Is DC Comics right to feature new Superman as bisexual?
- The character of Superman, created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, debuted in DC Comics’ Action Comics in 1938.
- In “Superman: Son of Kal-El,” 17-year-old Jon Kent, son of the original Superman (Clark Kent) and Lois Lane, takes over superhero duties for his father, who has started losing his powers.
- The first openly gay DC Comics character was Gregorio de la Vega, who appeared in Millennium #2 in 1988.
- Jon Kent’s Superman has the following abilities: solar radiation absorption, invulnerability, accelerated healing, superhuman strength, superhuman stamina, flight, enhanced visual perception (including heat vision and x-ray vision), super smell, superhuman speed, super breath, superhuman hearing, and empathic solar flare.
Superheroes have always been a little queer-coded, which happens naturally when the territory is skintight outfits and particularly close relationships with a slew of same-sex sidekicks. Unfortunately, many of the formative years of the modern comics industry were marred by the existence of the Comics Code Authority, a homophobic censorship board that, amongst a wide variety of other ridiculous requirements, forbade any direct mention of homosexuality. It created a precedent that's only just now beginning to be overturned.
Many people are understandably over the moon about the news that 'Superman is bisexual now.' It's a big deal for traditionally marginalized groups to be able to see themselves represented in such a big-name character as, arguably, Superman was the very first superhero featured in comic books and has tremendous cultural prominence.
On the other hand, some people complain that this drastically changes a character who has existed a certain way for decades. Unfortunately, that simply proves a fundamental misunderstanding of the way comics work. This isn't the Superman coming out as bisexual--it's a Superman. In this case, the Superman in question is Jon Kent, son of the famous Clark Kent, and a legacy superhero taking on the mantle of another well-established character--his father.
Notably, being bisexual doesn't diminish Superman's superpowers; in fact, being half-Kryptonian and half-human may actually amplify Jon Kent's powers. And being transparent about who he is reinforces the importance Superman places on truth--something he inherited from his journalist mother, Lois Lane.
The series writer, Tom Taylor, said it's disappointing that such a big deal was made out of Superman coming out, stating 'everyone needs heroes, and everyone deserves to see themselves in their heroes.'
Superman Jonathan Kent coming out as bisexual in the November edition of Superman: Son of Kal-El has been making headlines. But not all are positive ones.
While this has been praised as a 'bold' and 'brave' move, it's really neither in the present day. It would have been so at least 15 years ago when LGBTQ representation in the media was low at 1.4%. But, today, representation of the LGBTQ community is vastly improved. In fact, over the past 20 years, DC comics has either created or updated 88 characters to be part of this community. And unfortunately, some characters have yet to receive their fair share of the spotlight.
Take, for instance, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. The criminal duo has one of the best queer romances in DC comics--especially since their relationship was built over time and progressed naturally. However, fans still worry about them breaking up or being written off as gal pals.
Critics of this announcement also deem it a marketing stunt to revive a comic that dropped from 17th to 56th in monthly rankings.
Even former Superman actor Dean Cain has termed this an act of 'bandwagoning.' Comic lovers joined in, voicing their concern over the timing of Jon Kent's bisexuality announcement, which was on National Coming Out Day. Peoples' sexuality should not be a commodity to boost sales.
Even if DC's heart was in the right place, having Superman identify as bisexual could potentially alienate other readers. Bisexuals account for only about 3.1% of the entire US population.
Gimmicky and pretty transparent in its attempt to garner attention and profit, DC's decision to out Superman as bisexual is not the heroic deed that people are claiming it is.