Bisexual 'Superman' Comic Soars in Sales

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Saturday October 30, 2021
Originally published on October 28, 2021

It's a bird — it's a plane — it's the skyrocketing sales of "Son of Kal-El," the new comic book series that features a bisexual Superman.

Screen Rant reported that after DC Comics announced that the star of the new series — Jonathan Kent, the son of original Superman Clark Kent (also known as Kal-El) and Lois Lane — was bisexual and would find a love interest in a male reporter, "overwhelming support from the public has led to an 'unprecedented' number of orders for the upcoming Superman: Son of Kal-El #5," the issue in which the new relationship is slated to begin.

"The news of Superman getting a boyfriend has led to support from the comics and LGBTQ+ community, with many happy about the inclusion of bisexual representation," Screen Rant noted.

DC announced the news earlier this month, timing it with National Coming Out Day.

The Screen Rant article took note that the spike in sales defies typical trends, in which comic book "sales hit a peak at the release of a series debut issue, and gradually decline in sales as the series continues."

The novelty of a bisexual Superman is not the book's only selling point, however. "'Superman: Son of Kal-El' has already been receiving rave reviews, calling it one of the best series currently on shelves, and the increased attention on it will surely continue to attract more readers and critics globally," Screen Rant detailed.

Writer Tom Taylor, who penned the new series, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that fans all over the world were beside themselves with joy at the news.

"People [are] contacting me from everywhere just saying they saw the headline and they burst into tears," the Associated Press quoted Taylor as saying. "They never imagined that Superman could represent them."

"I've also had messages from older queer people who said how much they wish they had this when they were younger and how grateful they are that this generation has this sort of representation," Taylor went on to say.

In an interview with The New York Times, Taylor described the thinking behind the character, saying that "The idea of replacing Clark Kent with another straight white savior felt like a missed opportunity."

Whereas the original Superman made a career out of battling baddies like the alien Brainiac, the not-quite-super duplicate Bizarro, and, of course, the all-time great nemesis Lex Luthor, Jonathan Kent faces problems closer to our own reality, including "wildfires caused by climate change," as well as "a high school shooting and...the deportation of refugees in Metropolis," the NYT article detailed.

Taylor told the Times that the "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."

It only makes sense, then, that the character would also embrace a more realistically dimensional representation of sexuality.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.