February 24, 2013 at 5:10 pm #8478
So I have my own blog at http://www.searchingforchetbaker.com, however I write a monthly column at Pop-Topia on the ways that comics incorporate social issues and political storylines from the real world. My previous piece was on Orson Scott Card getting hired by DC despite his strong anti-LGBT sentiments in the past.
So my new piece is on Batwoman (Kate Kane) proposing to her girlfriend in the newest issue of Batwoman (#17) of the New 52.
If anyone is interested here’s a link and a snippet from it. Would love some feedback from my fellow Nerdians.
And another surprising aspect showing that they haven’t shied away from the controversial waters in this occurs in issue 4 where there’s several pages of a battle between Flamebird (Kane’s impulsive cousin) fighting and losing against her opponent, interspersed with scenes of Kate and Maggie in bed making love, and it’s surprisingly intimate and fairly erotic, with the close-ups of Maggie’s face as she’s receiving pleasure from her lover.
That wasn’t something I really expected, as so many times with instances in the media, whether it’s comics, or movies or TV shows, the gay character is just sort of there as window dressing, or as a token. No real attempts to delve into their lives or their identities beyond the one dimensional. In this, the character is very fleshed out with a back story and her relationship with Sawyer is genuinely touching due to the superb writing in this book. As I said this has been a pleasant surprise reading this series.
Now admittedly there is a double standard at work here, and one that is not necessarily the fault of DC or the writers of Batwoman. However, can you imagine a similar scenario like the love making scene, working with two male characters in a comic book of this caliber? Because I can’t. And that’s the double standard. If two women are making love it is considered sweet and hot and whatnot, but the reaction to two men in that exact same scene? I don’t know that a lot of people’s reaction would be the same.
And I’ll be honest, I don’t know if MY reaction would have been the same. And perhaps that shows my prejudices or maybe I’m not as tolerant as I would like to believe. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just society having affected me more than I would normally admit. It’s the same mentality, however, that can have men go to a strip club and hoot and holler and throw dollar bills at women making out with each other, and then go home and get online and rant about “those faggots destroying the moral fabric of society” (meaning of course, men).
It’s the same double standard at work where you have a straight couple kissing on the lips but a gay couple only hugging in the same scene in ABC’s Modern Family.February 25, 2013 at 7:11 pm #8578
Interesting Blog post. Good job.
I’m not so impressed with the Batwoman thing. I don’t think it is substantive yet, although it looks like progress is being made.
The treatment of LGBT issues and characters in mainstream comics has been superficial and lame. Kate Kane as Batwoman is really just a continuance of this. She is not a prominent character; she is mostly a sideshow…and will be subject to the dustbin of history soon enough. Thus, the proposal and the lovemaking are probably just another meaningless blip.
If you think of Northstar of Alpha Flight in the 90s, you will be reminded of this. They were afraid to really even develop him as gay and out…as originally designed. And after he was “out”…this was still ignored. Remember the same of Obsidian. The commitment to his character development as mainstream, Gay hero was hit or miss. Now he is even gone. LOL…although his father, Alan Scott (Green Lantern) is now Gay in the 52 Universe. But there you go…”gay” is relegated to the second and third team.
For a minute, Shatterstar and Rictor were either “gay” or “bi-sexual”…I think there was an in-comics kiss between the two of them. But as you observe…that was never developed in the way the scene between Kate Kane and her partner was portrayed. And the backlash…would have been spectacular.
I think there have been quite a few hints and explorations of homosexual and bi-sexuality in comics and characters since 1990. Both in DC and Marvel comics. But they are usually superficial and fleeting. I’m not convinced that Kate Kane is much different.
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