poison Ivy
I don’t want to spoil it for you if you plan on reading, but it’s definitely fairly clear that they’re a couple. There are pet names and bedsharing and physical affection.
I mean, if you’re fiercely glued to your hetero goggles you could probably convince yourself they’re just close friends, but… doubtful.
Yeah, there have been a ton of scenes like that, where they kiss or are in bed together or call each other girlfriends or do a thousand other things, but until now, Jimmy Palmiotti had said on twitter that there wasn’t anything romantic or sexual between them, that they were just Gal Pals.
Okay, thanks for clearing that up, Emma and Mey! That’s good. I hadn’t read any of the New 52 stuff so I wasn’t sure how far they had taken their relationship. Now I’m just confused why it took them so long to admit they’re girlfriends.
Team Batgirl did the right thing, and it’s great that DC supported them. I’m still upset with how DC ruined Batwoman over the last year.
Some info about Batwoman in DC Bombshells from a twitter convo between series writer Marguerite Bennett and Kate Leth I came across >
MB: “Writing BOMBSHELLS is so fun because we have so many girls and women that no one single person must stand in for all female experiences.”
“One character’s story is a windswept, barefoot, kiss me on the sunset beach romance & it’s allowed to be BECAUSE OTHER KINDS OF WOMEN EXIST”
MB: “Batwoman’s arc is mad fucking sexy. She hates the beach, though. Think of her complexion D:”
MB: “Batwoman doesn’t just get a romance, she gets a love polygon”
So, not sure what a “love polygon” would look like, but there you go. LOL Just as long as there are no men involved I’m super excited!
Oooh, This makes me even more excited for the book!
I really hope she remains a lesbian in the new comic. I’m not buying it until I read some reviews. I’m still pissed at DC for how they handled her series at the end.
I agree, I feel really lured into the idea of Bombshells, specially for the aesthetics; I was going to suscribe but I’ll probably wait until there are reviews. If Batwoman isn’t a lesbian anymore it will feel like a punch in the face.
I’m so pleased about Batgirl fixing their mistake and hopefully they won’t have another misstep like this again.
Is anyone else really excited for the Black Canary solo this week? Hoping for a diverse background cast, much like all Batgirl’s friends.
Oh my gosh, yes. I’m like, a billion percent excited for the new Black Canary solo title!
“They also just reintroduced Renee Montoya, one of the greatest comics characters of all-time and a Latina lesbian, into the pages of Detective Comics #41, which gave off a lot of very Gotham Central-type vibes. If you’ve read that series, than you know that that’s a stupendous thing.”
I had written DC off after their various debacles, but the Batgirl team’s response gives me hope. And the Bombshells cover gives me a lady boner. Yep, things are looking up.
So he would track me down if he knew I was talking about this, but my little bro is down with feminism and anti-oppressive politics specifically because of Gail Simone and Batgirl. He had given up on DC for a bit because of the above, but now he’s warming up again. Maybe it’s time to start borrowing TPBs off him….
Stumptown v4 #1. This comic has featured a number of lesbian characters in the last 3 arcs and the main character, Dex, is bisexual.
Hexed #11. The two main characters and the villain are all women and there is a strong friendship between Lucifer and Rania.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer S10 #16. Willow unfortunately broke up with the green snake lady, but hopefully they’ll give her a new romantic interest soon. This issue is a Buffy/Angel crossover.
Tales of Honor #1. Surprised you missed this one, it’s looking very good if you like sci-fi. Check out the free preview issue here.
Prez #1. About a girl who is the first teenaged president of the USA. The preview looked interesting so I’m going to check it out for an issue or two.
See? SEE HOW BLOODY EASY IT IS??? If comic book writers can admit they messed up, apologize, and genuinely try to make amends to trans folks, why the hell can’t John Barrowman do it?
I honestly was surprised that there was no mention of the earth 2 green lantern who is not only openly gay, but in the first issue of “earth 2” was givin a ring by his boyfriend who then asked him to marry him, right after planting a huge kiss on him. This was a huge thing. Alan scot (earth 2 GL) also had two children (in the old comics) that were gay, and openly gay at that. Please add these to your DC titles that you have listed.
Somehow I just now found out that Ivy and Harley were officially have having sex, as of a year ago. No problem with that whatsoever, it totally makes sense that they’d be attracted to each other. And I’m fine with as many LGBTQ characters as writers want to put in comics.
