Superman Homepage – Welcome to a New Era!

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[The following column was published in our recent “Big Blue Report” newsletter which was emailed out to subscribers on October 15. Response to the column was so positive that I felt it should be republished here on the website.]

If you somehow missed it, the big news of last week was the announcement that in an upcoming issue of “Superman: Son of Kal-El” (issue #4) Jon Kent (Clark and Lois’ son) would be coming out as bisexual. The news almost broke the internet.

I’ll be honest. It wasn’t a good week to be a Superman fan. Not because of the news, but because of the way people responded to the news. Being responsible for moderating comments across our website, Facebook accounts, Instagram and YouTube, it was a week I’d like to forget.

Unfortunately, being the internet, the trolls were out and the vitriol was rife. It was really disappointing to see just how many homophobic and bigoted comments there were. As fans of a character who is all about acceptance, friendship and hope, it really was terrible to see the hateful remarks.

Spiteful people aside, I’d like to respond to some of the common reactions I saw in response to the revelation.

“It’s a gimmick! A cash grab by DC Comics.”

DC aren’t stupid. They’re a business. Of course they want to sell comic books. They know this will be controversial, that it will make news, create conversation and, yes, ultimately, sell comic books. Just like the death of Superman, his marriage, his powers changing, renouncing his American citizenship, or any number of other stories. That doesn’t mean it isn’t an important story to tell or that it won’t be well written. Tom Taylor is a great writer. I’m sure he has a really engaging story ready for us, not just a gimmick without substance.

“I don’t want to know about the love life of superhero characters. I just want them to save people and punch robots.”

That’s an over-simplification of some of the comments I saw, but you get the gist of it. The fact is, sexual relationships have been part of Superman comic books since his very first issue of “Action Comics” back in 1938. The love triangle between Superman, Lois Lane and Clark Kent has been central to Superman comic books for over 80 years.

In more recent years his love life has been the main focus of many forms of the Superman story. In the Christopher Reeve films (especially “Superman II”) the entire story was about Superman and Lois’ relationship and the ramification and fallout of that. “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” was completely about the relationship between the two titular characters. In the comic books we’ve seen plenty of stories focusing on Lois and Clark’s love for each other. In a recent issue of “Action Comics” (issue #1035) it was even implied the two had sex while flying above Metropolis.

When some people say that don’t want to know about the love life of superheroes, what they’re really saying is they don’t want to know about the love life of superheroes unless it conforms to their ideas of what a love life should be, because they’re uncomfortable with non-hetero relationships.

“I have no problem with this, but they should create new characters for this, not change already established characters.”

This one surprised and confused me. Jon Kent IS a new character. Sure he’s been around for a few years now, but up until recently he was a 10 year old boy. You don’t tell stories about the sexuality of a 10 year old boy. Whatever you think of DC deciding to “age-up” Jon Kent to make him a teenager instead of a young boy, the fact is, Jon is at the age where it is normal for the character to be exploring his sexuality. They’re not changing an already established character, they’re exploring that character’s identity at the age where it’s appropriate.

If anything, DC have been really crafty about this. They know using the Superman brand for this type of story will garner lots of attention. However, they’re not altering the original Superman character (Clark Kent). He’s still the same heterosexual man, the love of Lois Lane’s life, we’ve known for so many years. He remains unchanged. He continues his never-ending battle. You can still read the stories of that Superman over in “Action Comics”. However, his son, Jon Kent, who has also taken on the mantle of Superman, his story is his own, and DC can explore a different path for this character. If his story doesn’t interest you, you don’t have to read it.

At the end of the day, for many people, Jon Kent’s story is an important one. You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to read it.

My problem is this. The Superman Homepage is, and always has been, a place for Superman fans of all kinds to come together to have open and honest debate. To that end, we expect members to follow our basic rules and premises. People got very angry and took objection when we started deleting comments or banning people from participating in our forums. Your ability to comment – and remain – a member of our website, or indeed any of our social media forums, is a privilege, NOT your right. They are NOT public forums! If you violate our rules and expectations we will delete your comment and possibly ban you. It’s not up for debate! If you want to post comments that are hurtful or hateful towards others, go do it on your own website or social media feed.

For too long the internet (especially social media) has allowed people to post hurtful comments without many (if any) repercussions. At the Superman Homepage, we’ve undoubtably fallen into that trap of allowing a similar pattern to take hold of our own forums. No more! As a collective we have drawn a line in the sand, and will be taking a much harsher stance when it comes to what we allow to be posted in our comments, whether it be on our website or any of our social media platforms. Far too many good people have been turned away because of the negativity of a vocal minority. It ends now!

Steve Younis

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4 Comments
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PurpleK
PurpleK(@purplek)
October 18, 2021 9:19 pm

I’ve been a passive follower of this site for many, many years. I’ve always kept it at a bit of an arm’s length, though. The info was solid, the love for the big guy unquestionable, but I felt a certain… reactionary vibe that didn’t sit well with me.

This post has wiped that feeling away. I applaud your stance, Steve. I stand with it.

kenkraly2004
kenkraly2004(@kenkraly2004)
October 18, 2021 9:44 pm

I’ve a long time follower of Superman Homepage and of the site since the early to mid 2000s and it’s the 1st place I go for Superman news and reviews of all things Superman. It’s a shame in recent years people have to gatekeep not just Superman or any comic book character for that matter and say I like this version that version I like this I don’t like that which is sad. We should be able to enjoy what we want no matter how the comic book stories in comics film , tv and animation change over time and… Read more »

WHSuperman
WHSuperman(@whsuperman)
October 19, 2021 5:43 pm

Steve, you are a kind soul. I appreciate your willing to talk to me and for Neal and I being able to have a lengthy, yet important conversation on these topics. I feel like I have a better understanding of you two and I am excited to continue my membership here, with your blessing.