Even at the age of 60, I am still a comic book freak. When I grew up with Superboy and Lana Lang and Lois Lane, we did not read about a cast of comic book characters coming out of the closet. But we live in a new world, and it's kind of special for me to incorporate as the very first post in our new format the effort by DC Comics to diversify its publications and better connect to modern day readership.
So here you have it. 2009 will see Batwoman as the first lesbian superhero in a regular Detective Comics role. It has some real historical significance for homosexual America. You see, when I was a kid, back in 1954, there were these rabid right wingers who said costumed super heroes were perverting youngsters and DC comics came up with Batwoman as a love interest for Batman to disprove allegations of homosexuality. These would probably be the same peope opposing video games today. If you think I am making this up, google the book Seduction of the Innocent (1954).
Although Batwoman made a number of appearances during the late 1950s and early 1960s, declining sales of both Batman and Detective Comics led to the editorial retirement of the character. Then she goes back and forth for the next 30 years, getting killed off and later reincarnated. After all, it is a comic book. I mean, how old is Peter Parker/Spiderman's Aunt May? She must be 133 by now.
The new Batwoman does represent the most high profile title starring a gay superhero, but even ten years ago, when I published the Express Gay News, we had done a number of features on gay comic heroes, from Night Authority to others. My favorite was the Marvel comic play with the Rawhide Kid. See below.
I wish I could access it for you online, but the creatures who bought my paper never chose to put those four years of energy, effort, and excellence online. So it goes. Sweat not though. You can google up gay comic heroes and get a burst of entertainment: