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DC Comics makes new Superman bisexual on 'Coming Out Day'

Superman
The Superman costume as worn by Christopher Reeve in Superman III is displayed at the Auction House of Bonhams and Goodman on May 23, 2009, in Melbourne, Australia. |

An upcoming comic book issue will profile a same-sex relationship between Superman’s son and a fellow journalist, making it the latest reintroduction of a well-established comic book character under the LGBT banner.

DC Comics announced Monday that “the life of Jon Kent, the Superman of Earth and son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane” will take a “bold new direction” in the upcoming issue of the comic book series Superman: Son of Kal-El, scheduled for release on Nov. 9. Accompanied by a subheadline declaring that “Earth’s New Superman Comes out as Bisexual,” a promo for Superman: Son of Kal-El # 5 features a picture of Jon Kent in his Superman uniform locked in a same-sex kiss with a male reporter.

A brief summary of the upcoming issue states: “Just like his father before him, Jon Kent has fallen for a reporter. After initially striking up a friendship with reporter Jay Nakamura, he and Jon become romantically involved in the pages of SUPERMAN: SON OF KAL-EL # 5.”

Officials with DC Comics who worked on the issue shared their collective excitement about the depiction of a beloved comic book character as bisexual.

“I’ve always said everyone needs heroes and everyone deserves to see themselves in their heroes and I’m very grateful DC and Warner Bros. share this idea,” said Tom Taylor, who wrote the comic book issue. “Superman’s symbol has always stood for hope, for truth and for justice. Today, that symbol represents something more. Today, more people can see themselves in the most powerful superhero in comics.”

Artist John Timms proclaimed that he was “incredibly honored to work beside Tom on the SUPERMAN: SON OF KAL-EL series showing Jon Kent tackling his complex modern life, while also saving the world from its greatest threats, villains and menaces.”

DC Chief Creative Officer and Publisher Jim Lee also expressed enthusiasm about the upcoming comic book issue and the introduction of Jon Kent as a bisexual man.

“We couldn’t be prouder to tell this important story from Tom Taylor and John Timms,” he said. “We talk a lot about the power of the DC Multiverse in our storytelling and this is another incredible example. We can have Jon Kent exploring his identity in the comics as well as Jon Kent learning the secrets of his family on TV on Superman & Lois. They coexist in their own worlds and times, and our fans get to enjoy both simultaneously.”

While DC Comics did not acknowledge this explicitly, the announcement that Jon Kent is an LGBT character coincided with the so-called "National Coming Out Day," a day recognized by the Biden administration and described by the LGBT activist group Human Rights Campaign "as a reminder that one of our most basic tools is the power of coming out.”

“Thirty-three years ago, on the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights, we first observed National Coming Out Day. ... The occasion has been recognized on Oct. 11 every year since," according to the LGBT group. 

The characterization of Jon Kent as bisexual is not the first attempt by DC Comics to make overtures to the LGBT community by rebranding well-established characters as members of the community. In an issue of Batman: Urban Legends published in August, the comic book publisher revealed that Robin, the sidekick of Batman, was romantically interested in a male friend. 

The efforts to make prominent superhero characters members of the LGBT community come as the LGBT advocacy group GLAAD has pushed for LGBT characters to account for 20% of all television characters by 2025. Examples of other notable characters recently reintroduced as LGBT include Batwoman, who was portrayed as a lesbian on the CW series “Batwoman” and Mr. Ratburn on “Arthur,” who entered into a same-sex marriage on a 2019 episode of the PBS program based on the long-running children’s book series.

DC Comics first began working to incorporate LGBT characters into storylines featuring pre-established superheroes nearly a decade ago, when the comic book publisher faced considerable backlash for depicting the Green Lantern as a gay man. In 2013, as the publishing company began to embrace LGBT activism in the past decade, a guest author who opposed same-sex marriage had his work edited out of an anthology series. 

At the same time, two authors of the Batwoman comics left DC Comics in protest of the company’s request that they put aside their plans to include the title character’s same-sex wedding as part of the series.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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