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04 June 2006

"HOLY SAPPHO, BATMAN! BATWOMAN IS A DYKE!"


N

ormally, I am a live and let live type of person. However, there comes along a few things that I really believe we should leave alone... period. Today's article is one of those times. Why do we constantly look to improve the things that don't need improving? We never make things better, we only eventually kill them.

Now I don't want any gay people out there think I am "gay bashing" because I'm not... and if you feel that way, I don't care either. It's your problem and not mine.

Batwoman is now out of the closet and proclaiming her gayness? Come on now, say it ain't so Joe?

DC Comics, home to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and other super friends, says the reborn caped crusader will be a prominent, recurring character in the pages of the new weekly comic-book series, 52. Her first appearance is slated for Issue No. 11, due out Jul. 19. She'll be the redhead in the big red boots who is revealed to have had a romantic past with Renee Montoya, formerly of Gotham City's finest.


The new Batwoman, like her predecessor, will answer in her off-hours to Kathy or Kate Kane. It does not appear that she, like her predecessor, will accessorize with a utility purse.

Batwoman moved into the spotlight, sort of, last Sunday. Her new direction as a "wealthy, buxom lipstick lesbian" was noted in the 15th paragraph of a larger New York Times article about diversity in comics. From that one mention, dozens of news stories, and this blog headline from the Southern Voice, an Atlanta-based gay-and-lesbian newspaper, followed: "Holy Sappho, Batman! Batwoman Is a Dyke!"

The joke is that Batwoman was introduced in 1956, some comic-book buffs suggest, to set Batman straight. To the rescue, Batwoman zoomed in on her Batwoman bike in Detective Comics Issue No. 233.

But sparks didn't fly between Batman and Batwoman. In the 1960s TV show and 1992's Batman Returns, Batman flirted with Catwoman; Batwoman danced with obscurity--the character was killed off in the comics in 1979.

Owing to her low profile, Batwoman's sexuality has not been as hotly debated in the real world as Batman's. Or Wonder Woman's. Or even Superman's. That's the Man of Steel (the Brandon Routh/Superman Returns model), not Batwoman, on the latest cover of The Advocate, with the headline, "How Gay Is Superman?" (For the record, Duralde, who wrote the cover story, doesn't think Superman "has ever been remotely gay-ish--I think he's a square." And his article isn't really about how gay Superman Returns is, but why superheroes appeal to gay and lesbian audiences.)

That a Batwoman, and not a Batman, or a Superman, would be drafted for a diversity program seems the way comic world works. "It's not uncommon for a comics publisher to take a character that hasn't been getting much attention and modernize him or her in some ostensibly shocking way," Michael Dean, news editor of The Comics Journal, said in an email.

Even a down-on-his-buzz Superman was killed and reborn in the 1990s. But to make the Last Son of Krypton gay would be to mess too much with continuity, Duralde said: "There would some 'splain' to do with Superman."

Still, Batwoman's reinvention does have some comic fans uncomfortable, and not necessarily because of her sexual reorientation. " They should not alter her history," a recent post on the DC Comics message board read. "It mocks the character and who she stands for."

What's next? We find out Lois Lane has sexual re-orientation surgery?

Observations and Questions
Should they leave comic book hero's alone or should they juice them up a bit?

Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this day in 1878 Francisco (Pancho) Villa Mexico, revolutionary/guerrilla leader. And in the death notices we find today in 221 BC, Chu Yuan China's poet drowns.
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