Homosexuality in the Batman franchise

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Gay interpretations have been part of the academic study of the Batman franchise at least since psychiatrist Fredric Wertham asserted in his 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent that "Batman stories are psychologically homosexual". Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_0

Wertham, as well as parodies, fans, and other independent parties, have interpreted Batman and his sidekick Robin (Dick Grayson) as gay or in a relationship with each other. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_1

DC Comics has never indicated Batman or any of his male allies to be gay, but several characters in the Modern Age Batman comic books are expressly gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_2

Golden and Silver Age Batman Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_section_0

The early Golden Age Batman stories were dark and violent, but during the late 1940s and the early 1950s they changed to a softer, friendlier and more exotic style, that was considered "campy". Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_3

This style awoke contemporary and later associations with gay culture. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_4

In Seduction of the Innocent, Fredric Wertham claimed, "The Batman type of story may stimulate children to homosexual fantasies, of the nature of which they may be unconscious" and "Only someone ignorant of the fundamentals of psychiatry and of the psychopathology of sex can fail to realize a subtle atmosphere of homoeroticism which pervades the adventures of the mature 'Batman' and his young friend Robin." Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_5

This book was issued in the context of the "lavender scare" where authorities regarded homosexuality as a security risk. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_6

Wertham's work is now often criticized, with one review of his work by Carol L. Tilley stating that he "manipulated, overstated, compromised and fabricated evidence" Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_7

Andy Medhurst wrote in his 1991 essay Batman, Deviance, and Camp that Batman is interesting to gay audiences because "he was one of the first fictional characters to be attacked on the grounds of his presumed homosexuality," "the 1960s TV series remains a touchstone of camp," and "[he] merits analysis as a notably successful construction of masculinity." Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_8

Views within the industry Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_section_1

The Comics Bulletin website posed the question "Is Batman Gay?" Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_9

to their staff and various comic book professionals. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_10

Writer Alan Grant has stated, "The Batman I wrote for 13 years isn't gay. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_11

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. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_12

Only Joel Schumacher might have had an opposing view." Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_13

Writer Devin Grayson has commented, "It depends who you ask, doesn't it? Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_14

Since you're asking me, I'll say no, I don't think he is… I certainly understand the gay readings, though." Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_15

While Frank Miller has described the relationship between Batman and the Joker as a "homophobic nightmare," he views the character as sublimating his sexual urges into crime fighting, concluding, "He'd be much healthier if he were gay." Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_16

Grant Morrison, writer of both Batman and Batman Incorporated said in an interview with Playboy that "Gayness is built into Batman. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_17

I’m not using gay in the pejorative sense, but Batman is very, very gay...Obviously as a fictional character he's intended to be heterosexual, but the basis of the whole concept is utterly gay." Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_18

Morrison later said that Playboy misquoted him and explained in an interview with the New Statesman that the quote was "the opposite of what [he had] said." Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_19

While one "could easily dial up the black-leather-fetishistic-night-dwelling aspects of Batman, and the masculinity of Batman, and get a pretty good gay Batman, [...] ultimately he's not gay because he has no sex life". Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_20

1960s TV series Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_section_2

Burt Ward, who portrayed Robin in the 1960s TV series and film, wrote in his autobiography Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights that Batman and Robin could be interpreted as lovers. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_21

Joel Schumacher's films Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_section_3

The 1995 feature film Batman Forever, and especially its 1997 sequel Batman & Robin, both helmed by the openly gay director Joel Schumacher, have been interpreted as having homoerotic overtones. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_22

Slate magazine called Schumacher's Batman films "defiantly queer", with a "sugar daddy" Batman and "rough-trade" Robin. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_23

Slate noted that Robin wore a codpiece and "Bat-nipples" and said that what "Schumacher produced wasn’t gay subtext; it was gay domtext." Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_24

Schumacher stated, "I had no idea that putting nipples on the Batsuit and Robin suit were going to spark international headlines. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_25

The bodies of the suits come from ancient Greek statues, which display perfect bodies. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_26

They are anatomically correct." Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_27

Chris O'Donnell, who portrayed Robin, felt "it wasn't so much the nipples that bothered me. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_28

It was the codpiece. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_29

The press obviously played it up and made it a big deal, especially with Joel directing. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_30

I didn't think twice about the controversy, but going back and looking and seeing some of the pictures, it was very unusual." Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_31

George Clooney joked, "Joel Schumacher told me we never made another Batman film because Batman was gay." Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_32

In 2006, Clooney said in an interview with Barbara Walters that in Batman & Robin he played Batman as gay. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_33

"I was in a rubber suit and I had rubber nipples. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_34

I could have played Batman straight, but I made him gay." Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_35

Walters then asked, "George, is Batman gay?" Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_36

To which he responded, "No, but I made him gay." Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_37

Animation Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_section_4

The direct-to-video DC animated movie Batman and Harley Quinn alludes to both the notion of a homosexual relationship between Batman and Robin, and to Seduction of the Innocent, when Harley Quinn addresses Nightwing about that topic with the words: "It’s funny. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_38

I always kinda thought you and Batman didn’t like girls. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_39

[...] You know. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_40

That book. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_41

With the headlights and the eyeball-gouging? Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_42

I had to write a paper on it in college. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_43

Got a B minus." Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_44

Interpretations in later years; parody and fandom Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_section_5

Homosexual interpretations of Batman and Robin have attracted even more attention during the Modern Age of Comic Books, as sexual and LGBT themes became more common and accepted in mainstream comics. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_45

