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Increase In Queer Superhero Comics, Not Some Corporate Woke Agenda

Back in August, Bleeding Cool broke the news that Jon Kent, son of Clark Kent, and Lois Lane, the new Superman of Earth, was to be revealed by DC Comics to be a bisexual young man. A character who has appeared in the comics in recent years, now growing up and discovering his identity, as so many young folk do everyday. Equally, a month before that we also broke the news that Tim Drake, a longstanding Robin in the DC Universe since the nineties, was also to be a bisexual young man. And the usual types of voices we are sadly used to hearing, saw some kind of conspiracy, that this was all part of some top-down wokery agenda from the powers that be to create greater diversity in the sexuality of their corporate IP for… I don't know, reasons. Some people even went to ludicrous degrees to state to was to avoid paying royalties to creators of the original versions of the characters, which just shows a deep misunderstanding of such companies. Who, if they really want to avoid paying royalties, will never need to go to such lengths. Just ask Disney.

Superman: Son Of Kal-El #5, DC Comics
Superman: Son Of Kal-El #5, DC Comics

But in the case of both Tim Drake and Jonathan Kent, Robin and Superman, the storylines were solely, for want of a better phrase, "bottom-up". The creators involved Meghan Fitzmartin writing Tim Drake stories in the anthology Batman: Urban Legends and Tom Taylor on Superman: Son Of Kal-El. They independently thought it would be an interesting take on the characters, might make a twist that could inform new stories, and might reflect the desires and wishes of new audiences without turning off the old. They each had their stories approved by their direct editors at DC Comics, but higher-up editorial only found out about what was going on when the comics were well underway. And in Batman: Urban Legends #6's case, already sent out from the printers. In both cases, this necessitated some urgent editorial meetings to a) check what was going on and b) suggest that maybe people might mention it a little further advance next time. There was no push back against the idea, no pulping this time, just the company exploring the implications and consequences. And, in the end, the books continued pretty much as planned. Once it was all agreed, DC Comics marketing suggested they officially announce the Superman news (about 6 weeks after Bleeding Cool had run it) on National Coming Out Day. Which was clever.

Batman Urban Legends #6, DC Comics
Batman Urban Legends #6, DC Comics

If it had all been planned, as part of some conspiracy, there would not have been a four-month gap between Batman Urban Legends #6 and #10, for the next part of Tim Drake's story. And there wouldn't have been such frantic Zoom meetings arranged at the Batman and Superman DC Comics editorial offices after the fact, with everybody kicking off. DC Comics has become a lot warier of scaring the horses after the Batman Damned Batpenis event of three years ago, and the not-entirely-pandemic-related redundancies last year… there's far too many spinning of plates, firefighting, dealing with not enough paper, printers, or trucks, with delays stacking up, to ever consider some pushing some kind of woke liberal social agenda as a corporate policy. If only. There just isn't the time.

Superman: Son of Kal-El #5 is published by DC Comics on the 9th of November, Batman: Urban Legends #10 on the 14th of December

(W) Tom Taylor (A) John Timms (CA) Inhyuk Lee
Kal-El has left, and the weight of the world now rests on his son's shoulders. Powerful forces have been threatened by Jon Kent's first leaps in his father's boots. It's hard to hurt a man of steel, but his loved ones make a much easier target. Jon's world is about to come crashing down.
Retail: $4.99 In-Store Date: 10/19/2021

(W) Tom Taylor (A/CA) John Timms
Faster than fate. As powerful as hope. Able to lift us all. For all his great power, Jon Kent can't save everyone, but that won't stop him from trying. How much can Earth's new Superman do before this Man of Steel buckles? And when he does, who swoops in to save Superman?
Retail: $3.99  FOC Date: 10/17/2021 In-Store Date: 11/9/2021

(W) Various (A) Various (CA) Belen Ortega
Written by Meghan Fitzmartin, Tini Howard, Dan Watters, and Sam Johns Art by Alberto Jimenez Albuquerque, Christian Duce, Nikola Cizmesija, and Karl Mostert Tim Drake goes to make peace with Batman before he leaves Gotham. Superstar writer Tini Howard makes her DC debut on a Nightwing, Oracle, and Batgirls holiday spectacular. Azrael faces down the new villain THE POOR FELLOW. And Tweedle Dum has to make a grave decision.
Retail: $7.99 In-Store Date: 12/14/2021

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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