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Top Five Batman Girlfriends

The man DOES get around! Grant Morrison recently introduced a new girlfriend into Batman’s life, Jezebel Jet. I’d say she is far too new to make Batman’s top five girlfriends, but she does give us a good opportunity TO examine Batman’s top five girlfriends in the Batman comic books over the years.

Enjoy!

I say Sasha and Talia do not count as girlfriends. He and Sasha never really got involved, and Talia was strictly a fling thing.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Does Linda Page even merit mentioning?

JUST missing the list is super plot-device, Shondra Kinsolving. She showed up right before Knightfall, then was basically a DOUBLE deus ex machina. First, she was a reason for Bruce to leave Gotham, so as to facilitate Jean Paul Valley’s descent into madness (Bruce had to rescue her) AND she was the reason he healed (she had healing powers – out of nowhere).

Heck, her name should have been Shondra Plot-Problems-Solving!

5. Vesper Fairchild

vesperfairchild.jpg

Vesper is not much better than Shondra, but while she was also fairly annoying, she was not there for a plot device, originally. Until Greg Rucka brought her back to the book specifically to kill her off AS a plot device, but that’s neither her nor there.

When she was in the book as a real character (under Doug Moench), she was a pretty interesting foil to Bruce.

4. Vicki Vale

vicki-sm.jpg

Poor Vicki.

I do not think that she ever really got enough to do in the books. I think Alan Grant was wise to write her out of the title when he did. Still, she’s a fine character, just not used to her fullest as Bruce’s girlfriend.

3. Silver St. Cloud

silverstcloud.jpg

I really liked her as Bruce’s girlfriend, but I thought her whole dilemma over Bruce as Batman was a bit much.

I liked her in Dark Detective, though.

The late, great Marshall Rogers sure drew her beautifully, didn’t he?

2. Catwoman

catwoman.jpg

I think Bruce and Selina have such good chemistry, plus the whole “good guy/bad woman” thing works really well. That said, sometimes, it seems like they’re put together more because they’re big names, and less because they actually belong together.

1. Julie Madison

juliemadison.jpg

I think Julie Madison just flat-out rocks. Is there anything actually WRONG with her?

That’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

62 Comments

Anything beats Grant Morrison forcing “Jezebel Jet” (perhaps the worst name in comics history–which says A LOT) down everyone’s throat. Seriously, Bruce Wayne with a Paris Hilton rip-off? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.

I like the Bruce/Selina interactions, but the Batman/Catwoman flirtations seem more like the kind of fetishizing that goes on in the Powers universe on a daily basis.

Morrison seems to be avoiding playing Jezebel Jet as a Paris Hilton type. Honestly, she comes across more like Angelina Jolie with the repeated references to her international charity work.

Dini, meanwhile, did the blatant Paris Hilton takeoff in that Iceberg lounge gambling scam issue last year. I think that was the point when I figured out that Detective #821 was a total fluke and Dini’s run was never getting any better.

Well, first of all, I totally disagree about Talia. I mean, it may have been a fling for Bruce, but she sure used to take it seriously. You never saw Selina throwing around “my love” all the time the way Talia did.

And I’d easily bump Vesper for all the times Bruce dated Lois Lane.

Whatever happened to Julie Madison? Ha Ha. It’s kinda sad that Batman doesn’t have a girlfriend. But I guess the crime fighting takes a lot of energy & stuff.

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Thanks, Tommy

Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Talia (daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul) bear a child by Bruce Wayne?

I don’t know if that can be counted as a fling since they were serious lovers who married as stated in Batman: Son of the Demon.

Talia should count, but she wouldn’t make my list either.

I miss Vicki Vale.

This really should be titled “Top Five Batman Beards”.

This Talia argument is becoming an interesting look at what nerds think of as a “girlfriend”. A girlfriend is someone with whom you are in a relationship. Not someone who you have a sexual fling with, regardless of how infatuated they are with you. There has to be some actual relationship beyond making out.

And no, pregnancy does not a girlfriend make.

Have he and Catwoman ever actually dated, or do they just fight and dry-hump on rooftops?

