The First LGBTQ Superman
Updated: Oct 17, 2021
Man Of Steels' Son Comes Out As Bi-Sexual in Latest Comic Book
This past October 11 was National Coming Out Day and one of the comic’s most beloved characters did just that. Last Monday, DC comics announced that Superman would be revealed as bisexual in the forthcoming edition of “Superman: Son of Kal-El” #5 which is to be released Tuesday, November 9.
However, the Superman who is coming out is Johnathan Kent, son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. He has all the powers of his father and has taken up the mantle while his father is away being a hero in space. This Superman series is written by Tom Taylor and artist John Timms who have previously worked together on another series with a queer protagonist: Harley Quinn.
Jon’s partner is Jay Nakamura, a “hacktivist” and reporter that looks up to Jon’s mother Lois Lane. But unlike Lois Lane, Jay has powers of his own. “Jay could be the only person in Jon’s life that he does not have to protect,” Taylor said. “I wanted to have a really equal, supportive relationship for those two.”
This revelation has caused a rift where some praise the creative choice to make Superman bisexual while others condemn it, but in either case, this decision illustrates where society is as a whole. Many people do not identify as straight and they want and deserve to see themselves in the entertainment and media that they love. Any decision that moves towards inclusion and representation is one that should be praised.
“I’ve always said everyone needs heroes and everyone deserves to see themselves in their heroes and I’m very grateful DC and Warner Bros. share this idea,” Taylor says in a HuffPost article by Elyse Wanshel. “Superman’s symbol has always stood for hope, for truth, and for justice. Today, that symbol represents something more.”
Taylor says that he has had queer characters and stories turned down in the past, but that he is excited to be working on this story for Superman. “The idea of replacing Clark Kent with another straight white savior felt like a missed opportunity,” Taylor told The New York Times. “For so many people, having the strongest superhero in comics come out is incredibly powerful.”
This reveal comes on the heels of another major DC character exploring their sexuality. On August 10 2021 Tim Drake, the third Robin, who later goes on to become Red Robin, was confirmed to be bisexual. “Batman: Urban Legends” #6 sees young Tim Drake accept a date with a childhood friend, Bernard.
The reaction to Tim Drake coming out as bisexual was massive for the LGBTQ+ community with many tweeting out sentiments along the lines of “we won.” It is a long fight for representation and Tim Drake coming out helped a lot of people feel seen, Superman coming will really give the people something to cheer for.
Dean Cain, who used to play Superman in the 1993 television show Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, recently said in an interview with Fox and Friends First referring to DC comics Superman reveal, “they said it’s a bold new direction, I say they’re bandwagoning. Robin just came out as bi — who’s really shocked about that one?”
Cain is referring to the age-old homophobic association of Batman and Robin being queer that gained prominence in 1954 with the release of “Seduction of the Innocent” by psychiatrist Fredrick Wertham. In the book, Wertham talks about violence and suggests a connection between comics and juvenile delinquency. One section of the book has Wertham describing Batman and Robin’s relationship as “a wish dream of two homosexuals living together.”
The book inspired congressional hearings and ultimately led to the creation of the Comics Code Authority. This is how the comics industry set standards on what comics could depict. By having Tim Drake be bisexual in canon, DC has turned that old, negative depiction into a positive one.
Some may feel that Superman is being taken away from them. Clark Kent has traditionally been seen as an “All American” hero. He is tall, strong, and next to invincible. He is a role model for men and boys everywhere. What people tend to forget is that he is an alien. He is “other” and has his own difficulties being a stranger in a strange land. Superman being bisexual is just a new kind of “other,” one that is just harder to forget and push to the background.
It has taken a long time to see non-heteronormative depictions of characters that are more than their sexual orientation. While Jon Kent is bisexual, and that is an important aspect of the character, he is also Superman. Superman protects everyone and is quite possibly the strongest and most iconic of all superheroes. He still defends the weak and protects the innocent. Isn’t that what everyone wants from Superman?
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Christopher Thomas is a contributing writer here at thepyrrhic.com. He enjoys movies, television, and other forms of nerdery.
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