Note: This is the page for the original Batwoman, for the current Batwoman, see Kate Kane
Kathy Kane was created by Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff.
The original, Pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Batwoman first appeared in Detective Comics #233. Batwoman's final appearance is in Detective Comics #485.
Katherine "Kathy" Kane spent her youth as a circus acrobat and daredevil. She was also the heiress of a wealthy family and inherited a fortune as a young woman. Enamored with Batman, Kathy Kane decided to dress up as Batwoman to entice the Batman and combat crime like he did. Batman was concerned for Batwoman's safety and often tried to discourage her so she could give up the cowl and cape. Kathy Kane retired for a short time as Batwoman, diving into her role as a Gotham City socialite, but she missed the thrill of being Batwoman. She got in costume once again to save Batman, Robin, and Superman during a mission, but continued to be dissuaded from staying as Batwoman due to the risk of being a crime-fighter. However, Kathy grew defiant and proved her skills as a crime fighter and a detective, impressing Batman. Kathy's niece, Betty Kane, came to visit in Gotham City and discovered her aunt's secret life. She immediately wanted to become a masked crusader as well and created the persona Bat-Girl. Kathy had to relent and allow her to join because Betty threatened telling others her secret identity. It was around this time that Kathy showed her romantic feelings for Batman, as Bat-Girl showed them for Robin.
On a particular mission against Catman, Kathy Kane infiltrated Catman's gang and became the Cat-Woman, his partner. However, this was a ruse to simply tell Batman and Robin where Catman's headquarters were.Kathy Kane eventually retired her secret identity and purchased a carnival, in Providencetown. She sporadically donned the Batwoman identity to help out the newest Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, on some adventures, but not too often. The League Of Assassins targeted Kathy Kane for a job under the order of their leader, Ra's al Ghul. His true intention was simply to manipulate Batman. Batman appeared in Providencetown to assist Kathy, but it was too late. He was knocked out and she was killed by the assassin known as the Bronze Tiger.
Following the Infinite Crisis, Kathy has been reinstated to her status as Batwoman, separate from Kate Kane. She was an older, rich woman who, out of boredom, decided to become the Batwoman. Her death at the hands of Bronze Tiger is presumably still canon.
During Grant Morrison's run on Batman Incorporated it is revealed that Kathy's real name is Kathy Web, marrying into the Kane's through a late but beloved husband Nathan Kane. Before his death he gave to her Kane's Kolossal Karnival, a gift she had always wanted. It was here at the Karnival that Kathy met Agent-33 of Spyral, who had come to give her a membership as well as an assignment. This assignment would then put her into her 'Batwoman' persona, the head of Spyral, Agent-Zero, wanting her to find out more information involving Batman. Kathy would soon fall in love with Batman, while at some point having an affair with Agent-33. After Batman proposes to her, she learns that Agent-Zero, while also being a nazi super-criminal, is her father, and because of this she is forced to break up with Bruce. It was also stated that before working for Spyral she was also a member of another intelligence agency, a film director, and a published poet.
Though Batman and the rest of the world thought her dead at the hands of Bronze Tiger, she reappeared in the midst of Batman, Incorporated's struggle against the sinister organization Leviathan. Now headmistress of the Spyral intelligence organization, she teamed up with Jason Todd and the rest of Batman, Inc. to defeat Leviathan's plans to set off a meta-bomb around the world. She tracks Talia Al Ghul/Leviathan to the Batcave, where she reveals herself to Bruce Wayne, kills Talia with a golden revolver, and tells Bruce not to look for her. Her whereabouts since then are unknown, but she recently convened with the current head of Spyral Mr. Minos and killed him.
In Other Media
In this DC Animated Universe direct-to-video movie Batwoman is a new vigilante working the streets of Gotham. She targets Penguin, Rupert Thorn and Carlton Duquesne. The movie revolves around Batman trying to identify the identity of Batwoman. Throughout the movie he suspects three individual women who have no connection to each other ; Gotham Police Detective Sonia Alcana (Elisa Gabrielli), Dr. Roxanne 'Rocky' Ballantine (Kelly Ripa), and Kathleen 'Kathy' Duquesne (Kimberly Brooks). We find out later that all three of them are in fact Batwoman, who unite to take on specific villains who have hurt them in their past. Throughout the movie Bruce Wayne begins a relationship with Kathleen Duquesne, who turns out to be one of the Batwomen.
Batwoman appears in Brave and the Bold episode "The Criss Cross Conspiracy?" under the civilian name Katrina Moldoff, a nod to Sheldon Moldoff, who created the character. Katrina was a bored woman who decided to take on a costume to fight crime. During a fight with the Riddler, she was unmasked, leading her to become a recluse due to the negative attention received from her unmasking. She was also banned by law to fight crime.
Years later, she seeks revenge on the Riddler by seeking out Felix Faust for a spell to switch bodies with Batman. Following the switch, she seeks out the Riddler to kill him for her humiliation at his hands. Not as experienced as Batman, she is captured by the Riddler and almost killed. In the end, she is saved by Batman- in her body- and is sentenced to prison. She was voiced by Vanessa Marshall.
Though the character was heavily inspired by Batwoman, she is never called by that name in the show. Ben Jones revealed that DC requested the name change in order to avoid confusion with the Kate Kane version of Batwoman, explaining why she is known as Katrina Moldoff instead of Kathy Kane.