Superman is arguably the most influential superhero of all time. He made his first appearance being in action comics #1, which came out in 1938.
Since then, DC comics have grown around this icon, with him at the focal point of it all. Superman has done hundreds of deeds across the film and comic series. Ranging from him saving the world quite a few times, to him fighting Muhammad Ali, and even fighting off a group of white supremacists.
In the most recent issue, Superman is opened to a larger audience.
Jon Kent, the current son of Clark Kent (Superman) and Lois Lane, came out as bisexual. The most recent issue of his series called Superman: Son of Kal-El, which was released on Nov. 16, dives into Kent’s coming out story and his love interest.
Kent’s love interest is a hacktivist named Jay Nakamura. Hacktivist get unauthorized access to government files and networks to further social and political ends,
This reveal sparked great excitement and made worldwide headlines.
D.C said that sales for the issues 1-4 were “unprecedented” and once the reveal was made, they announced they would be reprinting the previous issues, so fans can catch up on the series before the new issue comes out.
While there was great excitement, there was also controversy on this relationship being included in the comic.
Some fans of the icon took to social media to bash the writers and artist for this decision.
Dean Cain, who played Superman in a 90’s Superman tv show, accused DC comics of ‘bandwagoning, saying that “DC just had Robin come out as bi- who’s really shocked about that? The new Captain America is gay, so I don’t think its a bold or brave move or some crazy new direction.”
Cain also said that the writers should tackle ‘real issues.’ Wondering “[t]hey’re talking about him fighting climate change and deportation of refugees, and he’s dating a hacktivist-whatever a hacktivist is. Why don’t they have him fight injustices that created refugees whose deportation he’s protesting? That would be brave, I’d read that.”
Superman writer Tom Taylor responded to this, saying “That’s actually a big part of the story we’re telling. Glad Dean thinks it’s brave and that he’ll be reading Superman.”
Some made direct death threats to the artists and writers of the comic. Threats from the fanbase rose to extremely high levels, to the point where law enforcement had to rush to writers’ houses and even the studio itself to ensure the safety of the writers.
The fact that this sparks controversy is absurd.
Kent being an openly queer character does not change who he is. If anything, it helps open up this comic to a wider audience and lets these people see a part of themselves in the most powerful superhero of all time.
LGBTQ+ representation in the media and pop culture is becoming more and more common, especially in the past decade. From Elliot Page in ‘The Umbrella Academy”, to Dan Levy in “Schitts Creek.”
The people opposed to having a bisexual character in this comic believe it takes away from the story of Superman. The character of Superman having a love interest in any story progresses it, because having the conflict of priorities is important to build on and further any character in storytelling. Throughout the Superman comics alone, Superman has had more than ten different love interests. His son has one. Simply put, the outburst behind Superman having a love interest because the love interest is queer is uncalled for, considering his father has had more than 10 throughout comics and film.
This also isn’t the first time D.C has had queer characters in their comics and movies. The Joker’s- ex girlfriend, Harley Quinn, left him for her friend Poison Ivy. One of Batman’s many Robin sidekicks, Tim Drake, recently accepted a date from a secret male admirer. And there’s also the scientist Victoria October, who is openly transgender, who debuted in a 2017 Batman comic.
Pop culture and other forms of media are starting to become tolerant of queer characters in the celebrity world and their media. This addition is not something new, but it is special. Superman started superheroes, and having a new iteration of this character be more relatable to a separate audience is a big deal.
The entire point of Superman was to have a character for people to look up to, and Jon Kents sexuality lets it branch out into a wider audience, and representation is important.