Notes from New Sodom

... rantings, ravings and ramblings of strange fiction writer, THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

On Batwoman

Over on recently there was a wee article on DC giving Batwoman her own ongoing series (subsequent to her recent role as lead character "Detective Comics".) This is a pretty cool move given that the character is lesbian, so I don't disagree with the positive comments Matt Staggs gathered for the article itself, but I find myself echoing Caitlin R. Kiernan to some extent, in being a bit skeptical. Anyhoo, I didn't get my response back to Matt in anything remotely resembling a timely manner, but he posted it anyway:

To be honest, I think lesbianism is the go-to sexuality for these sort of corporate creative ventures — comics, TV series — when they want to make an effort to be cool with Teh Gayz but not take too much of a risk... [read on]

Coincides, funny enough, with a debate on Mark Charan Newton's blog, where I reiterate my segregation argument. And, come to think of it, the guest post on Charlie's Diary I linked to the other day.


Blogger Jakob Schmidt said...

You're probably right that lesbianism seems like the "safer bet" in corporate creative ventures - however, I do remember that there was a storm of disgusting homophobic comments about the Willow-Tara-relationship on Buffy back then. So it seems it's just slowly becoming "safer" these days ...

Anyway, I'm glad that we have at least Captain Jack Harkness from Torchwood by now! (who is pretty rapidly becoming my favourite tv character, period.)

8:19 am  
Blogger Shelly said...

I'm quite happy to have a Jewish character headline a book. They don't make a big deal of it, but Kate's a Jewish lesbian. :)

12:25 pm  
Blogger Aishwarya said...

Jakob - If I remember correctly, though, Xander was originally supposed to be the gay one (there can be only one!) and it was decided that Willow would be a less controversial choice (I cannot find proof of this on the internet apart from a couple of references on fan forums, so it's possible I imagined it). Not to suggest that Willow/Tara didn't get quite a bit of hate.

3:48 pm  
Blogger Jakob Schmidt said...

Interesting factoid! That would have been pretty cool, actually ... of course, it would have been even cooler if there could have been more than one.

4:52 pm  
Blogger Hal Duncan said...

Cool comments all. Yeah, Superman and Batman are so WASP it hurts, Shelly; I can't think of any Jewish superheros off-hand.

As a vague thought: I've always reckoned Spider-man carried some interesting subtext in comparison to the other two of The Big Three. His put-upon geekdom as Peter Parker and his abjection by Flash Thompson kind of opened up a queering of the text for me, with Flash as the closeted jock going out of his way to prove his heteronormativity by wailing on the closeted geek. So I've kind of wondered if other aspects of the backstory -- the working-class family with lower social status than the distinctly WASP Osbornes, the melting-pot backdrop of New York, the civil rights struggle contemporaneous with the origin -- opened up the character to similar projections on ethnic/racial grounds.

I don't remember a huge backlash against Willow & Tara in UK culture at large when the shows were airing on BBC; that came with Beth on Brookside earlier. But, of course, much of that is probably Buffy being a niche show rather than a mainstream soap opera, and yeah, it's certainly been a struggle to get to the point of lesbianism being "safer." I do have a similar memory of hearing that about Xander, though I can't substantiate it either.

6:07 pm  

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