Superman is set to come out as bisexual and begin a romantic relationship with his male best friend, DC Comics revealed on Monday – just two months after the company announced that iconic Batman sidekick Robin was dating a man.
The news marks what DC has branded a ‘bold new direction’ for the legendary superhero – a move that began in July, when the company debuted a woke new series of comics about the character, featuring Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s son Jonathan, who inherited the role from his cape-wearing father.
In the months since the Superman: Son of Kal-El series made its debut, 17-year-old Jon has taken on several hot-button issues, including high school shootings, climate change, and the deportation of refugees – all of which are a world away from the sinister supervillains that the Man of Steel once fought.
The character will now take yet another big step to separate himself from the much-loved original Superman storyline by dating his close male friend – with the romance set to take center stage in an upcoming issue of the comic, due to be released on November 9.
However, the same-sex relationship was inspired by the iconic romance between Clark and Lois, with DC revealing that the new Superman’s partner, refugee ‘hacktivist’ Jay Nakamura, is also a reporter – just like the young superhero’s parents.
‘Just like his father before him, Jon Kent has fallen for a reporter,’ the company said in a press release.
New plot: Superman will come out as bisexual and begin dating his male best friend in a new issue of the comic book series, it was revealed on Monday
‘Bold new direction’: Jonathan Kent – who is the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane – took over the Superman title from his father, and like his dad, he will also begin dating a reporter
However, series writer Tom Taylor said that this is where the similarities end – explaining that Jay will not play the same ‘damsel role’ to Jon as Lois did to Clark, but rather feature as something of a sidekick for the superhero.
‘Jay has his own fight,’ Taylor told IGN, revealing that Jay will also soon learn that he has his own set of superpowers. ‘He’s obviously an effective journalist, and Lois Lane is his hero.
‘But Jay is also a refugee from [the fictional island nation of] Gamorra, so his experience also reflects Clark’s. While this has fortunately changed over the years, historically, Lois has often fulfilled a damsel role. Jay Nakamura will never be that. He and Jon will tackle many things side-by-side.’
Moving on: The new Superman is the son of the original Man of Steel (pictured) and his storylines have already tackled many more woke issues than his father used to face
Although all of the details about Jon and Jay’s relationship have not yet been revealed, DC did offer a sneak peek at how their romance began – explaining that the pair will begin dating after Superman suffers from ‘mental and physical burn out’.
‘After initially striking up a friendship with reporter Jay Nakamura, he and Jon become romantically involved,’ the company said.
‘Following a scene where Superman mentally and physically burns out from trying to save everyone that he can, Jay is there to care for the Man of Steel.’
It continues: ‘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?’
Images from the upcoming comic, which is the fifth issue in the new series, show Jon and Jay kissing and embracing, with Superman clad in his iconic blue-and-red uniform, while his pink-haired partner is seen wearing an orange hoodie, white T-shirt and purple glasses.
Jay will also be introduced to Clark and Lois in the new issue of the comic – with a sneak peek revealing that the reporter is left dumbstruck with nerves upon meeting his partner’s mother for the first time.
Relationship: Images from the November 9 issue of Superman: Son of Kal-El show Superman and his friend Jay Nakamura embarking on a romance
Meet the parents: Jay will also get the chance to meet Clark and Lois in the issue, with images showing the reporter struggling to overcome his nerves while meeting Superman’s parents
Hot-button issues: The new Superman has taken on much more liberal issues than his father once did; Jonathan has been seen struggling with climate change and high school shootings
Speaking about the decision to give Superman an LGBTQ+ storyline, series writer Tom Taylor told the New York Times that he wanted the new version of the character to be relevant for a modern audience – insisting that it would have felt like a ‘missed opportunity’ to once again portray the superhero as a ‘straight white savior’.
‘The idea of replacing Clark Kent with another straight white savior felt like a missed opportunity,’ Taylor said.
‘[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.’
He added to IGN: ‘I’ve always said everyone needs heroes and everyone deserves to see themselves in their heroes. Today, Superman, the strongest superhero on the planet, is coming out.’
This same thinking applies to the enemies that the modern-day Superman tackles, which have shifted from the traditional supervillain and now include societal issues like global warming, the border crisis, and gun control.
‘The question for Jon (and for our creative team) is, what should a new Superman fight for today?’ Taylor continued. ‘Can a 17-year-old Superman battle giant robots while ignoring the climate crisis? Of course not. Can someone with super sight and super hearing ignore injustices beyond his borders? Can he ignore the plight of asylum seekers?’
The news about Superman’s LGBTQ+ relationship comes just two months after DC Comics announced that another of its legendary characters – Batman sidekick Robin – was also set to come out as bisexual and begin a relationship with a man.
In August, DC Comics revealed that Batman’s legendary sidekick Robin, AKA Tim Drake, was set to go on a date with a male friend
In March, Marvel unveiled its first gay Captain America, Aaron Fischer, who is ‘inspired by heroes of the queer community’, the company revealed
In August, the comic book company revealed that the Caped Crusader’s longtime sidekick Robin, a.k.a Tim Drake, would accept a date with a male character called Bernard Dowd in a new issue of the series Batman: Urban Legends.
Robin was described as having a ‘lightbulb moment’ when fighting alongside Bernard during a brawl, eventually rescuing Bernard in the process.
Fans of the comic welcomed the revelation saying they suspected Drake may be bisexual or gay for years.
In March, Marvel revealed their first openly-gay Captain America character, Aaron Fischer, which is debuted during Pride Month this past year.
Fischer is a youth advocate that was included in the ‘United States of Captain America’ comic book miniseries which was released on June 2.
‘Aaron is inspired by heroes of the queer community: activists, leaders, and everyday folks pushing for a better life,’ creator Aaron Trujillo told Entertainment Weekly.
‘He stands for the oppressed, and the forgotten,’ Trujillo added. ‘I hope his debut story resonates with readers, and helps inspire the next generation of heroes.’
In addition to Fischer, Ayo (Black Panther), Valkyrie (Thor: Ragnarok) and Harley Quinn are superhero characters apart of the LGBTQ community.