Saturday, June 10, 2006

As I'm Already Destined for a House on the Corner and Fifty Cats..

Everytime I pick up a Volume 1 Wonder Woman comic, there is always one new thing I learn about the Pre-Crisis Amazons.

Every time I've learned something new about the Amazons lately, it's been about some sadistic decree handed down by Aphrodite "Heaven's Just a Sin Away" Pandemos. The latest surprise (Courtesy Wonder Woman #306) comes after an assassin stabs Steve in the shoulder in a murder attempt, and Diana comes to his rescue. The assassin has throwing knives that will cut through anything, including Diana's bracers. One of them shatters, and she suddenly hugs herself and turns aside.

While Steve is lying injured on the ground.

And the assassin stands over them with a knife.

So what's the problem, Diana?



One of my Mythology Books calls Aphrodite "The Unholy One" and I've never seen the reference. But I believe it. This is totally in-character. That Goddess is mean, and does not take kindly to neglect in any form. She has struck people with madness, struck their lovers with madness, turned them to birds, bushes, and trees, killed daughters-in-law by force of beauty (that's kind of an interesting story), brought inanimate objects to life -- all because they passed up one too many worship opportunities.

Mainly, she sticks to madness when people piss her off.

Take heed, mortal! Cast aside your puritanical ways before it's too late! Don't let your reason be driven away by her power. Your mind is a terrible thing to lose. Join the Cult of Aphrodite (Hourly Rates Available for the Tithe) today.

Worship services for this Goddess are scheduled daily in the early evening, late evening, midnight, early morning, noon, and during coffee breaks whereever two consentual adult bodies can comfortably squeeze together privately.

Partnership is encouraged, but not mandatory. There is a private ritual that can be performed in your bathroom at home that is equally satisfactory to Our Lady of the Midway Motel, and considerably less of a hassle.

Don't neglect this Goddess. Don't fall to stupidity, unrequited-love, nice guy syndrome, self-pity, sadness, whinging. Don't piss her off with cluelessness.

Don't let Emo happen to you.

Upcoming Miniseries

I think I may pass on this. No one should attempt to make G'Nort serious. He was never meant to be.

However, I'm really intrigued by this, so I suppose it works out.

*Sigh*

So, I keep hearing they introduced a lesbian Batwoman to feed fanboy fantasies...
I hope she crashes and burns as a character. In fact, I hope the Joker has the pleasure of shooting her and then raping her corpse. Truly, that right there would be justice. A friend even gave that storyline idea a name: "The Killing Poke."

Friday, June 09, 2006

Flash Theory

(Potentially Spoilerish Interview Quoted, and Theorizing)

Well, Wonder Woman #1 is safely on my pile now, and that is one of just two titles I have consistantly picked up since I started buying my own books. The other is due out on the Twenty-First of June. The Flash.

I hadn't thought much about this one (well, I had a theory but it wasn't really in-depth) until Chris of Two Guys Buying Comics contacted me. He wanted to talk to me for the same reason Chris of the Local Comic Book store (the clerk featured in this anecdote) wanted to see me. Wonder Woman advice.

I assured him it was worth buying. He then expressed his doubts about the Flash. It was being written by the two guys who did the TV show, Dan Didio had warned us not to get attached to the first guy we saw, and then he linked me to a message board, a post that quoted this article as evidence to support those worries.

And reading Joan Hilty's words, everything came together.

NRAMA: Dan also said something to the effect of "Don't become too attached to the first Flash you see"... any idea what he meant and thoughts you can share with us?
JH: You’re going to see a hero giving 150% to carry the Flash mantle against pretty bad odds. After that, Danny Bilson and Paul deMeo are going to turn the story completely on its head.


There is only one way this should go, and I am calling it now.

Wally and Linda had twins. A boy and a girl. They will show up, aged to young adulthood.

The son will take on his father's mantle...

And die.

And the daughter will be the new Flash.

Detective Comics 820

One panel, obscured for the spoilerphobic



Thoughts?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Wonder Woman #1: Other's Reactions

Wonder Woman #1 has already sparked some interesting discussion around the net about varying fan concerns (Spoilers in the links, guys):

Characterization on the DC Message Boards:
She's about making this world a better place for everyone, by helping corrupt and evil people see the error of their ways... and, failing that, by preventing them from harming innocent people.

