Up, up and out of the closet!
The new Superman, Jonathan Kent — who is the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane — will soon begin a romantic relationship with a male friend, DC Comics announced Monday.
That same-sex relationship is just one of the ways that Jonathan Kent, who goes by Jon, is proving to be a different Superman than his famous father. Since his new series, Superman: Son of Kal-El, began in July, Jon has combated wildfires caused by climate change, thwarted a high school shooting and protested the deportation of refugees in Metropolis.
“The idea of replacing Clark Kent with another straight white savior felt like a missed opportunity,” Tom Taylor, who writes the series, said in an interview. He said that a “new Superman had to have new fights — real world problems — that he could stand up to as one of the most powerful people in the world.”
The coming out of Superman, perhaps the most archetypal American superhero, is a notable moment even in an age when many comics have embraced diversity and are exploring pressing social issues. Batman’s sidekick, Robin, recently acknowledged romantic feelings for a male friend (not Dick Grayson — who was Batman’s partner for over four decades — but Tim Drake, a later replacement; there are multiple Robins just as there are multiple Supermen). And a new Aquaman comic stars a gay Black man who is positioned to become the title hero.
It has been a steady evolution for an industry that had moved to censor itself in a number of ways after “Seduction of the Innocent,” a 1954 book by the psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, raised concerns about sex, gore
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