Comic Fodder

"Holy Homos, Batman" or Homosexuality in Comics

200609batwoman.jpg Recently DC Comics made headlines by announcing the newest incarnation of Batwoman would be a lesbian. There has been much discussion of this topic over the past few months and now that some of the heat has died down, I'd like to say a few words about the subject of gay comic book characters.

The best comics I've read are all based around strong, three-dimensional characters, two dimensions away from being flesh and blood people. There are emotional moments in their fictional lives just like in the lives of real people and they react to these moments with realistically portrayed feelings and thoughts. A good writer strives to create characters real enough to live on the page, some writers even claim their characters help write the stories for them. The point is the more believable and real a character is easier it is for a reader to develop an emotional bond with that character.

Lesbians are real.

Gays are real.

I know several of each and I can tell you that they are just as real as the straight people I know. They smile and cry and love and hate. They get their feelings hurt and some of them do the hurting. They can be pretty or ugly or fat or skinny. They hold day jobs and night job and need money as badly as the rest of us. They are afraid of Terrorism, love Lost, hate the View (although the addition of Rosie might change all that) and can't wait for the next cool movie to come out. They like to go out dancing and some like to stay at home and read a book. With all that said, who's to say they can't also be superheroes?

If Bruce Wayne preferred sausage to roast beef, would it change the damage done to him when he was a child and he witnessed his parents’ brutal murder? Would the Dark Phoenix have been any less terrifying if she liked to munch a little rug? If Clark Kent went home to Louis Long instead of Lois Lane would he be any less of a Superman?

The answer to all of the above questions is a resounding, NO. Sexuality doesn't define any of those characters or their powers. Sexual preference doesn't change a person's drive to put on a costume and dispense justice. So then why the big fuss? Why the furor over the introduction of a gay Batwoman? There are gay people in this world and therefore, a good comic (or movie or TV show or novel for that matter) should reflect the world it was created in. That means people of all race, religion, color and sexual preference can and SHOULD be included in the fictional worlds we dwell in.

I say bring me more gay superheroes! Batwoman, Rawhide Kid and Freedom Ring...I salute you. As brave as you are for donning a cape and mask and saving the world...your true bravery comes from you courage to be proud of who you are.

Now...when do I get to see Batwoman encourage Catwoman to explore her homosexual yearnings? I smell a two part special written by Greg Rucka....any takers?

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you! Finally a voice of reason and logic. As a middle-aged, out (since age 17) gay man, I have had tried explaining the whole "gay thing" for years and I have rarely heard it put so succinctly as what you've done.
Having said that...I am asking permission to repost this opinion piece on our website under our Columnist section crediting you (Shawn) as the author with a link back to this website. This piece fits perfectly with our mandate to not only entertain, but to educate and inform as well.
Once again...thank you so much.

-- Posted by: Tim Chisholm at September 14, 2006 1:08 AM

I'm not sure Speedy is gay.

-- Posted by: The Pink Arrow at September 14, 2006 8:44 AM

I'm not sure Speedy is gay.
-- Posted by: The Pink Arrow at September 14, 2006 08:44 AM

Noted and corrected.

-- Posted by: Shawn at September 14, 2006 11:11 AM

If Clark Kent went home to Louis Long instead of Lois Lane would he be any less of a Superman?

That's exactly what I've been trying to say, too. I wrote a column once after hearing somebody say that the most "extreme" thing you could do to a character is make him or her gay. I love the superheroes that I do because they fight for, at the end of the day, truth, justice and...dare I say it...the American Way.

Great entry!

-- Posted by: Loren at September 14, 2006 11:42 AM

Actually, the current Catwoman (who is not the famed Selina Kyle) is already an open and out lesbian and has been out for years.

-- Posted by: Anonymous at September 15, 2006 7:35 PM