"The Women of DC Comics: A Retrospect" - Day 10: Betty Kane:
By the late 1950s speculations began to rise about the dynamic between Batman (Bruce Wayne) and Robin (Dick Grayson); not a father / son relationship but a homoerotic one. This resulted in the creation of both Kathy Kane (Batwoman) and her cousin, Bette Kane, who would become the first Bat-Girl in Bill Finger's Batman 139 from April 1961. Inspired by her crime fighting cousin, Bette also wanted to don a costume influenced by her new love interest, Robin. This 'Bat-Girl' would only be in comics until 1964 when DC editor Julius Schwartz thought this and the Batwoman character weren't strong female heroines (hence the intro of Barbara Gordon's Batgirl in 1967). It wasn't until Post-Crisis on Infinite Earths continuity that we see the revamped Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Kane in George Perez' Secret Original Annual 3 in 1989 where she joins the West Coast Teen Titans or 'Titans West'. By day Betty was an extraordinary athlete and martial artist, both a successful professional tennis player and an Olympic swimmer in Southern California. But the one challenge she hasn't beaten yet was winning the heart of Dick Grayson, who she highly admired. This crush would lead her to design a costume inspired by his new persona, Nightwing, and call herself Flamebird. Becoming one of the founding members of Titans West, she finally met Nightwing, there was never any romantic connection. As this love affair sizzled so did Titans West which quickly disbanded. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Betty became over her infatuation with Grayson and focused on being Flamebird. From trying to join the Teen Titans (but not accepted) to aiding Beast Boy on a mission to even being a member of the short lived 'Titans L.A', Flamebird always had much more joy being a crime fighter. As The New 52 began, Betty decided to focus on school and moves to Gotham City. After running into her cousin Kate Kane and discovering her secret identity as Batwoman, Kate decides to have her as her sidekick named Hawkfire. Whether the 1st Bat-Girl, Flamebird or Hawkfire, Betty Kane continues to showcase herself as a strong female character in the DC Universe.