Was Batman Outed in the ’50s?

Posted by Censor Librorum on Jul 28, 2008 | Categories: Arts & Letters, Lesbians & Gays


Batman and Robin hide in plain sight much like another famous couple-Xena, Warrior  Princess  and her young companion, Gabrielle.   The gay subtext is  flagrant in some stories, barely hinted at in others. Sometimes, the characters have a fleeting involvement with members of the opposite sex – a date  to keep up appearances.

Is  Batman gay?  I found this gem by Tyrion Lannister on  The Bilerico Project.      

“The accusation that Batman was a homo, strange as it might sound to our own ears, was taken quite seriously by government and public alike. It wasn’t leveled by a marginal nut or crank, but by a world-renowned psychiatrist, Dr. Frederic Wertham.”

“In 1954, Wertham published a scathing indictment of comic books, The Seduction of the Innocent, which argued that comic books were an invidious influence on American youth, responsible for warped gender attitudes and all manner of delinquency.”

“Batman and Robin, Wertham charged, inhabited ‘a wish dream of two homosexuals living together.’ They lived in ‘sumptuous quarters,’ unencumbered by wives and girlfriends, with only an aged butler for company. They care for each other’s injuries, frequently shared quarters, and lounged together in dressing gowns. Worse still, both exhibited damning psychological characteristics: proclivities for costumes, dressing up, and fantasy play; secretive behavior and double-lives; little interest in women; and most damning of all, neurotic compulsions resulting in their violent vigilantism. Indeed, Wertham argued, depictions of Batman and Robin were frequently homoerotic, visually emphasizing Batman’s rippling physique and Robin’s splayed, bare thighs.” batbed.png

“‘Only someone ignorant of the fundamentals of psychiatry and psychopathology of sex can fail to realize the subtle atmosphere of homoeroticism which pervades the adventures,’ wrote Wertham. ‘The Batman type of story may stimulate children to homosexual fantasies.'” ambiguously_gay_batman.jpg

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One Response to “Was Batman Outed in the ’50s?”

  1. Steve Says:

    That last panel is hilarious. It wouldn’t be hilarious to a fucking kid though; they wouldn’t have the foggiest notion why the (more juvenile) adults were laughing at it. Saying these “may stimulate kids to homosexual fantasies” is just fucking absurd, lol. Obviously that guy was so old he couldn’t remember being a kid; kid’s don’t get subtext, period. They just don’t. You could have the most fucked-up subtext that history has ever seen in a comic book and a kid would be totally oblivious to it, that’s just how their brains work.

    I get so sick of these psychiatrist buffoons applying their fucked up, warped view of reality to every piece of art ever. In their world two dudes are gay if they do anything other than fuck every woman in sight and wear brown/black. In the real world things aren’t as simplistic as “OMG DUDE WEARS SHORT SHORTS MUST BE CLOSET GAY LOL.”

    That said, who the fuck cares if they were depicted as gay? Did it change how much good the characters did? Is a gay superhero’s positive contributions to fictional society intrinsically less valuable than a hetero’s?

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