But then I tracked down the actual issue of Harley there are graphic representations of MEN IN REFRIGERATORS, which I’m sure was intentional on Conner & Palmiotti’s part. (If you remember, “Women In Refrigerators” was the trope that Gail Simone and others railed against).
Interesting that you advocated and applauded the *censoring* of an issue of Batgirl (personally I don’t think the worst thing about the book is that gaffe – it’s that she *moved out of Gotham to become a goddamn hipster in Oregon*, to begin with!) and yet nobody in the Tumblrist realm says “hey, maybe you should remove the panel of the guy in the fridge.”
Apparently, a hero being motivated by the grisly death of a woman is bad, but female serial killers motivating themselves by stuffing men in fridges is totally fine. And I’m a fan of extreme anti-heroes like Jennifer Blood, so I’m not shy about a story where a woman kills dozens of people, either.
‚Batwoman‘: Does the Joker Have to Do With Kate Kane’s Disappearance?
The restaurant scene is powerful enough, and certainly reverberates with Sophie and Kate’s actions back in military school — the former willing to not shake up the status quo, the latter unable to stand for injustice and homophobia — but it’s Kate’s next actions that make the episode something special. In their final scene together, Sophie visits Kate at her new home, and is surprised to discover it’s across the street from the restaurant. As Kate hangs up a rainbow flag over the window, she explains that if the owner doesn’t like two women on a date, he’s going to hate when she turns the location across the street into Gotham’s hottest new gay bar.
‚Batwoman‘: Does the Joker Have to Do With Kate Kane’s Disappearance?
It’s a baller move, and one that puts Kate directly in the line of fire. It also draws a line between how Kate acts, and how Batwoman acts. Despite how the superhero/secret identity thing usually works, Batwoman is the part of her life that needs protection, that involves hiding. Kate Kane is out, proud, and the true superhero Gotham needs. Batwoman might be Gotham’s dark avenger, but Kate Kane is the one screaming “gay rights!”
Who Is Javicia Wilder’s Ryan Wilder?
According to the Batwoman creators and The CW, Ryan is nothing like the first woman who wore the Batwoman mantle. While she is openly lesbian like Kate is, that is perhaps the only similarity she has with her. Kate was always someone who was very protective of letting her emotional guard down. Even if she wasn’t exactly like Bruce, Kate fits the requirements of being brooding, something Arrowverse’s Batman is infamous for. Ryan, however, is a more light-hearted character, as she is described as being messy and goofy, making her a curious person to take over for Kate.
Ryan has been described to be a very skilled and formidable fighter, going as far as being defined as being capable to „kill you with her bare hands.“ While Kate definitely had her personal issues, it seems like Ryan has a different kind of baggage with her when she enters the story. While she may start out as a bit of a wild (no pun intended) card, Ryan will through joining the Bat-legacy discover her inner hero. So far very little footage has been released for Batwoman season 2, but the bits and pieces that have come out, reveals that she’s very playful.
When Ryan initially debuts as the new Batwoman, she’ll be using Kate’s suit for at least the first two episodes. But according to Warner Bros. TV and The CW, Ryan reshapes the Batwoman identity by making her own suit in the third episode that will air in late January/early February. As far as how she gets to know Kate’s team and the other players in the series remains to be seen. But through the latest teasers that have been revealed, Ryan sees the Bat as a form of strength as she declares to herself that it’s time to be powerful.
Ryan Wilder’s Backstory Makes Her The Opposite Of Kate Kane
What differs heavily between Kate Kane and Ryan Wilder is that the new hero doesn’t come from the same world as the first Batwoman. Kate came from the same world as her missing cousin as she was also raised in a wealthy high-class family, making her a big figure in the world of Gotham City. Ryan, however, doesn’t come from the same world as she is basically homeless. The official character description revealed that Ryan lives in her van and that the only company that she has is a plant. While Kate certainly had her issues with how the system treats her as a gay woman, Ryan has had even more challenges with society being rough on her.
According to the same description, the system has made Ryan feel „trapped and powerless“, which is why taking on the Bat-mantle is a huge thing for her. In an earlier version of that character breakdown, it referenced that Ryan had spent years as a drug-runner and having constantly avoided the Gotham PD. Whether or not that is still part of her character journey remains to be seen. But what is made evident here is that Ryan has had a difficult life, despite Kate having had to go through her own sets of challenges. By not being someone comes from wealth and privilege, Ryan is like any other citizen who lives in Gotham that is one of, if not the most, corrupt city in the DC Universe.
