Batwoman (originally referred to as the Bat-Woman) is the name of several fictional characters, female counterparts to the superhero Batman. The original version was created by Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff. Her alter ego is Kathy Kane. This character appears in publications produced by DC Comics and related media beginning in Detective Comics #233 (1956). 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). 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 continued to be referred to occasionally.
The second 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. Both incarnations of the character are written as the heiress of a family whose fortune is comparable to the wealth of Bruce Wayne. The name has since been used by several other characters including Selina Kyle, Helena Wayne, and Bette Kane.