It’s been nearly a year, but I think DC Comics has finally gotten their revenge on all of us over gay marriage. Hear me out.
In the new issue of Batwoman, the titular hero just broke up with her longtime girlfriend, Police Captain Maggie Sawyer. Possibly the most prominent and promising lesbian relationship in mainstream comics just came to an end, but nobody on the Internet seems to care all that much, other than a few moistened tear ducts. It’s sad, sure, but where’s the outrage? Where’s the disappointment?
Obviously Kate Kane is free to break up with anybody she wants. But this couple and their relationship has a bit of notoriety behind it.
Remember a year ago, when the original creative team on Batwoman – J. H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman – blew up the Internet by walking off the comic, declaring that DC wasn’t going to allow Batwoman and Maggie to get married? That was huge news! Everybody weighed in from all corners of the Internet! DC was in damage control. Kate and Maggie are a great couple, and the idea that DC wasn’t going to allow gay marriage in their comic hit the Internet like a lightning strike!
Though to be fair to DC, their policy wasn’t about gay marriage specifically, they just said that no marriage of any kind would be allowed in their comics. Unfortunately, the very idea of gay marriage remains a hot button issue all over the world, so this policy reveal at DC came as a bit of a shock to readers.
And DC was so firm against marriage that an incredibly popular creative team walked off an incredibly popular, forward-thinking comic. Williams and Blackman had even won a GLAAD Media Award for their work on Batwoman.
Readers were not happy, but DC forged ahead with the series. They grabbed popular writer Marc Andreyko to pick up the slack, with the promise of more quality comics.
But Batwoman has been pretty mediocre since Andreyko took over. The quality in both art and story have gone downhill. And then along came Batwoman #34 this week, and all of a sudden, I might start believing in conspiracy theories.
In the new issue, Kate abruptly breaks up with Maggie, despite their engagement. Kate leaves a ‘Dear John’ letter (Dear Jane letter?), and even though she bumps into Maggie one last time on her way out of the building, she can’t even break-up with the woman face-to-face. She just moves all her stuff out of Maggie’s apartment and leaves the letter behind.
In the letter, Kate claims she’s breaking up with Maggie so that Maggie can spend more time with her daughter. Apparently Maggie’s ex-husband is a bit homophobic, and he thinks Kate is going to be a bad influence on his daughter. He started fighting for custody, but in the previous issue, Kate made a secret phone call to the man to arrange some sort of deal.
Apparently she agreed to break up with Maggie if he agreed to drop the custody battle.
First of all, how cowardly is it of Kate to take the ‘noble sacrifice’ route in a break-up? She’s being so gracious on Maggie’s behalf by breaking up with her, even though being in a relationship is a two-person tango. Shouldn’t Maggie get some kind of say in whether or not Kate is a bad influence on her daughter? Maggie was more than willing to fight in the custody battle. And how skeevy is it that Kate broke up with Maggie as part of a secret deal with Maggie’s ex-husband? Maybe Kate isn’t the best person to be in a relationship…
Second of all, this ex-husband, his apparent homophobia, and the custody problems with Maggie’s daughter didn’t exist before Andreyko came on board the comic. He created this storyline leading to the break-up.
Now, it is entirely possible that Andreyko is going somewhere with this break-up. Maybe this is only the start of an even larger storyline that brings Kate and Maggie back together. I don’t know, and won’t know for a good long while, considering how often comic books come out. If that’s the case, then I’m probably entirely wrong (it’s happened before).
But maybe, just maybe, DC was so perturbed that the Internet dare question their marriage policy that they gave Andreyko the task of breaking up Kate and Maggie. Once upon a time, Batwoman was considered one of the very best comics DC was putting out, in no small part thanks to Williams and Blackman. But then Andreyko took over and everybody stopped caring. The quality dropped considerably, and Batwoman fell off everybody’s radar.
Giving DC the perfect opportunity to take away the very thing we were upset about in the first place.
It’s been a year since that Internet firestorm over Batwoman’s marriage. Nobody talks about Batwoman anymore. Revenge doesn’t get much colder than that.
Then to twist the knife even further, Batwoman #34 ends with Kate, in her underwear, being attacked by a sexy lady vampire in bed.
In one fell swoop, DC takes away the most prominent lesbian relationship in comics, and turns Batwoman into a story about sexy ladies in lingerie playing around in bed.
As if DC Comics doesn’t have enough problems with sexism.
Or maybe prominent blogger and comics writer Kristi McDowell has it all figured out.
I would buy that comic in a heartbeat!
And again, I could be totally wrong about all of this – in fact, I probably am. But I was a huge fan of Batwoman back in the day, and the Kate/Maggie relationship was pure comic book gold. I have no idea where Andreyko is going with this, but the comic just hasn’t been anywhere near the same since Williams and Blackman left.
In an industry in seemingly constant battle over equal treatment of women and minorities, it’s a shame to see one of the best titles featuring both go down this route.
Plus, I just really liked Kate and Maggie. They were aces.