Julie who?

Call it a fling, an infatuation, or a weird fetish thing, but the only “relationships” that ring even remotely true when Batman is involved are with Catwoman and Talia (or other “superwomen”).

The others all look as genuine as Michael Jackson’s marriages.

I don’t know if that is because “Bruce Wayne” is such a non-entity, or because Batman is queer as hell and it only feels true when he is involved with leather-clothed persons.

It carries on to the Batman movies and cartoons too. Every female character that appears in them as Bruce’s girlfriend is immediately forgot except for the ones that wear costumes.

Every female character that appears in them as Bruce’s girlfriend is immediately forgot except for the ones that wear costumes.

That’s more of a comment on writers’ poor ability at writing interesting civilian characters, than on Batman’s romantic life.

And also a bit of a comment on the audience.

“Every female character that appears in them as Bruce’s girlfriend is immediately forgot except for the ones that wear costumes.”

Vicki Vale was referred to in both ‘Batman Returns’ and ‘Batman Forever’, wasn’t she?

Matt Wagner’s “Batman and the Monster Men” and “Batman and the Mad Monk” picked up Julie Madison and ran with her, neatly explaining what happened to her by the end of the 2nd mini-series. I thought she was a pretty cool character who looked pretty hot in the semi-retro fashions Wagner decked her out in. As I recall, though, she was a redhead in those comics.

And I agree that Marshall Rogers drew the hell out of Silver St. Cloud, too.

I remember Vicki Vale being referred to in an oblique way in ‘Batman Returns’, but not the other one.

To quibble a bit, a couple of the characters on this list are not exactly ‘girlfriends’. I do not remember Bruce and Selina having anything like a relationship. They dated and shared an alternative life-style, but neither has ever seemed to be in love with the other. Admittedly, I am not well-versed in the pre-1970s, but I have never seen Vicki Vale as that serious of a relationship.

Julie Madison was engaged to Bruce, so that is major. She has an interesting (and creepy) history. The notion that the first woman to wear the Robin costume is also the most significant emotional relationship in Batman history is … interesting.

Silver St. Cloud owes an awful lot to Marshall Rodgers, but she was a real girlfriend. I have no memory of Vesper Fairchild.

On the other hand, Talia has had several memorable appearances that dealt with their relationship. It is not romantic, but they were together on-and-off for a LONG time. Talia was way more into Batman than he was her, but that does not mean it was trivial. By my count, she is more of a ‘girlfriend’ than three of the women listed.

This makes me think of the distinction between a secret identity and an alter ego. I’d say that an alter ego means you’re pretending to be someone you’re not, like the meek, clumsy pre-Crisis Clark Kent. “Bruce Wayne”, to me, is an alter ego. Batman is who he really is.

I always thought that Batman avoids getting into a relationship with anyone he could possibly get serious about. He’s married to The Mission.

Bruce, OTOH, isn’t real, so none of his relationships could be real, either. So throw all of Bruce’s GF’s out the window.

Trouble comes when The Mission brings him into contact with women who he might be able to love. To me, that means he only has two candidates for Real Love – Talia and Selina (put them #1 and #2 in whatever order you like). Both are flawed, but at the end of the day, he’s more flawed, isn’t he? Can Batman really have a girlfriend?

I mean, say what you want about the Parker and Kent marriages, but can you even imagine DC having Bruce Wayne really, truly (Not An Imaginary Story!) get married?

I liked Sasha Bordeaux. Bruce Wayne’s ex-bodyguard now of cyborg agent of CTU, er Checkmate…

KMFPL is correct. It’s not the writers’ fault. The Batman mythos has a lot of civilian characters that are fascinating and translate well to a lot of media: Gordon, Alfred, Renee Montoya…

But Bruce Wayne’s civilian girlfriends have always been non-entities, IMO. That is how much I disagree with 4 of Brian Cronin’s choices. Because Batman is really the least human of all superheroes, he doesn’t have a normal human identity, he doesn’t really has normal human relationships that convince.

