Superman’s son forges his own journey with same-sex relationship


Clare Sharkey | The Ticker

Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant

Comic book writers and artists are putting in efforts to bring diversity to their content. The newest Superman, Jonathan Kent, will soon begin a romantic relationship with a male friend, DC Comics, Inc announced on Oct. 11.

Jonathan Kent, who goes by Jon, is the first-born son of the original Superman, Clark Kent, and award-winning journalist of the Daily Planet, Lois Lane. Jonathan has only been around for six years, but he is already making his own path, separate from his father’s.

Since the new series,“Superman: Son of Kal-El” began in July, the younger Kent has taken on climate change by battling wildfires, stopped a high school shooting and protested the deportation of refugees in Metropolis.

“The idea of replacing Clark Kent with another straight white savior felt like a missed opportunity,” Tom Taylor, writer for “Superman: Son of Kal-El,” said. He continued by saying that 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.”

Superman’s son is not the first superhero to join the LGBTQ+ community in an open manner.

Recently, Batman’s third Robin, Tim Drake, was revealed to be entering a relationship with a man. Batwoman, Kathy Kane, was introduced in 1956 as a love interest to Batman, but her popularity diminished over the years. She was rebooted in 2006, given a new origin story involving her being expelled from the military academy as she refused to lie about being a lesbian.

In 2016, DC comics character Aqualad revealed he had a boyfriend during the third season of HBO Max’s teenage-superhero drama, “Young Justice.”

Glen Weldon, the author of “Superman: The Unauthorized Biography” and co-host of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour said that Superman’s LGBTQ+ reveal is momentous.

“It is not NorthStar, who your aunt has never heard of,” he said to The New York Times. “It’s not Hulkling. It’s not Wiccan. It’s not Fire and Ice. It’s not the Tasmanian Devil. It is Superman. That counts for something — just in terms of visibility, just in terms of the fact that this is going to attract attention.”

Even DC Comics’ psychotic anti-hero, Harley Quinn, has explored her own sexuality, teasing fans about whether she is in a relationship with fellow Gotham Siren and best friend, Poison Ivy. Most recently, their relationship has been explored in the “Harley Quinn” animated series currently streaming on HBO Max.

Abbey White, a freelance journalist, spoke about LGBTQ+ representation in kids’ media to NPR.

“Kids media is the last battleground for LGBTQ+ representation,” White said. “If you can get it here, there is no excuse for anywhere else in media for it not to be visible.”

White’s comments can apply to comic books as well. It is easy to love the action-packed pages with Batman and the rest of the Justice League, but the heroes are people when they take off their mask and capes.

By allowing LGBTQ+ superheroes, like the new Superman, to flourish in their own spotlight, comic book artists are ensuring their fans that their work will be relevant to the times. Representation is not a short-term phase or a social media trend, rather it tells the audiences that they are seen and heard.