Batwoman Writers Resign After DC Prohibits Lesbian Wedding Story

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The history of DC’s Katherine Kane (alias Batwoman) is a complex and fascinating one. Initially introduced as a love interest for Batman in response to allegations about his homosexuality circulating in the mid-1950s, she eventually came to settle into a single-sex relationship of her own with policewoman and long-term supporting DC character Maggie Sawyer. But despite the pioneering reputation of recent Batwoman comics, DC have allegedly vetoed a proposed marriage between the character and her girlfriend, leading to the resignation of two of the series’ major writers, J. H. Williams and W. Hayden Blackman.

Maggie_SawyerThings have, of course, changed a lot since 1956: where Kathy Kane‘s first appearance was intended as a direct response to Fredric Wertham‘s 1954 book, Seduction of the Innocent, in which the writer and psychologist claims that Batman’s allegedly sexual relationship with Robin corrupts the minds of young boys, her modern incarnation as Kate Kane is better known for addressing current concerns about LGBT rights. In her ongoing series, Kate has faced various issues that continue to affect the LGBT community today. Before the repeal of America’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, for example, a story saw her outed from the US Military Academy purely because of her sexuality. More recently, in issue 17, she was shown proposing to her girlfriend. As a result of its politically challenging storylines, the series last year received an award from America’s leading LGBT rights lobby, Glaad (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation).

To date, Batwoman remains DC’s most high-profile gay superhero. Yet despite a precedent for single-sex marriage within the DC universe (between male superhero couple Apollo and Midnighter), the proposed marriage of Kate and Maggie has sparked an unexpected row within DC, with Williams and Blackman claiming that they have been asked to “alter or completely discard many long-standing storylines that [they] feel compromise the character and the series”.

BatwomanSome observers have noted that DC has typically lagged behind its biggest comics rival, Marvel, in terms of publishing these kind of controversial stories: even Apollo and Midnighter came some years after the appearance of Marvel’s first openly gay character. Nonetheless, it seems strange that DC should decide to take steps backwards, rather than forwards on this matter. After the initial blog post published by the two writers, Williams later wrote, “We fought to get them engaged, but were told emphatically no marriage can result”.

So far, DC have offered no direct comments to the public, so it’s impossible to be sure of exactly what went on, though Williams has since agreed with fellow DC Comics creator Gail Simone’s suggestion that it may be “more of an anti-marriage thing in general.” Nevertheless, it’s  easy to see why the writers would be frustrated by the last-minute nature of the changes:

“We were told to ditch plans for Killer Croc’s origins; forced to drastically alter the original ending of our current arc, which would have defined Batwoman’s heroic future in bold new ways; and, most crushingly, prohibited from ever showing Kate and Maggie actually getting married. All of these editorial decisions came at the last minute, and always after a year or more of planning and plotting on our end.”

Whether or not this is a fear of handling what is currently a very divisive topic in the States, or simply a refusal to tie down an important character remains unclear. Should DC have gone ahead with the writers’ decision, or were they right to make their own choices? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Source: The Independent | The Hollywood Reporter

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