Bruce Wayne is fake, and only Batman is real, and Batman can only really get involved with people in the superhuman community. Silver St. Cloud came close, because she discovered who Bruce was, but still…

I also would apply the recall test here. When you hear “Batman”, what are the associated female characters that first comes to mind? Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Batgirl… perhaps the most significant female civilian is Vicky Vale, that maybe doesn’t even rank in the top 10 of Batman’s most important female characters (I’d also rank Martha Wayne, Talia, Harley Queen, Renee Montoya, the Huntress, all above her).

You left Robin out, for christsake….

The Batman mythos has a lot of civilian characters that are fascinating and translate well to a lot of media: Gordon, Alfred, Renee Montoya…

Gordon and Alfred aren’t women.

Montoya is currently The Question. And it would be the writer’s fault that she became a superhero.

Wow, Carrie Kelley is a scary choice to add here. That just adds another dimension of “messed up” to Brucie, don’t it?

Apodaca, I’m pretty sure Rene didn’t see Gordon and Alfred as love interests (not that there’s anything wrong with that…)

Vicky Vale is a non-entity to me, and I’ve read a lot of Batman comics. The only reason she has name recognition is the first Burton film. Wasn’t she just a lame Lois Lane rip-off?

I agree with a lot of what KMFPL had to say. Bruce Wayne is an alter ego, which does have an effect on his romantic life. That said, so is Clark Kent in most versions of the Superman story. The difference is that in classical terms, Superman is a comedy. The central problem to be resolved is how to marry off the Last Son of Krypton, so that he can reproduce. The nerdy persona is a further complication to that central problem, since Superman wants Lois (or any civilian) to fall in love with Clark FIRST. It is a nice little metaphor for those of us who have been married for awhile. Women fall in love with the Superman side, but have to live with Clark too.

Conversely, Batman is a TRAGEDY. Frank Miller blinked at going all the way in DKR, but the point is there. Batman is subject to the same Iron Law of Age that afflicts jocks. Sooner or later, he is going to lose one step too many. It happened to Jordan, Magic and Bird. It will happen to Bruce Wayne.

The difference is that Batman is like a gunfighter. Losing one step too many is fatal. However, he is incapable of leaving his mission alone. It defines him utterly. Moreover, it is a mission that will never be finished. After all, he is fighting CRIME. What are the odds that he is going to defeat an idea? That means he cannot retire, so he will press on until he loses that step.

The women in his life are either Ophelia-types, or Lady MacBeth types. Batman writers have done a better job creating the Lady MacBeth type. Selina Kyle and Talia are caught up in their own tragedies.

None of the Ophelia type have ever had much depth. There are real world women who engage in self-destructive relationships with emotionally unavailable men. Some of the reasons for that behavior are interesting from a dramatic perspective. However, I have never seen that in any version of Batman. I am not sure why.

Apodaca, I’m pretty sure Rene didn’t see Gordon and Alfred as love interests (not that there’s anything wrong with that…)

I know. It seemed to me that the discussion was about why it is that the female supporting characters in Batman’s mythos who aren’t superheroes aren’t as memorable. Therefore, Gordon and Alfred wouldn’t be relevant to the topic.

I might have misunderstood what was being talked about, though.

Not to add another cape to the list, but didn’t Batman and Wonder Woman date for a bit? They seemed to use this a little in the animated “Justice League” (including the ep when they were turned to kids with the Demon).

Fair enough, Apodeca.

The difference, in that case, is that Gordon and Alfred both interact with the REAL Bruce Wayne. You can add Leslie Tompkins to the list, too, I suppose.

I’ll restate my main premise: Since millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne is just a disguise, none of his relationships (male or female) will ever be relevant. Only people who interact with Batman will ever really matter in BATMAN stories.

You make a strong point.

Have he and Catwoman ever actually dated

Back in the late ’70s and early ’80s Bruce and Selina were a genuine item in their civilian IDs and in costume.

I like the idea of a Batman/Wonder Woman romance, but I don’t know how much has ever been done with it. The kiss in the JLU “Starcrossed” episode wasn’t really a romantic kiss. I remember a scene in the JLA comic with them fighting and flirting in the JLA’s not-Danger Room. Did anything ever happen with that?