Accessibility on Comic-Book Resources:
I thought this issue was an enjoyable read. Not being very familiar with Wonder Woman or Donna Troy, I appreciated the extra time spent introducing each of the characters and concepts. I also liked the brief captions about the two major villains.

And on Newsarama:
That shows how cool Donna is--she'll even give the biggest loser a sympathy f*ck

Wonder Woman #1 First Reactions

Vague Spoilers

Upon noticing me enter the store, the clerk imemdiately asked," What have you heard about Wonder Woman?"

After he assured me it arrived, I grabbed a copy. He went on to explain that he wanted to see my reaction, particularly to page two. so, I read the whole thing in front of him.

This is what he saw:

Page 3: *Bloodcurdling scream as I watch my hopes of a good series dissolve*

Page 8: "This actually isn't too bad."

Page 11: "I really like how they're using [male character]."

Page 18: "This is actually pretty cool."

Page 23: "Oh, good!"

Page 25: "Oh, wait..."

Page 26: "Oh gawd... Attempting to disbelieve..."

Page 28: "Oh!"

Page 29: "This is actually really cool."

Page 30: "This. Is. AWESOME."

"Oh, good, I'm glad," the clerk smiled as I went back to the shelf for the rest of my comics.

"If you like it it must be cool," he gives me an odd look as I go back to the Wonder Woman pile, "Since you're the most discriminating Wonder Woman fan I know..."

"I am buying my sister a copy," I answer authoritatively.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Welcome Back, Chris

Chris over at Two Guys Buying Comics has typed up his thoughts about getting back to blogging after a two week break.

Here I'd thought I was the only one who experienced that.

Today's Events


The Carnival of Feminists XVI is up at Welcome to the Nuthouse and Wonder Woman #1 is on sale.

Vanity



Yes, that is Green Lantern, checking out his reflection in the middle of a fight.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Depressing List: Side A Introduction

Attention Comics Blogdom!

It has come to my attention that Rogue has sexual assault in her backstory.

Rogue

ROGUE!!

Yes, Rogue. The only character I thought was fully and totally safe from sexual assault is sexually assaulted the one time her powers go down.

That's the straw, Ladies, Gentlemen and Yellow Nazi Gremlins from Sector 2816. The Giant Cyber-Camel's back has been broken by the weight of realism. Remember that depressing list idea that cropped up a few months back when I lost my temper? Now is the time to follow through with it.

What I need you, dear readers, to do is a list, with references (because this will be airtight, we will check back on everything before posting a final list), of all of the female superhero characters from DC and Marvel (we're going to follow Jenn's advice to try and stay sane here, and start with the biggest two before we move on to the smaller press) that fit underneath one of the categories below. Drop a comment or email me. Then, I need you to pop over to Kalinara's and list all the male characters who fall into the categories listed.

So open up the back issue bins, check with your friends, link this anywhere and everywhere you want -- it's time to get organized.

(And oh yes, I am aware that just about every superhero in existence will fit somewhere on the list. It's the where that I'm thinking about here.)

-=-=-=-=-


I. Explicit Instances of Actual/Attempted Sexual Assault

A. Rape/Sexual Assault of Adult Victims (Actual):
The primary subcategory will be "On-Panel" (Shown explicitly through current events or flashback) or "Off-Panel" (established in Dialogue but not Visually Indicated).

The secondary subcategories will be as follows:
  • -In the Present: Storyline/Plot-Related (For example: In the Killing Joke, Barbara Gordon was shot by the Joker, who then removed her clothing and took suggestive pictures of her. This would count as "storyline-related assault" as it happened in the present tense of that comic.)
  • -In the Past 1.0: Backstory Established at Character Origin (For example: In the first issue of the Post-Crisis Wonder Woman series, it was established that Queen Hippolyta and the other Amazons were raped by Herakles and his men in Ancient Greece.)
  • -In the Past 2.0: Flashback/Backstory Retroactively Inserted (For example: in the miniseries Identity Crisis, it was established that at some point during the Satellite-Era of the Justice League, Sue Dibny was sexually assaulted by Doctor Light)
  • -In the Past 3.0: Flashback/Backstory Retroactively Removed (For example: Helena Bertinelli's backstory used to contain a reference of a childhood sexual assault [Section C] however the later retelling of her origin retroactively removed it.)

