Batwoman (originally referred to as the Bat-Woman) is a fictional character and female counterpart to the superhero Batman, created by Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff. This character appears in publications produced by DC Comics and related media. Batwoman made her first comic book appearance in Detective Comics #233 (1956). Originally named Kathy Kane, the character was introduced as a love interest for Batman to disprove allegations of homosexuality in response to the backlash from the book Seduction of the Innocent (1954).
Although Batwoman made a number of appearances during the late 1950s and early 1960s, declining sales of both Batman and Detective Comics led to the editorial retirement of the character. When Julius Schwartz became editor of the Batman related comic books in 1964, he removed non-essential characters including Batwoman, Bat-Girl, Bat-Mite, and Bat-Hound. Later, the 1985 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths retroactively established that Batwoman has never existed, though her alter ego Kathy Kane has continued to make appearances.
The modern incarnation of Batwoman, Kate Kane, first appears in week 7 of the maxi-series 52 (2006), operating in Gotham City during Batman's absence following the events of the seven issue miniseries Infinite Crisis (2005). The modern Batwoman is written as being of Jewish descent and as a lesbian in an effort by DC editorial staff to diversify its publications and better connect to modern day readership. Batwoman's sexual orientation has been both criticized and praised by the general public and the character has been described as the highest profile gay character to appear in stories produced by DC Comics.
The original Batwoman is primarily associated with the Silver Age of Comic Books. In the aftermath of the attacks on comics in the early 1950s, the Batwoman was the first of several characters that would make up the 'Batman Family'. Since the family formula had proven very successful for the Superman franchise, editor Jack Schiff suggested to Kane that he create one for The Batman. A female was chosen first, to offset the charges made by Fredric Wertham that Batman and the original Robin, Dick Grayson, were gay. Kathy Kane and alter ego Batwoman first appeared in Detective Comics #233 (July 1956). In the character's debut issue, Batwoman is introduced as a female rival to the crime-fighting prowess of Batman.
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