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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Great Hera!

Batwoman, ParaNorman, True Blood get GLAAD Nominations!

Yesterday the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation published the nominations for their annual awards honoring mainstream works of television, cinema, comics, and journalism that they consider to have done an outstanding job of depicting the LGBTQ community and the lives of those within it. Some of the nominees are, unsurprisingly, very close to our hearts.

True Blood is down as an Outstanding Drama Series, and in the category of Outstanding Film, ParaNorman got a nod as what is possibly the first mainstream animated children’s movie to (quietly and quickly) feature a gay character. But it’s the comics section where out affections truly lie. Not simply with the nomination for female comics writer Marjorie Liu‘s Astonishing X-Men, or the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic, but also for Batwoman‘s third nomination for a GLAAD award for Outstanding Comic Book, meaning that since her debut run in Detective Comics, this version of Kate Kane (yes, comics nerds, she’s different enough from her 52 debut for this to be a meaningful distinction) has never missed a GLAAD nomination during a year in which she was regularly appearing in comics.

If she manages to pull of the win, it’ll also be her third, but she’s got stiff competition this year in the form of Archie Comics’ Kevin Keller, also nominated. Keller’s debut as the first out gay character in the Archie universe was a sell-out title, and the character now has his own series and his own (in a future-set story) wedding issue. May the best book win! Just kidding, GO BATWOMAN GO.

The final nomination in the Comic Book category is DC Comics’ Earth 2, featuring gay character Alan Scott, an alternate universe Green Lantern. The Beat makes a very good point in their article on the nominations: the GLAAD awards are intended to focus on efforts to include LGBTQ characters in the mainstream media, as that is where honest representation of the LGBTQ community can have the most effect on society’s acceptance of the actual people within it. Indie comics, those not published by the big comic houses like DC, Marvel, and Dark Horse, have long been a place for comics with better demographic representation. For one that came out this year, they recommend Alison Bechdel‘s return to the graphic novel, Are You My Mother? and I can’t disagree.

(via Deadline.)

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  • Denis Farr

    Earth 2? Really? That comic absolutely disgusted me, and I didn’t feel it started off on the right foot at all. Ugh.

  • Kathryn

    Actually, go *Kevin* go.

    Kevin’s inclusion in the typically conservative Archie – and, since then, its issues with George Takei and the upcoming/just out Glee cross-over – points to a wider acceptance of gay characters within comics aimed at children, pre-teens and teens. Whereas Batwoman, Earth 2 and so on are typically aimed at the older reader.

    Kevin has a novel coming out soon, he had a mini-series and now his own series, he’s appeared in the main title, the more mature Life With Archie (which had his wedding), and even in the Betty & Veronica novels aimed at younger girls, in which his sexuality is mentioned and discussed.

    I think Kevin is actually doing something for QUILTBAG representation in comics, as well as dispelling various myths about homosexuality, and to be honest he’s hitting a target area. Kids who read Archie titles and encounter characters like Kevin will probably be more open minded in future about gay people, whereas I think Batwoman (and the other nominated titles) isn’t going to have that same impact. On top of that, Kevin is doing something amazing. You know what that is? He’s giving young gay people a realistic(ish) inspiration, a figure to look up to. It’s all very well and good to have Hulkling, Wiccan, the Runaways and so on, but they’re all superheroes. Kevin shows a normal young man growing up gay in a (relatively) normal world – as long as Dilton isn’t around, that is! – and I think that normality, that attitude, is so positive and so helpful to young QUILTBAG people, particularly boys and men who are finding their sexuality.

    Plus Archie properties have, in the past, had QUILTBAG people involved. I don’t know if Archie were involved in this, but in the Sabrina the Teenage Witch series (the live-action one), a certain world famous drag-queen by the name of RuPaul made an appearance. Yup.

    I’ve noticed how it seems to be the G & L getting the focus, though. What about Demon Knights? That has at least two QUILTBAG major characters, including one of the few trans/gender-variant characters in mainstream comics, Shining Knight.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Between Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab getting the license to make ParaNorman fragrances and this news, I really have to see that movie!

  • Not So Young Democrat

    You mean that the first issue was all about Justice League characters?

    And it’s a measure of the lack of LGBT inclusion in the mainstream media that simply including a gay character can get you nominated for an award.

  • Anonymous

    No nomination for Demon Knights? Shining Knight seems to have been one of the only well handled trans* characters in comics that I can think of.

  • Anonymous

    I thought the main problem was that yes, they made Alan Scott gay but then they bumped off his boyfriend. Because you can’t have him be too gay now, can you.

  • Laura Truxillo

    BPAL’s doing ParaNorman scents now? Oh boy, I’m gonna be broke!

    Also, yes, you really should. It was a really impressive, daring movie (and I don’t just mean about the one gay character. The whole message is just a little slanted from the usual “how to deal with bullies” fair you get in most kids movies, and anything in stop motion is always a labor of love.)

  • Laura Truxillo

    I’m not even a big Archie fan, but a round of applause to everything you said. Batwoman is great, but it’s gritty, dark, and unpleasant (not in a bad way). Kevin is a normal guy, and in a book that I absolutely could give an eight-year-old.

    And how much do I love Shining Knight? Because it’s a whole lot.

  • Anonymous

    I second the nomination for Demon Knights, and want to emphasize that my “GO BATWOMAN GO” was not meant seriously but as a (possibly poorly presented) joke about how biased I am towards the character. Kevin Keller has a really solid claim on the award.