B. Rape/Sexual Assault of Adult Victims (Attempted):
  • Same subcategory setup as seen in section I.A.

C. Sexual Assault/Abuse/Molestation of Minors (Actual):
  • The primary and secondary subcategories will be the same as in section I.A and I.B, but there will be a tertiary subcategory that addresses statuatory rape. (For example, In Robin, Stephanie Brown was impregnated by her boyfriend at age 15. The sexual acts were portrayed as consentual, which would differentiate them from acts of traumatic molestation or assault, but still qualifies as statuatory rape.)

D. Sexual Assault/Abuse/Molestation of Minors (Attempted):
  • The subcategories of Section IV will be the same set-up as seen in Sections I.A, I.B and I.C.

II. Implications, Subtext, and Symbolism

A. Implied/Subtextual Sexual Assault of an Adult Victim:
(For example Dinah Lance's torture in Longbow Hunters is commonly believed to have contained rape. Quotes have been attributed to creators to indicate that this was not the case, however the particular scene could be read with that interpretation)

The subcategories will be:
  • -Taunts and Threats with Sexual Overtones
  • -Physical Assault/Abduction/Torture/Murder with Sexual Overtones

B. Implied/Subtextual Sexual Assault of a Minor:
(For example: Starfire's backstory of slavery contains the implication of sexual abuse, however it has never, to our knowledge, been confirmed or denied)
  • This will have the same subcategories as II.A.

C. Symbolic Rape/Violation that are not sexual in nature.
Subcategories will include:
  • -Mind-Control, which robs the victim of self-autonomy and will
  • -Forced Transformation, which robs the victim of control of physical state.

This Could Get Ugly

A recent disagreement has inspired me to resurrect an old feature.



Yes, there's analysis...Hal Jordan, love of my life (next to John Stewart, Sherlock Holmes, Sir Gawain and the guy who drew this panel), has been watching the commotion recorded here, here, here, and here. He's been watching from a bove.

Now that the situation's been resolved, Hal turns to his companion, the icy and removed Guardian, and complains. Look at the wording.
"That's the man you want to trust with a power ring -- the finest weapon every devised?"
"He has all due qualifications! And we are not interested in your petty bigotries!"
l've gotten some flak for describing Hal as racist, but my accusations are not unfounded.

Hal's definitely an elitist. In the whole series, he's put up as the conservative, the one who supports the establishment while Green Arrow wants to shake things up. It makes sense. Green Arrow's a self-made hero, Hal's a chosen hero. Everything about Hal is elitist. He was a test pilot, known for being the best. His girlfriend was none other than his boss (his former boss's daughter), the highest profile woman in the company. Green Lanterns are specifically picked for their job based on personal qualities. Picked by being the bravest and the most honest available.

The wording in this dialogue catches me. "The finest weapon" like "The finest wines," "The finest silks," "the finest homes" etc...

It's obvious he doesn't think John's good enough for the job.

It's not John's attitude, or he would have worded his objection differently. He wouldn't have added "finest weapon ever devised." He would have, if worried about misuse, said "most powerful" or "most versatile." But he said finest, emphasizing his elitism.

The art supports this. Hal's watching from above, a rooftop. He's perched in such a way that he's removed form the situation, but not from the reality. He's watching it, how it doesn't affect him. Nothing in the situation on John inside is anything he understands. Nor does he understand the "good cop" in this mess. He just sees the authority figure he's going to have to be, and placing himself in that figure's place. Nevermind that that figure was in the wrong, behaving in a clearly unjust way Hal wouldn't. Most likely in the situation below, we'd have seen Hal step in and tell the cop he was overstepping his bounds. But Hal's not putting himself in John's shoes, he wouldn't think to. He's first and foremost putting himself in the "bad cop's" shoes because that's the person in the situation he identifies with.

