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Great Hera!

I Don’t Know Why DC Didn’t Publicize the Heck Out of This Week’s Batwoman Because [Spoilers]

Batwoman #17 came out yesterday, and in some of its last pages had a… thing… that happened. It’s a spoiler, sure, but it’s not a plot spoiler, it’s just a surprise. And before you get worried, it was a cool thing, an exciting thing, a bit of a cliffhanger thing, and I’m just puzzled as to why DC didn’t make a bigger deal out of it beforehand. It’s the kind of thing they could probably use right about now.

Okay, I’ll stop beating around the bush and put a jump cut here so that I can actually say what happened. Batwoman #17 spoilers from here on out.

Here’s one of the last pages of Batwoman #17, and lets all get sad that it’s the last issue that J.H. Williams III will be drawing for a while (and then excited that he’s starting to work on Sandman):

So yeah, lesbian superhero proposal! Kate Kane revealing her secret identity to her New 52 girlfriend, solving the case that’s been tormenting Maggie for months, and proposing to her all in about as many panels! Those crazy caped kids.

But it all does leave me wondering why Kate Kane proposing marriage to her girlfriend hasn’t been front page news at DC Comics this week. After all, we live in an age when comic companies show absolutely no hesitance to spoil major plot events like deaths and marriages the day before the book is released to an outlet like USA Today.

Certainly there’s a definite possibility that wedding bells won’t be ringing any time soon. Even aside from the fact that the (sometimes awfully tired) genre conventions of superhero stories mean that significant others often don’t fare very well, we didn’t get to see Maggie’s response to Kate’s question this issue. Maggie confessed to Kate not too many issues ago that she has a very hard time forgiving people who lie to her, so it would be well within her established character to need some serious thinking time or at worst to break up with Kate after finding out that she’s been hiding the fact that she and Batwoman are the same person from her.

But we’ve seen DC make a big deal out of a gay relationship that was doomed in its second issue before with Alan Scott, the gay Green Lantern of Earth 2. While they didn’t quite manage to get him on The View, they seemed very proud of making one of the New 52′s six Green Lanterns of Earth (the one in the alternate universe) a gay man in a committed relationship. In the second issue of Earth 2, however, Alan Scott’s boyfriend was killed mere moments before the arrival of his Green Lantern ring, leaving him single and traumatized.

It would even have been nice for DC to use this Batwoman issue to say something like: “Hey we know we hired Orson Scott Card to write a Superman story, but we’re committed to the characters that are actually improving the diversity of our lineup. Exhibit A: Batwoman #17.” It wouldn’t absolve them from the questionable decision, certainly, but it would be better than their only other response so far, a single sentence of boiler plate about artists personal views not representing the company’s. I’ve seen some folks point out that hitching up Kate Kane and Maggie Sawyer might even have happened because of the backlash against Card, but I remain skeptical of that. Batwoman #17 was solicited months ago, and Card’s involvement in a Superman anthology was only announced last week.

DC has been hands off about Batwoman for pretty much the title’s entire existence. It’s one of the few books in the New 52 that was actually proposed and greenlit before the idea of the reboot was, and then delayed to coincide. As such, it’s to be expected that its early issues didn’t have much to do with the rest of the New 52′s setting, even including some glimpses of characters who may or may not exist anymore. But the title has continued to remain separate since. Batwoman didn’t get a Court of the Owls or Death of the Family tie-in issue, unlike “Batman” titles as tertiary as Suicide Squad. DC even rearranges the ads for each issue of Batwoman to allow for J.H. William’s fondness for double page spreads. Williams is known as a perfectionist, and between writing and drawing Batwoman I can understand why, for example, DC might have known about a Kate/Maggie proposal and decided that he wouldn’t have time to include them in the publisher’s special Valentine’s issue featuring couples from around the DCU like Catwoman/Batman, Aquaman/Mera, Apollo/Midnighter (another gay couple), and Superman/Wonder Woman.

DC could go a long way with promoting Batwoman’s proposal and, if it happens, marriage. So if they haven’t yet, let me: Maggie Sawyer, who transferred to the Gotham police force after being a prominent recurring character in Superman stories, was one of the first out gay characters in the DC universe in the late eighties. Batwoman is the first gay member of the Bat-family and the first lesbian superhero to headline her own title in history. Their relationship embodies the fact that while DC might not have a perfect track record on these matters, minority characters have been an important part of its universe for decades, and they will be for decades to come.

