Thank you to Jennifer for making me aware of Batwoman Elegy, Deluxe Edition by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III with an introduction by Rachel Maddow (DC Comics, 2010). Not only is Kate Kane, aka Batwoman, hot, buff, and poured into a deadly little bodysuit (with fetching red accents), she’s out, proud, honorable, and brave. And, like any good hero, she’s haunted by tragedy, impetuous, uncompromising, and just a little bit messed up. Now, if only she could find better women to date (I’m rooting for that cop in a tuxe).
So, I love this character and the nuance the creator’s have brought to her persona as well as how seamlessly they’ve incorporated her sexuality. It’s an integral part of her story as Kate dons the cape as an alternative way to serve her country after she’s kicked out of the Marines for being gay and her coming out scene to her father is one of the most poignantly presented I’ve read in literature, graphic or non.
But…I’m not sure there are many more graphic novels in my future. I want to love them, I really do. I love art (and the graphics here are amazing: vibrant and intense) and I love the written word (and in this case, what literature lover wouldn’t appreciate a Lewis Carroll quoting evil villain named Alice?) but I think my mind is too feeble to appreciate the two together. I either end up focusing on the art and losing the narrative or focusing on the words and totally missing the art. I get frustrated. And, I pick up a plain jane novel, instead. (I still haven’t finished Watchmen. It’s looooong. And I made the mistake of watching that ludicrously awful and bloody movie which kind of soured it for me. Though I will persist. I can’t leave a book in the middle…for long.)
However, Batwoman has my undying devotion and apparently I’m not the only one swooning, so is bibrary.
Now, in the drama department, Leslie Feinberg has posted quite an excoriation on her blog of Catherine Ryan Hyde, her estranged biological sister, and Hyde’s young adult novel addressing transgender issues, Jumpstart the World (Knopf, 2010). In publicizing the book, Hyde has, according to Feinberg, misrepresented their relationship and her personal experience with transgender issues. I have no idea whether or not that’s true—I didn’t even realize Hyde was Feinberg’s sister!—but now, of course, my curiosity is piqued.
I’ve been peripherally aware of Jumpstart the World, a novel about 16-year old Elle who falls in love with Frank only to discover Frank is transgender causing all sorts of drama, confusion, and upheaval, but now I’m wondering if there are any similarities to Stone Butch Blues (a classic. If you haven’t read it, go read it now). Feinberg will probably end up raising more attention for the book than anything else, though, and the airing of dirty laundry always makes me queasy, but the blog post raises some excellent points about what “family” is and how, particularly as queer, we must actively, and legally, define that term for ourselves so that our wishes are carried out and our health, property, children, etc. are in the hands we choose and not simply in the ones that share our blood type. Time to re-think that adage about how you can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends. More and more, friends are family.