Since this is 1972 Green Lantern/Green Arrow, written by Denny O'Neill, drawn by Neal Adams, we know for a fact we're in for a social commentary, and in this panel it's obvious. Hal's allegorical, he's the power structure in society. John's the normal one. He's the everyday citizen. Hal's white, John's black. Hal standing so far above John, passing judgement from the viewpoint of the authority figure, shows the racial divide between blacks and whites. It's the Seventies. Hal, the white elitist is appealing to the Guardian, the highest authority, to keep John, the black achiever, out of his restricted, elitist club. And the Guardian says "No. He's qualified. Deal with it."

And once again, before you come after me for reading too much politics into it, I remind you, this is 1972 Green Lantern/Green Arrow. They did it on purpose.

This panel also convinces me that I'm not imagining the yellow thing. There it is again, John Stewart surrounded by yellow. Only, instead of encompassing the background, the sidewalk (previously brown) is yellow. Hal's weakness, yellow. A barrier between the two characters. A color associated with fear, anticipating difficulties when it comes time to train?

John has all the qualifications. Hell, he's arguably the only Lantern who was hand-picked by a Guardian (Guy was chosen when Hal was, and activated during ColE by the Guardians, and Kyle, if not actually random, was one of a limited set of choices for Ganthet). He's one of the elite choices that belong in Hal's club. Hal should accept him unquestioningly like he accepted Katma and Guy (this was prior to Guy's brain damage), but Hal disagrees.

Most of the colors in this panel -- reds, yellows, greens, browns -- are earth tones. Except for the Guardian, white and bright blue. The Guardian has the true bird's eye view of the situation, he has the real objectivity here. He's not a part of the scene, he's observing it. He doesn't even touch the ground.

It's notable that a Guardian is a high-level telepath, and Hal is an open book to him. (You could argue there's no indication of telepathy made, but seriously, when have the Guardians telegraphed when they were mindreading before? It's always been automatic insights, never untrue) When he says "petty bigotries" he's not making it up. He's throwing something in Hal's face that Hal's trying to bury. There are other possible reasons Hal could have for disagreeing with the choice, but the Guardian immediately puts it off as petty bigotry.

I suppose so, since in the next panel (which overlaps this one slightly, note the few locks of hair on the side) Hal cites John's "chip on his shoulder the size of the rock of Gibraltar" as the reason he was giving the Guardian such an attitude about his personal choice. Yes, Hal was defending his own insubordination of saying John was not fit for the Corps by saying John was insubordinate and therefore not fit for the Corps.

Please direct your "Green Lantern was not a racist comments" below.

Stay Tuned

There's a reason I went military instead of college. I couldn't do assignments. All through high school, I read and thought, and discussed in class, but when it came time to do reading that was assigned by the teacher, or write a paper, I procrastinated and skated. It was a common thing, in Spanish class, to see me reading my English text, answering the questions, or even doing the book report. If the paper had to be typed, it was not happening, because all of my work for one class would be done in the class before it. This is why I still don't speak more Spanish than "No hablo Espanol" (though I remember a lot of the Spanish Art History stuff, since that was taught while we were doing poetry readings and in-class analyses), and I had to take three years of summer school in Advanced Math (and they kept putting me in the Advanced Math class -- Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus -- and I kept flunking!). I still don't know how I slid through Biology. Psychology, Criminology and History were easy, listen and pick a familiar answer. But essays, critical thinking, ack! There was no chance.

More of my life story...

So I chickened out of college (I'd only applied to one anyway, a nice, small feminist school six hours away in Pittsburgh -- and my mother said this was too far) and went with the multiple choice military (and ended up, to my mother's annoyance, in San Antonio, Texas instead -- after 4 years of not paying attention in Spanish Class. Oh, and I went to BMT about the time there was a run for Puetro Rican Guardsman, so there were more Spanish-speakers in my flight than English-speakers). Just to be on the safe side, I went for jobs that involved taking things apart and putting them back together again. It made training easy. And for the math bits in electronics, they treated it like remedial math. I relearned everything, and ended up with higher scores on the math tests than the listen and pick a familiar answer tests. Anyway, when I heard I'd be headed to a management school at my current job, and that afterwards I'd be expected to write -- actually write disciplinary papers, requisition letters, policy memos, performance reports, feedback -- I panicked a little.