At the Worldcon costume ball in 1962, a number of fans appeared as the Justice Society of America, including Fred Patten and Rick Norwood as The Flash, Dick Lupoff as Batman, and Harlan Ellison as Robin. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_46

Lupoff and Ellison struck a homoerotic pose for the cameras. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_47

Writer Warren Ellis addressed the issue of Batman's sexuality obliquely in his comic book The Authority from Image Comics where he portrayed the character of the Midnighter, a clear Batman pastiche, as openly gay and engaged in a long term relationship with the Superman analogue Apollo. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_48

The Ambiguously Gay Duo is a 1996 animated parody previously featured on The Dana Carvey Show and Saturday Night Live, with many similarities to Batman, not least the animated title sequence of the 1960s TV series. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_49

In 2000, DC Comics refused to allow permission for the reprinting of four panels (from Batman #79, 92, 105 and 139) to illustrate Christopher York's paper All in the Family: Homophobia and Batman Comics in the 1950s. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_50

The idea of the "gay" Batman has also been revitalized around 2005, as a montage of panels from "The Joker's Comedy of Errors" in Batman #66, issued in 1951, began to circulate as a joke. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_51

The episode used the word "boner" several times; in the original comic, it meant "blunder," but in present-day vernacular the word is primarily the slang term for an erection. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_52

A similar case of an unintended gay interpretation was the Rainbow Batman from 1957. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_53

In the summer of 2005, painter Mark Chamberlain displayed a number of watercolors depicting both Batman and Robin in suggestive and sexually explicit poses. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_54

DC threatened both artist and the Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts gallery with legal action if they did not cease selling the works and demanded all remaining art, as well as any profits derived from them. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_55

Will Brooker argues in Batman Unmasked: Analyzing a Cultural Icon, that a queer reading of Batman is a valid interpretation, and that homosexual readers would naturally find themselves drawn to the lifestyle depicted within, whether the character of Bruce Wayne himself is explicitly homosexual or not. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_56

He also identifies a homophobic element to the vigour with which mainstream fandom rejects the possibility of a homosexual reading of the character. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_57

Writing for The Guardian, Brooker expanded on this theme, stating that Batman: Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_58

LGBT characters in the Batman franchise Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_section_6

Several characters, mostly women, have been portrayed as lesbian or bisexual in the recent history of the franchise. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_59

Lesbian characters Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_section_7

In 2006, DC drew widespread media attention by announcing a new, lesbian incarnation of the well-known character Batwoman, even while openly lesbian characters such as Gotham City police officer Renee Montoya, police captain Maggie Sawyer, and Catwoman's protégée (and, for a time, successor as Catwoman) Holly Robinson, already existed in the Batman franchise. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_60

In response to the 2009 New York Comic Con, reporter Alison Flood called Batwoman DC Comics' highest profile gay superhero. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_61

Batwoman appeared in a new Justice League comic book written by James Robinson and took over as the lead character in Detective Comics starting issue #854. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_62

Greg Rucka said that DC's editors had no problem with his writing Montoya or Batwoman as lesbian, but the media controversy over Batwoman's sexuality "nullified any positive effect Batwoman might have had on the industry" and forced the character into minor roles during major crossover storylines. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_63

This changed in September 2011, when, as part of a company wide relaunch of their superhero titles, DC launched a Batwoman monthly title starring Kate Kane. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_64

Ironically, the original Batwoman, Katherine Kane, was created in the 1950s, along with original Bat-girl Bette Kane, as a romantic interest for Batman (and Bat-girl as such for Robin), to deter the notion that Batman and Robin were both gay and in a relationship. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_65

Additionally, the Batwoman characters, sharing a last name, have been written to be related. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_66

Bisexual characters Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_section_8

In 2015, Selina Kyle of the New 52 was confirmed to be bisexual in Catwoman issue #39, written by Genevieve Valentine, in which she kissed her replacement as Catwoman, Eiko. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_67

Harley Quinn has been described as bisexual, and has been in a relationship with The Joker, and, more recently, in a non-monogamous relationship with Poison Ivy. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_68

Batman's Golden Age villain-turned-antihero Catman was later confirmed to be bisexual by writer Gail Simone. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_69

In 2011, DC introduced Alysia Yeoh, Batgirl's roommate and friend who is a bisexual trans woman. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_70

Batman's sidekick Bluebird (Harper Row) is also a bisexual woman. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_71

Other characters have been portrayed as bisexual in Batman media adaptations. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_72

Gotham's Barbara Kean and Tabitha Galavan are also confirmed to be bisexual. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_73

Barbara had had a relationship with Renee Montoya in the past, and she has also been in a love triangle including Tabitha. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_74

Gay male characters Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_section_9

Gay male characters in Batman comics include Harper Row's brother Cullen and the superhero Midnighter. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_75

Midnighter originated as an alternative universe analogue of Batman in comics published by WildStorm, but became part of the mainstream DC Universe in September 2011 as a result of The New 52. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_76

Midnighter has appeared as a regular supporting character in titles featuring Dick Grayson, including Grayson and Nightwing. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_77

The television series Gotham depicts The Penguin (Oswald Cobblepot) as a gay or bisexual man, a departure from depictions of the character in other media. Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_sentence_78

See also Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_section_10

Homosexuality in the Batman franchise_unordered_list_0


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality in the Batman franchise.