Your name’s Alice? Is that what you said?”: The Rescue of Wonderland’s Alice in Batman Comics
Since 2014, when I first read both Alice in Wonderland and Batwoman: Elegy, the two texts that preoccupy this essay, I have written about the latter three times: examining its portrayal of gender and sexuality; its subtle but undeniable adherence to Jewish principles; and, finally, here, where I examine its relationship to Lewis Carroll’s Alice. Of the three, this is the one that remains most present to me, likely because of how uncomfortable it makes me. I am an academic belonging to the humanities; I prefer to make my claims and interpretations with sufficient per-suasive evidence behind them to convince even the most skeptical reader, if not to agree with me, then to at least validate my argument. I am uncertain if I have accomplished this here, as I take my foundation from nothing more substantial than intuition. This is a deeply uncomfortable position to be in, and yet I cannot persuade myself to abandon it altogether. Regardless of whether or not this foundational intuition is true — and we will never know for certain, one way or the other — suspicion has its hooks in me. It will not let me go.
In writing and honing this paper, I am indebted to Mount Holyoke College, where it be-gan; to the Pop Culture Association of Canada, at whose annual meeting it was presented; and, of course, to the G. Edward Cassady, M.D., and Margaret Elizabeth Cassady, R.N., Lewis Carroll Collection, which has seen this paper to its current form. Though access to the Collection has been curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Collection’s online resources and research guide have been invaluable to me as I augmented my reading of the Alice books and accessed the wealth of criticism held in the Collection. Much of what I read has necessarily been left out of this paper, but I have learned a very great deal in the process. For that, I am deeply grateful.