Dark times call for a great hero, and Gotham might just get one. We need her but have done nothing to deserve her: a Jewish, female, queer, justice-loving, semi-nocturnal vigilante with strong ties to bats.
The CW has announced that it is working on a “Batwoman” TV show for its 2019 season, created by the people (Jews, mostly) responsible for the CW hit “Arrow” and written and executive produced by Caroline Dries, who created “The Vampire Diaries.” The characters will be based on their current DC comic iterations, which means that Batwoman will be an out lesbian who identifies as Jewish and works as a street fighter to bring justice to the people. Stranger things have not happened — not even on Netflix.
If a queer, Jewish, female superhero sounds pandering to you, it is — the character Batwoman was originally created in 1956 as a love interest for Batman to shut down rumors that the popular character might be gay himself. By 1964 she was more or less eclipsed by a younger and sexier iteration — Batgirl — and by 1985 she was killed, erased from the series by DC’s editor at the time, Julius Schwartz (sadly, we must claim him.)
DC reintroduced Batwoman in 2006. Instead of existing to demonstrate Batman’s heterosexuality, she was a lesbian, formerly discharged from the US army under “don’t ask don’t tell,” now in a happy relationship with a female Gotham police detective. Instead of a side character, she was a lead. And instead of being Christian by default, she was Jewish. Deadline, reporting on CW’s in-development “Batwoman” series, suggests that these changes will be kept. Eat your heart out, America.
But in the words of countless superheroes — not so fast!
The show will have to make it through rounds of development, be brought to pilot, and be selected for a series. And DC’s Batwoman explainer page mentions her sexuality almost in passing, and her Jewishness not at all. Most outlets are reporting on the new “Batwoman” series as an achievement for LGBT representation, but not for Jewish representation.
That’s odd. Do people have a prejudice against Jewish bats or something?
In the dulcet words of Katherine Kane (alias: Batwoman) in the DC Prime Earth comic series: “You coming? Or do I have to smash this bitch in the teeth all by myself?”
You = the world
This bitch = anti-Semitism and Jewish stereotyping
We’re coming with you, Batwoman!
Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny