I’m discovering that this visual culture of politics thing is both difficult and interesting. Or interesting and difficult depending on which way you want to look at it. As I look around at images I can see lots that have political leanings to them. Some are overt and some less so. Most images can be taken to have a meaning of some sort if you are hell-bent on giving them one and want to argue your point hard enough. But that’s not really where my interest for this particular blog lies. I’ve had a bit more of a difficult time so far finding images that fit with what I wanted to explore on this blog, mainly images that deal with the LGBTQ political sphere and visual culture.
Well, I found an interesting one today in drifting around online while not feeling 100% (Boo for summer colds). It’s all about DC comics, marriage equality, comic book writers, and the fact that Batwoman is lesbian. Yep, you got it. I didn’t know either. It seems that I have been living under a comic book rock for a very long while and that Batwoman is the highest profile out female gay character in the comic book world. Who knew? I certainly didn’t.
From an LGBTQ news perspective there is a bit of a kerfuffle going on as the writers of a Batwoman have just resigned from DC comics. You see awhile back Batwoman got engaged to her girlfriend Maggie, a policewoman in Gotham City, and DC comics were cool with that. Of course they would be, I hear you say. Why go to though all the hoopla and criticism of having a lesbian caped crusader if you aren’t going to let them get married, right? Not so fast…. It now seems that DC comics are not going to let them get married after all. So the writers say on their blog as to why they are resigning. But I digress. I am getting caught up in the politics and this is supposed to be about the visuals, right?
So why mention this at all? Because comics (and their close relation, cartoons) are an almost eternal part of our culture. Almost all of us grew up with them in some way or another. We either bought them as kids, got them out of the newspaper, read them at the dentist/doctors, and some people also read them and collect them as adults too. Witness the sheer number of people involved in things like Comic-Con, the international corporation that talks about comics for proof of how many people see comics as relevant in our lives today. They are also a pretty much entirely visual medium. The fact that they are reflective of some of the social issues of the day shouldn’t be a surprise at all, though it caught me be off guard in this case. If you are interested you can read the full news story about the writers at this link.
So Batwoman is a lesbian. With a fiancée. She has a utility belt and can kick your ass as well, just to prove that stereotypes are alive and well in comics too. She’s visually dynamic and culturally relevant. It’s also really political too.
Homos in comics? Real life my friends. Personally, my money was always on Spiderman…