Batman’s sidekick, Robin, comes out as LGBTQ in new comic

More than 80 years since he was first introduced to readers, and after decades of homoerotic subtext with his companion Batman, comics’ most trusty sidekick Robin has canonically come out as LGBTQ+.

In a cliffhanger ending to DC’s latest issue of Batman: Urban Legends, the current iteration of the Boy Wonder, Tim Drake, is shown accepting a date invitation from his friend Bernard, having just rescued him from a villain while in disguise as Robin.

“Ever have a lightbulb moment?” Drake muses in one panel. “Like something out in the ether has been taunting you, teasing you. Like you know you’re supposed to be on the same page as your brain but not everything made sense. People keep asking me what I want. But I couldn’t grasp it. Whatever it was. It always felt just out of reach. Until now. Until right now.”

Writer of the issue, Meghan Fitzmartin, told Polygon that she was not prepared to put a label on Drake’s sexuality, who has also been depicted dating the female superhero Spoiler, alias of character Stephanie Brown. “I wanted to pay tribute to the fact that sexuality is a journey,” Fitzmartin said. “To be clear, his feelings for Stephanie have been/are 100% real, as are his feelings for Bernard. However, Tim is still figuring himself out. I don’t think he has the language for it all … yet.”

She said she was thrilled to be given the go ahead by DC. “I fully sat on the floor of my apartment for a solid two minutes in happiness as it sunk in … I hope it is as meaningful for others as it has been for me.”

NPR critic Glen Weldon argued that it was no surprise, but a pleasant development. “Treatises have been written, and entire chapters of (very well-received!) books devoted to, the queer subtext in the Batman/Robin relationship. In Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997), the late film-maker Joel Schumacher did everything he could to transform that queer subtext into a butchy, leather-queeny text,” Weldon wrote. “But today … well. Incredibly enough, to those of us who’ve been waiting for years, Robin just came right out and said it himself, in the pages of Batman: Urban Legends #6.”

Drake is just the latest in a run of superheroes to be written as LGBTQ+, including Batwoman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, married couple Midnighter and Apollo, and, most recently at Marvel, Captain America.

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