DC Comics to introduce gay character

Batwoman is a lesbian. Now, DC Comics has announced that in a June storyline, they will introduce a “major, iconic” character as being gay. Add the Kevin Keller character in Archie Comics, and I sense a trend.


How dare they shove homosexuality in comics!? I thought that the gay and lesbian porn in some Japanese manga is bad enough. :banghead:

Ya know, I always had my suspicions about Mutt 'n Jeff…:eek:

“One of the major iconic DC characters will reveal that he is gay in a storyline in June,” Courtney Simmons, DC Entertainment’s senior vice president of publicity, confirmed to ABC News.

So which one is it? The folks at DC Comics aren’t saying, but they do say it’s the latest effort to make sure their comics keep up with the times.

Last September, DC Comics relaunched its entire line of comic books to feature an updated look and a new lineup of LGBT superheroes: including Voodoo, an African American bisexual woman and Batwoman, an open lesbian.


Although, I think mention of Batwoman’s lesbianism appeared in the comics a few years ago.

How would this even come up in a comic book?

I suppose the same way the love interest of any character comes up. Its an attempt to give the character more dimension than simply fighting bad guys.

There have been gay characters in Marvel and DC comics for 30 years or so now. Comic characters have romances and many long running titles are a lot like a soap opera of sorts (albeit with superpowers added in) and thus this sort of thing does come up as comics do reflect the world we live in.

A list of suspects for this reveal would include:-

  1. Wonder Woman. Especially as DC has rebooted everything again recently and Diana’s people have been shown to engage in lesbianism in previous iterations as well. No-one’s come right out and said Diana ever did in any previous version but given her history I’d say she is high on the list of suspects.

  2. Martian Manhunter. Except he is not that iconic. To comic fans he is, but to the general public he is not. He actually would make some sense as been gay as his people are shape-shifters.

Those are two that spring to mind. I can’t see them making Superman or Batman gay as both have been shown to be strongly heterosexual in present continuity and Batman has been seen engaging in sex with Catwoman (in a spectacularly tasteless scene*) and Superman is once again not married to Lois but in love with her. The Flash also seems unlikely. I can think of other characters who could be revealed as a gay or bisexual and it would fit their characters but none of them are all that iconic.

One of the first gay characters who was prominent was Northstar over at Marvel comics, he was a Canadian mutant who could move at superspeed and project bolts of light among other abilities he possessed. The original plan was to have him contract AIDS but then Marvel wouldn’t bite the bullet on that and rewrote him as been partially of Elven (as in Asgardian Elves) heritage and suffering from living in the mortal world. That was all retconned out later though and he still pops up in the Marvel universe as a recurring gay character. He is actually when written by someone with intelligence Ok as he is a vain character and pompous as can be at times, but will do the right thing when the chips are down.

Batwoman is a bit lipstick lesbian for my tastes. I have no problem with gay characters in comics but she is a bit ‘meh’ for my taste.

Ah I see reading news articles about this it will be a male character who will be revealed. So that rules out Wonder Woman. Ok, I can’t see them going this route with Batman as I said. He has been shown to like the ladies and has a son in present continuity who acts as the latest Robin. Thinking back on the way Green Lantern has been written in the new DC universe he is a possibility as is Green Arrow. The latter’s long standing relationship with Black Canary is absent in the new continuity I’ve noticed.

There has been at least one gay wedding that I can recall in superhero comics. That was between Apollo and the Midnighter, two characters who were to an extent pastiches of Superman and Batman and members of an ultra-authoratarian team called (excuse me for this) ‘The Authority’. That team still exists, now as part of mainstream DC continuity and both characters are gay and involved in a relationship with each other but not married currently.

It could be something subtle that the average person might not pick up on. There was speculation that Donald Duck and Daisy were having an affair. Likewise with Mickey and Minnie. This latest trend though might be an attempt to appeal to a wider audience. This has been done in the movies for a very long time. Even your typical adventure film will have a love-interest plot for the female audience. The book King Solomon’s Mines did not have a woman on the safari, but the movie version did. There is also the desire to promote the liberal idea that any woman can do anything any man can do [think the Indiana Jones series].

See this wikipedia article and notice the gay characters kissing. Two of them are kissing at the gay wedding I mentioned in a previous post. That a character is gay has been subtlly suggested in the past, but in recent years it is more usually shown openly in both Marvel and DC and their titles, and they are still the big players in American comics:-


For your consideration - a panel from a 1950s Batman and Robin:


Methinks there have been gay comic book characters before now. Unless rich, single, hetero men routinely shared beds back in the day…

Cold shower anyone?


Bruce and Dick are in two seperate beds if you look closely. This was a different age, although artists did allude to sex quite a bit in the Golden that preceded this and some of Wonder Woman’s early adventures are full of kinky moments. But by the time that Batman moment came along Wertham’s ‘Seduction of the Innocent’ had emasculated the comics industry in some respects. Although it’s possible the artist was making a subtle suggestion about Bruce and his ward that flew over the heads of the editors. Batman has never been portrayed as been gay though and has had so many lady friends it is hard to remember them all. I really hope they don’t out Batman as gay as it would make little sense.

