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Let's Take A Second To Talk About Those Homophobic Dildo Tridents At DC Comics

By Joanna Robinson | Trade News | September 6, 2013 | Comments ()


batwoman-cosplay.jpg

News broke yesterday that J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman, the editorial team behind DC Comics’ Batwoman, would be leaving due to creative differences with The Powers That Be. The specific bone of contention? DC refuses to allow Kate Kane aka Batwoman to marry her partner Maggie Sawyer either on-“screen” (panel) or off. Now I didn’t cover this yesterday because I’m not your regular comic book reporter. Until yesterday, in fact, I had no idea Batwoman was gay. So let’s get my dubious geek credentials out of the way. What follows is not manufactured outrage of a non-fan, but genuine shock and puzzlement from someone who loves storytelling, in any form.

batwoman1.jpg

So what gives, asshats? Let’s look at this from the most lurid, exploitative angle. (That’s an angle DC is familiar with.) This isn’t exactly Ace and Gary we’re talking about here. These are two attractive, fit ladies. Why wouldn’t your readers want to see them embracing at every opportunity? But maybe that’s part of the problem. They are allowed to embrace and kiss and, well, gosh, we’ll even let them propose. But marriage? Nope. Too humanizing. To consistent with their character arcs.

I have to applaud Williams and Blackman for their decisions to leave such a successful title and such a lucrative company. Their description of DC’s prohibition of marriage? “Most crushingly.” That’s the language of people who have poured their hearts into their work. And from what I’ve heard of the quality of the Batwoman series (like I said, as of yesterday), all that heart shone through.

So bad, bad, sh*tty move, DC. This is the year DOMA was put out to pasture. Your actions and your attitudes are woefully outdated. Your intentions, though unclear, cannot be interpreted in any way other than good old-fashioned homophobia. And that, my friends, is repulsive.

So let’s cleanse our palates with a far more uplifting bit of DC Comics news. This Wonder Woman cosplay? Buh-ad ass. Go get ‘em, Diana.

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(Batwoman outrage fomented by io9, Wonder Woman palate cleanser dished up by The Mary Sue)



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Ozpinhead

    This is not a homophobia issue, but rather a gamophobia one. And it's not just DC, Marvel is also suffering from it. Marriage in comics have become an aberration that needs to be terminated at all costs.

  • In light of last year's Northstar marriage, and this year's Multiple Man marriage, I tend to disagree. Mainstream comics don't like having too many marriages in general, but unlike DC, Marvel never tried to ban it outright. They likely understand what DC does not- that this would be an unnecessary restraint on the creativity of their writers.

  • Emmet O'Cuana

    Is that Wonder Woman cosplayer attempting a mash-up with Lanius from Fallout: New Vegas?

  • cgthegeek

    There are so many things wrong at DC and it starts with the word "Dan" and ends with the word "DiDio".

  • Aaron Schulz

    I just dont get why they would run the proposal but then not have its obvious conclusion, i almost feel like it isnt homophobia and just someone is an idiot. Thats a head scratcher there.

  • bobbyjoe

    The notion that DC's action is not homophobic and just "anti-marriage" in general is false. DC's popular "Animal Man" series, for instance, is entirely constructed around a heterosexual marriage, the main character and his wife and kids. Sure, there are problems in that relationship, but the obvious endgame is that family stays together. Without that relationship, the whole central storyline of "Animal Man" collapses. (Aquaman's married, too, BTW).

    Plus, even beyond the current implications of homophobia in denying DC's only gay title character the natural progression of her marriage storyline at a socio-political time when, however DC wants to try and cast it, denying anyone gay the possibility of marriage is an extremely loaded move-- beyond all that, even if DC proclaimed a "none of our characters can be married" blanket rule (and removed Animal Man and Aquaman's marriages), then wouldn't that also be a good reason to dump DC? I mean, from a storytelling position that would mean that investing in any romantic relationship, at all, ever, in a DC comic would be meaningless, as editorial rules would tell you that whatever relationship it was, it was inherently doomed.

