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Precinct1313’s Comic-Book Classics: Batwoman – Elegy

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After an extended hiatus from the world of costumed crimefighters, Batwoman triumphantly returned like the proverbial phoenix in 2006 through the pages of DC’s weekly crossover epic – 52. Batwoman was created by Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff in 1956 and made her debut in Detective Comics #233. There have been two notable variants of the character over the decades beginning with Kane and Moldoff’s original take, Kathy Kane, the silver age version. Kathy was originally created to be part of the burgeoning Bat-Family, and a possible love interest for Bruce Wayne, but in 1964 following on from a radical restructure of the Batman universe, Kathy was removed wholesale from Bat-lore by new editor Julius Schwartz.

Aside from a couple of anniversary issues of Detective ComicsBatwoman wasn’t seen again until her revamped reappearance in 2006, re-introduced as Kate Kane. Apart from sharing the same moniker, the two versions of the character couldn’t possibly be more diverse. Whereas Kathy was a fun loving socialite with the hots for the Caped Crusader, Kate is tough, no nonsense, ex-military and independent of Batman and his cohorts. Also of note is her sexual orientation, Kate is a lesbian, much was made of this revelation at the time with mostly good but also, unfortunately, some bad press from various media, though ultimately it proved a popular move on DC’s part with many LGBT groups worldwide heralding the character. Kate was a hit and fast became one of DC’s most popular female heroes.

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Batwoman: Elegy was a story arc that ran through the pages of Detective Comics #854 – #860, after the comics star Batman had been killed at the hands of DC’s biggest villain Darkseid. Kate filled the void left by his absence and cemented her return to comics and Gotham itself. Written by Greg Rucka and drawn by the phenomenally talented JH Williams III, with the latter going on to become the biggest influence on Kate’s future and success. JH is an extremely talented artist/writer with a visual style almost unsurpassed by his peers, his use of splash pages and the weaving of his art into these carefully constructed panels is stunning. This is arguably JH’s most impressive work, though he went on to replicate this prescient style when he started writing and drawing the ongoing Batwoman comic series in 2010.

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Plot Synopsis: Whilst investigating the 13 Religion of Crime covens in Gotham City, Batwoman learns that the coven’s overseer is coming to Gotham. Alice is the name of their new leader, basing herself on Lewis Caroll’s inimitable creation, Batwoman immediately sets out on the trail of Alice but it seems that the coven is also hunting Batwoman for their own nefarious and sinister purposes.

Batwoman: Elegy is a stunning re-introduction of a much loved character into the Batman mythos and is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most beautifully illustrated comic books ever released. Greg Rucka’s story draws you into the eerie supernatural side of Gotham City and JH Williams’ superbly realised drawing style leaves you breathless. Available as both a softcover and (hard to find) deluxe hardcover, this is highly recommended to all fans of great comics and stunning art.

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A Celebration Of Kate And Bette Kane…

Well now, how excited do you think we are right now here in the celebrated Comic Crypts of Precinct1313? I mean, I assume you’ve heard the rather awesome news, right? Batwoman is finally materialising into live action form… yep, Batwoman… how awesome? Much awesome fellow Agents, much.

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CW, the company responsible for DC Comics’ vice like grip on small screen Superhero sagas are to add another of DC’s worlds finest creations to their burgeoning cast list in the form of Kate Kane, aka Batwoman. And, in what appears to be the finest piece of actor casting in recent history, they have also revealed that popular actress Ruby Rose will be donning the iconic black and red costume of Gotham’s titular anti-hero… anticipation overload in 3… 2… 

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Ruby Rose Has Been  Confirmed In The Role Of Batwoman!

Batwoman had been skirting the edges of the DC Universe since her original introduction by comic-book auteurs Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff in Detective Comics #233 in 1956. Kate (known as Kathy in her original form) was initially created as a female counterpart and love interest for Batman to refute the idea that the Caped Crusader had homosexual tendencies. An unfortunate and rather disturbingly awful vision for any comic book creation to be ushered into the limelight, the 1950’s were an extremely unenlightened time, sexism and misogyny ran rampant in all areas, and especially the entertainment arena, which included the wildly popular comic book scene.

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Kathy And Bette Circa 1961

In 1961, Sheldon Moldoff, alongside Batman co-creator Bill Finger, added Betty Kane to the ever growing Bat-Family as the niece of Kathy, whom upon discovering the secret identity of her crime fighting aunt, persuaded her to train her as her sidekick, resulting in the initiation of Batgirl, long before the mantle was taken up by the arguably more famous Barbara Gordon version of the wildly popular character. Just three short years later though, Batgirl, Batwoman and other popular members of Bruce’s broody band (such as Ace the Bathound and the mischievous Bat-Mite) were removed entirely from Bat lore in a restructure of the Batman universe by new editor Julius Schwartz.

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Bruce And Kate Unite In A Scene From The Recent Animated Movie – Batman: Bad Blood

Kathy and Betty Kane remained consigned to creative memory for decades following their shock erasure, that is until their revamped and progressive resurgence through the hands of master scribe and astonishing artist JH Williams III. Reversing the unenlightened and inauspicious history of the characters, Williams delivered to us strong, diverse and sophisticated heroes who could match their peers in Gotham, and finally laid to rest the awful spectre of their past conception. Phoenix like, Kathy and Betty (now renamed Kate and Bette) became a new standard for empowerment in the burgeoning female Superhero market, shrugging off their inception and, especially for Kate, becoming one of DC’s most popular and biggest selling creations.

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In fact, aside from sharing similar names, the two variants of Batwoman couldn’t be more disparate if they tried. Whereas Kathy was a fun loving socialite with the hots for Bruce Wayne, Kate is resilient, no nonsense ex military, who, until recently, cast herself independent from Batman and his crime-busting cohorts. Also of note is Kate’s sexual orientation, Kate is a lesbian, and much was made of this revelation at the time with both good and bad press from various media outlets. Ultimately it proved not just a popular move by the creators, but also a defining trait for the character of Batwoman herself, with LGBT groups worldwide heralding the character and Kate ultimately becoming a poster child of diversification and emancipation.

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Bette Kane Eventually Took On The Mantle Of Flamebird, With Her Relationship To Kate  Retconned To Cousin, As Opposed To Niece

Are You As Excited As We Are For Kate’s Live Action Debut? Then Why Not Sound Off In The Comments Section Below, Fellow Fans Of Fantastic Fiction…