Superman has been a cultural figurehead since the first comic to feature him premiered back in 1938. In the 83 years since Superman first came to be, the character has seen many evolutions. He acted as a pillar of hope for those suffering through the Great Depression and endured the second world war. He has consistently served as a champion of the underdog. In fact, the late Christopher Reeve, who portrayed the iconic hero on-screen, became a real-life version of Superman by advocating for those who are differently abled after an injury left him paralyzed. And now, Michel B. Jordan will serve as the first on-screen Superman of color. That message of compassion, courage, and acceptance that Superman exudes has the capacity to touch a worldwide populous, and Superman’s continued evolution serves to bring that important message into the modern vernacular.
Now according to IGN, in continued cognizance and service of that message, DC has officially announced that Superman’s son Jon Kent, who recently assumed the responsibility from his father Clark, is bisexual.
Jon Kent will officially come out as bisexual in the upcoming fifth issue of the current comic book series Superman: Son of Kal-El. Jon Kent is a progressive character that embraces who he is and what he is passionate about, and is not afraid to explore his identity further. The New York Times pointed out that Jon Kent’s Superman is a spearheader in the fight against climate change and consistently advocates for the revision of environmental protections. Jon Kent serves as a modern representation of what it means to be a young person in today’s world and through that representation acts as a character that those grappling with similar issues can relate to. His bisexuality is an important, albeit small step, in shifting archaic societal norms and perceptions.
Superman has long being a figurehead that those who have been oppressed or have suffered any kind of unwarranted social stigma could look to. In fact, according to the Ohio Story History Connection, Superman’s creator, Jerry Siegel, was famously quoted stating “[Superman is] champion the oppressed. The physical marvel who had sworn to devote his existence to helping those in need.” Superman is the physical embodiment of justice, which further sheds light on the pertinence of equal representation in the mediums that he appears in, and further supports the need for the existence of bisexual versions like Jon Kent. Jon Kent’s bisexuality is essentially the first step in creating the foundation for further iterations of Superman that accurately reflect society.
Jon Kent’s version of Superman is truly a triumph for the character overall. However, the writer behind Superman: Son of Kal-El, Tom Taylor, expressed that it took a long time to get this far and that he has been advocating for the existence of characters like Jon Kent for many years.
“Over the years in this industry, it probably won’t surprise you to hear I’ve had queer characters and storylines rejected. I felt like I was letting down people I loved every time this happened.”Tom Taylor
However, Taylor went on to say that even in just the past five years the industry has come a long way and is doing so much more to practice inclusion and promote diversity. He conveyed that, “…everyone deserves to see themselves in their heroes,” and it looks like the industry is finally at a point where that can begin to happen. Superman’s evolution could effectively be marking the start of a momentous shift for the mainstream comic book industry as a whole.