DC’s Batwoman (aka Kate Kane) hasn’t always had a great turn being one of the only out character in comic land.
However, it seems that – at least in DC Universe Animated Original Movies – things are on the up.
In a new animated feature she’ll be living openly as a lesbian, and happy one at that.
Batwoman came out as a lesbian in 2006, and became the lead in Detective Comics in 2009 (with writer Greg Rucka and artist J.H. Williams winning multiple awards for their seven-issue arc, Batwoman: Elegy).
However, things started to backslide once she got her own title. Just when she started gaining real momentum as a character – with Williams continuing to tell her story with W. Haden Blackman – DC changed their policies, which meant that Kate couldn’t marry her long-time love interest, Detective Maggie Sawyer of the GCPD.
This was especially harmful for Batwoman, because she was actually in a fulfilling relationship that was a positive representation for the LGBTQ+ community.
The fallout from the decision meant Williams and Blackman left the book; the title started to tank, and was cancelled in 2014.
However, DC seems to be coming to its senses, and recognizing the importance of seeing all-ages, positive representations of LGBTQ+ relationships. In the new
Batman: Bad Blood sees Batwoman teams up with Dick Grayson (in the Cape and Cowl) and the new Batwing to solve the mystery of Batman’s “death” and find him. As her story unfolds, her sexuality is treated like no big deal.
In Bad Blood, Kate goes to a gay bar and flirts with Renee Montoya; she chats with her worried father about how he just wants her to find a good girl and settle down; she jokes with Dick about how it took her a long time to figure out women, too. And at the end of the film, she’s the only character whose happy ending includes a romantic interest.
That’s a thrilling breath of fresh air after what’s been done to the character in the comics. Here’s hoping that we see more of that treatment of the character throughout her appearances in the comics. Who knows? If Bad Blood is well-received, it might encourage DC to bring Batwoman back in her own title!