Is Batman Gay?
By Alan Donald
Now, there's a title. Is your dander up now? Is the blood rushing to your face and are your fists clenching with rage? Are you shouting "NO! NO! NO!" at the screen? Are you already composing an email reply to state that even considering this subject is deterimental to the mythos?
All I ask is that you stop. Just stop for a moment, take a breath, disengage your homophobic-kneejerk-reactionary hind brain and give me your homo sapien intellectual fore brain. Calm now? Right then, I'll begin.
I don't blame you for your reaction. I myself have reacted similarly in the past, but I've really forced myself to examine why I felt that way, and, frankly, I don't like the answer I get. I don't consider myself to be homophobic and, in fact, many gay people have spoken out against Batman being gay too. My overall conclusion is that we are, unfortunately, living in a homophobic society, and that our immediate reflexive reactions are governed by that. A cop out? Possibly, but still worrying all the same.
So, is Batman gay? The question we first really have to address is which Batman we are talking about. Ironically, the post-Wertham Batman of the sixties (a character gradually recreated in the wake of homophobic hysteria) is far more overtly homosexual than the man who was accused of perverting a nation's youth. The Batman of this period was sensitive, emotional, and terrified of getting into a relationship with girls. Similarly, Robin too would (whilst Batman fended off the ever-so-sexy Batwoman's advances) try to avoid the sexual lure of Batgirl. Then, of course, we had the pink costume and the TV series...
However, it's unfair of us to look at the character from such a different time, especially as Crisis On Infinite Earths and Zero Hour effectively wiped such stories from the legend (maybe because of their overtly homosexual tone?). So, I will focus on the post-Crisis Batman. For simplicity's sake, this especially means starting with Batman: Year One, by Frank Miller.
Has your appetite been whet yet? Good; now you are hooked I'll leave you until next week with a passing thought. Through our careful and considered examination of the Batman mythos, Craig and I examined the Batman family in general. Next week, we will discuss not only if Batman is gay, but the bisexuality of Barbara Gordon and the question about how many other members of Batman's team are possibly homosexual. The results may well surprise you.
Until next time, open your mind, don't let yourself give into your knee-jerk reactions, and do a little research of your own.
[Note: We would like your opinions on the use of sex, violence, and bad language in comics. Are there any comics you consider to actually be perverse? Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know...we may do an article, or we may just take the mickey...]
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