With Batwoman changing into a lesbian in the 52 series, it was interesting to look at her roots and the issues she appeared in from the mid 50's to 1966, then her disappearance for eleven years, followed by a few sparse appearances in the late bronze age before she was shelved (actually killed) as a character. In Detective 233 in 1956, the first Batwoman appears as an innocent lady who does not directly spell out her orientation and works as the ultimate unruly party girl throughout her short tenure. Carrying a utility purse (sic) to match Batman's utility belt, and regularly beating the dynamic duo to crime scenes, as well as most of the criminals before they get a chance to, became a few of Batwoman's brief signatures.
In a comic which points towards women's lib in the mid-nineteen fifties it is most unfortunate that Batwoman (also called Kathy Kane) is supplanted and replaced by her underage underling Batgirl. This might be similar to the original thinking behind the creation of Robin, the BOY wonder, an extension of DC's interest in keeping a closer bond with a younger audience through the decision of having heroes closer to the intended reader's age.
In 1964 DC Editor Julius Schwartz eliminated a number of characters he considered too "silly," and dropped Batwoman in attempt to regain market share from a newer competitor in the super hero realm, Marvel Comics. Julius (Julie) himself maintained that "Batwoman was a character of her age."
To give a (hopefully) helpful checklist of all the silver age issues: her first appearance is in Detective 233 as mentioned, then 276, 285, 286, 292, 321, as well as 318 and 325 as Catwoman. Her second appearance is in Batman 105, and she also appears in Batman 122, 126, 128 (cameo), 129, and 140. So by 1961 she stops appearing in the main Batman title. Her third appearance is in World's Finest 90, and she also appears in 117, and her last silver age appearance is in issue 157, May 1966 in which she plays a brief cameo as Batman's wife.
After that Batwoman only appeared a few times, mostly in Batman Family, and not until #10 in 1977 where she becomes the owner of a circus, which she kept until she died. In 1979, she is finally killed by the League of Assassins and the Bronze Tiger in Detective Comics #485. (I would like to make this comprehensive so if you are aware of other appearances please let me know and I will expand this list.)
Batwoman, who saves Batman's life in her first appearance, does so because she is WOMAN, and perhaps comes on too strong for that Atom Age moment in the DC Universe. She is indeed equal to Bruce Wayne and not subservient like his teen sidekick Dick Grayson; therefore, one might conclude this is why Batman respects and marries her shortly after meeting. From 1979 until now she has been placed onto a shelf, and my hope is, as a long time fan, that Alex Ross' newly created costume combined with Joe Bennett's art and DC's Executive Editor Dan DiDio's watchfulness over the storyline will keep Batwoman around for another bunch of years.
HAUNTED LOVE #3 HORROR GOTHIC ROMANCE 1973 VF (8.0)
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