New Superman Comes Out as Bi

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Sunday October 17, 2021
Originally published on October 12, 2021

Clark Kent, the original Superman, has been in love with tough reporter Lois Lane ever since the character debuted in Action Comics #1. Now the son of Clark and Lois — Jon Kent, star of the new comic series "Superman: Son of Kal-El" — has a love interest of his own: A reporter named Jay Nakamura, CNN reported.

DC Comics trumpeted the news in an Oct. 11 post at its official site, timing the news with National Coming Out Day. DC headlined the story "Jon Kent Finds His Identity in Superman: Son of Kal-El #5," which will debut at comics shops Nov. 9. (The series kicked off with its first issue this past July.)

Writer Tom Taylor declared, "Superman's symbol has always stood for hope, for truth and for justice. Today, that symbol represents something more. Today, more people can see themselves in the most powerful superhero in comics."

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

Whereas Jon Kent's famous father has made a career battling four-color baddies like the alien Brainiac, the not-quite-super duplicate Bizarro, and, of course, all-time greatest nemesis Lex Luthor, Jon Kent faces problems closer to our own reality, such as "wildfires caused by climate change," as well as "a high school shooting and... the deportation of refugees in Metropolis," the 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 that the character would also embrace a more realistically dimensional representation of human sexuality.

DC Comics' National Coming Out Day announcement gave an idea of the storyline's direction, noting that the job of being Superman comes with super stress. "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," DC explained.

Jon Kent doesn't just exist on paper; he's also a character in the new CW superhero drama "Superman & Lois," which shows Earth's champion and Lois Lane parenting two boys.

"We can have Jon Kent exploring his identity in the comics as well as Jon Kent learning the secrets of his family on TV on 'Superman & Lois'," DC Chief Creative Officer and Publisher Jim Lee said in the company's announcement. "They coexist in their own worlds and times, and our fans get to enjoy both simultaneously."

Lee underscored that the company "couldn't be prouder to tell this important story" in the new Superman comics title.

The new Superman is the latest example of comic book characters coming out. This past summer, Batman sidekick Tim Drake — a.k.a., Robin — fell in love with a male friend, while Marvel Comics unveiled an out gay teen version of Captain America during Pride Month.

A gay Green Lantern features in an upcoming HBO Max series, while, the Times noted, "a new Aquaman comic stars a gay Black man who is positioned to become the title hero."

On cineplex screens, meantime, the MCU is about to unveil its first out gay superhero and his same-sex husband in next month's "Eternals."

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.