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  • Anonymous

    Very cool. However, there is a spoiler in the page title. “Batwoman Proposal” Might want to change that?

  • Anonymous

    Well of course they can’t promote it that much. It doesn’t involve a character who pre-dates the ’60s.

  • Travis Fischer

    Maybe they realized how obnoxious it was when Marvel did it.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Jesus Christ, yes. Call me when Cyclops screws himself, not when some fourth tier characters tie the knot. Who cares? And the two-page spreads were obnoxious.

  • Anonymous

    “But it all does leave me wondering why Kate Kane proposing marriage to
    her girlfriend hasn’t been front page news at DC Comics this week.”

    Putting it on the front page and making a big deal about it doesn’t “solve the problem”. If DC made a press release “Hey everyone! We have a lesbian character! Read all about it!” That’s exploitation and disingenuous to the cause. You are giving the impression that the solution to acceptance/coexistence is to continually parade the flag around and make a PR buzz about it. The real solution is just to do it and not make a big deal about it, because it’s not a big deal. That’s the eventual goal. The eventual goal that even you want is for non-straight characters, as well as IRL people, to just be accepted without any ado. You don’t fight for the change, you just change. DC did absolutely the right thing by not making a big deal about this. Being outraged that they didn’t publicize it is no better than people being outraged that DC is doing it in the first place.

    So she’s a lesbian. So what? Are we done yet? Can’t we just say, “Ooh! Plot twist! How exciting. I wonder what will happen next issue!” That’s the real progress that we can’t seem to reach.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been really enjoying the second half of the whole Medusa storyline, but I really didn’t get it when the relaunch happened, especially because it reset Kate and Maggie’s history.

    As I recall in Elegy, Kate had just met Maggie. How long had they been dating in the New 52? It makes me think that the proposal is a bit rushed. Maggie seems like the person who was really grueling and slaving away that this case and that Kate was investigating it, but only had huge emotional ties to it through Maggie’s own distress.

    I think the issues were supposed to convey that this was Doomsday for Gotham, what with all the heroes in the background fighting Medusa’s forces, but it seemed pretty quick. It doesn’t seem like beating Medusa (which was disappointingly easy) was cathartic enough for Kate to propose marrying Maggie. I would almost expect it to be the other way around (though that has its own issues).

    Besides relief that some kids are safe (which is Batwoman’s everyday job), I guess she’s just thrilled because Maggie won’t be killing herself over the case?

  • Anonymous

    Have you read any Marvel books lately? What’s your number? Expect a call soon.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Haha, I know…I initially wrote “Cyclops screws Wolverine” but that didn’t sound nearly as interesting given the current storyline in All-New X-Men. Here’s hoping.

  • Robert Vary

    I’m not a regular comics-reader, so I don’t know if this has even been addressed in the books, but is gay marriage legal in, y’know, whatever state Gotham’s in? I wonder if they’re going to keep it “realistic” and make the legality an issue, or if they’re going to go with “forward-thinking fantasy” and make it an already-resolved problem in their society.

  • Anonymous

    I understand where they’re coming from. Promoting a gay marriage would just force their hands even more with O.S. Card issue, which is probably the last thing they want at this point, and “second gay marriage” doesn’t sell nearly as well as the first anyway.
    Still, it’s just another proof of how Card’s views doesn’t fit with today’s world.

  • Guest


  • Anonymous

    Gotham always struck me as a combo of New York, Boston (the old-money side of it), and Pittsburgh. In which case, two out of three for legal SSM.

  • Anonymous

    ew what?

  • Erin Treat

    How illuminating. Buffoon.

  • Natasha Tafel

    I agree wholeheartedly…

  • DJRM

    Why is Batwoman so pale?
    Or does she paint her face white before putting on the rest of the costume?

    I know that’s not really the issue at the moment but seeing that picture of her kissing someone with a regular human skin tone compared to her whiteface I guess I never realized it before.

  • Jill Pantozzi

    Except DC makes a big deal out of everything else, so in this case, it seems like an odd exception.

  • Erin Treat

    It’s been commented on quite a bit. It’s definitely a stylistic choice, but I like it personally. Batwoman has always had a supernatural flavor that’s unlike any other title in the Bat family and JHW III plays it up. I understand that some people don’t get it when they first see it, but throw your expectations of other Bat characters out the window.

  • Stephen Milligan

    Well, she is a redhead. We gingers basically look like vampires in any direct light.

  • Anonymous

    It’s spelled “CW”. And while I’m sure Batwoman would fit very well with their current line up, I’m not sure the mythology of the book could be comfortably combined with Arrow.

