On 11th October, National Coming Out Day, DC Comics announced that the son of our beloved Clark Kent and Lois Lane – the new Superman, Johnathan Kent – will enter into a romantic relationship with one of his male friends.
Tom Taylor, the writer of the new “Superman: Son of Kal El” series, talked about the idea behind John’s coming out and said “[a] new Superman had to have new fights — real world problems — that he could stand up to as one of the most powerful people in the world.”
Although this isn’t the first LGBT+ representation we’ve come across in comics, having a titular character, deeply associated with American culture, be a part of the community only offers more visibility to the queer kids reading these comics. Glen Weldon, the author of “Superman: The Unauthorized Biography,” and the co-host of the Pop Culture Happy Hour on N.P.R. said, “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.” Other DC heroes, like Batman’s sidekick Robin and a new character being introduced in the Aquaman series, both identify as queer.
While this decision is definitely going to receive hate and homophobic comments from the toxic straight male audience, this step towards inclusivity should not earn these big production companies brownie points for their “courage”. It is a difficult line to walk as queer comic enjoyers deprived of queer content from your favourite companies, to love any and every queer hero unconditionally because you’re just happy to have them there. Having a bisexual Superman isn’t enough; enriching his story through the exploration of his identity and understanding of self, without turning it into a one-dimensional portrayal of queer love should be the main motive for making this character come out. Here’s hoping the writers won’t pull a Loki on us and deliver on their promise.
News Source: New York Times