If they never really kissed, I wouldn’t count it as dating…

I really liked her as Bruce’s girlfriend, but I thought her whole dilemma over Bruce as Batman was a bit much.

I liked her in Dark Detective, though.

In the original run of Engelhart/Rogers Detective, that dilemma lasts all of two issues– just long enough for her to decide to leave Bruce! Unless you’re referring to Dark Detective or the Goodwin/Robinson-written Legends of the Dark Knight arc (which I did not read).

That said, I probably would have ranked Selina Kyle first followed by Silver St. Cloud and Julie Madison.

Batman and Talia did have a significant (although short lived and mostly off panel) relationship in Son of the Demon. In 100 words or less, Batman dropped his resistance to Ra’s league, for all practical purposes recognized the arranged marriage to Talia, and yes, bedded her, but also was concerned for her and she eventually dumped him. How is that not a girlfriend? :). Morrison’s extension of the story doesn’t sit well with me, but as has been discussed, if Batman is the persona, and Bruce is the disguise, any relationship outside of Catwoman and Talia is going to be irrelevent.

I agree that the girlfriend’s listed are “beards” of Batman stripped of the closeted homosexual connotation, but as far as the Bruce Wayne mask is concerned, they were legitimate conquests.

Or in 10 words or less, what KMFPL said.

Anyone who thinks Bruce Wayne can’t have a real girlfriend probably hasn’t read Englehart’s Batman. It couldn’t last, but it’s far and away my favourite Bat-relationship.

I don’t quite get the Batman/Catwoman shipping, but it obviously belongs on the list.

Talia should be up there. The reltionship was odd and non-traditional in a lot of ways, but belongs on this sort of list.

Andrea Beaumont from Mask of the Phantasm is a personal favourite.

Beyond that… well, there was possibly some sort of relationship off-camer during the later Animated Series episodes with Barbra Gordon that certainly beame serious during the gap between TAS and Batman Beyond before it ended badly.

Where are these great Julie Madison stories? The only appearnces I’ve read have her a boring and generic Golden Age girlfriend-type.

Englehart probably wrote the most interesting Bruce Wayne ever, didn’t he? It was actually an extension of what he was trying to accomplish as Batman, and so he was the most “real” Bruce…

Batman and Catwoman got married Pre-crisis and had a kid. Or at least the Earth 2 versions did. You might of heard of the kid, who was the Pre-Crisis version of the Huntress.

Batman/Wonder Woman was sort of serious in Morrison’s JLA, enough so that there was an episode where Diana had John J’onnz hook her up to a machine so she could explore what would happen if she got involved with Bruce. (There’s a bunch of fun hypotheticals in that issue.) At the end of the issue she decided against pursuing a relationship.

And I assume we’ve all purged our memories of Batman/Black Canary from ASBAR.

Who the heck is Julie Madison?

Julie was the very first/Golden Age girlfriend, stealthwise, and as Edward points out above, she’s appeared in Matt Wagner’s recent miniseries.

I disagree with the omission of Talia. I’ve always thought Talia was the one for him. Like Tracey was to James Bond, the one woman who’s his match, their love is doomed.

Catwoman and Batman are drawn to one another because they each represent something the other desperately wants -for him freedom and for her control- which neither can have. They’re bad for each other, which is a large, unhealthy part of the attraction.

Batman and Catwoman got married Pre-crisis and had a kid. Or at least the Earth 2 versions did. You might of heard of the kid, who was the Pre-Crisis version of the Huntress.

I knew about that, but DC editorial’s stance is that those were effectively different characters, so I wasn’t including it.

The only one great Julie Madison story I know of is from Secret Origins #6. It has great art by Marshall Rogers; and it shows Bruce Wayne & Julie Madison taking acting classes at the University and doing Theater together. Then after graduation, Julie goes on to become a Broadway Star and possibly a Movie Star.

I always thought that was a great idea. That if Bruce Wayne was going to have a steady girlfriend, she should be a movie star (ala JFK Jr.)

Because of this great story, the Matt Wagner version never rang quite true with me. She never had enough spunk and thus felt like any other generic Bruce Wayne relationship.