    That’s what you were going for, yes? Otherwise you’re just a bigot.

  • Mark Brown

    And if it’s not, does that mean Batman will have to perform the wedding?

  • Lady Viridis

    Interesting. Gotham always strikes me as a combination of Chicago and Detroit, so I usually picture it being in a similar location to Chicago.

  • Jace Atkins

    Gotham has been put in different places by different writers, but I think the “official” location is New Jersey. Being a Brit, I’m not really sure what that entails as far as same-sex marriage goes, but I’m fairly sure that’s where Gotham is “supposed” to be.

  • Nick Gaston

    The REAL issue with this, of course, is…

    …I guess Toby Raines is permanently out of the picture, then? :(

    Seriously though, I wish they’d made more of an announcement—I could have sent flowers!

  • TKS

    I don’t necessarily agree that promoting a gay character is “disingenuous to the cause.” Until “black” or “woman” or “gay” hero is as culturally accessible as “cis white male,” I think we need to encourage and promote the hell out of these things.

    I agree that the goal is that non CWM characters are accepted with little fanfare. But as we are now, we aren’t going to get there by “just changing.” It’s the same as pointing out fictions with strong women leads. They’re not the norm–make a fuss.

  • Anonymous

    I have just ONE question. is all the interior art to Batwoman that beautiful? Because… my GOD that is well drawn.

  • Anonymous

    What, you sparkle?

  • plat0n


  • Anonymous

    I always saw it as chicago too, metropolis is so new york to me as well so it confuses me when they are treated as vice versa

  • Anonymous

    Except it is a big deal, if you dont come out and say I support gay rights people can think what they like about your opinion and right now I think that DC must be trying to keep this quiet because they are ashamed.
    Once you have made the progress then you dont need to mention it because it is assumed but until then the fight is important and while DOMA exist the progress hasn’t been made.

  • Lady Viridis

    I’m always confused by the fact that New York still exists in the DC universe, despite Metropolis clearly and obviously standing in for it in basically every way.

  • Starman

    Which is funny because Metropolis was originally based on Toronto.

  • Anonymous

    Chicago I associated more with Metropolis. I see it as Midwestern optimism mixed with Art Deco New York architecture. *edit* Starman with Metropolis as Toronto makes HELLA sense, too. Add that in.

    Also worth noting: Gotham has been a nickname of the real NYC for a long time, before Batman ever began. Mostly, Bats gets the dark alleys and working class grit of the major cities. Supes gets the forward-looking and up-beat parts. The man makes the city.

  • Lady Viridis

    Mm. I think I associate Gotham with Chicago/Detroit partly because I grew up near Chicago, and partly because, well, if you are looking for a city full of corruption, Chicago is one to go to. I only know bits and pieces of the history, but every time I find out more, I’m amazed at just *how corrupt* everything seems to be there. There’s also a lot of factories near Chicago, and it has the legacy of being the big rail hub too that seems to match with how Gotham is usually portrayed. (ie, with “abandoned factories” full of bubbling acid and such.) Chicago also has the whole mob boss/Al Capone history that seems to get borrowed a lot for the ‘feel’ of Gotham. When you see organized crime in Metropolis, it seems to be of the Wall Street/corporate evil flavor via Lex Luthor, rather than the concrete shoes variety.

    Metropolis is just so much The Big City, all glitzy and shiny and a place where you go to Make Something Of Yourself and Follow Your Dreams, that seems to be the prevailing mythos surrounding New York. It matches up with Superman and his intense optimism.

  • Anonymous

    I totally get that. I also don’t know Chicago so well as a near-local.

    The Gene Kelly musical vision of New York isn’t quite complete either. NYC is also the city of Midnight Cowboy, and the stereotypical local New Yorker with the fast patter and attitude just doesn’t feel Metropolis to me. There’s something about the ordinary culture of NYC which just feels more Gotham. Gruff and brusk, but with a surprising amount of friendliness under that.

    These real cities are huge, multifaceted gems. Gotham and Metropolis are distillations. Drive around probably any city in America and you’ll find neighborhoods which belong in either Gotham or Metropolis.

  • Kathy

    I could be wrong, but I suspect it’s because they were busy defending their choice to hire someone to write Superman who believes gay people should have no legal rights, have their children taken away, be prevented from holding teaching positions, and be put in jail. I might have bought this once upon a time, but I won’t be doing business with DC until they reverse their decision to hire someone on the board of a hate group and pledge to never do so again.