I managed to make it through school, though, without any trouble. The military training helped at lot here. Going there instead of college was probably the best idea I ever had, because the way I was at 18, college would not have worked. And I'd say the blog helped some. A little discipline, a little writing every day, nothing really riding on it. If I keep it up I might have the fortitude to pound out a novel someday. Or at least a New Age philosophy book. Anyone can write one of those, you don't even need a plot or characters. I didn't get any awards, but I got my certificate, I had fun, and I didn't get into any trouble for missing assignments.

I was cured!

Right?

Wrong.

You should see what never makes it to this blog. There's things I've posted and deleted. Things I've written in great detail and chickened out and never posted (a long one on the POW plotline in Green Lantern #10) I have scans of panels, and half-written posts saved on my computer. There's a megapost on Wonder Woman that I've written in my head a million times, but when it comes time to type I get a blank. I start the post and leave it at the intro, if I can think of an intro. There are half-hearted musings and promises left on comment threads (Kalinara still bugs me from time to time for that Image Analysis of the Johnny Sorrow-Sand scenes in lnjustice Be Done) across the blogosphere. Things I've offhandedly mentions and forgotten about. I have lists, little scraps of paper, ideas that I've jotted down and never elaborated on. I have one taped to the side of my monitor from the first week I blogged. And then there's the stuff in my head that never makes it to the first word, or even a jotted note on a scrap of paper. Why I Hated Camelot 3000 (which can be summed up in one word: Tristan) has been swirling in the back of my mind since I started blogging, and I've never even put that one on a list. I've mentally played the Fridge scene repeatedly, lazily playing with the feminist symbolism, and I've yet to see an analysis that shows the insights I've gleaned (and I'm always afraid that one day I will, and I comment, people will roll their eyes and never believe I thought of it - it's vanity there, pure vanity).

And then there's the memes and requests. I really don't mean to ignore the memes and requests, but they're like assignments. I remember Plok asked me, a long, long time ago (I don't even know what thread) to do an essay for him on Valkyrie in Defenders I considered it in the back of my mind, but it would require I look into back issues. I've had my Marvel moods (in San Antonio I amassed the entire PAD run of X-Factor), but not lately. Still, it settled in the back of mv mind and I figured when I had a little extra time or money I might check it out. As of yet, though, it just doesn t fall in my interest range. (Sorry, Plok, if you're still reading, it still doesn't look likely!). I put it off for the stuff I intended to do on my own, which I never get around to either. When I say I'm busy, I am, busy at work, busy with WFA, busy with other posts, busy-minded. Busymindedness is why I started blogging. The Wonder Woman post, the one I got so much attention for? I thought it out while working, while fixing minor mechanical problems on aircraft. (Yes, that's right, this is where my mind wanders to while I'm putting together parts on an airplane. Like your auto mechanic is any different!)

Even the comment threads suffer from my procrastination. See Kalinara, how she promptly answers and addresses each comment and keeps the conversation flowing. Or Scipio, who steps in when necessary to keep the conversation flowing, knowing when to do it and not feeling that need to address every person individually. Or Megha, just look at Megha. She does address everyone, individually, keeps the conversation flowing, and she has fifty to a hundred comments each post! Meanwhile I post, I see a comment or two, sometimes I reply sometimes I mull it over a bit, return, see more comments, think it over, return, even more comments -- and the conversation is scarily large now, so I wait even longer and address everyone individually and it seems like my comments usually end the conversation.

Which may or may not have to do with a compulsive need to have the last word. I'm not sure. Because sometimes I don't comment at all, and it peters out, and by them it's too late to add further thoughts on the matter so I leave it alone. As it stands, I'm more likely to put up a new post than comment on the previous one. And some of the best post ideas get put off indefinitely.

There's a lot I want to do. Comments. The next panel keeps being put off. I have my lists and scraps of paper. Why I Hated Camelot 3000. Dorian tagged me with a really cool one that I can easily do and want to, but haven't yet gotten around to. And in the comment threads of earlier posts, I've had two suggestions. Two really good, really fun suggestions that I haven't even answered yet. Two incredibly cool ideas. Jade's Frisson of Woo, and "fixing" the oremise of a female heroine.

I'll get around to these eventually.

Maybe.

It could be a while, though.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Dick Grayson

Courtesy of Scans Daily, Neal Adams draws Dick Grayson as he was meant to be seen.