If anything, the Vicky Vale/Julia Pennyworth romantic triangle of the Doug Moench “Batman Era” had more depth than Wagner’s Julie.

As far as Talia goes, I remember a story arc from the 70’s where Batman & Talia became an item and she even ended up moved in. Batman of course, ends up kicking Robin out of Wayne Manor. The seventies were weird man; but I think that counts as a relationship. The funny thing is that Dick Grayson ends up crashing at Selina Kyle’s place! (You know, ‘ cause if your Mentor kicks you out on account of a girl, the best way to stick it to him is to go to his Ex’s).

Anyways…

I kind of liked Rachel Caspian (the Reaper’s Daughter). She was the inspiration for Mask of the Phantasm and Batman messed her up so bad that she ended up becoming a Nun.

As far as Batman and Wonder Woman, I think Joe Kelly wrote a story (JLA #90) in which they used Superman’s “What if” machine to see how life would be like if they dated.

Apparently, Bruce didn’t like Diana’s side of the Family!

My vote still goes to Selina Kyle/Catwoman. She is the quintessential femme fatal, and they dated throughout the Hush storyline (plus the Seventies).

Here are some covers to help you track those comics I mentioned.

http://image.milehighcomics.com/istore/images/fullsize/72760981648.6.GIF

http://image.milehighcomics.com/istore/images/fullsize/44007723690.90.GIF

Yes, I mentioned Alfred and Gordon just to point that there isn’t a problem in how the Batman writers portray civilian characters, since both are civilians and are major characters. It’s more a problem with characters that only get to interact with the Bruce Wayne façade.

As outlandish as it may seem at first, Batman dating Wonder Woman makes more sense than any of the civilian women of the list.

What, no Talia?

Sorry Rene, but if the most likely pairing is WW, then he is impossible to create a plausible heterosexual love interests for Batman. Diana is on a mission to undermine the patriarchy by setting an example of peace and tolerance. Bruce is on a mission to create order through fear. They are polar opposities.

Opposites attract, and calling them polar opposites is going a bit far. In the end, they are warriors protecting the innocent. Just because WW opened an embassy once upon a time doesn’t make her diplomat, and Batman works mostly to instill fear in criminals, not the entire populace of Gotham.

Opposites mostly attract in crappy movies.

In real life, women tend to pair with equal, or higher, status men. Wonder Woman is a royal and had zero exposure modern ideas of love prior to adulthood. Bruce Wayne may be rich, but he is not a Prince. She might overlook that if he were the de facto leader of JLA, which he isn’t. He plays the Merlin role for the most part.

Also, they are hardly ‘both warriors’ in the same sense of the term. Batman uses his wits by and large. Think of the dock scene in “Batman Begins”. He uses deception to divide up his opponents and beat them one-by-one. This is all designed to instill the fear necessary for giving an edge in the NEXT fight. Wonder Woman comes from the Greek tradition seen in ‘300’. We know from the Illiad that the Amazons were among the bravest of the fighters at Troy. Imagine the contempt Leonidas would show Batman, or vice-versa.

The first impression WW had of Bats was probably ‘coward’ and his of her was ‘fool’. Compound this with the difference in their missions and you have deeply incompatible people. Maybe they’ve come to mutual respect and tolerance as collegues, but that is hardly the basis for a romance.

Bruce Wayne may be rich, but he is not a Prince. She might overlook that if he were the de facto leader of JLA, which he isn’t. He plays the Merlin role for the most part.

I have to disagree. Batman is the Alpha-male of the Justice League. He is the smartest, more dangerous and most successful of the bunch, on and off the Hall of Justice. He’s taken the League on by himself on numerous occasions, and won. Plus, he is their chief strategist and problem solver. The finest Knight the Justice League has.

Outside the JLA, he may not be a Prince or a King, but his intelligence and riches affords him a instant status symbol recognition all over the world.

If every woman in the world wants him, you can rest assure that Diana will want him too; Amazon or not.

And to have him would be the greatest conquest of them all, which appeals inmensly to the Amazon in Wonder Woman (whether she knows it or not).

