Character Type: Primary
AKA: Katherine "Kate" Kane
Summary: First appearing as a new love interest for Batman in order to dissuade fans from thinking he was gay, Batwoman was reimagined in 2006 as his openly lesbian cousin. Before her crime-fighting career, Kate Kane attended the United States military academy, West point, and excelled in her studies and training. However, she was anonymously accused of homosexual misconduct, at which point she came out as a lesbian, in order to protect her girlfriend, Sophie Moore, and was expelled under Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell shortly before she would have graduated. Upon returning to Gotham, Kate was inspired by Batman to turn to a life of vigilantism and began her own caped crusade.
Database Links: Wikipedia, DC Wiki, Gay League
Batwoman, announced on the cover of Detective Comics 223, rocked the Batcave’s status quo. Here was a major addition to Gotham’s ranks, and she was capable of besting Batman and Robin at the superhero game. But the female superhero’s arrival wasn’t just about spicing up Batman and Robin’s routine; it was also intended to short circuit the perceived subtext that the Dark Knight and Boy Wonder shared more than an interest in punching out bad guys. (Read more)
Dante A. Ciampaglia, "Fear of a Gay Batman Brought Batwoman to Life," History, August 16, 2018.
At the time of Kate's introduction, LGBTQIA rights were a major topic of discussion. While gay marriage was not yet legal, it was under constant discussion, and civil union rights were being granted across the nation. In television, characters like Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer were proving that stories involving queer characters and themes could be immensely successful among fans. In comics, characters like Northstar from Alpha Flight had come out years ago, but had been shunted immediately to the side. Seldom did queer characters appear as stars of major story arcs. Batwoman's popularity changed that, and in the more than a decade that has passed since her debut, there's been a lot of expansion in major roles for queer characters. (Read more)
Sara Century, "The secret history of Batwoman," Syfy Wire, May 11, 2020.
The representation of queer sexuality and identity in Batwoman: Elegy is unique, interesting, and powerful in its own right. However, the text's metatextual relationship with its genre also creates exciting implications for the superhero genre. Like a drag performance, Batwoman: Elegy's imitation with a difference allows its readers to confront the construction of the superhero genre from a new vantage point. Beginning with the origin story of a superhero, Batwoman: Elegy presents a notion of identity that is explicitly queer, but through its imitation reveals an implicit queerness in the construction of identity in superhero comics. (Read more)
Andréa Gilroy, 2015, "The epistemology of the phone booth: The superheroic identity and queer theory in Batwoman: Elegy," ImageText: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies, 8(1).