At one time, around the turn of the twenty-first century, a reasonable argument could be made that a writer’s personal interpretations that led to altering the sexual preferences of long-time characters in comics and fiction was a bridge too far and that if new creators wished to impose a ‘reading’ on a character that was very different from that held by previous creators, then they should invent a new character that fits that mold rather than trying to sell comics using controversial press or pandering. One excellent example of this approach is DC’s Midnighter who is basically a gay version of Batman.
In fact, some of the biggest names in comicdom have gone on the record about their opposition to the trend of changing the sexual preference of established characters in comics. Mark Buckingham, perhaps best known for his art for Neil Gaiman’s Death and Sandman once remarked:
“…I cannot help but feel it’s increasingly lazy on the part of both creators and publishers to do shocking things with or to established characters for instant notoriety and a brief sales rise. I want to read New Comics with New Characters. We will not open up comics to a wider audience simply by slapping a different sexual preference, gender, religion or ethnic background on an existing hero.”
Even Alan Grant has gone on record against the trend of this superhero conversion therapy.
“…I don’t understand is why people want to impose themselves on established characters. Why don’t they create a new character espousing the extra characteristics they’d like the established character to have? Why don’t they do a spoof version?
The partial answer might be that they’re incapable of creating an iconic character; much easier to leech onto someone else’s creation. Unless they’re handled properly, over a period of time by a writer and artist who care, claims like “Batman is gay” are just one-shot jokes, a gag before moving on to Jim Nick-Nick Davison’s next one-liner. They have little relevance, and no endurance.”
Hard to argue with that, but as recently as last week, DC Comics did just that. Out of nowhere, writer Meghan Fitzmartin turned a former Robin, Tim Drake, into a gay man, or at least “bi-curious“. And make no mistake, Tim Drake is one of the most important characters in the DC world. He’s dated and snogged at least a dozen popular female characters and has even been in a serious relationship with a fellow Batman family member, since 1993.
Tim Drake, also known as Robin, a.k.a. Red Robin, as first created by Marv Wolfman and Pat Broderick in 1989. The character took over as Robin following the controversial reader-demanded death of the second Robin, Jason Todd. Drake went on to remain a popular character for 21 years, starring in comic books and the popular Batman the Animated Series. And after two decades of being a fan favorite, in a last page reveal, Robin suddenly appears ready to go date a gay boy.
Consternation quickly ensured, but things don’t stop there. Fresh on the heels of this queer development, a rumor circulated that DC Comics was replacing Clark Kent with his fully grown son, Jonathan. And that Jon Kent was going to be… care to guess?
Gay, of course.
According to early reports, DC Comics is considering having Jonathan Kent come out as gay after he takes over as Superman for Clark Kent. Jonathan, or Jon is the biological son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. He was introduced in 2015 in Convergence: Superman #2 and used to help sell the idea of Clark Kent becoming a family man. In that attempt, DC succeeded. Comic book fans loved Jon Kent and the new Kent family.
So, Bobby Drake is gay.
Tim Drake is gay.
Who’s next? pic.twitter.com/KKN0Psvkfv
— TRUSTED MEMBER OF THE MEDIA (@EthanVanSciver) August 10, 2021
“I just found out, I got a little bit of a scoop about what DC’s plans are. Nobody knows this, yet. It hasn’t really been announced, except by me. The plan is that… Superman’s book… I guess Clark Kent is going bye-bye”
Clark Kent is going away. Jonathan Kent is taking over, and they’re announcing he’s gay. #SupermanIsGay
— TRUSTED MEMBER OF THE MEDIA (@EthanVanSciver) August 18, 2021
According to Cosmic Book News, former DC Comics artist Ethan Van Sciver posted an alleged leak on his YouTube channel ComicArtistsPro Secrets. He began the discussion by stating that DC is looking for a method to do away with the iconic Clark Kent version of Superman. The reason for this is that the company is weary of dealing with the difficult families of the characters’ creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Van Sciver alleges that not only is DC considering passing over the famous mantle to Clark Kent’s son, but he says they plan to make Jon Kent gay as well.
Over the past few years, comic stories built a bond between young Jon Kent and Damien Wayne, aka Bruce Wayne’s biological son and the youngest Robin. The two even had a hit series called Super Sons. However, DC Comics and writer Brian Michael Bendis opted to mature up the character in 2018. The character returned as a young man after journeying through space. When Jon Kent returned to Earth, he learned that what had been several years for him had only been three weeks. Lately the aged-up Superboy has been thinking about constructing a new identity for himself with the assistance of Damian.
Blame Bendis, where have we heard that before?
Comic sales have been slumping for years, and the storyline social engineering that DC and Marvel have undertaken has been exposed as the cause. These comic companies have regularly highlighted activist causes and inscribed politically vivid characters in their books to the point of running off long time readers. This is an ideological battle of course, as Peter Pischke at The Federalist wrote:
There is a nerd culture war raging. On one side, traditional fans look at intellectual properties with respect and appreciation, as part of a comic history. They understand that comic creators are only stewards and fans only worshippers. We don’t need to update old, white, and straight Drake, not because nerds are conservative reactionaries (a study by psychologist Chris Ferguson proves they’re not), but because Drake is a character of the 1990s, and that is okay. Nerddom is inherently inclusive.
On the other side are the woke aggressors. They harp about turning nerddom into a vehicle to fix historical grievances and encourage equity in society. But what they truly are is vandals. They complain about gatekeeping, but they are vindictive and cruel. Their generals are the nerd media. Their purpose is to control and subjugate others, not to elevate or adore. They mouth compassion, but what they crave above all else is ownership and asserting moral superiority.
Pischke understands this is a battle between those who love and care about these characters, and the social justice warriors applying their “woke” standards on legacy heroes. It’s akin to you playing with your Star Wars toys as an adolescent, and then having some rude kid come over to play, grabbing your action figures, and making Darth Vader rape C3PO then calling them both “gay” from then on. It wasn’t cool then, and it isn’t cool now.
5. Wonder Woman, Superman, Aqualad and Robin are Gay or Queer.
6. Struggling against YA and Manga, DC releases embarrassingly awful GOTHAM HIGH and I AM NOT STARFIRE.
7. Bendis leaves bank-breaking exclusive deal for DARK HORSE COMICS.
8. THE SUICIDE SQUAD bombs at box office.
— TRUSTED MEMBER OF THE MEDIA (@EthanVanSciver) August 18, 2021
Now this may still be a rumor, but Van Sciver has broken scoops like this in the past. Could DC really be willing to take the risk of making Superman gay? Bendis’ aging-up of Jonathan Kent was not received well by DC fans, and this month’s Tim Drake sudden sexual preference conversion was also divisive. Will DC add more to their recent controversies?
Building sales on a one-sided social agenda didn’t pay off for Marvel 5 years ago, and it’s not going to pay off for DC now. But as far as I’m concerned, I’m done with DC and their ilk, but we shouldn’t be surprised at these developments. This is what happens when you hire a far left activist as your Senior Vice President and General Manager. DC is effectively dead.