Can't believe that I never noticed this topic before!!
I have no problem with there being an original Batwoman and Bat-Girl (or Bat-Hound or Bat-Mite for that matter). They were part of a very public phase of Batman's career, the most "super-heroish" if you will. Probably all that attention irked the Caped Crusader no end and after starting the JLA and Robin working with the Teen Titans, he presumbly went, "Enough is enough!" with the amateur acts and put a stop to it all. That attitude continued with the new Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) but she convinced him of her worthiness and dedication.
And I have no problem with Batwoman being dead or staying dead. It lends credibility to mortality in comics, as abused as it is.
My only (minor) gripe is her being Bruce's first love. They were not in the same social circles until way after he became Batman but that's just the continuity control freak in me! ;-)
Seeing as this thread has popped up again, I have to ask something that I meant to ask before.
Doc, why is Kathy Kane being back in continuity such a big deal for you? She was long gone when we started reading comics, her very existence an embarassment to people who wanted Batman to be taken more seriously.
I remember a friend telling me about her when I was 9, and when you are 9, someone called Batman having all kinds of Bat-friends and Bat-acquaintances seems logical enough, but I can now see why they dropped all those hangers on.
Morrison concieves her personality and relationship to Batman in a way that enriches Bruce's world and backstory, (he's good like that!) but I wouldn't have said a proiri that she needed to be in the Bat-stories. At best I wouldn't have had an opinion on her either way.
Philip - From what we know of the early days of Bruce's lonely driven crusade, it is very possible that even if he did dabble with the attentions of various women, Kathy Kane might have been his first big love. We haven't been given an Elektra-style teenage romance for Bruce so far, have we?
I'll have to go back and check out whether the story states outright that Kathy was Bruce's first real love. Normally I'd disapprove if it did, as that closes down avenues for future stories, rather than opens them up.
I like all that older stuff...super dogs, magical imps, secret hide-aways, and big families of heroes for both Superman and Batman. So, when she returned as a person in Bruce's past...and possible future...it made me happy. I think it's because my first exposure to the comic book Batman was through our local public library where I checked out the hardcover Batman: from the 30s to the 70s about a hundred times. It had stories about all of those Batfamily members in it...even Ace's first tale. A few years ago, I bought a used copy of the book and it sits in an honored place on our living room book shelves.
The thing I love most about Batman is that he can be used in crazy comedy and super-dark drama and, really, be the same guy in each. He's pretty special in that way.
Believe it or not, but due to the Batman Encyclopedia and various 80 Page Giants, I like the 50s Batman. though I know that can be considered heresy in some quarters! :-O!! Even a concept like Ace the Bat-Hound can be enjoyable. You can't see the Flash or Green Lantern with a dog. Aquaman is right out! But Batman, I could buy that. Of course, it depends on how he's used but as was seen in Batman Beyond, if handled sparingly and correctly, as a trained attack dog, Ace can be effective.
And in my Batman In the Fifties TPB, which reprints Detective Comics #233 (Jl'56)* "The Batwoman", Kathy's first appearance, it clearly states the she was a circus performer who inherited her wealth from her uncle. In fact, as a socialite, she kept that a secret, though a better one was how she built her Bat-Cavern on her own. She didn't even have an Alfred!
My point is that she and young Bruce would have hardly had the opportunity to have a romance, at least if Morrison is following that continuity. Unless........he changes her past and she was always rich! (A rich circus acrobat/motorcyclist??) or Bruce was at the circus, learning acrobatics or such. Both are possible!
But to answer one of your arguments, I remember her revival in the 70s in Batman Family and Freedom Fighters and was saddened by her abrupt demise. Thankfully she got a better eulogy in Brave & Bold #182 (Ja'82) where Batman meets the Earth-Two Batwoman and both miss their departed counterparts!
Alexandra Kitty said: "I prefer they refrain from killing them off in the first place -- I mean, really, who are we kidding? CBD (Comic Book Death) is just a minor affliction -- you die, you go to a nice heavenly spa, you come back improved and stronger, and your fans are made happy again! Yay!"
Unless your last name is Stacy, of course ...
Thankfully she got a better eulogy in Brave & Bold #182 (Ja'82) where Batman meets the Earth-Two Batwoman and both miss their departed counterparts!
My favourite Bat story and the reason why I'm happy GM has brought her back at least in memory,
I remember reading about this in the Batman Encyclopedia but I never saw the actual stories. At the time they were published, the real Catwoman hadn't been seen since 1954!! Could this have been a copyright issue, an attempt of reviving Selina or just using the most obvious name? Cat-Man definitely was in lust with Batwoman but dressed like that may have lit up the Bat-Signal! Morrison notwithstanding, it was always apparent that the Caped Crusader had feelings for the Dark Lady but how strong? Even gone for a decade, how could any woman compete with the beautiful, sultry, dangerous and provocative Catwoman?
As I actually finally read Batman, Inc #4 (I forgot I had it!), I must say that you have to read Morrison with a magnifying glass and lots of reference works! The Greek mythology stuff I got and I don't need annotations to tell me who Lew Moxon was but for a new reader? Good luck!
This new interpretation of Batwoman seems to borrow from the Black Widow and Irene Adler, in fact from most femme fatales from spy and detective stories. But she was an amateur but why she stopped crime-fighting is anybody guess now. I try to find something accessible about the new Batwoman but I haven't. Yet.
Well Kate Kane is very original - that's good. She's a very well handled much-needed minority representative - also good. The white skin/red hair/ black leather bat-look is fantastic! She's been handled seriously and consistently by more or less the same creative team from the get-go. Ditto good. Nobody needs to be an arch-deacon in the church of a thousand back-issues to follow her adventures. Ditto. Her own original version of a joker-villain is quite clever and could go a long way yet. Ditto.
And now alas they are tying her backstory into all those half-forgotten issues starring the original Batwoman, so there's something for even the continuity-slaves -minded.
I'd have thought anyone who calls themselves a comics fan would have flipped over the beautiful JHW III art in the Detective stories, even before reading Rucka's quite good words!
Horses, I suppose.