Batwoman is one of the newest members of the Bat-Family. And also one of the most mysterious. What is your true relationship with Batman? Are they related? Does it have something to do with Batgirl? Who is Batwoman? Discover in this article everything you need to know about this important DC Comics heroine, who was born as a romantic interest in Batman and has ended up becoming an LGTBIQ icon.
The original Batwoman was created out of fear of a gay Batman. In 1954, the book German psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, Seduction of the Innocent ( The Seduction of the Innocent ), changed forever the world of comics. America became obsessed with the idea of comics corrupting the mentality and morality of the nation’s children.
Not only superhero comics were harmed by this mentality, but also pulp novels and war, horror and science fiction comics, which supposedly promoted outright violence and depravity. Wertham’s book alerted parents and those responsible for ensuring the morale of the country that comics were to blame for the spiritual, moral and sexual drift of adolescents.
Although his dangerous claims were later overthrown, Mr. Wertham at the time dared to say niceties such as that Superman, the most popular comic book hero of the time, was a fascist and that the dynamic between Batman and Robin hid “the dream of two homosexuals living together “.
Wertham’s infamous book led the industry to adopt the Comics Code Authority, a kind of self-censorship regulation that was accepted as a “necessary evil” to prevent the government from banning comics.
To quell any doubts about the sexuality of Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson (who was still their adopted son), National Comics ( DC Comics’ predecessor publisher ) decided that Batman needed a love interest.
Editor Jack Schiff supported the proposal, also thinking about how interesting it would be at the sales level to increase the cast of secondary since the stories were in need of new characters.
The original version of Batwoman, Kathy Kane, debuted in 1956 on the pages of Detective Comics # 233, by Edmond Hamilton and Sheldon Moldoff.
In order to expand the cast of the Batman franchise and eliminate rumors about the characters’ gay subtext, Batwoman and Bat-Girl were featured as love interests for the Dynamic Duo.
Batgirl, whose first appearance was in Batman # 139 (1961), was created by Sheldon Moldfoff and Bill Finger and was none other than Bette Kane, Batwoman’s niece. After discovering the secret identity of her aunt, the young woman managed to convince her to train her and thus become her partner in adventures.
While Batwoman was “designed” to be Batman’s girlfriend, Batgirl would become Robin’s romantic interest. Heterosexuality as normative and without a hint of doubt about it.
The two characters played recurring roles in the bat collections until 1964, when editor Julius Schwartz decided to eliminate the two Bat-females along with other members of the Bat-Family who had become a bit out of date, such as Bat-Mite and Ace. the Bat-Hound.
The important characters were Batman and Robin and you had to focus on them, despite the fact that a new Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) would appear soon after, who became a prominent element in the Batman comics and in the popular 1966 television series. .
It’s fair to say that the first Batwoman is a more interesting character than it appears at first glance. Kathy Kane was a millionaire (and circus acrobat, to be exact) who, motivated by her social conscience and her admiration for Batman, decided that she, too, could become a superhero.
The wealthy descendant of the famous Kane family adopted the name Batwoman, though her resources couldn’t be compared to Bruce Wayne’s, so their crime-fighting tactics were slightly different.
Instead of the Batmobile, Kathy patrolled on a small yellow motorcycle and always carried a bag with her where she stored her peculiar gadgets and gadgets: weapons in the form of lipstick containers, sneeze powder, bracelets that become handcuffs, tear gas perfume. … It is difficult to decide if the character was tremendously transgressive or a cluster of macho clichés.
However, this Kathy Kane was the only female character who managed to be as brilliant as Batman in her fight against crime. In an age when women were “geared” toward becoming wives and housewives, the first Batwoman was a smart and beautiful woman who rode the streets of Gotham on a motorcycle while fighting evil criminals crammed into a car. red and yellow uniform skintight. There is nothing!
After lavishing herself rather little for quite a few years, she was murdered badly in Detective Comics # 485 (1979), but the biggest blow to the character’s fans came with Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985-1986).
In the seminal event that would rewrite the timeline of the DC multiverse, it was retroactively established that Kathy Kane had never existed. Both Batwoman and Batgirl (the early versions) were deleted from the official continuity. No one seemed to shed many tears for either of them.
As a curiosity, it is worth mentioning that Grant Morrison revived the character within his long period with Batman, in one of those retro-continuity exercises that he likes so much. In Batman Incorporated # 4 (2011), we found out that Kathy Kane had survived her apparent death, only to become an assassin for the super-spy organization known as Spyral. The two Batwomen face to face, as only the Scottish writer knows how to do it …
And let’s not forget the niece! Young Betty Kane (the pre- Crisis Batgirl ) would end up adopting the name Flamebird when she joined the Teen Titans in the new DC Universe continuity.
The new incarnation of Batwoman would not see the light until 2007, with the publication of the weekly series 52, which featured screenwriters such as Greg Rucka, Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Mark Waid and Keith Giffen. Her first appearance would be in 52 # 7 (2006), although she would not appear wearing her superhero outfit until 52 # 11 (2006).
At the end of the 90s, Paul Dini had asked Alex Ross to redesign the Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) costume, giving it a more adult and dark touch. The idea was to introduce a plot in the animated television series in which Barbara was cured of the paralysis that had separated her from the front line of combat using the Well of Lazarus from Ra’s Al Ghul.
As a side effect, Commissioner Gordon’s daughter would see her personality altered, which would explain the new outfit. Eventually, the plot would never be used, but the costume was repurposed for the new Batwoman.