DC Comics just added to its roster of openly LGBTQ+ characters, revealing that one of its most famous male heroes dates men. In a new issue of anthology comic Batman: Urban Legends, Robin, the longstanding sidekick to the Caped Crusader, comes out of the closet.
In a story entitled ‘The Sum of Our Parts’ by writer Meghan Fitzmartin and artist Belén Ortega, Robin, a.k.a. Tim Drake, is shown having dinner with his friend Bernard. The evening is soon interrupted by a baddie who kidnaps Bernard, leading Tim to don his superhero costume and save his friend. Bernard, not knowing that Robin is actually Tim, then remarks to his rescuer that he wishes he’d been able to finish his date, prompting Robin to do some thinking.
The installment ends with Tim visiting Bernard and explaining that he is still unsure “what it meant” to have dinner with him. When Tim then asks outright, “Do you want to go on a date with me?”, Tim answers truthfully: “Yeah… Yeah. I think I want that.”
There have been plenty of jokes made over the decades about the arguably homoerotic undertones of Batman and Robin’s crime-fighting partnership, both on the page and on the screen—and Chris O’Donnell’s portrayal of Robin in the 1995 film Batman Forever is certainly responsibly for more than a few adolescent viewers realizing they might be gay—but this marks the first time that DC has made an attraction to men an in-universe part of Robin’s character.
The story doesn’t exactly depict Robin storming out of the closet. It also doesn’t yet specify whether the character identifies as gay or bisexual, instead opting to organically show the character in the earlier stages of figuring out his sexuality and his feelings for Bernard. This is the kind of nuanced portrayal that LGBTQ+ readers rarely get to see in comics, and that is no accident.
“My goal in writing has been and will always be to show just how much God loves you,” writer Meghan Fitzmartin tweeted after the issue dropped. “You are so incredibly loved and important and seen. Forever grateful to be trusted with Tim Drake and his story.”
This iteration of Robin joins Kate Kane, a.k.a. Batwoman, as one of the most prominent LGBTQ+ characters in DC’s canon, alongside Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Midnighter.
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