  • Sophie

    It’s stunning. Just do yourself a favour and google ‘JH Williams Batwoman’.

  • Arakiba

    Hopefully neither of them will end up depowered, raped, or stuffed in a refrigerator a few issues down the line.

  • Sara Sakana

    …you really have no idea why the company that is currently contorting itself in all kinds of physically improbably ways to kiss Orson Scott Card’s ass isn’t making a big deal about a lesbian character proposing to her girlfriend? Really?

  • Anonymous

    “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.”

    Sorry, it’s 2012, that argument doesn’t fly anymore. People are entitled to not give a crap and not be the villains. You don’t seem to have in mind that when they added Batwing (a BLACK BATMAN) in 2011, they didn’t say, “Hey! We have a Black Batman! Check it out!”. They didn’t do that for Steel, either. If you bring attention to it, you’re publicizing it. You want attention because it would make you happy, not because it helps the cause of equality. Equality means everyone stops caring. When people stop caring about other people’s sexuality, that’s when we’re good. You’ve missed the point.

    Stop applying how stupid our current world is to fiction. In fiction, everything can be great. In fiction, they’ve stopped caring. You haven’t stopped caring yet, because politics hasn’t stopped caring yet. Stop caring. Just do it. Be the change you want to see in the world.

  • Anonymous

    No, it doesn’t. They don’t publicize black characters, women characters, LBGT characters. Because publicizing it would be stupid. It would be taking credit for something that doesn’t need to be credited, it just needs to be done. Make a big deal about New 52. Make a big deal about Marvel NOW! Don’t make a big deal about how a company embraces their fictional world where button issues that we make up don’t exist to them. You seem to want companies to say, “Hey! We noticed that our fictional world was too white bread, so we pulled a Power Rangers and added every minority! Someone give us a medal!”

    Feel free to read my longer response to someone else below about how DC did the right thing.

  • Jill Pantozzi
  • Anonymous

    Sooooooo beautiful. It’s kept me on board, even though the writing’s been touch-and-go :(
    Also, JH Williams III is working on the new Sandman with Neil Gaiman. I’ve died and gone to heaven

  •!/ David R. Schmitt

    The fact that DC has been fairly hands off this title is the best reason I hear for collecting it. That and Jonah Hex, I mean All Star Western but even Hex got a Night of Owls tie-in which is kinda silly.

  • Basil G.

    If I were Mags, I’d be mad she lied, but that would would be compounded by the fat she also solved MY case. Kate showed her up and deprived her of having personal and emotional closure. She worked and worked, and it took someone else to get it done. There are some major blows to the pride here, especially for a detective.

  • Life Lessons

    Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. :)

  • Sam Bottoms

    New Sandman!? Gods be good, how did I not know of this?

  • Not So Young Democrat

    My guess is because this is a plot point and not a happily ever after. When I saw spoilers for this it felt like Kate and Maggie were just too soon in their relationship for something like this. I mean it was just the end of the last story arc that Maggie let Kate know that she has a daughter, which is, you know, kind of a big deal. There’s also the fact that Maggie, as presented in Batwoman, has some pretty strong feelings about vigilantism in general and Batwoman in particular. Even if you look at that picture, Kate’s really leaning into it but Maggie is at the least very surprised. There’s no indication that this is a happy thing for her (and I should add that it’s great that we’ve got an artist on Batwoman who can do that kind of subtlety.)

    My guess is that Maggie’s reaction to all this is not to start picking out china patterns, but rather to be SUPER pissed, not only that Kate has lied to her and duped her throughout their whole relationship, but that Kate’s not put Maggie in the position of either not doing her job or sending the woman she loves to the slammer.

  • Not So Young Democrat

    Yes, yes it is all that beautiful. J.H. Williams III has really been doing some awesome work on the art as well as the story with Batwoman. And the last six months or so has really seen him doing a lot of innovative, or at least unusual, stuff with page layouts and unusually designed gutters. He’s particularly seemed to have taken a shine to using two page spreads to tell stories

  • Not So Young Democrat

    It’s a stylistic choice. In her early appearances she was pretty normal toned, perhaps a bit pale, but JH Williams has chosen to have her be bone white. He does her twin sister the same way.

  • Not So Young Democrat

    Kate and Maggie first agree to go on a date in the first issue of the title (I forget who asks who)

  • Anonymous

    Or it could be a sarcastic “ew.”

