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What happened to media’s love affair with ‘flame-haired lesbian’ Batwoman?

by  in Comic News Comment

Following Wednesday morning’s announcement that the long-discussed Batwoman solo title would indeed debut in July — without Greg Rucka, but with J.H. Williams III, joined by co-writer W. Haden Blackman and, later, artist Amy Reeder Hadley — I braced for another onslaught of mainstream-media coverage.

After all, newspapers, cable-news networks and entertainment websites have a long fascination with lesbian socialite Kate Kane, aka the “lady-lovin’ Batwoman,” that dates back to her May 2006 unveiling in The New York Times, and continued through her July 2006 comics debut in 52. That fixation with the “hot lesbian” — or “flame-haired lesbian,” if you prefer — began anew almost three years later, after DC Comics announced that Batwoman would take the lead in Detective Comics during Batman’s “death”-induced absence.

So it stands to reason the official confirmation of a Batwoman monthly series would draw the same sort of attention, right? After all, the elements that fueled the previous media frenzies are still there: homosexuality, the familiar Bat-brand, the idea that comics are a children’s medium. But this go-around, things have been relatively quiet.

Sure, the coverage started off promising enough, with the comics-friendly New York Times and New York Daily News quickly taking note. The latter is surprisingly subdued in its coverage, reserving the “KAPOW!” for the second paragraph (but erroneously reporting that Batwoman is “the first openly lesbian superhero”). The comments thread, however, makes up for the paper’s restraint with remarks like “Is this a porno??,” “So the Villians will be yelling, ‘Yikes, It’s The Dykes !'” and a couple I won’t bother to re-type.

From there the story moved to SheWired.com, which is kind of creepy in its description of Batwoman as “the sly and sexy angel of darkness,” then to AOL’s QS blog — “Holy Kick-Ass Lesbian!” — and, this morning, to a brief mention on NPR’s Monkey See blog.

After that, nothing … at least not yet, anyway. There’s still a chance the story could pick up steam for the weekend news cycles.

It’s also possible, I suppose, that with all the hand-wringing about Kick-Ass‘ pint-sized Hit Girl, a lesbian Batwoman doesn’t seem quite so tantalizing.