Batman Depicted As Openly Gay In New Novel
It's an old joke: the Caped Crusader and his Boy Wonder sidekick are actually gay lovers. Many make this connection based on their close, ill-defined, not-quite-father-and-son relationship, satirized brilliantly in SNL's The Ambiguously Gay Duo. Sometimes, even Batman and Robin's artists and writers suggest romance between the Dynamic Duo and sexual innuendo, as you can see from this oft-memed photo. And let's not talk about Joel Schumacher's Batman and Robin, not because it features latent homoeroticism, but because it's just plain terrible.
Yes, people really love to suggest those two are involved. Count Marco Mancassola in that not-so-elite group—according to The Independent's Adam Sherwin, the Italian author's new novel Erotic Lives of Superheroes depicts Batman and Robin "as a bickering gay couple whose sex life has gone flat." But that's not all:
Homosexuality is just one aspect of Batman’s secret erotic life, according to Mancassola. He told The Independent: 'Batman has always had a very dark side. And it shouldn’t be a shock that my version of this character indulges in weird forms of fetishism and extreme sex.
'Narcissism is his inner abyss. He let his only real love story miserably fail because he is in love with the mystery of youth – that inaccessible, fleeting kind of spirit that he sees in the eyes of his young male and female pick-ups.'
Batman isn't the only character whose sexuality Mancassola explores. "[T]he novel imagines the erotic obsessions of Superman, Mister Fantastic and Mystique," writes Sherwin, "as their heroic abilities are dulled by the ageing process."
Erotic Lives was a big hit in Italy, and it's now available in the U.K., but whether or not the book will ever see the light of day here in the States—where Batman, Superman and the rest are considered icons—is another matter. I mean, DC Comics officially depicting Bruce Wayne as a homosexual is about as likely a scenario as Doctor Who regenerating into a woman. Though I have to say, I love Mancassola's response to the possibility (or, inevitability) comic book fans will consider his work unforgivable:
The author admits that there are some hardcore comics fans who 'can’t forgive me for what I’ve done to their beloved characters. This is true especially when it comes to Batman, who comes across as the least nice character of the book – egocentric, ridiculously vain, in some way ‘perverse’. But, actually, I depicted him that way because I love him. He is human. He embodies the tragedy into which contemporary society has transformed the fact of getting older.'
Overall, I like this concept. We live in a world where violence in comics is all too prevalent, yet sex and sexuality are only vaguely hinted at (Kelly Thompson wrote an excellent column on this very topic). Perhaps DC, Marvel and all the publishers out there will read this book and realize there are other human aspects about these characters they could explore.
So, who's going to read this book?
To leave a comment