By now you've all heard Didio's vile plans for the boy, and how they were thwarted. While I do agree that thematically speaking, Grayson's death would have made Infinite Crisis a hundred times better, I can easily see the reasoning for keeping him around. His role, as demonstrated in this picture, and cemented in Infinite Crisis is vital to the Batman Mythos.

The only problem is that they insist on giving him a solo book. This character is not a headliner, no matter what you do. He is a teambook character, a supporting character and needs to be attached to a star or a group (that is not written by Judd Winick). Dick Grayson is defined by his relationships. Left alone, he angsts and whines because he's lonely and needs his superhero buddies.

Now, the intricacies of this character have been well-documented by a number of others on their own blogs, so I'm not going to get into the details. They make much better arguments than I ever could.

Instead, I offer a few comments, and this page to the argument -- because it sums up my view of the character and his value better than words ever could.

While I'm at It...

Now, for the record, I appreciate linking. Especially at message boards and especially by people who think I'm right. But...
Randell's Written World has just posted an entry about Winick's Terry Berg story. He compares it to O'Neil's run.

http://ragnell.blogspot.com/2006/06/sir-step-away-from-pulpit.html

I have to admit, he explained it in a way that I had not considered. I already knew the message, so the lesson in Winick's story wasn't for me. But since I already knew the message, I didn't realize that Winick was very much turning readers off of the book. None of the characters really learned anything.

This guy explains it well. Check it out.
Do I not have a name that ends in -nell? Is my profile picture not feminine?

I want everyone to look up at the banner. Is that not a Wonder Woman picture there? Does it not say "Amazon Queen of the Planet Femnaz"?

Why do people still assume male?

Monday Misogyny

I was linked to this dreadful petition through the Millarworld forums and I looked out of pure curiousity (and to see if I recognized any names). I was not planning to link to it. I didn't want to call attention to such stupidity.

But I saw something I just couldn't resist by one of the signatures.
Me, I would’ve preferred to have seen her as someone(like the original Batgirl, Barbara Gordon) be a female who was in “love” with Batman and wanted to be like him, solving crimes, defending his city of Gotham making her become Batwoman. Or even better, had it she comes from another countrywould’ve made for an interesting background than being a lesbian. This is one comic I won’t be reading anytime soon. If Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Oracle, The Huntress and Black Canary are not gay then why have Batwoman gay? Is DC Comics that hard up for story ideas?
Well, it is Monday.

Found While Shadowing the Batwoman

From the Millarworld Forums thread (Post #189):
I run a small comic store in downtown San Diego and most of my clientele are men in their late 20's to mid-30's and the occasional kid..but hardly any women ever. If women do come in it's for a Sandman trade or the latest Strangers in Paradise..and that is rare in itself... but this weekend I had at least 20 women in the store buying 52 because they found out about the new Batwoman from the various sources! I just couldn't believe it, it was great to see such interest from the ladies! A weekly book even, bravo DC!
Who was it who said women have no interest in superhero comics?

Now it's time to Really Save Manhunter

I meant to post this earlier, but was confused by a 5'10 lesbian bat in high heels. It seems the two characters had the same name. Someone should do something to make a distinction, like maybe use a less common nickname for the bat, like, I don't know, Kathy?

Anyway, as mentioned earlier, this is our last chance to save Kate Spencer from a untimely limbo, only to be broken by an appearance in a Justice Society storyline and a future death in a crossover.

Kate Spencer is a damned good character, and she deserves better than that.

And fortunately, her creator's willing to put his money where his mouth is.

And as a kickoff to builing the excitement for the coming issues, Andreyko put on his salesman hat…

"You've never tried it? Why should you try it? Well, where do I start? How 'bout this: it's a damn fun book that I am proud to be a part of - hence, my long-standing money-back guarantee: "buy an issue of Manhunter and hate it? Send it to me and get your $2.99 back!". If you're a fan of your superheroics having equal parts big fights and richly textured characters, this is the book for you. Add in amazing art, coloring, letters and edits and $3 is a bargain!

"And, hey, if people with names like Whedon, Millar, Rucka, Brubaker, Bendis, Oeming, Simone, Hester, Meltzer, Casey are fans of Manhunter, shouldn't you listen to 'em?"


I seem to recall a similar offer earlier on that we all ignored also. But seriously, what can you lose? Don't wait until Manhunter #26 comes out sometime in the fall.

