Thursday, April 26, 2012

Grant Morrison & Gay Batman

(Batman Art by Alex Ross.  All rights reserved by Alex Ross)

There has been recent buzz around a Playboy article with Grant Morrison, comic writer, about Batman & his sexuality.  Here's the quote that started the buzz:

"Gayness is built into Batman. I'm not using gay in the pejorative sense, but Batman is very, very gay. There's just no denying it. Obviously as a fictional character he's intended to be heterosexual, but the basis of the whole concept is utterly gay. I think that's why people like it. All these women fancy him and they all wear fetish clothes and jump around rooftops to get to him. He doesn't care -- he's more interested in hanging out with the old guy and the kid."

As a reader of Batman for more than 30 years, I understand what Grant is saying, but don't entirely agree. Batman is very complicated.

Many people are calling for Batman to be outed or for DC Comics to just admit it already.
Here are my thoughts.

It isn't like they [DC COMICS] are purposefully ignoring that Batman is gay as much as the character himself is ignoring it. Part of the reason Batman has so many issues is because he witnessed his parents death AND he's gay & in denial. Part of his anger is from that denial.

IF you were ever to out Batman or have Bruce Wayne come to terns with his denial, then you would lose much of the character. Batman is so popular because so many in society today hide from what is really causing their anger & woes & try to pin it instead on other people, politicians, etc. Politicians that are so deep in the closet are the homosexuals worst enemy. They do things to hurt their own because they hate themselves.
Batman chooses NOT to look at himself, just like most Americans do. He has overtaken Superman in popularity because Batman teaches us that if we are violent or cruel, yet we can blame it on some past trauma, rather than our inability to to do the hard work to free ourselves from our own personal demons, then it's okay. It's socially acceptable to beat the holy hell out of someone because WE have been so abused.
Batman had his parent's taken from him, so he gets to do this. We're okay with it. He suffered, so he gets to deal out punishment. Of course the writer's of Batman are always constantly addressing whether or not this is right. Whether or not this doesn't just make him a glorified rich thug.

They always leave it up to us to decide.

I love Batman because of the complexity of the character.The grays. The inner struggle within Bruce Wayne.

Is he gay? Probably. His gayness does indeed have a huge affect on who he is, but it is something that MUST stay closeted or you destroy the complexity of the character forever. He must struggle with it or you have to end the comic. He cannot ever be an out character & survive.

That doesn't mean that he can't teach us the harms of staying closeted. That gay issues can't be addressed within Batman. They just can't be main text. They must remain eloquently subtextual as they have for years now. That way kids like me can identify with this character & see what the denial does. Batman is always hiding. Hiding from himself & hiding from others. If Batman taught me anything, it was that hiding who you are has terrible consequences.

In the future, when homosexuality is no longer an issue, Batman can survive.  He can subtextually struggle with anything.  Anything that we, ourselves, as a society are struggling with.  That's really what we, the readers, love about Batman.  He is us.  Individually but also as a whole.  Good and bad, right and wrong, but ultimately in the end, simply human.

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