  • Thalia Sutton

    I am quite glad for same-sex couples to be making such strides. But lately I’ve wondered something on a side issue: why are main-character females so often lesbians in pop culture work? What does it say about our society’s view of adventurous and competent women? (Do we lack the ability to visualize a heterosexual woman who is also confident and capable, or a man that would love one?)

    Or is it something simpler, such as that a lot of female readers of comics and in the pop culture community consider a homosexual storyline relevant to them, or that lesbi-sex sells in an industry dominated by selling to men?

    Would love to see some discussion on this too. :)

  • Jamie Jeans

    Well… DC will either leave this to Greg Rucka nad have it played out excellently, or they’ll kill off another gay person just because… you know, like Robert Kirkman did in Freedom Ring.

    And frankly, I don’t hold much hope out for DC comics because of their track record.

    Give a limited series of Midnighter to Chuck Dixon, a known homophobic bigot? Done.

    Hire Orson Scott Card, who actively campaigns against the gay community? Done.

    Kill off the loving partner of a gay character, effectively fridging him, just to give the main hero motivation? Done.

    I think that with Orson Bigot Card on board, they never played up this angle in Batwoman because they don’t want people too excited for it. Hell, Batwoman as a character wasn’t a very deep one until Greg Rucka took over the writing and her premiere in 2006 was nothing but a PR stunt and Dan Didio’s attempt at irony.

    And that’s just DC’s track record with LGBT characters, of which I am sure there’s plenty more who were treated badly, then there’s their track record on people of colour and gay people of colour.

    Hell, Gail Simone was setting up to bring in a transgender person and has long and loudly talked of the need for more diversity in front of and behind the scenes, and they all but fired her for it.

  • TKS

    I think you’re misinterpreting myowndrama’s point. It isn’t “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.” It’s “If you don’t say what you think, I’m going to assume you think the same as I do.” I’m having a hard time arguing against that on a large scale.

    If I remember correctly, I remember a good deal of buzz about Batwing in 2011. I read about him on nerd sites like Comics Alliance and non-nerd sites. (I think there was something about it on Huffington Post?) Also, remember the hype surrounding Miles Morales?

    “Stop caring. Just do it. Be the change you want to see in the world.” I’m sorry, but I’m having a hard time figuring out what you mean here. apathy does not breed change. Not on the corporate nor the personal level. If we want more diversity in our characters, than we should celebrate it any chance we get. If companies don’t think that people WANT to read these characters, they won’t publish these characters. (And we DO want greater diversity in our fictional characters. There’s a large number of literature connects availability of character diversity with people’s acceptance of different types of people.)

    I appreciate wanting people to do the right thing “just ’cause.” But if we want our world to change, we can’t expect people/governments/organizations/corporations to do that. If we want change, we have to care.

  • Me You

    I thought #17 was wonderful.. nice cliff hanger – In #18 hopefully we’ll get to see Mag’s reaction to the entire package: The Case, The Kiss, The Proposal, and The Reveal.I hope Mags says yes….

  • Zolani Stewart

    Dude chill

  • Dara Crawley

    I’m thinking they may not have decided if Maggie will say yes or not. I would be shocked if she said yes because that would be completely out of character for her.

    Why should DC publicize something that could easily bite them in the butt. If they don’t get married people will use it as evidence of some sort of homophobic bias, if they do get married…I dunno at this point it just seems odd considering Maggie’s personality and way of doing things…I think it would take time. Besides this is just the engagement not the actual wedding so this article is kind of…pointless isn’t it. Alan Scott was an old character with a recognizable brand who was in a committed relationship that’s why DC publicized it. Marvel’s marriage of Northstar and that black guy was a first to them, and really wasn’t important because outside of Northstar fans no one cares about him (I thought Northstarwas dead up until that happened)

  • Anonymous

    Your colleagues at “Mediaite” think that Batwoman has just come out as a lesbian.

    They’re not too bright over there.

  • Guest

    Gotham = New York

  • Anonymous

    DC should be promoting the hell out of this series. I heard scuttlebutt that it was good, but I was truly blown away by the qualitiy of it’s storyline and art. The lack of backing of such works of excellence helps keep comics/graphic novels in the realm of “kiddy books” in the minds of the public.
    This series has the potential to be a future money making bonanza if it’s adapted to the big screen, maybe it will take a new generation of executives to realize what a treasure trove they have in this Batwoman run.

  • CCBanks


  • Tess

    Neither of them have powers, so they should be safe on at least *that* front.

  • Ray Felch

    is thear ever going to be a batwoman movie