The publication of Batwoman #1 this week ends what has been a long and challenging journey by DC to bring the book to print. How long? As you’ll see it is almost exactly 6 years since the first rumors about the book appeared. But on Wednesday after more than a half decade of development, three head writers, and three different official debut dates, the first ongoing comic from one of the big two that stars a canon Lesbian is making its debut. Here is a look back at the long and complex history of bringing Batwoman, both the character and book, to print.
Like many DC Comics’ projects, the first news of the project was from Rich Johnston now of Bleeding Cool, but back then writing a column for CBR …
September 26, 2005 - In his "Lying in the Gutters" rumor column Johnston says that a Batwoman title could arrive post-Infinite Crisis.
December 27, 2005 - Johnston says the new Batwoman may be gay.
That was comic book news. Batwoman would soon hit the big time as part of DC’s push around diversity in comics.
May 28, 2006 - In a story on diversity in the big two comic publishers, The New York Times breaks the news that DC will introduce an updated version of the Silver Age character, Batwoman.
"In her latest incarnation, Batwoman is a wealthy, buxom lipstick lesbian who has a history with Renee Montoya, an ex-police detective who has a starring role in "52."
The story also featured a discussion of race diversity, but it was the “Holy Bat Lesbian” angle that made headlines around the world. Later in 2007, author Devin Grayson states that she was 8 months into working on a solo Batwoman title when she found out through a newspaper article that the book was dead. Was it this article?
July 19, 2006 - Batwoman makes her first major appearance in issue #11 of 52.
52 ends in 2006.
October 8, 2007 - Lying in the Gutters states that Greg Rucka will join J.H. Williams on a Batwoman series. The announcement was reportedly supposed to be at SDCC but was delayed.
But there will be no word from DC on a series until the towards the end of the following year. During late 2007 and into 2008 the character appears in a handful of DC titles most notably Crime Bible: The 5 Lessons of Blood by Greg Rucka and Final Crisis:Revelations also by Greg Rucka.
February 23, 2008 - At WonderCon Dan Didio says there is not a standalone Batwoman title but that "Batwoman will be an integral part of the DCU in 2008."
May 11, 2008 - At Emerald City Con, Rucka says the Batwoman series is a go.
December 24, 2008 - DC releases a teaser ad for their upcoming Battle for the Cowl event which follows the “death” of Batman. Batwoman is prominently featured holding a magnifying glass hinting at her next appearance. She will also appear on the cover of Battle for the Cowl #1, but will have only a small appearance in the series. Over the next three years Batwoman will also appear in other comics with her major appearances from James Robinson (Cry for Justice), Grant Morrison (Final Crisis, Batman & Robin and Batman Inc) and Gail Simone (Wonder Woman #600).
February 6, 2009 - At NYCC DC announces that Batwoman will appear in an arc Detective Comics starting with issue #854. Greg Rucka reveals he has been working on the title for two years. The pages from the first issue are shown publicly. The December date on the colored PDFs illustrates the long time frame from the issue’s development to print.
June 24, 2009 - Batwoman begins her arc Detective Comics. Rucka gives a look at the history of the book here.
December 8, 2009 - Rucka reveals on “Word Balloon” podcast that the Detective run will turn into a Batwoman title.
March 19, 2009 - Batwoman does not appear in solicits for May’s issue but is hinted at appearing in June’s issue with — “And come back next month for the return of The Question and Batwoman!”
We will later find out that there were some behind the scenes activities at DC around Batwoman and where she would next appear. We will learn more more about her fate in just a few weeks.
April 14, 2010 - DC announces a Batwoman title with artist J.H. Williams III writing with W. Haden Blackman. Amy Reeder will share art duties with Williams alternative arcs. No date is given for the first issue.
July 16, 2010 - The hardcover trade collection of Batwoman’s Detective Run, Batwoman:Elegy appears on the New York Times bestseller list. The book will land on a number of the year’s “Best of” lists.
July 21, 2010 - DC shows the cover of the first issue of Batwoman.
August 13, 2010 - DC announces that Batwoman #0, a primer issue, will appear in November and the series will start in February of 2011.
From August on the assumption is the Batwoman is ready to roll. As November nears DC books feature house ads touting the series with the line “She’s back because you demanded it.”
November 24, 2010 Batwoman #0 appears. The book has two covers including a variant by co-artist Amy Reeder.
January 5, 2010 - DC shows off art for the first issue of the series set to debut in just a few weeks.
And with the series so close to publication, it hit some bumps.
January 19, 2010 - News breaks of the the first issues being delayed.
March 9, 2010 - News breaks again that book is delayed.
April 4, 2010 - News breaks that the first issue will now appear in September.
June 5, 2011 - DC officially solicits Batwoman #1
September 14, 2011 - Batwoman #1 to make its debut as part of DC Comics’ new 52.
It’s easy after all of the teasing and false starts to overlook the significance of Batwoman #1 coming to print. But I won’t. Everyone involved in this project at DC through the years, Devin Grayson, Greg Rucka, J.H. Williams III, Haden Blackman, Amy Reeder and Dan Didio and, I’m sure, many others deserve credit. Firsts are hard. They are not always perfect. They can clearly take a long time. But they are important. While there is still much to do, the release of Batwoman #1 is important. All that remains to be seen is whether it is good. And that it sells. I can’t control the first, but I can definitely help with the second.