And finally, as an Amazon, Wonder Woman doesn’t want someone who will physically dominate her. She won’t be attracted to the strongest, just the smartest.

She also knows that Batman is not intimidated by her, will allow her to be herself, but can still protect her like no other man can.

And finally,

The thing that seals the deal…

Batman is a Family Man. He has raised two Robins and is a surrogate father to one Batgirl. He is the whole package. The finest male specimen there is. La creme de la creme. Amazon or not, Wonder Woman will recognize this… in her skin.

And if ALL THAT wasn’t enough… he’s the loner of the group, the one that needs to be saved from himself. Plus, he ignores her.

The whole thing plays out beautifully in the Justice League Animated series.

I recommend the episode entitled Kid’s Stuff.

I think your list is close…

5. Julie Madison, for being first.
4. Vicki Vale, as much for the Burton film as anything
3. Catwoman, for the Earth-2 background and the chemistry
2. Talia, for, you know, having his kid
1. Silver St. Cloud, who is the most interesting to me based on the Englehart-Rogers stories.

I could be wrong, but the Golden Age Julie _was_ a movie-star, I think– isn’t that how Batman first crossed paths with Clayface?

I have to admit that the Batman/Wonder Woman relationship in the Justice League/JLU cartoon is the only one I ever found even remotely plausible. Hats off to the JLU guys for doing what I previously had not believed possible, and within the constraints of a children’s show, no less!

Catwoman at number two ? come on…

It’s love at firt sight since Batman NUMBER ONE for Christ’s sake !

“I think Julie Madison just flat-out rocks. Is there anything actually WRONG with her?”

besides the fact she isn’t a bit interesting and has zero personnality ?

Andrea Beaumont, hands down. She was the only one who really “got” Bruce and his mindset.

Wasn’t there some mild flirtation going on between Batman and Zatanna in Superman/Batman and Detective Comics recently or am I totally off-base? I know that in a recent two-parter, Zatanna helped Bats take on Joker. During the story we learned that she knew Bruce when they were kids(she was able to reach out to him with a sleight-of-hand trick during his first birthday after his parents’ death). And during the story Bruce stopped blaming Zatanna about that whole “Identity Crisis” debacle(having made an error in judgment himself during the story that almost got Zatanna killed).

Paul Dini wrote them as having an easy chemistry, with her sense of humor playing off his brooding personality. If they want to pair Batman off with another superhero, she’d be my choice.

Zatanna any day.She and Bruce have chemistry.And she isn’t OTT or snippy or antagonistic.Genuinely cares for him and he for her.
First sign of a balanced healthy relationship………..if DC would allow it.

Catwoman #2? COME ON! Since 1940, in Batman #1!

Julie Madison. Since 1939, in Detective Comics #31.

WELL!

Batman #1 sounds beterrrrr!

Hey, WTH is Julie Madison now?

5.Zatanna
4.Vicky Vale
3.Silver
2.Selina
1.Talia

Why is Talia a better girlfriend than Selina?

Silver rules!

10.Vesper
9.Jet
8.Sasha
7.Vicky
6.Diana
5.Zatanna
4.Julie
3.Selina
2.Silver
1.Talia

I have to disagree with you. Being a Catwoman enthusiast and Batman lover, myself. Naturally, I’m bias to this relationship. BUT… you say that Talia al Ghul wasn’t worth mentioning because she was merely a “fling,” I have to stop you there. I believe you should give credit where credit is due. She married Batman and bore him a SON! How is that a fling?? That doesn’t constitute a “fling” in my book. She and Batman have always loved each other. AND of ALL the women Batman has “had,” I think these 2 women definitely belong at the top… Talia more so than anyone.

Rather than Vesper (who I wasn’t even aware of since that was the period when I didn’t read Batman comic books), I’d have had Linda Page on the list. She was a significant girlfriend, and was used as a character in the 1940s movie serials.

I just reread the HUSH arc last night, and Catwoman/Selina and Batman/Bruce were very steamy in that one. Also seems like Lee’s version of Catwoman was inspirational to Arkham City Catwoman.

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