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Sunday, 20 February 2011

The Gay Crusader

I find this sort of debate hilarious, but a recent magazine article in one of the better newspapers, suggested that Batman and Robin were gay and even presented some pics to prove the hypothesis. The article went onto claim that most of the early Batman stories  contained a gay subtext.

Personally I always find articles like this amusing and quite bizarre to honest

There's nothing new in all this though - In 1954, psychologist Dr. Frederick Wertham published a book called Seduction of the Innocent, which in essence said that comic books were a horrible influence on children. Among other claims, Wertham called Superman an un-American facist, Wonder Woman a lesbian, and Batman and Robin gay lovers.

And for many years comic book readers and industry figures have given this question far more credence than it deserves, seemingly forgetting that it's just a comic book.

Comic book legend Alan Grant, when questioned on the subject for the Comic Bulletin website answered:

"In my 40 years as a Batman reader, that question never occurred to me. Then, during my time as writer on the Batman titles, I was interviewed for an American college rag. The first question was "Is Batman gay?"

Well, the Batman I wrote for 13 years isn't gay. Denny O'Neil's Batman, Marv Wolfman's Batman, everybody's Batman all the way back to Bob Kane...none of them wrote him as a gay character. Only Joel Schumacher might have had an opposing view.

The college interviewer insisted. As proof he cited Robin, and his close relationship with Batman (millionaire/ward). But you can say anything you like if you take it out of context. If I recall, Robin was added to the Batman strip to lighten the tone, and make it palatable to a younger audience; prior to Robin, there were a lot of dark and murderous Batman tales. And whereas today it might be considered suspicious--in fact it's probably against the law--for a rich bachelor to "adopt" a teenager, in the 1930s/40s it was obviously an acceptable story device."

And on the same website Dark Horse's Lee Dawson said - 

"If you want him to be! Really, I think that whatever makes the comic or story or whatever more enjoyable for you then it's all fair game. Is that what the creators intended? No, I don't think so. I agree with Michael Chabon's assessment in Kavalier & Clay, that the boy sidekick trend was created and appealed to a generation of kids whose fathers had gone off to war. Batman became a substitute father for them and they identified with Robin in that sense. The downside of people imposing their own readings is of course possible censorship based on personal biases. Such is the case with all art forms.�"

However the debate continues with a countless number of internet forums debating the subject . Do a Google search on "Gay Batman" and you'll be surprised at the amount of results- so is Batman gay?

Who knows....who cares? 

1 comment:

David Cranmer said...

Yeah, that's amusing. Some folks on this side of the pond try to say our President Lincoln was gay. Silliness too.