In anticipation of being asked the same question repeatedly, I’m gathering up my assorted Batwoman feels so I can keep from repeating myself. More after the awesome Bruce Timm picture.
No one I know gets Batwoman like I do, in my opinion. I’ll state that up front. That’s how we all feel about our favorites, right? Like we know them best? I’ve been with Kate since her 52 introduction, I own both the single issue and trade runs of Greg Rucka’s amazing Detective Comics arc, “Elegy,” and I’ve been saying since the start that Batwoman is one of the few unassailable bright spots of story telling and art in the New 52. I got my first tattoo this year, of HER symbol (not Terry McGinnis’s), on my back. The only ways I could understand Kate more is if I were a lesbian myself (I personally identify as queer, which for me means a space between bisexual and straight) and if I had military experience (a subject close to my heart b/c of my family and where I grew up).
This morning’s news that JH Williams and Haden Blackman are leaving Batwoman due to editorial interference hit me pretty hard, because of the stuff stated above. Kate Kane isn’t just a fictional character to me. She represents something very personal, and very important (a separate essay that will be written; short version is, I adore Batman and he inspires me, but I don’t want to be exactly like him with the brooding and the isolation and stuff, just like Kate was inspired by him but doesn’t want to be exactly like him).
The headline grabbing reason for the split is that DC didn’t want to allow Kate Kane and Detective Maggie Sawyer to get married. JH & Haden apparently had to *fight* to get them engaged. Now, this could be something insidious - DC being anti-gay marriage. That, of course, is morally reprehensible. JH himself has been careful to say DC editorial was against the marriage itself, not necessarily the relationship. So, giving DC editorial the benefit of the doubt - something that they have absolutely NOT earned, as they refuse to communicate, engage, or show even the slightest transparency (even fake transparency!) - DC is just anti-marriage. All of it. Except Aquaman - his marriage remains.
I’m not sure I believe that this isn’t somehow rooted in an editorial opposition to gay marriage, but I can’t prove that (they were total cowards during the Orson Scott Card affair), so I won’t go there. I’m speaking from a place of hurt, and that’s never fair. I 110% believe that DC is anti-marriage in their stories, though. All the established couples are gone. Not just unmarried, but broken up completely. Clark & Lois, Barry & Iris, and of course Hal & Carol are on the outs again but that doesn’t really count. Even The Joker & Harley Quinn have split up. Diana and Steve Trevor too. Now, I get the whole “let’s start over, have some of them date around” idea. The problem is that now, EVERY SINGLE HERO has to be a hot, sexy single. There seems to be no place for devoted, married couples in the New 52. Again, except Aquaman.
And let’s take a minute to consider those optics. Aquaman, a straight guy, gets to be married to his hot redhead wife Mera. Batwoman, a lesbian, is not allowed to be married to Maggie Sawyer. Doesn’t seem fair.
Back to marriage. No long term committed relationships allowed. In addition to being kind of sad - no Dibnys or Kents to hold up as examples of how true love totally exists - it’s also really monotonous. There’s no variety. It also shows a seeming disinterest in spotlighting THE SOCIAL ISSUE OF OUR TIME even a little bit.
Kate Kane has been alone a lot of her life. Surrounded by family, yes, but hollow inside. Her twin sister and her mom were killed in front of her. Her dad remarried. She had to drop out of West Point because she wouldn’t lie about who she was. Since becoming Batwoman, she’s created her little support network. She’s finally let her father back in (the man who made it official, technically), and her cousin Bette. Even her stepmom is in on it. Maggie was the woman who made growing up seem worth it to Party Girl Kate. Maggie is her match. Now that Kate has let Maggie into this part of her life, it makes perfect, natural sense that she’d want to get married. They love each other. Adults who love each other will do that. Kate wants something stable and constant in a life that has been turned upside down over the last few years. Why shouldn’t it happen?
I guess that’s where I’m at with it now. If DC editorial can give me a single good reason why Kate and Maggie shouldn’t be married, I’d be impressed. I’d also like to know the reason for jerking their creators around so much. How many people have quit from the Superman/Action comics universe alone? Why the hell was Gail Simone fired? Why are scenes changed between the single issue and the trade? What possible good comes from messing with a story you approved a year ago, that’s already done, and half assing a new ending?
I have something of an understanding why creators stay at DC. I hear the money is VERY good, in many ways. When someone walks away from a big payday because the boss man is THAT MUCH of a dick, things have to be drastic. What’s worse - WE SHOULDN’T EVEN BEEN HEARING ABOUT THIS SHIT! This sort of drama should be in house. There’s bullshit in every workplace - there’s bullshit at Marvel, and Image, and pick a company. But DC’s bullshit gets aired on a weekly basis. So much bad press could be avoided if they got out in front of these things, if they just engaged with fans (instead of cancelling monthly columns with friendly avenues, like CBR), and didn’t let bad stuff gain a life of it’s own on the internet for two days before addressing it.
DC Comics is losing me. I have made excuse after excuse for them. I know they are capable of better - those characters deserve better - and yet it’s not happening. I’m not someone who goes out and criticizes everything that DC does. I LOVE DC. But I’m not going to be a sycophantic goob suffering in silence either. I won’t read crap. Crap includes mediocre stuff (ie, 90% of the New 52). When the award winning creative team behind one of their best titles leaves because even money can’t hold them there…the foundation of your house is in dire need of repair.
Sorry if this rant has been incoherent. I don’t plan to debate with anyone, this was more therapy for myself. I look forward to JH’s work on Sandman: Overture, but I’m certain after that’s done he’ll be gone, either to Marvel or to Image with a creator owned project. I can’t think of anyone at DC qualified to write Batwoman now (I’d entertain letting Marguerite Bennett have a shot, since her Batman Annual was superb and she clearly appreciates the human element of the Bat mythos), so I’ll end up dropping it after issue 26. I thank JH & Haden for their valiant service. I was worried about Kate after Greg Rucka left DC, and this has been a very different direction than the one I expected, but it’s still been a joy (in a weird LSD nightmare sort of way).
Shame on DC for letting yet another good thing die.