    For good storytelling to take place, you have to have the possibility that: 1) some relationships will fail; 2) but some will succeed; 3) some might end in marriage; 4) others will not. If that's taken off the table, then what's the point? If DC is making a "no marriage" rule, then why not just have a "no relationships ever" rule? You might as well just have a policy that "every issue will be only battle scenes, with no character development." To be a good story, you have to have possibility, and while I DO believe DC is being homophobic here (passively or not), they're also suggesting an extremely limited storytelling method, and a good reason to stop buying their products until they knock it off.

  • AngelenoEwok

    Marry me, bobbyjoe.

  • drdang

    What version of Wonder Woman is that?

  • Marc Greene

    I love Batwoman's character design. Ties in a whole vampiric theme missing from the Batman/Robin/Nightwing/Batgirl themes. Hey, if your name is Batwoman and you're are trying fill criminals' hearts with fear, why not look like a bloodsucking spectre of death? Bold reds and blacks. Cool.

    As far as the gay thing, I agree DC looks like a bunch of asshats with this situation. Missing the chance to have another superhero wedding with traditional supervillain interference? Shame!

  • Joe Grunenwald

    I'm waiting for Fox News to get hold of this story so they can address DC's obvious war on marriage.

  • Quatermain

    I'm not a huge comic book guy. I occasionally read The Punisher or Captain America, but that's about it. So forgive me if I'm the ten billionth person to point this out but that picture of Catwoman? I'm pretty sure spines don't work like that. I don't know if it's shitty perspective or shitty anatomical knowledge.

  • JoannaRobinson

    Kate Beaton's response was my favorite. http://comicsalliance.com/arti...

  • JoannaRobinson

    To address some of your points concerning anti-gay marriage vs. anti-marriage let me say this. Even if that is the case, that homophobia has nothing to do with these editorial decisions, then isn't this, at the very least, a missed opportunity to provide gay (or bi, or, heck, straight) comic fans with an empowering and uplifting storyline they can get excited about? One that addresses, head on, a thorny social issue?

    I'm not saying a homosexual relationship or marriage should be shoe-horned into an existing plot just to satisfy my (or anyone's) liberal agenda. But if it's organic to the storytelling (which the creative team clearly feel it is), then why the fuck wouldn't DC see this as an occasion to wield their tremendous power as storytellers for good?

  • Campbell_Glass

    Yeah. Right. We finally get what we want, homosexual relationships treated as NO DIFFERENT than straight relationships ... and then we want them treated different.

    DC is ANTI-ALL MARRIAGE. Oh. But they should be "pro-" ours. Puh-lease.

  • Deidra

    DC is showing more and more that they struggle to produce good narratives because of all this editorial tinkering. Yes, it is a missed opportunity, but it's seems due much more to overall incompetence than supposed (and sensationalistic) homophobia.

  • abell

    ah, there's a very serious difference between expecting someone to not do evil (prohibit characters from getting married due to their sexual orientation) and to evangelize (have a story that goes against their company policy to promote a political/social agenda). It seems to me that your position is 'they shouldn't shoehorn in my politics if it doesn't make sense, but, if it can reasonably work from a story perspective, I sure as hell expect them to" and I'm not sure I can get behind that. While I agree with you that it could be a Good story to tell, as well as a good story, I don't believe its a reasonable expectation that others need to agree with that and write their entertainment in accordance with my morals. Furthermore, I know that we're all riding high from the past years events, but, we're not there yet. DOMA was repealed by the Supreme Court, which notoriously does not reflect the positions of the United States as a whole. Same for Prop 8 (the decision for which is actually not super great from a legal standpoint either, but, that's different.) It's very much a non-democratic body, by our standards. We have seen a rise in plebiscites voting to legalize gay marriage, and that's a good sign, but, I do think your position that their "actions and your attitudes are woefully outdated" is a bit premature. In short, it does look like there's a bit of manufactured outrage here. Or perhaps, genuine, but misdirected outrage?

  • I think the missed opportunity is indeed the worst part. DC doesn't want any of their heroes married (because, ew, gross), but Kate Kane is a rather impulsive character and her proposal caught everyone (Maggie and the readers) off guard. Could a marriage like that work, much less one between a vigilante and the cop tasked with bringing her down? It could potentially make for a great story we've never really seen in superhero fantasy comics, especially not at the Big Two. As a huge fan of Batwoman, JH Williams, and an LGBT supporter this is absolutely disappointing, but I don't really think homophobia is the root cause. It probably didn't help, though.

