The much-hyped DC Comics reboot starts today and, even though we have to wait a few weeks for the return of our favorite lesbian superhero Batwoman to return, The Advocate got a sneak peek of what’s new with the lovely redhead.
One of my favorite trivia bits about Batwoman is that DC introduced her (in 1956!) to be Batman’s girlfriend because the public had been asking a few too many very personal questions about Robin’s relationship with the Dark Knight. Yes, Batwoman was a super beard.
The character didn’t last long, but when she returned as part of DC’s 52 in 2006, she was Kate Kane, an out lesbian. Finally, last year, she took over the lead in Detective Comics and was so popular that DC planned a Batwoman solo title.
Finally, after way too many delays, the title has a release date: September 14. Batwoman #1 marks the first time an LGBT character has her own monthly comic from a mainstream publisher. We’re talking history, people.
Artist and co-writer J.H. Williams told The Advocate that he feels the pressure of being at the helm of such a high-profile title for a gay superhero, but not in bad way.
For me, the pressure comes from wanting to make sure we’re telling a good story. The political aspects — in terms of her being a gay character — are irrelevant to me because I’m just writing a good character … It’s more important for me to treat the character the same way I would treat any other character. That means respecting the way Kate Kane’s story is told. In this case, it’s an interesting situation because we are dealing with a gay character, so those aspects can’t be ignored, but they have to be told within the framework of the story. It’s got to all fit into the bigger picture.
Of course, to make an impression in the vast universe of superheroes, Kate has to be unique in more ways than sexual orientation.
“I want the series and the character to have a unique voice in comparison to any other superhero title,” Williams said. “Not because she’s gay, but because I want to tell a unique story. However, there’s a danger with superhero comics when you try to do something different … it could easily become too boring, too esoteric, or too off-the-beaten path for the average fan.”
Williams also wants to avoid over-sexualizing the character.
I approach Batwoman the same way I’ve always approached female characters in my other projects. I think the trick is making sure she is a person first and woman second. … by approaching her as a real person, it makes it easy to approach any sexual aspect in a more respectful and tasteful manner.
Any sexual portrayal in Batwoman has to come from who she is as a person. What does she want in life? Who are the people around her? Who does she want to have a relationship with? When you approach sexuality from the point of view of story, the visual aspect of that is going to follow suit and not over-sensationalize anything.
From the look of the first of two previews in The Advocate, the beautiful art we loved in Batwoman’s DC run will continue. (Sorry that the text is so small; we’ll have to wait for the real thing to get the story.)
The second is a tad more conventional, but I sure do want to know more about the woman in the suit.
With Williams’ emphasis on storytelling, I expect Batwoman to be as unconventional as she has been all along, without too much forced connection with the “new” DC Universe. I can hardly wait for the series to get started.
Will Batwoman be part of your own comic reading universe? Do the preview pages spark any ideas of where the story will go?