I Speak Comics: Batwoman – Still Gay
Salon, TV Guide, and other outlets are all trotting out their clever, not at all hacky variations on “Holy lesbian, Batman!” and reporting on the shocking news from the New York Comic Con – there’s a new Batwoman, and she’s gay! EEEEEEK!
Of course, she was just as gay and uninteresting as she was when she was actually introduced two years ago. But DC squandered media interest by basically sitting on the character for two years, so now they have to whip everyone up again, since she’ll be temporarily starring in Detective Comics now that Batman’s dead.
What’s this? You didn’t realize Batman was dead? Oopsie.
That’s probably because the same week Batman was killed, Barack Obama was in Amazing Spider-Man. Guess which one the media covered more heavily? (Hint: that Spider-Man issue has been reprinted like four times now.)
But, technically, Batman maybe died two months earlier than that before resurfacing immediately in a story that started two months before THAT, and finally kinda dying in “Final Crisis” #6 before sorta un-dying in “Final Crisis” #7.
Sort of hard to get the media interested when you can barely explain what’s happened.
Confused? Let me walk you through it. It’s all a result of the gradual collapse of the “Fourth World” of the “New Gods” who have been falling backwards through the multiverse, destroying and kinda sorta recreating everything in their path in their own image except not really, because thanks to a previous Crisis, there are 51 other worlds that…uh…
…Okay, let me try again: Batman shot an evil god with a god-killing bullet, but not before he shot Batman with the Omega Sanction, which will run him through a series of horrible quasi-lives, while…ah…hmmm.
The current architect of Batman is Grant Morrison, an often brilliant writer whose enthusiasm for reimagining the very way stories are told in comic books is usually fascinating, but often maddening.
In “Final Crisis,” Morrison decided to push the old saw about “Drama being life with all the boring bits cut out” to its limits, by classifying all but the most out-there, bold-faced, bombastic, exciting ideas and moments of a story as “boring bits.”
Questions readers or media-types might ask, like, “Who are these people?” can be equated with “exposition.”
Exposition is BORING! Cut it! Doesn’t matter who these people are, they’re in snazzy costumes, MOVE ON!
Questions like, “Hang on, how is Batman alive after being blown up in a helicopter in his own book? And how did he get here, pointing a gun at Darkseid?” are really just asking about the mundane, everyday details of Batman’s death-defying escape and how he physically got to the edges of the multiverse from a river in Gotham City. Talking about how someone got from point-a to point-b?
BORING! Cut it! He’s here now! And he’s pointing a gun at a GOD! MOVE ON!
Questions like, “Wait…what just happened here?” sound like an attempt to bog down raw excitement with the stultifying dogma of “plot” or “storytelling techniques.”
BORING! That’s the past, man! KABLAMMO! DONE!
So I can feel for the media here. I’m sure they got a press release from DC saying, “Hey, we’ve got a promo image of Superman holding Batman’s corpse, you guys wanna do a feature?” And those intrepid reporters tried to figure out just what led up to Batman being dead-but-not-exactly, and ended up with headaches and nosebleeds.
And then they heard Obama was in Spider-Man, and THAT was something they could work with.
Which means when they heard the words “Gay Batwoman,” they didn’t care that it was actually two-year-old news. They were just happy to understand something involving DC Comics for a change.