Start Now.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Shadowing the Batwoman

Okay, I've been following this since got home Sunday night, and I have something very important to say to all of you:

DC really isn't making a big deal out of Batwoman being a lesbian.

It's everyone else who is.

Yes, I elaborate.Take the original, two-page, twenty-six paragraph article (which you should register and actually read before going off about).

Here are the Batwoman mentions, quoted for your perusal.

The articles starts with discussing the history comics and what cross-section of society they represented.

Second Paragraph:

But this year will be a banner one for diversity in the $500 million comic book business. At DC Comics, an effort is under way to introduce heroes who are not cut from the usual straight white male supercloth. A mix of new concepts, dusted-off code names and existing characters, the new heroes include Blue Beetle, a Mexican teenager powered by a mystical scarab; Batwoman, a lesbian socialite by night and a crime fighter by later in the night; and the Great Ten, a government-sponsored Chinese team.
(Emphasis mine -- and yours)

Later on, she does get her own paragraph devoted to her -- just as Jaime the new Hispanic Blue Beetle gets his own paragraph

Another effort to link old and new characters centers on Kathy Kane, the gay Batwoman who will appear in costume for the first time in a July issue of "52." Batwoman was introduced in 1956, but she was one of several, often silly additions to the Bat family, including Ace the Bat-Hound (1955), Bat-Mite (1959) and Bat-Girl (1961). In her latest incarnation, Batwoman is a wealthy, buxom lipstick lesbian who has a history with Renee Montoya, an ex-police detective who has a starring role in "52."


Please note that buxom lipstick lesbian is not in quotations. That is because the article writer is an idiot, but not necessarily Batwoman's creator.

Now, to be fair, it was followed immediately by a paragraph on gays in Gotham:

Even so, it's something of a surprise that there are any gay characters hanging out in Gotham City. Last year DC issued a cease-and-desist letter to a New York art gallery for displaying watercolors by Mark Chamberlain that depicted Batman and Robin in intimate positions. "That's not what this is about," Mr. DiDio said. "We're basically showing a different cross section of the world."


And the article wrapped up with an attention-hound writer saying idiotic things.

It also features the infamous costume with the high heels (Damn you, Ross), which is sexist as shit but more of a general misogyny complaint than specifically being objectified for her sexuality.

Almost instantly -- due to the Bat- prefix, the controversy of homosexuality, and mundanes mixing Kathy Kane up with Barbara Gordon -- this was picked up by the Associated press and it makes the rounds through newspapers, message boards, blogs, and watercoolers throughout the world. The New Batwoman is going to be a Lesbian!!!

So, naturally, Dan Didio does an interview in response. Which, not surprisingly, was based on having reconcieved of the decades-dead and erased-from-reality character as a lesbian.

Which naturally caused a lot of DC-bashing because now, suddenly, Batwoman was a lesbian as "Selling point" rather than a smart and unusual way to bring her into the 52 action. You know, 52, the comic in which she debuts? The comic in which Renee Montoya, a lesbian, is a main character? The one where she's coming off of a broken relationship, has a history of being in the closet and have secret lovers, and has recently been going through a bout of promiscuity and anger-issues? Where an easy way to link someone to her plotline might be to have a previous romantic involvement come back on her?

Not so much as case of "Of course the only two lesbians in Gotham know each other!" (a blatantly untrue statement, as neither woman has connections to Holly Robinson, Catwoman II, that I've seen on a number of blogs) as a case of cop's ex-lover is a superhero. Which we've never seen in a heterosexual relationship before, right? (Flash and Julie, Shade and Hope)

But no, we can't treat this as cute romantic awkwardness like we would if it were say, Harvey Bullock being featured in 52 and Batwoman was brought in with romantic complications towards him. Or if Renee were not gay, and a male hero that had a romantic history with her was brought in to complicate the plot. No! Because they're lesbians, so DC is automatically using them to pander to fanboy desires and not to, say, appeal to the large number of gay readers they have.

