As modern culture has evolved their 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) and Batman: The Knight #5 (by Chip Zdarsky, Carmine Di Giandomencio, Ivan Plascencia, and Pat Brosseau) both highlight more fluid sexuality for Batman and Catwoman alike and it’s a good way to infuse those elements into the lives of long-established characters.
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, but 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.
Meanwhile, a younger Bruce Wayne has been the focus of Batman: The Knight, which highlighted some mentors and training that helped define his early years. Although Bruce has shown a clear interest in women (even making a move on Luice, one of his mentors), he’s also been shown to be increasingly close with his friend/rival Anton. Anton has also been implied to be the younger version of Ghost-Maker, Batman’s ally in Gotham.
While on assignment to collect a book of valuable secrets, Anton was able to make off with the intel by seducing a high-ranking official and getting him alone while Bruce eventually covered his escape. After reuniting, Anton gave Bruce a pep talk and the pair ended up sharing a tender moment where they share a romantic look and even seem close to going for a kiss. While Bruce was using the moment to sneak the intel off of Anton (so that he technically won the challenge put to them), it’s still a unique moment. Their mentor, Avery, even commented that she was clearly interrupting “something” when she found them.
Batman and Catwoman both being more fluid in their sexuality is an exciting prospect for DC, helping potentially broaden the kind of representation these characters can embody. Catwoman’s bisexuality has become a more prevalent aspect of the character since it was confirmed in the Post-Flashpoint DC Universe. This is especially true in outside media, where her attraction to men and women alike has played a part in The Batman and in the animated Catwoman: Hunted. But by pushing Batman in a similar direction, DC can broaden the love interests and paths forward for the Dark Knight. He’s not even the only male member of the Bat-Family to seemingly take on this change, as Tim Drake’s relationship with Bernard Dowd has been a good development for the young hero.
It’s important for there to be a good amount of 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 just 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, and it’s somewhat fitting for Batman to have a similar development. This allows them to have new avenues opened up to them without invalidating any of their past romantic plotlines.
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