DC Embraced Catwoman & Harley Quinn’s Sexual Fluidity

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The following contains spoilers for Catwoman #43, now on sale from DC Comics

As modern culture has evolved its views on subjects like sexuality, it’s not surprising to see some of DC’s biggest superheroes address those changes head-on. More and more LGBT themes and storylines have been introduced, including in major books like Superman: Son of Kal-El. But two longtime fixtures of the DC Universe have also been increasingly having their sexuality expanded in recent titles.

Catwoman #43 (by Tini Howard, Bengal, Jordie Bellaire, and Tom Napolitano) highlights a more fluid sexuality for Catwoman, bringing her closer than ever to longtime frenemy Harley Quinn. These tender moments make for a good way to infuse rich, new elements into the lives of long-established characters.

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Catwoman #43 focused on Selina Kyle and Harley Quinn going on a trip together to escape the chaos of their own lives in Gotham for a little while. Both reaffirm their friendship throughout the issue, as the two are on the run from Black Mask. Most of the issue is some good buddy fun between the two with the occasional perilous battle thrown in. However, after ending up in a motel for the night, things almost take a turn.

While cuddling together in bed, Selina noted an apparent appreciation of Harley on a physical level, which the latter was implied to reciprocate. However, due to their other romantic bonds (Selina’s longtime romance with Batman and Harley’s recently confirmed relationship with Poison Ivy), the pair ultimately chose not to act on their attraction.

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Catwoman’s bisexuality has become a more prevalent aspect of the character since it was confirmed in the Post-Flashpoint DC Universe, but Selina being more fluid in her sexuality is an exciting idea. Making such a key character could potentially broaden the kind of representation these characters can embody, especially in media outside of comics, where her attraction to men and women alike has played a part in The Batman and in the animated Catwoman: Hunted. DC has demonstrated a strong effort in broadening the love interests and paths of members of the Bat family in recent months, too; Tim Drake’s relationship with Bernard Dowd stands out as a prominent, well-received new development for the young hero.

It’s important for there to be diversity and inclusion in superhero comics as a genre where anyone should be able to find a hero they look up to and relate to. In the past, retcons and new creations have been used to bring more diverse perspectives to stories, but it’s been most effective when it’s treated as just an aspect of these characters that is finally coming to light. This extends to romances between Harley and Poison Ivy (which took years to finally be shown overtly in the comics) and Midnighter with Apollo being a firm couple in the modern DC Universe. Catwoman’s bisexuality has been a gradually utilized aspect of the character, allowing for new avenues to open up without invalidating any of their past romantic plotlines.

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