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Of course, their focus isn’t that a character other than Batman is taking the lead in DC Comics’ flagship title. No, it’s that the character is “a hot lesbian.” Or “a lipstick lesbian.” Or a “flame-haired lesbian.” Or … well, you see the pattern.
Never mind that many of these newspapers and websites worked themselves into a lather over the same thing almost three years ago, when Kate Kane was introduced as the new Batwoman in the pages of 52.
Excuse me, the new flame-haired lesbian Batwoman.
The renewed interest began yesterday in the U.K. press with innacurate headlines — “Lesbian Batwoman is DC Comics’ first gay superhero” — and nods to the 1960s Batman TV series — “Holy ____!” — before settling in for a little game of telephone.
Most of the reporting is based on CBR’s Monday interview with writer Greg Rucka, who discussed plans for the Detective Comics arc, and reader perceptions of Batwoman.
“Yes, she’s a lesbian,” Rucka told CBR. “She’s also a redhead. It is an element of her character. It is not her character. If people are going to have problems with it, that’s their issue. That’s certainly not mine. My job is to write the best book I can about a character that I think is exceptionally cool, that J.H. Williams thinks is exceptionally cool, that DC Comics thinks is exceptionally cool and worthy of being the lead player in Detective Comics. And frankly, she should be judged on her merits.”
What he didn’t say is that Batwoman is “a lesbian socialite by night and a crime-fighter by later in the night.”
“I’m wondering who said the ‘socialite by night crime-fighter by later in the night’ bit,” Rucka writes on his blog, “because I have no memory of those words passing my lips. At all.”
The Sun, meanwhile, splices and dices what Rucka did say so that it comes out as, “She’s exceptionally cool. Yes, she’s a lesbian. It is not her character. She should be judged on her merits.” That’s not the tabloid’s greatest sin, though. No, that’s the headline: “Gay-ped crusader.”
But not everyone is titillated by the prospect of Batwoman’s leading role in Detective. Tracy Clark-Flory of Salon writes that Kate Kane “looks like every other female superhero, which is to say: a caped dominatrix.”
John Capone of NBC Chicago is a little more blunt: “The first thing to consider here is that, well, she’s a comic book character breaking the gay superhero barrier — hardly the equivalent of Rosa Parks. The second thing is that she is the very essence of a male dominatrix fantasy, thought up by a group of horny comics geeks.”
The Daily Star one-ups them all, though, by manufacturing reporting that the “lady-loving redhead Lindsay Lohan is already being tipped to play Batwoman on the big screen.”
Remember, you read it there first. But certainly not last.