The more I see of The CW’s Batwoman series, the more excited I am to watch it. The CW just dropped the first full trailer, giving us a first look at Kate Kane and the world of Gotham. And what from what we’ve seen so far, it’s clear that season one will be based on Batwoman: Elegy, a.k.a. the best Batwoman Detective story arc ever written.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that comic book adaptations work better when they’re based on the very comic books that inspired them. It seems obvious, of course, but pop culture is littered with half-baked comic book movies and series that seemingly bring nothing from the page to the screen. (I’m talking about you, Catwoman.)
This is not to say that these adaptations must follow the source material word for word. After all, some things work in comics that just plain don’t work onscreen, like Jessica Jones’s Kilgrave being purple, for example. There’s always room for improvisation and adaptation, but keeping the emotional core and spine of these stories always serves for a more satisfying viewing experience.
(image: DC Comics)
Elegy, written by Greg Rucka (Wonder Woman) with artwork by J.H. Williams III (Promethea), ran from 2009-2010 and re-envisioned the character of Kate Kane. Kate was a modern adaptation of Kathy Kane, the first Batwoman, who was introduced during the Silver Age as one of the many extraneous members of the Bat-family (pour one out for Bat-Mite and Ace the Bat-Hound).
(image: DC Comics)
And Kathy’s introduction came with an agenda. When she made her debut in Detective Comics #233 (1956), she was positioned as a love interest for Batman, to distract from the gay subtext of the Batman/Robin relationship. Kathy Kane was a direct response to Fredric Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent, which initiated a moral panic over comics that would lead directly to the formation of the Comics Code Authority in 1954.
Batwoman remained as a character until 1964, when DC ditched her in favor of Batgirl. Kathy Kane appeared sporadically in the ensuing decades, but it wasn’t until 52 (2006) that the modern incarnation of Kate Kane joined DC’s lineup. This new Kate Kane was a Jewish lesbian, part of DC’s promise to diversify their character slate.
But it wasn’t until Elegy that Batwoman headlined her own title with Batwoman Detective. The run established Kate’s backstory in the military, her subsequent discharge for being openly gay, her romance with Renee Montoya, and her troubled relationship with her father.
Elegy set the building blocks for Kate Kane as a character, taking the reader through her childhood and her self-destructive history, which culminated in her commitment to donning the Batwoman mantle. In addition to excellent writing and gorgeous artwork, Elegy built the foundation of Kate Kane/Batwoman.
This all makes Elegy a prime template for the first season of the CW series. Surely the series will be taking its own liberties with the origin story, but they’re putting their best foot forward by drawing inspiration from what is easily the best Batwoman series of all time.
Are you excited to see Elegy (or a version of it) on The CW?
(via CBR, image: the CW)
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