Superman has always been someone who stands for a just and diverse world, and he’s just dropped a hint regarding his support of non-binary people.
Warning! Mild spoilers for Superman and the Authority #1 below!
Superman has always been a character who supported diversity and the many groups of people that make up his adopted nation of the United States. In a new DC Comics issue, he has added his support of non-binary gender identities to the list.
Throughout comic book media’s long history, Superman has always been a character who stood for justice and equality, even in ways that would not likely reflect more conservative—and possibly common—feelings at the time. The famous Superman radio broadcast “Clan of the Fiery Cross,” which was made into a comic in 2019, provides a strong example of Superman’s moral character and his historical support of minority groups who may experience adversity outside of the comic book world.
Superman and the Authority #1 by Mikel Janin and Grant Morrison picks up at a point where Superman’s promise to former President John F. Kennedy to make a “finer world” seems like a distant dream. With his own mortality slowly creeping closer and his powers waning, Superman decides he needs a new group of people to help fight the threat of Kypton’s worst criminals as they force their way out of the Phantom Zone. The first on his list? Psychic-powered metahuman terrorist Manchester Black. As Superman arrives in time to watch the capture of the criminal, he blithely and confidently addresses the crowd: “I’ll take over now, gentleman. Ladies. Others.”
If it can still be argued that Superman stands for truth, justice, and the American way, then this additional nod to the LGBTQ+ community fits well into the Superman mythos. In recent years, comics have increased their canon LGBTQ+ characters, pushing for more diverse stories and building real, loving, queer relationships around familiar, classic characters. Recently, DC Pride showcased new characters like Jess Chambers, a non-binary individual who uses they/them pronouns, and Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy’s relationship. The comment also happens to come in the middle of the ongoing “debate” around Captain America’s recent comments on the American dream and the accusations by some right-wing media that comics have become too political, despite comics’ long history of engaging with politics.
The greeting, quick and simple as it is, comes on the heels of comic book creator Grant Morrison coming out as non-binary, making what could be read as a flippant and, perhaps, even cheeky comment into something more sincere—as if the corn-fed hero could be anything less than sincere. The comment also signals a change in comics, as well as in the real world, by suggesting the possibility of a coming world where those with different gender identities are not viewed as different or strange, but as normal. Normal enough to be blithely added to the common “ladies and gentlemen” phrase without anyone, including Superman, blinking an eye.
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