DC Comics’ Superman is now bisexual, and a forthcoming issue features a romantic encounter between the Man of Steel and a male reporter. The superhero’s woke makeover has caused some controversy, to say the least.
Jon Kent, son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, is a thoroughly modern superhero. He fights climate change and school shootings, and uses his superpowers to stop the deportation of illegal immigrants. Now, in the latest issue of ‘Superman: Son of Kal-El’, he comes out as bisexual, with the comic’s pages depicting a kiss between the Man of Steel and Jay Nakamura, a reporter.
“Superman’s symbol has always stood for hope, for truth, and for justice,” writer Tom Taylor said in a statement on Monday. “Today, that symbol represents something more. Today, more people can see themselves in the most powerful superhero in comics.”
Created back in 1938, Superman was always the quintessential American hero: Strong, masculine, and fighting for “truth, justice, and the American way.” However, DC Comics amended this catchphrase in July when Jon Kent’s story began in the first issue of ‘Superman: Son of Kal-El’, swapping his father’s original patriotic declaration for “Truth, justice, and a better world.”
By that stage, DC had already hired race activist Ta-Nehisi Coates to work on a race-swapped Superman movie (which has since lost its director, JJ Abrams), and changing Superman’s sexuality was a natural progression for Taylor, who told the New York Times that “the idea of replacing Clark Kent with another straight white savior felt like a missed opportunity.”
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However, many fans and pundits – particularly those of a conservative bent – had no issue with the Superman of old. Angered by what they saw as a tacked-on gay subplot, they slated DC Comics online
“Excellent! But for real inclusion, I’d also like to see Lois Lane become pansexual and Lex Luthor identify as a gender-fluid lesbian,” tweeted English contrarian Piers Morgan.
However, supporters of the new, woke Superman dismissed this criticism, arguing that the people most upset by the change “haven’t purchased a single comic book in their lifetimes.”
Despite the dominance of superhero movies at the cinema and on streaming platforms, comic sales have remained lackluster for several years. Woke storylines haven’t managed to connect with a younger audience, and former DC artist Ethan Van Sciver said on YouTube this summer that “there’s a palpable sense of desperation” in the industry.
“The comics biz is a disaster right now,” Van Sciver claimed. “It doesn’t seem as though anyone is trying to make money by producing sellable, desirable, collectable comic books. Most creators are using the media of comics to attempt to pitch television shows and movies to Netflix. They’re trying to attract media attention by virtue signaling their diversity and inclusion initiatives.”
On the diversity front, Jon Kent isn’t the only LGBT hero unveiled by DC in recent months. Back in August, DC revealed that Batman’s sidekick Tim Drake is bisexual.
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