Of Lesbian Flying Mice and Forty Five Year Old Men

Posted: 08/31/2010 in Comics, Girl Stuff
Tags: , , , , , ,


I got on kind of late today and discovered a shit storm that had something to do with a statement that Darwyn Cooke had made and it took me a few hours to figure out just what it was he said. I’m not going to lie, based on the reaction that I was seeing, I was expecting to see something like what you’d expect Erik Larson to say, not the above video. I’m a bit astonished at how it’s being somehow interpreted that he’s got something against lesbians when the context of what he’s saying makes it pretty clear what his objection to the contemporary Batwoman is.

He’s wrong of course, but he isn’t wrong for the reasons that are getting thrown around way too easily. Let’s break it down:

I want them to stop catering to the needs of perverted forty five year old men.

I don’t want to see characters who have been straight for sixty years become lesbians overnight because the writer is too stupid or uncreative to come up with something decent. I want to see new characters for a new time.


It sounds bad and it is bad. But here’s the thing; when Cooke is decrying the contemporary Batwoman he’s speaking from the belief that this was done not in service to a legitimate character but as a means to the end of catering to “perverted forty five year old men.” There’s two things wrong with his statements about Batwoman. The first is that Kate Kane is not Kathy Kane. She’s a new character for a new time who was created by Greg Rucka, not the original Batwoman who was created to allay the fears of Batman being homosexual. Furthermore Greg Rucka spent a great deal of time doing careful research to execute Kate correctly including talking to Lt. Dan Choi, a gay soldier who suffered under the DADT policy that is a cornerstone of Kate’s origin. Cooke jumped to a hasty conclusion based on newspaper headlines from 2006 instead of actually reading the comics that won massive acclaim including a GLAAD media award.

The only thing really worth being offended about in Cooke’s screed is how brutally he disrespected Greg Rucka, whose track record on queer characters is impeccable. He basically ran his mouth the same way that a lot of the commenters on Scans_Daily do; he heard about something happening and then got upset about it without reading the actual narrative. Am I offended? Yes. However I’m not offended as a transwoman lesbian. I’m offended as an ardent supporter and fan of Greg Rucka.

Besides, I haven’t heard anyone mention the fact that Cooke could only cite examples of what he thinks is wrong with Marvel and DC based on All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder and 52. He’s obviously completely overlooked not only what Kate really is; but Jaime Reyes, Stephanie Brown, The Runaways, and several other high profile characters created for and well received by new readers. Cooke is just offering knee jerk reactions at an industry that he isn’t keeping up with beyond the broad strokes of mass media attention. It’s hardly worth the attention that it’s getting.


Here’s what Cooke had to say in response to… the response:

I think gay characters are an important and welcome part of any contemporary expression. What I want is to see creators and publishers creating new characters that are gay and lesbian, and spend the decades needed creating and supporting stories about these characters. It strikes me as opportunistic and somewhat wrongheaded to take someone else’s creation and after decades of established character action make that drastic a change.
I’ve always believed that if another creator’s character can’t bear the spectrum of expression I need to reach, then I don’t use that character. Find another or create a new one.

So, not entirely what I figured but pretty close anyway. I still stand by the fact that Kate is a new character.


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