DC 30 Day Meme Day 1: Favourite Character

Posted: 07/22/2010 in Uncategorized
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I found the whole list, so here we go from day one.

Big shocker, I know. In a lot of ways, I really grew up in Gotham. Passions took me here and there as a kid. I dressed up as Batman once for Halloween but my earliest efforts in fan art and the like were mostly focused on the TMNT. It’s quite probable that I never actually drew Batman or any of the other Gotham characters until I hit puberty and came back around to comics. Even so, I probably logged more hours in Gotham than anywhere else between BTAS, the Adam West series, and the Burton/Shoemacher films. To further the irony, probably the greatest experience I ever had seeing a movie was the first time I saw Batman Begins. I had gotten ahold of a leaked copy of the script prior, so I can’t even properly explain what I was feeling as I finally saw it come alive in front of my eyes, word for word, shot for shot.

Yet, even then I’d never have said that I was a Batman fan. By that point, I’m sure I would have said I liked Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy at least, but not Bruce. All that started changing for me around when Grant Morrison stormed onto Batman, but this is the part of the story where Bruce passes the torch to Kate. I didn’t really like Kate when she first came out, but that was because DC introduced her with a stupid press release before she’d even seen print that read something like “DC REVEALS LIPSTICK LESBIAN BATWOMAN.” Grumble, groan, etc. I didn’t read much of 52 either, so my first serious exposure to Kate was when I finally gave into my curiosity and picked up the last issue of the Elegy arc of her Detective Comics run. It was love at first sight, but it wasn’t until the next arc that Kate permanently captured my heart.

Creating sympathy and evoking an emotional response from the reader for a character isn’t the hardest thing for any competent writer to do, and Rucka accomplished a lot more than that in the flashback arc that dug into Kate’s past and origin as Batwoman. What Kate fought through and her insistence in remaining true to who she was connected with me deeper than any other hero who’s struggled against adversity because of the nature of her struggle. At the time I read the arc I was still struggling to figure out exactly what my gender identity was, but it was one of the things that cemented the need to see it through and be true to the answers I found no matter how hard it could be on me.

A little while later I was out trying to work up the courage to go shopping for a dress for an upcoming party. I was such a complete mess that I had no idea what colour scheme I wanted to go for, and let me tell you that if there is one thing that I am ever sure of it’s my colour matching. I’m pretty crazy about it. Until I seized on the notion of red and black, of appropriating Kate’s colours. I’m not going to say that it snapped in my head and I marched into American Apparel like a diva to pick out leggings and a scarf to match the red and black dress I’d just secured from a friend. I was more like a spooked rabbit, which was kind of silly because the girls at AA were- and continue to be- nothing but great to me as a customer. It was all a mentally fabricated neurosis that time built out of imaginary societal pressure to conform, not exactly being discharged from the army the day of your Westpoint graduation. It was still a big first step for me, and Kate’s example was that little bit that drove me to overcome. In talking to a close friend about how shopping for womens’ clothing as a biological male is far more terrifying than the actual experience of cross dressing, he brought up an interesting point.

Kate’s colours- red and back- signify total confidence, which is her core attribute. Kate’s trials and set backs were never about accepting who she is, they were about the cost of remaining true to herself, what she would have to lose without lying or compromising herself and she lost a great deal. But out of those ashes, she created the Batwoman identity to gain back the sense of purpose and passion she lost with her discharge, literally wearing her hard won total confidence.

So in some ways, I grew up in Gotham waiting for Kate without even knowing it.

  1. ulla says:

    Hey houx…are there any batwoman strips to see online?

    • emmahouxbois says:

      Not that I’m currently aware of, but it’s quite likely that the Elegy arc of Detective Comics will be available for digital purchase through iTunes soon. Kate’s currently in limbo as the original writer of that run has left DC Comics. We’re currently waiting for her solo series, co-written by the primary artist on the run, to begin in a few months. Most of the easily available means of getting scans of major comics were shut down in the last couple years.

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