Batwoman owes her existence to the biggest scandal in the history of comics

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The fan-favorite avenger Batwoman may have been inspired by Batman, but this character might not have existed at all if not for one of the most notable contradictions in comic book history.

Batman’s Adventures have undoubtedly become one of the most popular comics of the Golden Age. Soon after the debut of the Dark Knight, his friend Robin was added to him, which only increased the popularity of the hero, especially among younger readers. However, the attention of the younger generation to Batman comics was touched upon in the scandalous book by psychiatrist Fredrik Wertham “Seduction of the Innocent”. Wortham accused Batman and Robin of being used as a subtext for same-sex relationships and trying to influence children. Shortly after Wortham’s book was published, DC introduced Batwoman Katie Kane in an attempt to dispel rumors about Batman. Although the controversy subsided, Seduction of the Innocent helped open a new Bat-Family expansion.

Related: The story of the Batwoman from DC Pride — the most perverted comic of the year

Katie Kane appeared several times throughout the 60s and 70s before disappearing completely after “Crisis on Infinite Earths”. However, a few decades after Katie’s last appearance, a new version of the character, created by Greg Raka, Jeff Jones, Grant Morrison, Mark Wade and Alex Ross, debuted in the DC comic “52”. This new version, known as Kate Kane, was a much more specific take on the character. While the Golden Age Batwoman used more useless gadgets like a “shopping bag,” this new version of the Batwoman was much more realistic and used weapons similar to any other serious vigilante. While not explicitly a member of the bat family, Kane was inspired by Batman’s heroism and adopted his symbol to become her own hero. Speaking of Batman, the Golden Age Batwoman may have had a relationship with Bruce Wayne, but Kate Kane was an open and proud lesbian, and later during the “New 52” it turned out that she was Batman’s cousin.

Since coming to the DC universe, Batwoman has worn her lesbian identity on her sleeve. The most important part of her renewed background was that Kate left the US Military Academy after coming into conflict with her “Don’t ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Not only was the new and improved Batwoman a much-needed change in the modern comic book world, everything about her was a sharp rebuttal to Wortham’s extremely homophobic accusations.

For many comic book fans, Seduction of the Innocents is one of the most reviled books ever created. In addition to many distorted or even outright erroneous interpretations of favorite comic book characters, Fredrik Huertam’s work helped create the infamous Comic Book Association, a self-governing censorship association that caused critical damage to the industry. Fortunately, CCA has lost popularity in the modern era of comics, which has allowed significant progress to be made. It seems quite poetic justice that Batwoman, a hero originally introduced to curb rumors of Batman’s homosexuality, has been transformed into a queer character. But Batwoman is much more than her sexuality. She’s the hero who helped the District of Columbia enter the 21st century. As strange as it may sound, the debate about the worst comics eventually helped create Batwoman, one of the best modern heroes of the industry.