Little is currently known about how Ryan ends up homeless as well as what her family situation is like. While Kate lost her mom at a young age, and spiritually lost her sister to the darkness, her father is still around. So far nothing has been revealed about what Ryan’s ties to her family look like, but that may be a crucial part in why Ryan is living on the streets and had to basically survive the terror that is living in Gotham City. With Ryan coming in and taking over the mantle for Kate, it’ll be refreshing to see how she experiences this new world as opposed to other Bat-Family members.
Take us away Kate Kane
We’ve been waiting so long for the official debut of Batwoman on the CW that the first episode of her series, debuting tonight on the CW, doesn’t feel like a pilot as much as it does the return of a character we already know – and already love. We’ve been excited for this series since it was announced last year at SDCC that Kate Kane would be making her screen debut and her introduction was one of several highlights in the Arrowverse Elseworlds crossover last fall. This year at Comic Con, watching the pilot with a packed, ecstatic audience in ballroom 20 was incredible fun and now the rest of the world finally gets to see what all the excitement is about. And believe me friends, there’s a lot in Batwoman to be excited about.
Now, I’ll admit, as a red-headed, queer lady who likes a dramatic cape myself, I’m a bit biased when it comes to Kate Kane. Greg Rucka’s Batwomas: Elegy was one of the first (and only) comics I ever bought, and I’m a big fan of the Arrowverse in general. Still, a great character from the comics joining a great on-screen universe isn’t always a sure thing – just ask Hawkgirl. I’m happy to report however that Batwoman has everything about the Arrowverse and the source material that we love.
For one it has atmosphere, and one that’s entirely different from its sister shows. Batwoman plops us into a Gotham that’s fully as fully realized as Star city or National City, if not more so. It’s dark, gothic, dangerous and crumbling. It’s a place with history and serious problems – specifically that Batman has been missing for a few years, and weirdly so had billionaire Bruce Wayne (wonder if there’s a connection).
Things are so bad in Gotham that the police force has been essentially privatized in the form of the Crows, a security force fun by Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott). At the symbolic shutting down of the bat-signal, one of Kane’s lieutenants is captured by the new villain in town – Alice (Rachel Skarsten). That Crow is Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy), who just happens to be the ex of Jacob’s daughter Kate (Ruby Rose). If this attack seems very targeted, that’s because it is.
Kate’s been out of Gotham for years, training to be a stone cold bad ass and join the Crows, but Sophie’s abduction gets her back into town and, as you might expect, disagreements between dad and daughter lead Kate to her cousin Bruce’s old place and…well, you can guess what she finds. Along for this ride are Kate’s step-mother (and Gotham official) Catherine Hamilton-Kane ( Elizabeth Anweis) and step-sister Mary (Nicole Kang). And then there’s a friendly Wayne Enterprises employee by the name of Luke Fox (Cadmus Johnson) who helps Kate with all that bat-tech.
There’s a lot in the pilot of Batwoman, from backstory on Kate and her family, to establishing what the situation is in Gotham, but it’s paced well enough that it’s not too overwhelming, and the run time manages to squeeze in some great action and big surprises that I won’t spoil. There’s some clunky narration that I don’t think is needed, and I’m not quite sure when all this is happening in relation to what we’ve already seen of Batwoman in Elseworlds, which is also distracting. But I’m sure at some point we’ll establish that this is all happening before Kate met Kara, Barry and Oliver, as well as more connective tissue to the rest of the universe.
But as of now, Batwoman works entirely on its own and very well. Ruby Rose is soft butch perfection as Kate, boasting a mix of swagger and vulnerability that really helps you believe this is the kind of person that would dawn a cowl and cape to solve her problems. She has some stiff moments in the pilot, but even by episode two she’s warmed int the role and she makes Kate into something unique an believable. But what really makes a superhero succeed is the strength of the ensemble that supports them and the supporting cast of Batwoman prove that with real excellence.
Scott and Anweis are great as the parental generation, and I love that theirs in one of multiple inner-racial relationships on the show. Scott in particular shows Jacob as both a concerned father and flawed leader. Johnson is twitchy fun as Fox, filling in the Felicity-Cisco-Wynn back-up role an making it his own. But the two big standouts for me are Skarsten and Kang.
Rachel Skarsten is an actress I’ve loved for years, from Lost Girl to Reign and all the way back to Birds of Prey, and she steals every scene she’s in as Alice. She’s frightening and compelling, yet still pitiable; and so much fun to watch. As for Kang, I simply adore her and Mary. Mary Hamilton, first seems to be a vapid, social-media obsessed cliché, but she very quickly shows surprising depth and strength and will very likely be a key ally for Kate and Batwoman as the series goes on. I love that she comes into the pilot as a multi-layered character and that she’s and Anweis are adding to the growing list of Asian women in television.
