Is Batman Gay? In defense of Grant Morrison!
Grant Morrison has received some overwhelming backlash for calling the Dark Knight "gay". Is it Warranted?
In a recent article with whatculture.com Grant Morrison made a comment about our beloved Dark Knight Bruce Wayne being "very, very gay". I was kind of shocked with the amount of backlash this provoked from most Batman fans on CBM. I thought surely most people would see at least the most superficial instances where batman could be "a little gay." With some people calling some kind of reverse sexism and some claiming Morrison has no respect for the character i think this is worth examining a bit more thoroughly. Bare with me...
A lot of the anger comes from fans thinking Morrison is "putting down" the character by calling the character "gay". Although in Grant's own words the comment isn't meant to be taken "pejoratively" or under the pretense gay is the derogatory term some may attribute it as. What he is saying here is that there is something homoerotic about the male camaraderie and extravagant themes in comic books, and Batman is no different. He is for instance raised by a surrogate father in Alfred and has the repeated habit of trying to play father/mentor to younger boys while Ultimately alienating most women figures from his life which plays right into the gay undertone Grant was trying to express.
You see by day Bruce Wayne is trying to fill the shoes of his father who he Romanticizes as if through the eyes of a child. His father being the "ultimate good" or most righteous, which Bruce Wayne has tried to imitate in the time he pretends to be a normal person. As Batman he is trying to break the cycle of the tragedy he experienced as a child by protecting the city and harboring those he sees a bit of his childhood in. Nothing new right? But in the midst of these strong plot points little to no attention is payed to the mother figure, a void which Wayne has never tried too hard to fill.
Now a lot of comments here claim Batman has more then enough notches on his bedpost to qualify as the personification of heterosexuality in tights. But i have always seen Bruce Wayne as pretty asexual, often citing his fleeting relationships as "keeping up appearances".
Plainly seen throughout Batman's continuity, he invests more emotion in males then he does in women. Repressed feelings due to the absence of a mother figure? Very well could be but pattern here dictates he should be just as obsessed with filling this void as he is trying to live out the legacy of his father. You can Surmise in the same way you love your family that Bruce Wayne LOVES Alfred, or Bruce Wayne LOVES Dick Greyson, or Bruce Wayne LOVES Jason Todd. But i have never felt Bruce Wayne is capable or could let himself be capable to love a woman. Often his Damsels in distress are tragic characters in the sense he's made no room for romance in his life, Often only reacting to affection with sympathy or reacting in way that based on their expectations, not his own feelings. I think essentially Batman has been made asexual or psychologically impotent, living just for his strife and surrogate family.
(keep in mind Rachel Dawes was created just for the Nolanverse Batman films and doesn't allude to any big love interest from the comics)
So is Batman gay? I think there IS a homosexual undertone in his relationships or at least a asexual one. Do i think Morrison was projecting his own Sexual insights onto the character? No i think Grant is as well adjusted author/fan who has projected on Batman as much as any author projected their own sexuality or psychology onto the character, making him into what we know today. Would i care if Batman was gay? Nope. I think it would add another complexity to the life and struggle of Batman's Psyche.I have no doubt Morrison has a great respect for the character which enables him to be so critical and laugh about the cliches and bizarities that come with a literal look at the source material. But i believe these kinds of deeper insights from people like Grant, Moore, Loeb and Miller are what has ultimately built Batman into such a compelling hero and character study.
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