by Chaim Mattis Keller
Let's start off with some old business
Subject: Is Batman Gay?
Just a quick note on Michael Hutchison's article "Is Batman Gay?"
It's this kind of thoughtless, knee-jerk juvenialia that has kept comicbooks in the critical and mainstream closet. There is no discussion (indeed, no opinion), no reasoning, no insight, no anything.
I would like to think that your columnists are bright, but judging from this kind of reportage, I can only believe otherwise.
The question of Batman's sexuality -- as far as one would want to go into the sexuality of a fictional character -- is ripe for a critical, intelligent discussion. Obviously Hutchison is not equipped.
Not often you see a letter on an article lonfer than the article itself!
Nonetheless, Michael Hutchison replies:
First, thanks for writing. I can tell that this is something which bothered you, and I'm sorry if you're troubled by it. Still, I'm a little offended myself at your assertions, and I hope you'll give me a moment to explain.
I'm not sure, but you may have missed the joke. Did you read my other article "Is Wonder Woman Gay?" in the very same issue and which does go on, in rather ridiculous detail (considering she's a fictional character), to discuss whether she is or she isn't. Thus, the article right below it, "Is Batman Gay?", is just a joke.
And the fact is, no, he isn't. He isn't gay. He's had girlfriends. He's had a wife and fathered a child (I, for one, don't care whether Denny O'Neill proclaims that "Son of the Demon" is retroactively an Elseworlds). He hasn't shown ANY real signs of being homosexual. And the "clues" that cause people to whisper are specious. Adopting (legally or otherwise) a young boy and raising him as a son (in name or not) is hardly reason to make allegations about his sexual orientation (and indeed, accusing him of pederasty, since we would be claiming that he was misusing boys); are we to assume that all single men wanting to adopt sons are gay?
Batman is not gay. He is rather more comparable to a man who has taken a vow of celibacy in order that the opposite sex not distract him from a devoted crusade. The "Is Batman Gay?" question arises simply from our society's curiosity at any man who isn't scheming to get into the pants of any and all willing women. You'll notice that Green Arrow and Speedy avoid this whole problem just by having yo-yo britches around the opposite sex. And what happens when Green Arrow's son ISN'T a womanizer? Writer Chuck Dixon gets plenty of mail asking if this means Connor is gay, that's what. I think that this stereotype is far more damaging to our society than any concerns about Batman's true orientation, and that's why I don't feel at all guilty about making a fair proclamation. Batman is not gay.
"Is Batman Sexually Repressed?" would be deserving of a full-length article. "Is Batman Gay?" is not, except that I'm now essentially required to put forth one just because you can't take a joke, Bob.
And there you have it folks a reply to a letter longer than the letter, which was longer than the original article!
Now, to new business
Subject: Fanzing #31 Comments
I thought I would just take the time to thank you guys for doing a Birds of Prey issue. I think it is one of the best comicbooks out there today and it's nice to see this title get the recognition it deserves. I especially enjoyed reading the Oracle as well as the Black Canary timelines since it gave me a chance to catch-up on what the two of them have been up to over the years. So, again, thanks and I look forward to the next issue of Fanzing.
You're very welcome, Mike! Glad to have you aboard.
On the forum, we have been entertaining the idea of re-naming out "Sector 2814" section due to Hal Jordan's change of occupation. Here are some responses to that
Art for the Undead
Michael Hutchison replies:
Cool although there's no need to stick with Hal as the host. We may do something altogether different.
I like the Spectral Images, though. Nice ring to it.
And, from the "Great Minds Think Alike Department
From: Ratbat [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Subject: Hal's spot
So, still looking for a new art gallery name now that its host Mr Jordan is the Spectre?
How about 'Spectral Imagery'?
Daria 'Ratbat' Sigma
And a bit of reaction here to our new rule, enacted last month, to cut back on Nightwing fiction and to start having greater variety of fanfic characters
From: Rao-F02, Anand (email@example.com)
Subject: The whole Nightwing Fanfiction thing
First off, I'd like to say that I love your site. The articles and art are top notch, and I learn a great deal about DC story lines that I may have missed in the past months or years.
I'm sure you've already received a plethora of email regarding the subject, but I felt strongly enough to add in my own two cents. Feel free to delete at any time. :)
(Editor's comment: Delete a letter? Are you kidding? We get few enough as it is!
I understand that a single focus can get a bit repetitive, but right now, Nightwing is really popular among DC fans. People can't seem to see or read enough about the guy! After all, if people didn't like Nightwing fanfiction, even hundreds of versions of a rehashed Babs + Dick story, they wouldn't get written, and they wouldn't get read. Of course, that is what the Nightwing Mailing List is for, and you have the right to publish whatever content you want on your site.
I just hope you'd keep in mind that fanfiction writers (perhaps like fazine editors) do not get paid for their works. We write and read for fun. You suggested that Nightwing writers should think outside of the box, and expand their horizons a bit. Unfortunately, I (and many other DC fans) have no idea who Jonah Hex or Jack Knight or Pat Dugan or The Elongated Man are.
I guess my point is, that most of us already know what we like, and are on a limited budget. I used to read all 10+ X-Men lines until Onslaught, and then I lost interest in the series. Now, I read all the Batman and Superman titles along with a couple of manga titles. I'll continue to do so until the story lines become weak. Trying new things is great, but I still have a mortgage and grad school tuition to pay.
But that's why there's fanzing, right? You guys keep introducing less known DC characters, and I'll promise to keep an open mind. :)
"He's a sex object. He asks for sex, and women object."
A thoughtful letter, Anand, but I must disagree: free things do not follow the usual laws of supply and demand. If something is free, people will take it even if there would not normally be a demand for it. So I think it's fair to say that the overabundance of Nightwing fanfic we've been getting is not due to an overwhelming demand to read it, but due to an overwhelming desire to write it even though most of what we get has pretty much already been written previously.
And take it from this monthly columnist, I know we don't get paid oh, how I know .
And that wraps up our lettercol for March, 2001. Until next month
This piece is © 2001 by Chaim Mattis Keller.
Fanzing is not associated with DC Comics.
All DC Comics characters, trademarks and images (where used) are DC Comics, Inc.
DC characters are used here in fan art and fiction in accordance with their generous "fair use" policies.
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