  • Kathryn

    Lord Fanny in the Invisibles, and *Spoiler Spoiler Spoiler Won’t Say Spoiler* in Honour Among Punks, chances are you’ll not have heard of the latter even though for the most part it was written and drawn by none other than Guy Davis (of B.P.R.D. and many other comics)

  • Kathryn

    Ah, apologies. I know this site does like Batwoman a bit (and I suppose for good reason, though I don’t follow nor read it – mostly due to the fact it’s DC), so I wasn’t entirely sure if it was a joke or not.

    Still, there’s logic behind the Batwoman nomination but I think three in a row? That’s really not allowing other titles to get in and become visible, though you could say the same about Kevin.

  • Kathryn

    Batwoman is, really, a kinda traditional comic. It’s not doing much new aside from having a lesbian lead, and I don’t know if that still constitutes “new”. I have to confess that I’m not really particularly fond of it, and I follow the solicits a lot and the covers have largely been terrible, as has the interior art. And there are some other factors that really make me think it’s not entirely deserving – though perhaps not through any fault of the creators.

    It’s just – as I said above – I think Kevin is better placed to make a lasting impact on people. It’s clear to see from Archie that they’re behind Kevin (did you read that amazing reply to the Million Moms protest? That was NOT the reply of a dispassionate company), and I think that aspect alone will be a strength.

    But I wouldn’t particularly recommend any of the nominated comics (bar maybe Batwoman and Kevin) as LGBT ones. I can think of much better ones, such as Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise (actually, ANYTHING EVER by Terry Moore), Tobin & Coover’s Gingerbread Girl, Los Bros Hernandez’s Love & Rockets and, well, there’s many more.

  • Erin Treat

    “covers have largely been terrible, as has the interior art.”
    Are we talking about the same comic? If Batwoman is anything, it’s the best drawn comic in publication right now.

    And I would also disagree that it’s traditional and that it isn’t doing anything new. It’s completely ground breaking. A mainstream comic that’s truly female driven, most of the leads are women.And it’s not just lesbian, but REALLY lesbian. It is so not the safe nonthreatening portrayal of a queer woman that you see 99% of the time in pop culture. And it’s written with a kind of integrity that blows away most comics out there.

    I’m shocked that Batwoman even exists. I’m so grateful though and as far as I’m concerned there’s no comic more worthy of this award.

  • Erin Treat

    One other point, She is the LEAD of her own series. Not a secondary character. That alone is amazing and sets Batwoman apart from a lot of other books.

  • Kathryn

    Best art? Compared to some of Marvel & DC’s offerings, sure. But what about Terry Moore, Joshua Luna, Fiona Staples, Los Bros Hernandez (particularly Jaime Hernandez), Steve Lieber, Colleen Coover, etc.? They’re all doing – even if stylised – art that is more consistent and often prettier. What I’ve seen of the art of the second act of Batwoman (Reeder in particular) has been pretty generic and inconsistent. Reeder did some amazing covers (originally intended for the first few issues, but later repurposed), but her interior work was lacking. Look at the art in this preview:
    How is that “the best drawn comic” in publication? Reeder’s art is sorely lacking there. The poses, expressions? They’re just bad.

    I mean even Williams’ covers haven’t been his best, either. What on Earth was going on with her figure in the cover for #11? She’s badly proportioned, her pose makes no sense. It’s poor.

    Elegy was, I’ll admit, one of the best titles I’ve seen from DC. It’s one of the few I own a copy of. Williams and Rucka (and Blackman) were a brilliant team, even if – as someone not into DC comics – parts of the plot didn’t make sense to a newcomer.

    And if we’re going on LGBT aspects, let us not forget the controversial comment made by Wonder Woman about her sexuality in the pages of Batwoman, which sparked quite the discussion.

    Batwoman’s existence is great. But it is not the best LGBT comic, it is not even the best comic. Such a thing is subjective, certainly, but Los Bros Hernandez have been doing LGBT comics better and have done so for 30 years. Terry Moore has been doing them better for, what, 20 years now? Batwoman needed to exist, but I don’t think she – well, the comic – is worthy of the GLAAD award. It will make no difference to that title, whereas I feel Archie have overcome more and accomplished more with Kevin Keller.

  • Jay, King of Gay

    Agreed. It’s one of my favorite titles in the new 52. Love the art, the story is compelling and I generally find the bat-family to be boring. I was surprised I even gave it a second look.

  • Jay, King of Gay

    Love is almost always in danger in the entertainment world. It’s a pretty standard way to motivate characters, by having them lose a relationship or a lover.
    I think it was handled well, and it served for another plot point later when The Grey tried to stop GL by attempting to give him back his boyfriend.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, it is a standard plot… its the closest male example of ‘women in refrigerators’. it’s not usually considered a good thing.

  • Jay, King of Gay

    that’s a bit hyperbolic, don’t you think? And it happens regardless of the gender of the couple. Olivia lost her boyfriend within the first few episodes of Fringe. Buffy had to kill Angel to save the world.
    It’s not unusual or negative for loss to be one of the first milestones in a heroes journey. In fact, it tends to be required.

  • Joanna

    I started reading Batwoman recently mainly because it keeps coming up on this site. Lol. I’m quite enjoying it so far =)