Redefining the Bat-Pole

June 1st, 2006 by | Tags: , , ,

I’m kind of annoyed by the new Batwoman, and honestly, it isn’t her fault. Having a lesbian superheroine running around the Bat-branded corner of the DCU isn’t a big deal, although I suspect it’s going to lead to some pretty laughable stories unless Greg Rucka writes them.

What gets me about it is, simply, that whole “sneaking minorities in” aspect that’s running around both of the big two comic book companies. The new Atom’s Asian; the new Batwoman’s a lesbian; the new Blue Beetle’s Hispanic; and so on, and so forth. It seems less like expanding the broad tapestry of racial whatevers and more like blatant tokenism, allowing minorities to join the party but only if they emulate white heroes.

I suppose it’s sort of misguidedly good, because at least they’re there, but it’s always seemed condescending to me somehow. Is it just me?

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5 comments to “Redefining the Bat-Pole”

  1. It usually turns condescending, especially if the writers don’t seem to have a clue on how to make them work.

    That said, I think Blue Beetle and Firestorm are good examples of how to write these characters as characters. The new Firestorm, for one, doesn’t read like a white kid… yet also doesn’t seem to be just stereotypically black.

    This is coming from an Asian dude, though… we may have to ask dub to verify. 🙂

  2. Oddly, the new Batwoman seems to share some striking similarities in design to a character in Ross’ own Astro City, though I’ve forgotten that particular character’s name. Either way, the costume looks quite similar, and the sexual orientation was a major point for that particular character.

  3. I realized what I said there was erroneous – Astro City is Kurt Busiek’s project, though the designs are usually Ross’.

  4. Well, see, I disagree. New characters in general are harder to make work. Legacy characters are easier, so it makes sense that if you’re trying to actually change the face of your universe, you start with the characters you know will stick.

  5. Batgirl was Asian too, and they turned her into a retarded joke of a villain >:|