Speaking of diversity, it’s worth noting that the pilot is very, very gay and the fact that Kate is a lesbian is both key to the plot and who she is; but isn’t her only defining characteristic. Her relationship with Sophie is key to everything, and Rose and Tandy’s chemistry is off the charts great. The fact that Batwoman isn’t the first or even the tenth queer character in the Arrowverse really does make a difference – her queerness is simply part of her and the world, and it’s never treated with sensationalism or prurience. It simply is and that’s so great to watch as a queer viewer.
I’ll freely admit that Batwoman isn’t for everyone – because no show is for everyone. It’s a comic book superhero show on the CW…can comic book superhero shows on the CW are great fun. It’s the perfect companion to Supergirl, with a more mature and darker tone compared to the girl of steel. If you’re a fan of the Arrowverse, or just women kicking ass and being generally great, you’re for sure going to enjoy Batwoman. As I noted, there is a lot in the pilot, but, having seen further episodes, I can assure that as things slow down and we going deeper into the plot and characters (and Rachel Maddow is around?!), things only get better. This is the beginning of something big, and we’re very excited its finally here for us all to enjoy together.
Batwoman premiers Sunday, October 6th at 9:00 p.m. after the season premiere of Supergirl on the CW.
Kate Kane (2006-Present)
Kate Kane’s debut in 52. Kane converses with Renee Montoya.
When DC editors called for a redesign of Batwoman, comic book artist Alex Ross drew inspiration from the modified Batgirl costume he designed for Barbara Gordon, seven years prior to Kate Kane’s debut in the limited comic book series 52. Ross and comic book author Paul Dini initially planned to revive the former Batgirl Barbara Gordon using an updated version of the character’s original costume, with red accents in place of the traditional yellow. However, since Gordon serves as one of a very small number of disabled superheroes of DC Comics as Oracle, DC’s editorial staff decided to revitalize the original Batwoman instead. In an interview with Newsarama, Ross states:
They had me change the mask and hair to make it a bit more Batwoman, rather than Batgirl…I pointed out to them that the mask makes her look like the Huntress a little overall—but there weren’t many options. The original mask that I had in there when it was to be a Batgirl design was the complete head cover that we’ve seen, so they did need something different from that. 
Unlike the Silver Age Kathy Kane, who was written as being romantically attracted to Batman, the new version of Kane is written as a „lipstick lesbian Her sexual orientation was announced at the same time the character was revealed in the spring of 2006. Stories appeared on television news outlets such as CNN, general news magazines such as „USA Today“, and gay culture magazines such as Out. The modern Katherine „Kate“ Kane made her first comic book appearance in issue #7 of the maxi-series 52 (2006), where Kane is revealed to have been romantically involved with Renee Montoya, a former Gotham City Police Detective. When questioned about the editorial decision to make Batwoman a gay character in an interview with Wizard Entertainment, DC Comics Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Dan DiDio states:
It was from conversations we’ve had for expanding the DC Universe, for looking at levels of diversity. We wanted to have a cast that is much more reflective of today’s society and even today’s fanbase. One of the reasons we made her gay is that, again when you have the Batman Family—a series of characters that aren’t super-powered and inhabit the same circle and the same city—you really want to have a point of difference. It was really important to me to make sure every character felt unique. 
Batwoman’s sexual orientation has gathered mixed reviews, ranging from acceptance to outrage.  While a reviewer at asserts „Batwoman will be the highest profile gay superhero to ever grace the pages of DC Comics,“ according to the Associated Press, another online observer asked „[w]ouldn’t ugly people as heroes be more groundbreaking?“ Although several GLBT organizations such as GLAAD have praised DC Comics for attempting to diversify their characters, some have observed that Batwoman is not the first gay or lesbian character to appear in comic books, nor is she the only lesbian to be associated with the Batman series. Though Batwoman is currently one of several LGBT characters appearing in stories published by DC Comics, the character is written as a closeted lesbian who makes a conscious effort to conceal her sexual orientation.
In the character’s civilian identity as a socialite, Katherine Kane is acquainted with Bruce Wayne and is friends with a doctor named Mallory. The character is also Jewish, and celebrated Hanukkah with Renee Montoya during the events of alludes to there being an older Katherine Kane in Kate’s family.