Catwoman’s coming out is significant because the character is iconic, having debuted back in 1940 in Batman #1. As the title character in an ongoing series, Selina is one of relatively few out characters with real influence, and, as The Mary Sue notes, that we see her start a relationship with a character of color is doubly admirable. DC has struggled to date when it comes to representation; while there are plenty of LGBT characters like Batwoman, Midnighter, Apollo, and Green Lantern Alan Scott, few enjoy the same prominence as the core Justice Leaguers. (And remember the Batwoman marriage debacle of 2013?) Having a complex, storied character like Catwoman come out so matter-of-factly in her own book — and without attention-grabbing fanfare — goes a long way toward broader acceptance.
More unused designs for the Young Justice crossover episode of Teen Titans GO: Beast Boy— YJ style, followed by the “Extreme” version ( I shoulda added more pouches), and an early exploration of the 3rd stage , which was heavily influenced by the storyboard art that eventually used for the final look.
In the new 52, what Barbara Gordon suffered through in The Killing Joke was left intact. But the work that writers such as Kim Yale, John Ostrander, Chuck Dixon and Gail Simone did to evolve the character into Oracle - a role where Barbara Gordon triumphed over her shooting to become a even more valuable member of the world of DC heroes - was slowly but surely sliced away by shifting time frames and outright ignoring.
The new 52 rebooted much of the DCU. We saw the Teen Titans disappear. We saw Tim Drake’s first appearance and a Lonely Place of Dying wiped away. The marriage of Lois Lane and Superman was jettisoned to make way for Superman and Wonder Woman. But The Killing Joke? That remains. That panel of her being shot through the spine - remains. The pages that follow, remain.
This week in Secret Origins we learned more about the time Barbara Gordon spent in the wheelchair prior to her becoming Batgirl again in the new 52. And, of course, it included a reference to the moment in The Killing Joke when the Joker showed up to shoot Barbara Gordon.
For comparison here is the moment from Batgirl #15 written by Gail Simone.
There have been of course many, many pages (and covers) containing this moment through out the years.
The camera, the gun and the flying coffee cup and blood. Ugh.
That’s why I was pleased to how the moment was handled this week.
That’s it. No gun, no flying coffee cup and blood.
I still believe that keeping The Killing Joke in canon while eradicating Oracle is horribly problematic and telling. Why is it still there?
But at least references to the moment appear to becoming less graphic. I hope that any future references, if needed (and I can’t imagine why) do the same.