Comics

Marriage Doesn’t Mean You’ll Be Happy: Batwoman and DC’s Anti-Marriage Stance

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You have no idea how many times I have had to rewrite this piece. This article was supposed to go up on Friday. Then DC just kept sticking their foot in their mouth and it was pushed back to Monday, and then there was the whole mess with Harley Quinn, so all things considered, we figured Wednesday would be a good day to talk about DC and how they keep making people mad.

I started reading comics really recently. As in after we had already planned to create PvP, after we had picked out a name, and after the domain had been purchased. So, yes, really recently. One of the reasons I started getting interested was to follow the Batwoman series. I kept seeing the art around Tumblr, and I was enamored.

The news that J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman would be leaving the series after issue #26 is a huge disappointment, but an even greater disappointment is finding out that DC has decided to scrap the end of the story arc and put Marc Andreyko at the writers helm for #25. None of this disappointment is directed towards them, either, but at the executive decisions to handle this the way they have and how Dan Didio delivered the information at Baltimore Comic Con.

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It is insisted by both DC and Williams that the stance to not allow Kate’s marriage is not an anti-LGBT stance, but it’s a tough pill to swallow. Batwoman is a triumph for LGBT characters in media, the first lesbian main character for a comic series published by a giant company like DC. If it’s not anti-gay marriage, it is anti-marriage, which is a strange stance to take in 2013. The New 52 put a lot of long-term relationships to the axe, Superman and Lois Lane being the one that stands out to me most as someone new to comics. While I have joked with Revan that now Lois can go hook up with Bruce, it’s still strange to see the Superman/Wonder Woman art DC has been marketing like crazy.

What I find even stranger is that DC even allowed the issues containing the proposals (not one! but two!) to go to print without speaking to Williams and Blackman beforehand. Seeing as how proposals are the first logical step towards marriage, I’m not quite sure what else they could have expected to come next.

DC’s statement that superheroes in the New 52 will not be allowed to marry because they are not allowed to have “happy personal lives” is ludicrous at best just from a historical standpoint. The anti-marriage stance effectively puts a halt to major character relationship growth after a certain point, and unfortunately when the big fuss is about an openly lesbian character after she proposes to her girlfriend during the current movements by LGBT folk for equal rights to marry, it’s hard to make DC look good in the matter. While not purposefully insensitive, they have still managed to alienate a group of readers with this decision. This is an issue that, because culture does not exist in a vacuum, should have been handled with a certain amount of tact and finesse that was obviously absent. You don’t put your milk cartons in the same bag as the loaf of sandwich bread and then get mad at the bread for getting squished, so expecting a minority group to accept “Kate Kane can’t marry her girlfriend” as just how things are is a misguided viewpoint from a very obvious place of privilege.

Batwoman - Kate & MagsAs far as marriage apparently equating with a happy personal life for a superhero, the assumption that marriage automatically makes one happy and secure in their relationship is flimsy. Marriage for the sake of throwing a bandaid on a failing relationship is just more pain down the road if the two individuals have issues they are not willing to work through. Kate and Maggie are awesome characters and have been a great couple so far because they are their own people and stick to their guns, but this does not necessarily mean they will have a happy marriage regardless of one them being a superhero. They both pursue dangerous lines of work and are already married to their jobs. They have not been dating or known each other for a long amount of time, though this may just be more wibbly wobbly timey wimey comic book time at work. They have a giant can of worms in store for each other with their histories.

They could be happy together. They could also go up in flames. Plenty of SOs have been fridged for the sake of a story, and I unfortunately don’t expect that trope to die any time soon.

I’ll pick up Batwoman after Williams and Blackman depart from the series and give Andreyko a chance. (Fun fact that is neither here nor there in regards to Andreyko’s writing ability and I’ve only seen mentioned on one other site, but he is also gay. And I hate feeling like they picked him to try and fix the PR nightmare this has become.) Maybe DC will reconsider its policies and communication methods with their creative teams. In the meantime, I’ll consider this my initiation into the Readers-Disappointed-At-How-DC-Handles-Their-Shit Club.

Purple-haired Pepper Potts.

6 Comments

  1. Kelly

    September 11, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Welcome to the Readers-Disappointed-At-How-DC-Handles-Their-Shit Club! We’re a large (and growing!) organization. I’m thinking about sponsoring a BBQ at some point or maybe just building a clubhouse.

    You really get to the heart of this issue which is fine, whatever, no superheroes can get married — but DC REALLY couldn’t anticipate this reaction? And they really couldn’t handle the subsequent falling out with more finesse?

    Also, it points to DC’s current thinking with regard to storytelling: happiness can’t exist for these characters, period. More pain! More despair! I understand that superhero comics are essentially soap operas, repeatedly trapping characters in bad decisions they should have learned from ten years ago and rehashing plot lines over and over, but come on. As you point out, marriage isn’t necessarily forever. And if you’re trying to head a Peter Parker-Mary Jane Watson incident off at the pass…is this really the best way to do it?

    • Lan

      September 11, 2013 at 12:41 PM

      Woo! I’ll bring the potato salad!

      Sometimes I wonder if DC Comics lives on another planet. I heard internet rates were pretty crazy over there.

      • Rachel

        September 11, 2013 at 12:56 PM

        It’s super expensive because the speeds are awesome. The price of being so close to the satellites!

    • Rachel

      September 11, 2013 at 12:55 PM

      I’m all for tragedy. I love tragic stories so much it’s kind of ridiculous. I HATE JOY AND PUPPIES AND RAINBOWS. EVERYONE MUST SUFFER FOR MY AMUSEMENT.

      But god damn you have to have a little bit of happiness to destroy for the tragedy to MEAN anything. THIS IS BASIC CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.

  2. ChurchTucker

    September 11, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    It sounds like the thinking is “Batman is our most popular character. Therefore every character will be Batman.”

    • Kelly

      September 11, 2013 at 7:50 PM

      Wait, so none of them can sit down??

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