    So, I will no longer be buying new DC comics unless I get them directly from creators at conventions.

  • BobbFrapples

    It's an excellent comic too. They'll lose a lot when the creative team leaves.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Can we talk about that dude's T-Rex stance?

  • Deidra

    Before you start accusing people of homophobia, does it matter that everyone involved, including Williams, is saying that it wasn't due to an anti-gay marriage stance? There are puh-lenty of other valid things to knock about DC (as others have mentioned).

  • Resa Anderson

    There was a response from someone on Tumblr involved in comics (I can't recall if it originated or was just reblogged by Kelly Sue Deconnick) that DC had taken a stance on outlawing all marriages as it tended to make the characters boring.

    Which I also call bullshit on, because you can ask anyone married to me during the Flaming Slip'n'Slide Incident of 2006, that just ain't always the case.

  • jess

    Joanna, I think you are swell, please don't take this personally. But the way this story is reported is driving me absolutely crazy.

    https://twitter.com/GailSimone...
    @theJohnChihak You would have to ask @JHWilliamsIII. I suspect it's more of an anti-marriage thing in general, from what he's said.— GailSimone (@GailSimone) September 5, 2013

    @GailSimone @theJohnChihak Gail is right, but it still should not be a story to be avoided, but embraced fully. — J.H. Williams III (@JHWilliamsIII) September 5, 2013

    https://twitter.com/JHWilliams...
    To reiterate: Were NEVER told they could not marry because of gay marriage. AT ALL -- — J.H. Williams III (@JHWilliamsIII) September 5, 2013

    Now, I'm not saying we shouldn't be bitching about this. If you care about storytelling in comic books, you should be bitching about this. If you care about character development in comic books, you should be bitching about this. Mainstream comics are notorious for their immature portrayals of romantic relationships. Marriage is not something Marvel and DC want to see for the bulk of their characters, because their spouse would not be a meaningful part of their story but an obstacle to be overcome. And that's shitty! We SHOULD be bitching about the lack of depth given to what is arguably the most important relationship in a person's adult life. I love comics, and because I love them I want them to be better than they are, as great as I know they can be, and I'm firmly of the opinion that that involves treating your characters like actual people with actual lives and loves. In this instance, DC is failing in that regard, and we should give them shit about it.

    But given both how comics generally shy away from marrying off their characters (or, if the marriage does happen, killing off the spouse shortly after) and the statements from the people involved, I really don't think this particular decision is coming from a place of homophobia. Or at least, not primarily from a place of homophobia. Obviously that angle deserves to be part of the reporting on this, but from my perspective it's not the whole story by a long shot.

  • DeaconG

    One More Day. Peter Parker never married Mary Jane (and, by extension, it was implied she was carrying his kid). 'Nuff said.

  • AngelenoEwok

    Isn't that a different company?

  • DeaconG

    It was an answer to the reply that Jess made that "Marriage is not something Marvel and DC want to see for the bulk of their characters, because their spouse would not be a meaningful part of their story but an obstacle to be overcome." Joe Quesada of Marvel was on record as saying that he didn't care to see Spider-Man married and that was why One More Day went down...and it was shitty. Fandom didn't take it well.

  • JoannaRobinson

    I don't take it personally, kid. Not even a little. XO.

  • bastich

    Screw DC. I gave up on them after they cancelled "Hellblazer".

    I do like those Wonder Woman pictures, though.

    ("This...is...Themyscira!!!")

  • NateMan

    1. DC has just sucked lately in their treatment of writers and artists in general, particularly since New 52 kicked off. This is only the latest batch of it.
    2. When looking at their business model in general I have to wonder what they're thinking. It's like they want Marvel to kick their asses. This fiasco in particular draws comparisons to Marvel, where a number of supporting and even a few main characters are gay and where at least 1 gay wedding has been the entire focus of issues (Northstar in X-Men). Not that Marvel doesn't also have a history of doing terrible things to gay characters, but at the same time they're typically not any worse than they do to their straight ones, and are usually in the interest of the storyline.

