Sexualized Saturdays: Bruce Wayne a.k.a Batman

Ah, Batman. If there was a prize for a character’s sexuality being questioned, Batman would win every year. This after all was the character that inspired The Ambiguously Gay Duo.

Bruce Wayne, also known as Batman, is well known as being a very typical archetype of the stoic brooding male figure. He’s a badass. He’s the Goddamned Batman! And maybe it’s because Batman is so cool that people are constantly asking questions about his sexuality.

The artists and writers were doing a decent job outing Batman themselves.

The first person to attempt to “out” Batman was Fredric Wertham, a psychiatrist who wrote a book called Seduction of the Innocent, and argued that Batman and Robin where homosexuals in a very homoerotic story and these stories were encouraging children to be gay… yeah. (He also accused Wonder Woman of being a lesbian, because a strong woman that doesn’t rely on a man for everything must be a lesbian. Obviously!)

This accusation caused trouble for DC Comics and the writers were quick to create Batgirl and Batwoman as love interests for Batman and Robin. Ironically, Batwoman would be later reintroduced as a lesbian.

Despite many people believing Batman is gay, the comic books show the exact opposite. Bruce Wayne is a notorious playboy with a (extremely) long list of woman (civilian, superhero, and villain) as potential love interests. Of course many people point out that this could be Batman overcompensating for is homosexual urges. Furthermore, there is much speculation as to whether or not Bruce Wayne is actually a playboy or if he just pretends to be one. I think this reflected best in the recent Nolan films. In both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne has many women on his arm, but as far as the movies show, he never actually takes any of them home with him. He’s too busy being Batman to actually have sex and be a playboy.

In the comics, this is not usually the case. Bruce seems to have many relationships, but the women Bruce involves himself with usually don’t stick around, because he is unable to commit to them and still be Batman. This doesn’t stop Batman from getting his groove on though. He had a son, Damian Wayne, with Talia al Ghul, and Catwoman is often regarded as his one true love despite their often toxic relationship.

The writers for the Batman comics have all been questioned about Batman’s sexuality. Regardless of these numerous heterosexual relationships, here is what they had to say:

The Comics Bulletin website posed the question “Is Batman Gay?” to their staff and various comic book professionals. Writer Alan Grant has stated, “The Batman I wrote for 13 years isn’t gay. 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. Only Joel Schumacher might have had an opposing view.” Writer Devin Grayson has commented, “It depends who you ask, doesn’t it? Since you’re asking me, I’ll say no, I don’t think he is… I certainly understand the gay readings, though.” 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.”

So is Batman gay? He certainly has many woman attached to him and the creator/writers don’t seem to think he is, but could he be?

The relationship between Batman and Robin is the main reason people think Batman is gay. Everything involving Batman and homosexuality inevitably leads to Batman and Robin. I should say Robins, because there have been several and most have been romantically linked to Batman.

Dick Grayson, the first Robin who later becomes Nightwing, is the one most often tied to Batman. There are many comics that show Batman’s close relationship to the eldest Robin and of course some the hilarious early Batman comics don’t help. After all who could forget that famous shower fight scene?

I don’t even have words for this scene…

Jason Todd, the second Robin who later becomes Red Hood, is also often romantically linked to Batman. Jason notably was very, very jealous of Batman’s relationship with Catwoman and even tried to break them up.

Thankfully, as far as I know, neither Tim Drake nor Damian Wayne have ever been romantically linked to Batman, nor has Steph Brown, the only canon female Robin. In fact none of the Bat Women have ever been romantically link to Batman in recent canon.

Now you might be looking at the above thinking, “Four tiny paragraphs talking about Batman and Robin(s)’s relationship when this is the pairing that started the gay rumors in the first place! What the hell?”

You are right in thinking that I’m dismissing these pairings. Why? Because it’s creepy, that’s why! And don’t go accusing me of homophobia or any of that nonsense. The Batman/Robin pairing is not homosexual. If this pairing really did exist, since Robin is a minor, it would be pedophilia. Even if you tell me that Batman and Robin will get together when Robin is all grown up it’s still creepy. It’s child grooming at best. Furthermore, Batman raised all of the Robins, giving their interactions a familial touch to them. Making any relationship between Batman and the Robins as creepy as Woody Allen marrying his adopted daughter.

Apparently some people think Batman and the Joker are madly in love with each other. Well, maybe in your fanfic they are, but I really doubt it—no, I know Batman has absolutely no interest in the Joker.

Now don’t get your panties all in a twist. That doesn’t mean the Joker isn’t interested in Batman, but we’re discussing Batman’s sexuality today. We’ll come back to the Joker’s another time.

While Clark Kent is very straight, he is not a minor or family member of Bruce Wayne’s, nor is he in fact a psychotic maniac. So I feel this is a step in the right direction for Batman.

Despite very few accusations about Superman’s sexuality, there is a surprising amount of evidence here. First, in the early comics, Batman and Superman got along extremely well, unlike in today’s comics, but while I don’t want to demean their friendship, the early Batman and Superman were about as close as two men could get and still be straight. So their relationship was teetering on the edge there.

Then there is the fact that Batman and Superman kind of raised Robin together, particularly Dick Grayson. There’s no denying that Superman is often in the lives of the Bat Family, but he seems to have made the greatest impression on Dick who took on the name Nightwing after he moved on from being Robin. Nightwing is the name of a great hero in a Kryptonian legend from Superman’s home world. Though this in no way indicates a relationship between Batman and Superman, their close friendship along with Superman’s connection with Dick certainly creates an interesting pseudo-family dynamic.

In later incarnations this extremely close friendship disappears in favor of a rivalry. Frank Miller was the first to realize that Superman’s strict code of ethics would in fact clash with Batman’s often morally grey ones. Admittedly though, Miller takes this rivalry too far, making the two characters out and out hate each other. In later comics this rivalry would remain, but eventually would fade away to become respect, and then friendship, though both Batman and Superman could still get on each other’s nerves at times.

Now Superman still seems to hang around the Bat Family a lot. Dick still takes on the name Nightwing, Tim Drake (the third Robin) is best friends with Superman’s son Conner Kent, and Batgirl and Supergirl are very close. Superman even gets along with Alfred! Superman worries for Batman a lot and usually becomes distraught when he dies. He even went so far as to verbally attack Dick Grayson in one comic for daring to become Batman after Bruce Wayne’s death, because it meant to Superman that his Batman was really dead.

So it seems that Superman just fits well into Batman’s life and cares about him a great deal. Batman seems to react the same way for Superman, often worrying about him, watching out for his friends and family, and freaking out if Superman dies or is injured.

There was so much speculation about these two that this happened:

Apollo and Midnighter exist in another universe, but while not Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne, they are meant to be the Batman and Superman figures in their universe—and they’re gay. They even marry and adopt a child together. Again this proves nothing about Batman and Superman’s relationship, but it’s enough to make the readers wonder.

In conclusion, I actually don’t think Batman’s gay. Straight or gay it doesn’t really matter because Batman is so emotionally stunted by the trauma of his parents’ death that he pushes everyone he cares about away. Something that is often lamented about by the Robins, Superman, Catwoman, and literally everyone else who knows him. So again, I do think based on the comic’s canon that he is straight, but should a writer choose to write Batman as a gay character, well, I don’t think it would be difficult.

 


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5 thoughts on “Sexualized Saturdays: Bruce Wayne a.k.a Batman

  1. Pingback: Batman and His Young Cudgel | Dungeon Talk

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