Only someone ignorant of the fundamentals of psychiatry and the psychopathology of sex can fail to realize a subtle atmosphere of homoeroticism which pervades the adventure of the mature 'Batman' and his young friend 'Robin.'
Thus spake Dr Fredric Wertham, my favorite psychiatrist and author of Seduction of the Innocent, the book that was indirectly responsible for the American Comics Code, created in the 1950s. (Back then comic books were attacked for causing juvenile delinquency and the comics industry responded by bending over and instituting self-censorship. Go, comics industry!)
That's the first thing that pops into my head when considering
Christopher Nolan's new Batman movie.
At the same time, we finally get a real answer to the question of Batty's sexuality:
[...] the comics continue to serve a gay reading. Bruce Wayne is largely celibate, rejecting the comforts of heterosexual 'normality'. He lives a closeted secret life and is racked by torment. His dark mirror, The Joker, is an outré, flamboyant character who wears make up and lacks Batman's self-discipline, while the quizzing Riddler, the conflicted Two Face and the liberated Catwoman all present challenges to his 'lifestyle choice'. As gay role models go, Batman's not a man to emulate, but confused gay fans will find plenty to identify with.
So is Batman really gay? Of course not. He's a DC trademark, and DC's not going to dilute the marketability of one of its biggest licenses. DC is so adamant about the character's heterosexuality that even as recently as 2000, the publisher was rejecting requests by academics to use copyrighted materials in articles that discussed the character's sexuality.
It's probably overly optimistic to assume the matter will be resolved after this enlightening article. Comics nerds, being a sexually confused species, will most likely continue spending a lot of time pondering these kinds of things. Personally, I'm inclined to agree with the signature "necrotechno":
Batman is a rich pedophile with a lack of respect for the due process of the law, a serious lack of fashion sense, and no super-powers to back any of it up. The only difference between Batman and Michael Jackson is Jackson's parents aren't dead. The TV show was the pinnacle of what Batman could ever be.
That's not insulting, as far as I'm concerned, because the TV show was freaking brilliant! Far more interesting than these new stupid CGI superhero action flicks the kids seem to love. Stupid kids! What the fuck do you know? Everything was better when I was young.
It must be said, though, that a lot of the gayish dialogue in Batman can be interpreted in different ways. These panels, for instance, seem to point to a healthy, heterosexual fear of commitment.
On the other hand, it's clear that sidekick Robin (the Gay Wonder) has an unhealthy attachment to his colleague/leader/stepdad/whatever ("another woman" = BATMAN!).
Yeah, that's all I have to say for now, I hope you feel enlightened.
Superblog!! - Exploring Superhero Sexuality Since February, 2005
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Posted by Koala Mentala at 9:55 p.m.