  • Jezzer

    I know New 52 has changed some things, but I think I would have remembered Wonder Woman becoming a Mayan Wrestling Mummy.

  • Ian Fay

    Not only that, but it's probably one of the best, most well drawn comics around.

    Losing Williams is a massive blow.

    Just look at this, it's amazing.

  • psemophile

    By the way,
    apparently it wasn't the gay thing. They were ok with the gay thing. It was getting them some good praise.
    It was the marriage thing.
    Also of note is the fact that a recent crossover event retconned Superman's marriage to Lois Lane so that they could pair him with Wonder Woman.
    And they're bringing out a Wonder Woman/Superman comic to cater to their female audience (which is as bad as, say, Buffy/Xander being canon) and they are apparently going in a Twilight-y direction with it.
    So, yeah, fuck DC comics. I used to love DC but fuck DC comics to bits.

  • psemophile

    Oh, and there's this contest where they've got to draw Harley Quinn (aka Joker's girlfriend) in a bathtub surrounded by all kinds of electrical appliances and shit.

  • Ian Fay

    Don't forget that she's naked!

    http://comicsalliance.com/harl...

  • psemophile

    That stuff is so embarrassing.

  • Al Borland's Beard

    This is sad, considering all of the dark, twisted topics a lot of comics are able to cover (Some recent Joker stories come to mind), but a gay marriage? No dice.

  • Mixmastercereal

    Despite the inflammatory headlines, this is really more of DC being against marriage in general in their comics. With the reboot of their continuity, they dissolved several long in universe marriages. Both Williams III and Blackman have said they don't think it was a homophobia driven decision, and their decision to leave was as much a damnation on DC's constant editorial intrusion, which has treated most of their creators horribly.

    It still sucks.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I actually was wondering if this was the case, and was trying to find the IO9 article about it (but the link just took me to the general website, and it's not on the homepage).

  • Mixmastercereal

    http://comicsalliance.com/batw...

    Comics Alliance has a pretty accurate round-up of the events.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Thanks. I only peripherally follow comics, but I did just think it weird that they'd have an out hero, have her propose and then become "homophobic" about her marriage.

    The overly hands on approach management is taking to the authors' storylines seems like a good reason to walk, and more importantly, that's the story to cover. It is distressing if it gets turned into imaginary crimes against the gay community (even if a redaction/correction were printed in the post, the URL lives on).

  • JoannaRobinson

    Oh darlin, there's no redaction or correction. I still firmly believe they're homophobic_dildo_tridents.php

  • Green Lantern

    Mixmaster,

    Now that I think of it, you make a strong point. None of the major characters that used to be married - The Flash, The Atom, Hawkman (and others) - are married in current continuity.

    FWIW, I am a dyed in the wool DC Comics fan. Oh, I like Marvel okay, I just *prefer* DC, and even *I* am having a hard time with many of the decisions they're making of late. I can't, and won't, defend them any longer. The "editorial intrusion" you mention has cost DC many talented artists and writers over the last several months. At some point there's going to be a straw that breaks the camel's back of "profit vs. readership", and frankly I hope it's sooner than later.

  • TheAggroCraig

    For cryin' out loud, not even ANIMAL MAN is married anymore. That was his whole thing! A guy with a wife and kids and mortgage trying to also be a superhero. Oh that won't do, better break that marriage up.

  • Mixmastercereal

    I used to read almost exclusively Marvel and indies, but reading two DC books a week for my podcast has made me a fan of some of their stuff.

    The seemingly unending exodus of respected creators makes me really want to not give them my business anymore.

  • Fredo

    Until recently, I had no idea Batwoman even existed. Tells you how far away from comics I've gotten.

    I'm all in favor of giving the creative forces as much leeway with their works as they need provided it serves the overall purpose of their story. From all accounts, this was the natural progression of their story. Shame the powers that be felt that it couldn't go that way.

  • asherlev1

    I don't understand. I'm scratching my head and struggling to contemplate the rationale behind what went down - but I'm just drawing a damning, depressing blank. WHY.

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