DC Comic’s latest Superman is bisexual and this news is significant

DC Pride cover by Jim Lee, Scott Williams and Tamra Bonvillain. Image courtesy DC Comics
DC Pride cover by Jim Lee, Scott Williams and Tamra Bonvillain. Image courtesy DC Comics /

In DC Comics’ Superman: Son of Kal-El #5, Superman comes out as bisexual. There are negative and positive feelings about this reveal. This evolution of this iconic superhero is significant, due to the negative representation of LGBTQ identities in comics from the past.

On Monday, October 11th, National Coming Out Day, DC Comics announced that the latest issue of “Superman: Son of Kal-El ” #5 will have Jonathan Kent, Clark Kent’s son and predecessor, come out as bisexual. Jon was first introduced in 2015 and spent some time as Superboy before he took on the name Superman. In this new issue, he will have a romantic arc with “Hacktivist” and aspiring journalist friend Jay Nakumara. Jon and Jay met in high school. A panel from the series shows Jon introducing Jay to his parents, and Jay being starstruck by his journalist hero Lois Lane.

There have been mixed views about this progression in the Superman universe. Some people believe that this mainstream superhero coming out as bisexual is a much-needed representation. Others believe that there is an agenda from a “woke mob” that is ruining comics.

Tom Taylor, the writer of Kal -Al, wanted to create queer characters for a while now but they were constantly rejected.  He talked about this with IGN:

"Over the years in this industry, it probably won’t surprise you to hear I’ve had queer characters and storylines rejected… But we are in a very different and much more welcome place today than we were ten, or even five years ago. When I was asked if I wanted to write a new Superman with a new #1 for the DC Universe, I knew replacing Clark with another straight white savior could be a real opportunity missed. I’ve always said everyone needs heroes and everyone deserves to see themselves in their heroes. Today, Superman, the strongest superhero on the planet, is coming out.”"

Since Superman is a mainstream superhero that everyone recognizes, it is a big deal that the current iteration of this character represents a community that hasn’t been in a mainstream role.  Glen Weldon, the author of “Superman: The Unauthorized Biography” and the co-host of the Pop Culture Happy Hour on N.P.R, says the following in a New York Times article by George Genes Gustine:

"It is not Northstar, who your aunt has never heard of… It’s not Hulkling. It’s not Wiccan. It’s not Fire and Ice. It’s not Tasmanian Devil. It is Superman. That counts for something — just in terms of visibility, just in terms of the fact that this is going to attract attention."

In the same New York Times article, Gustines gives some history of homophobia in comics.

Starting in the 1930s, educators and parents were worried that comics were having a bad influence on their children.  Christian groups worried that the content was immoral due to minimally dressed women and evil villains. In 1954, a book called  “Seduction of the Innocent” by  Fredric Wertham contained a section that says the relationship between  Batman and Robin  “was a wish dream of two homosexuals living together.” This was during a time where censorship in media was high. This book suggested there was a correlation between comics and criminal behavior in children.

This obsession with the idea that comics negatively affect children led to the creation of the 1956 Comics Code Authority where they determined what was allowed to be in comics.  That same year Batwoman was introduced as if to quiet any insinuations of homosexuality between Robin and Batman.

One of the earliest comics to feature gay characters was in 1980 and the response was not positive. David Banner, whose alter ego is The Hulk, was at a YMCA when two gay men assaulted him. Representation got better when the Marvel hero North Star came out in 1992.  An editorial in the New York Times at that time said that one day America will accept gay Americans and North Star’s revelation will be seen as a positive thing.

It has been a slow advancement. Two months ago, DC revealed that Robin is dating a man. A few months earlier, The United States of Captain America follows a teen Captain America, Aaron Fisher, who is bisexual.

This latest issue of “Superman: Son of Kal-El” will be released on November 9th.

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What do you think of DC’s Comics decision to create LGBTQ characters?  What are you excited to see in the new Superman comic? Share with us in the comments!