Monday, May 14, 2007

Grovvy Chick Month 7: Batwoman


It would be hard to find a bigger fan of the new Batwoman (Kate Kane) than I. But today I sing the praises of the original Batwoman, Kathy Kane.

Kathy was a wealthy heiress/circus daredevil. Now, that may seem odd to you, if you don't live in the DCU. But attention-seeking media-hound wealthy heiresses are, in fact, not unheard of in our own universe. Kathy Kane was essentially Paris Hilton.

Except Kathy was smart. And attractive. And capable. And devoted to helping others. And clothed. And able to open a door without an instructional manual or a major loss of blood.

Okay, okay; she wasn't like Paris Hilton at all. But Kathy Kane was both glamorous and bold. BOLD! Characters really don't come any bolder than Kathy Kane.

How bold was Kathy Kane?

So bold that she decided to become a crimefighter, without even a scarring childhood loss to motivate her.

So bold that stole Batman's schtick without asking him.

So bold that she said, "Piffel!" when Batman told her to stop.

So bold she once slapped Batman in public.

So bold that she fought crime in a bright red, yellow, and black outfit. To do that you have to be either a total moron or incredibly bold.


Possibly both.

She was not merely bold, but noble. When the opportunity presented itself for her to unmask Batman and get him off her back, she let it pass because to take advantage that way would have been unfair. When the opportunity presented itself for Batman to discover her identity, he did, and promptly blackmailed her out of being Batwoman again. Paternalistic, chauvinistic control-freak.

Oh, and lest anyone forget, without Batwoman we wouldn't have Cat-Man; he was introduced to be her counterpart to Batman's Catwoman!

So while I love our current Batwoman, let's all give some credit to one of comics' original groovy chicks, Kathy Kane. Over time, I've become one of her biggest fans!

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Anyone who installs a giant portrait of herself (with x-ray cameras behind the eyes, no less) is pretty damn groovy in my book.

And now I come to think of it, given Kathy could not have had that portrait professionally painted without giving away her secret identity, she must have painted it herself, so I guess we should add talented artist to her list of abilities.

Scipio said...

I was going to say something about the ego required to paint a giant portrait of yourself in costume to hand in a place no one ever visits, but then I remembered...

we're talking about people who put on costumes and go out looking for muggers.

Marcos said...

Speaking of the new Batwoman, though, is she currently appearing regularly in some title?

Zaratustra said...

Why every other superheroine these days is compared to Paris Hilton, one way or another? Did they get superpowers from sucking off Superman?

Scipio said...

I think it's safe to assume that, in the case of the new Batwoman, the answer would "No."

David said...

Could someone please enlighten me as to what is so interesting about the new Batwoman?
I loved 52 but I saw no point whatsoever to the introduction or continued existence of the current Batwoman other than generating press for DC which it did do. Much ado about nothing if youu ask me.

MaGnUs said...

Yes, she is VERY groovy. And her costume is way better than latin lover over Vibe there.... and what about her BAT-PURSE!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'd forgotten about the Bat-Purse, complete with tear gas perfume, sneezing powder(?) powder puff and combat hairnet. Why don't crime-figters carry that sort of gear anymore?

(Actually that gives me a few ideas of crime-fighting gizmos the new Batwoman could carry in her Bat-Purse.)

Blockade Boy said...

I first discovered Batwoman in an old reprint tome back in college, and then I couldn't stop scribbling little pictures of her in the margins of my notebooks. And yup, she did have sneezing powder in her "crime compact", which she employed with a quip... but of course!

Scipio said...

"Could someone please enlighten me as to what is so interesting about the new Batwoman?"

It's conceptual.

Wealthy, beautiful dilettante finds purpose in life as a crimefighter, copies Batman's schtick without his permission, and operates independently from him without apologize.

And the boots; they help.

totaltoyz said...

Scipio, I am really enjoying your ongoing articles on the groovy chicks of DC! Still hoping for your take on one of my favorites, Karel Sorenson of the Star Rovers! (An intergalactic beauty queen-slash-expert-marksman; it practically writes itself!)

Anonymous said...

"It's conceptual.

"Wealthy, beautiful dilettante finds purpose in life as a crimefighter, copies Batman's schtick without his permission, and operates independently from him without apologize.

"And the boots; they help."

And she's a hot lipstick lesbian. There aren't enough of those in comics.

Christa said...

There's a lot more lipstick to comics' lesbians than not, right? And aren't they all hot by conventional standards? Plus, she's Jewish which is both gratuitous and somehow awesome. I both love her for her concept, and hate her for her shallowness. Only that she's a revival of Kathy Kane tips the scales into unadulterated love.

But hot? Nah. Renee Montoya on the other hand? RAAR!

The Fortress Keeper said...

I love Kathy Kane. The jury's still out on Kate Kane, but I'm waiting for a series to emerge to get the know the character a bit better.

After all, she did kick a Gorilla-Man in her first appearance. Kate can't be all bad!!

David said...

"It's conceptual.

Wealthy, beautiful dilettante finds purpose in life as a crimefighter..."

Funny that, the new Hawkeye in Marvel can be described in the same way, except her character is actually interesting and important in the scheme of the book in which she appears. Read a few issues of Young Avengers and see if you don't agree.

"And she's a hot lipstick lesbian. There aren't enough of those in comics."

And this may be my biggest problem with Batwoman - her only purpose seems to be to evoke just this sort of comment. And, let's be frank, this sort of comment is both insufferably boorish and wildly incorrect.

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