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DC Comics� outing of Batwoman draws mixed response

For 50 years, Batwoman's had a secret – until now

Angela D'Amboise | June 12, 2006

HOLLYWOOD — When DC Comics announced last week socialite-turned-caped-crusader Kathy Kane would slip back into her cape and reprise her role as Batwoman, thousands of fans were ecstatic.

But it was another little announcement that drew a mixed reaction from scores of Batwoman fanatics.

Batwoman, it would seem, is a lesbian, announced DC Comics to CNN last week. The comic book giant said it arrived at the decision in an attempt to diversify its roster.

It�s a secret Kane has been carrying around with her since 1956, when Batwoman was originally introduced as a comic love interest for Batman. In the reintroduced series, Kane is open about her sexuality to friends but remains closeted to her family.

The announcement certainly got a reaction. According to a report by CNN, last week, a Google search for lesbian Batwoman drew more than half a million hits. But the overall response was far from unanimous support.

Robert Knight, an anti gay rights activist who heads the conservative Culture and Family Institute, said he is livid DC Comics would deliberately expose young children to the homosexual lifestyle.

�Most comics readers are boys, though some girls read comics, and I can't imagine this will be a good influence on girls, some of whom might be sexually confused, or not quiet sure who they are,� he said in a statement reported by the Agape Press.

Knight says the reintroduction of Batwoman as a lesbian is just the latest in a string of profane changes to the DC line of comic heroes. He said it all started a few years ago when a new executive took over the company and made it a point to use �more profanity� and �sexual situations.�

While neither the Culture and Family Institute or the American Family Association, (which also posted a complaint on its Web site) have indicated they intend to boycott the comic book giant, Knight says he predicts the idea will backfire and �ought to be shoved far, far back into the Batcave.�

But a spokesperson for the comic giant says he is surprised by how much attention the announcement has garnered – most of it excited. Though the newly out Batwoman wont launch in stores until July, he DC�s Executive Editor Don Didio told the Associated Press he has been bombarded by phone calls from people, all �intrigued� with the idea.

With Kathy Kane�s announcement also comes a new image – she�s now a 5�10� red head, according to reports from the Associated Press, dressed in a skin tight suit and big leather boots – a look some say in and of itself is inappropriate for young readers.

But longtime comic book collector Joe Palmer, who oversees the Gay League Web site for gay and lesbian comic book fans, dismisses the concern, saying Kane�s seductive image is par for the course in comic book land.

�Honestly, comic book characters are already going to be handsome or over-the-top gorgeous anyway,� he told the Associated Press. �They're definitely going to be very physically fit, they're going to be gym bunnies basically, only they don't go to the gym.�

But perhaps the most generally heard reaction is much like the one expressed by Presbyterian deacon John Schroeder, an environmental consultant who blogs about the comic book industry and religion and says Batwoman�s sexual preference is of no concern to him.

�Am I excited that there's going to be a homosexual superhero? Not really,� he told the Associated Press. �But it's not like I'm going to jump up and down and scream and say it's the end of the world.� – Issued by Gay Link Content

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