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The New Superman is Out of the Closet: LGBTQ Representation in Comics

Superman: Son of Kal-El, the new Superman series from DC, follows Superman’s son, Jon Kent, as he takes on the mantle and responsibilities of being Superman. 

Not only does Jon have big shoes to fill in his new role as the man of steel, but he is also paving a new path in the world of comics: Jon is one of the first big-name superheroes to be a part of the LGBTQ community. 

“I’ve always said everyone needs heroes and they deserve to see themselves in their heroes. For so many people, having the strongest superhero in comics come out is incredibly powerful,” said Tom Taylor, the writer of the new series, as stated in The New York Times

Jon shares a kiss with his new love interest

For many years, the only LGBTQ representation in comic books appeared in the form of side characters and villains, as stated in a NPR article by Glen Weldon.

As a result, it is a big deal that well-known superheroes such as Superman are coming out as bisexual. 

However, this step forward does not come without a caveat. Weldon explains in his article that the big name characters coming out are not the original versions of the characters.

The new Superman is the son of the original Superman. The original, of course, is still married to Lois Lane. 

Jon’s inner thoughts on being Superman

In addition, multiple public figures have expressed criticism of the new Superman’s sexuality. For example, journalist and producer Raymond Arroyo told Laura Ingraham on her segment of Fox News, “You know, I was a Batman and Superman and Spider-Man kid. I loved those heroes. We just wanted them to get the bad guys, not a venereal disease.”

This statement plays into cruel, untrue stereotypes about LGBTQ people. It reflects how those upset about Superman’s coming out are basing their opinions on outdated ideas. 

Similarly, Dean Cain, Superman actor from the 1990s TV show “Lois and Clark” told Fox News, “They said it’s a bold new direction. I say they’re bandwagoning.”

He claimed if Superman were fighting against the issues that create refugees instead of the deportation of them, that would be “brave.”

Superman’s new mission statement

Arguments like these are filled with stereotypical ways of thinking. The New York Times reports that the new Superman must fight against modern day issues such as climate change and school shootings. For young people who are affected by these problems and care about solving them, it is refreshing to see a hero that is like them fighting for the justice they desire. 

Superman: Son of Kal-El is for the new generation of comic book readers. It is for those who have never seen themselves as heroes but deserve to.

Jenna Bal

Kent State '24

Jenna Bal is a sophomore journalism major with a minors in English and web development. This is her second semester writing for HerCampus and the Burr. When she’s home in Toledo, Jenna enjoys working as a barista and spending time with her younger sisters. Her hobbies include reading, hiking, and journaling, and her favorite read is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. After graduation, she hopes to write for a magazine and eventually pursue her master’s degree in library sciences.
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