Have you been gettin' your Gotham on?
Jimmy Twin explores the new frontier of the queer world of comics and the fight for equality.
What better way of marking the 75th anniversary of Batman than to have a new TV series starting in the dark streets of Gotham City – without Batman. Having just premiered in the US (Australia later this year), Gotham is a twist on the old story line set before Bruce dons his famous cowl, and is still a boy. That’s correct, no Batman.
But before you can all cry out “Holy not another prequel Batman!” (if he was even around), this show has another slight twist. One of the lead characters in Gotham, Renée Montoya (Victoria Cartagena), is female, Hispanic… and lesbian. Do I have your attention now? Good, let’s continue.
Gotham is set to ruffle a few penguin feathers, but with its director and executive producer being none other than Danny Cannon (CSI, Nikita, Tomorrow People), it also has many fans (including myself) very excited, as his experience brings together the detective, action and sci-fi genres quite nicely. “The Question” is, though, is DC Comics finally entering the race for equality stakes or is it in need of damage control?
Watch a scene from Gotham
DC have publicly stated they support equal opportunity and boast a long list of gay characters on their pages (including the much loved Alan Scott Green Lantern), with one of its best-selling comic book titles, Batwoman, featuring a fiery red headed lesbian. Roar. Add to this the recent lesbian kiss in the TV version of Arrow, and the fact that Wonder Woman will finally make it onto our big screens in the upcoming 2016 movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Things aren’t all that peachy, though. DC is not allowing Batwoman to be married to her girlfriend, Maggie Sawyer, yet they still have her proposing time and time again. Perhaps with all the super criminals plaguing the city, Gotham hasn’t had the time to take the step into marriage equality.
You may have also noticed the omission of Diana’s (Wonder Woman) name in the Batman v Superman movie.
Enter David Goyer into the ring.
Mr Goyer, the now infamous DC writer, has a long history of writing for DC comics as well as screenplays for the most recent Batman and Superman movies. When asked why Wonder Woman wasn’t a lead character in this movie, or indeed in her own namesake movie, Gower said he feels she is a too “difficult character to crack”.
I am sure audiences will find her a difficult character to relate to. She is only a near immortal Amazonian princess/demigoddess who possesses superhuman strength, a lasso that forces those ensnared to tell the truth, indestructible bracelets that honestly she really doesn’t need, and a cool, invisible jet made way before stealth bombers were thought of. Oh, I think I just explained her in a single sentence. And from her creation in 1940 she has always been a figurehead for gender equality and women’s rights, making her fan base massive. I am willing to wager higher than Superman or Batman. There, I said it.
That isn’t the worst of it. Not by far. Goyer’s recent crowning glory comes as he recently referred to She-Hulk as a “giant green porn star that only the Hulk could f#%k”.
Not only was this sexist remark completely inaccurate (the Hulk and She-Hulk are cousins), Jennifer Walters is a lawyer who only received a “toned down” version of the Hulk’s powers after receiving a blood transfusion from Bruce Banner. The comment was also a dig at Marvel Comics, as She-Hulk was created by none other than Stan Lee and John Buscema (Marvel Comics legends).
Of the two comic book giants, Marvel seems to be winning this race, having no real difficulty bringing Black Widow to life in the Avengers, or Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy. Indeed, they created news headlines in 2012 marrying X-Men/Alpha Flight hero Northstar to his boyfriend, Kyle. They have an equal if not greater share of gay characters on their pages, and now backed with unlimited Mickey Mouse dollars, they intend to bring as many Marvel characters to the big screen as possible.
Most recent speculation seems to be an upcoming Mystique solo movie.
I wonder if she will be a tough character to crack?
[Top image] Bat Woman from DC Comics