Lady of the Night
BY Ed Tahaney
June 18 2009 12:00 AM ET
Katherine "Kate" Kane -- the buxom billionaire heiress by day and sexy crime fighter Batwoman by night -- is back, returning to comic books with her own series in Detective Comics #854. Oh, and in case you haven't heard by now, she's also a lesbian. "She's out and proud," says the comic's writer Greg Rucka. "The only thing she has to hide is what she's doing at night in costume."
The character of Batwoman was first introduced to the comic book world in 1956 as a romantic sidekick to Batman. But she and DC Comics really made headlines in 2006 when the latest incarnation of the character revealed her sexual orientation in the limited weekly series 52. In the comic, we learn of her past relationship with Det. Renee Montoya, a formerly closeted lesbian who was outed by Rucka back in 2003. Batwoman has rarely been seen since, but she is finally taking center stage with Detective Comics #854, which debuted on June 10 with planned monthly installments for one year.
Rucka, 39, is a popular comic book writer who has been writing stories for legendary heroes for more than a decade, among them DC's Wonder Woman and Marvel's Elektra (Daredevil's lethal lover) and hirsute Wolverine of X-Men fame. Rucka also was key in introducing the lesbian Batwoman to the DC universe three years ago.
"Kate's queer -- period. There is no coming out here," says Rucka. "This isn't an issue of, Oh, how do we do this? DC's wanted to bring back Batwoman as a new character, and she is going to be gay. That was there in the mission statement from the start."
Rucka has teamed up with artist JH Williams III, 43, whose cinematic and innovative anime-inspired drawings, full of moody reds and blacks, have also appeared in Promethea, a mystical series created with The Watchman 's Alan Moore. For Batwoman's latest debut, Rucka and Williams have created a take-no-prisoners warrior woman who is a touch of a daddy's girl at heart. And like many comic book heroines, she is very sexy, an intoxicating redhead on a tricked-out bat cycle, decked out in red boots, billowing cape, and her never-leave-home-without-it bat utility belt. (To fans of the camp classic, I'm sorry to report that she no longer carries a bat purse.)