I note DC said an ‘iconic’ character, but they did not specify it is a heroic one. If we have a field of villains to guess from then the Joker is a possibility, he has been shown as having a girlfriend but he has also been shown as very on and off with her and in the new continuity he has not been shown interacting with her too much yet. He has also been portrayed in ways that could suggest he is gay in the past, although this has varied considerably.

All right then. I guess we’re to accept it was typical for rich men to share a bedroom with their beds pushed together. :stuck_out_tongue:

I know less then nothing about comics. My husband, a comic fanatic with a massive collection stored over at his parent’s place, takes particular delight in pointing out coded references to homosexuality in 1940s and 1950s comics. He has one comic - sold to children way back when for a nickle - that depicts a group of men at a fitness center and standing around ogling a younger man, remarking on his fine physique, his youthful splendor, etc. Husband likes to point out - tongue firmly in cheek - that of course there are no gay comic books characters or indeed no gay comic book writers/artists. Never. Never ever.


Oh there are plenty of coded reference, phallic symbols involving ladies in rather tight costumes in 1940’s and 50’s stuff is also common. Look up Phantom Lady for some covers that would be deemed risque even by today’s standards at time. The artist might have been trying to make a tongue in cheek reference in that rather famous panel but remember Robin was a child and his age was normally given as his early teens when stated. I think most artists would have avoided been that gross in their suggestions. The idea that comics were innocent and sex never came up in the 40’s or 50’s is easily refuted. Have a look at this series of covers by Matt Baker. Including covers to the afore-mentioned Phantom Lady series. Matt Baker is also noteworthy as one of the first prominent black artists in the industry:-


Here are a couple excerpts from the article which appeared in The Adocate, an American LGBT magazine. The interview with Dan Didio of DC Comics seems to have been the source this news story.

The Advocate: What can you tell us about the new Batwoman and the thought process behind introducing a high-profile lesbian character into the DC Universe?

Dan Didio: We did a big push for Batwoman. We introduced her quite a while ago and we really wanted to push her as one of the mainstay characters in Batman’s world. It was important for us to introduce a gay character in that series. It was important for us to have [that character] featured with a bat symbol on its chest because we knew that would draw the attention and show how much we were behind setting a standard of diversity in the line [and] also making her a strong character in her own right.

The Advocate: In addition to Batwoman, Apollo and Midnighter, you’re also introducing a female bisexual African American superhero in Voodoo. Was it a conscious decision to introduce characters from across the LGBT spectrum?

Dan Didio: Yes. What we really wanted to do was show the diversity of our audience across the line of our books. Right now we have such a wide fan base and we wanted to create characters and stories that really reflected [that] fan base.

The Advocate: DC has several popular teenage heroes such as Robin, Wonder Girl, Superboy and the other Teen Titans. With gay teens becoming more visible in the media, can readers expect to see a teenaged gay superhero in the future?

Dan Didio: One of the things we’re very focused on doing for these types of stories is rather than [change an existing] character, we want to make sure that this is the basis of who that character is right from the start. So if we’re going to introduce a gay character in Teen Titans, we want to make it a new character and make sure that is an iatrical part of who he is, or who she is, right from the start so we can really lean and grow with her or him.


Since the Batman world already has a lesbian character, I think the new gay character would be in a different universe. And it seems that Didio is saying that characters who are known to be heterosexual will not change, which , as Jharek mentioned, would rule out Batman.

I don’t like the way DC rebooted all it’s books and whacked all these universe together. The universe of the Authority is an ill fit with DC characters and both sets of characters worked better in their own seperate continuities. DC already had a gay female character in the Batman’s world before the reboot, in the person of Gotham City Police Detective Renee Montoya. She to me was far more interesting than Batwoman has been. I think what Dan is saying though is that with the new universe rather than reveal the character is gay after many years of been written in the same continuity they want to make it part of the character early on. For myself I’ve been distinctly unimpressed by most of the reboot, Grant Morrison’s Superman stands out as one of the few things I’ve liked thus far as is Aquaman. Batman lacks any uniqueness in a world with the Midnighter as does Superman, those character’s ‘kill em first ask questions later’ outlook also leaves me cold. In ‘The Authority’ series they sprang from that whole attitude was used to question the whole notion of vigilantism in comics (among other things), in a world where Bruce and Clark live you would expect them to plan their downfall as quickly as possible.

Remember Terry and the Pirates? One of my favorite characters was Dragon Lady. She was possibly the inspiration for Irina Spalko in Indiana Jones.

Would anyone be upset if Superman and Batman suddenly came out as gay and kissed in the comics? If so, why? If homosexuality is acceptable behavior, why should readers care?

The Dragon Lady is one of the more famous characters in comic book history among those who take the time to research the history of the genre, she wasn’t quite a villain and nor quite a hero, although she could be heroic. She ended up been played as a hero more I believe as she was shown as leading the Chinese people as a resistance fighter against the Japanese in later episodes of ‘Terry and the Pirates’. Sadly I’ve only ever read bits and pieces of that strip via reprints. I can see her been an inspiration in part for Irina Spalko, although Spalko also has plenty of antecedents in the ‘ruthless but beautiful Soviet spy’ class of character. Characters like Spalko do draw on all sorts of roots though.

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