Here's the thing, I read the interview with Didio. I read the original article. Despite myself, I was intrigued by the story. She sounds pretty cool and interesting, at least from the start. And Didio's "I didn't realize it would be this big as deal" thing may be a lie, but I'm leaning towards truth here. They have other gay characters, have had gay characters for years. Batwoman is a relatively minor character. They were asked to produce a list of diverse characters for a New York Times article on diversity in comics. They gave up their history with Milestone, a Hispanic teenager, and a lesbian socialite. It's not that they're considering gay people a sudden novelty right now. It's that the article was specifically about characters that are not white heterosexuals, like we traditionally see in superhero comic books.

But the more they talk about being diverse, diverse they sound. (Get it, diverse, da verse, the worse.. *Ahem* Nevermind).



I see both sides condemning the character. The message boards and conservative misogynists are bringing their homophobia to the forefront, and then in response the gay-rights and feminist sites are calling her "Bat-bitch" (Yes, a gendered insult on a fucking feminist site. That pissed me off!!) and trashing her from the first sketch. The attention is good, the talking about it is good, and I know for sure a number of people'll pick it up without having intended to before. But honestly, the book's not out yet. Once it's out, we can see how she's handled. The high heels are a bad sign, yes, but the writing might yet be good. The character could be unique and interesting. The interplay with her ex-girlfriend could be fun. All we're guaranteed right now is a female hero who won't end up romance fodder for a male hero, which eliminates a pretty damned annoying convention right at the start.

And guess what, Newsarama asked Editor Stephen Wacker about her in their weekly after-52 Q&A session.
NRAMA: While she hasn't been in the series yet, the new Batwoman who will be debuting in 52 #11 was announced earlier this week, and she's literally been everywhere, with a lot of attention being paid to the fact that she's gay. We you in any way expecting the reaction she received? Has any writer "adopted" her, so to speak to give her voice and motivation, or is she a group project like the others?

SW: I wasn't surprised at all. I knew when the news was being released, so it's been a real countdown the last couple weeks. DC's publicity brigade of Stephanie Fierman, David Hyde, Alex Segura and Sierra Hahn, and many others, did a great job getting the word out and I hope people are interested in finding out more.

Look, you do anything with a Bat or an "S" on it and it makes a splash - see the Death of Superman hubub for an even bigger example of what these symbols mean to people outside comics. I also don't think it's too surprising that anything with the word "gay" attached makes news since it's a subject that really pushes people's buttons. Put the two together and suddenly I can't watch Anderson Cooper without a 36-inch image of Didio's face staring at me like some rogue DC Nation column come to life.
(This tells us the man's either smarter or more honest than his boss)
Creatively, the work is already done on the issue, so it was put together away from the spotlight. We're focusing on just trying to avoid the easy angles on the character and not make her story solely about being gay and, gee, how A) great or B) horrible it must be. Batwoman's appearances in 52 are decidedly not about the struggles of being a lesbian in today's crazy, mixed up world - that's my story!

Like most comics we do in the DCU, at its core, Kate's story is about someone putting their lives on the line for others and why they do it, it's about a hero...errr...heroine...ummm...no offense...…

Anyway, no one's specifically adopted her yet, but in 52 her story does tie into Montoya's, so make of what you will.


Sounds to me like the lesbian angle is just a way to connect the dots to Montoya, a little romantic complication for the 52 storyline. Why, I'd almost go so far as to say they're treating Montoya and Kane's sexuality as normal, as opposed to an unusual circumstance.

So far, I only see two immediate and confirmed gripes -- impractical high heels and impractical long wild hair. (Oh, and that the guy who wrote the NYT article is obviously fetishizing lesbians.) Valid gripes. These may be specifically characterizing her as extremely vain and patriarchally influenced (which might be a nod towards her Pre-Crisis past life) -- personality traits which do not mean she won't still be a kickass complex character. But which would distinguish her from other female characters.

Although I have issues with trading a good-sounding name like Kathy Kane for the clumsy, blunt Kate Kane. Reeks of "women with cute names like Kathy aren't as intelligent or competent as women with serious names like Kate" which greatly annoys me.

Until I see more, I'm optimistic, at least willing to give her a shot. I'd like to see more women in prominent positions in the DCU, and knocking them down because they debut with high heels or in a romantic storyline doesn't help.

New Community Site

Speaking of Mary, the anticipated girl-wonder.org is up and running -- featuring an essay by Trina Robbins on Wonder Woman.