Wednesday, 23 May 2012


posted 5/23/2012 by the Salt City Sinner

Gods darn it, I tried to ignore this story. I tried to ignore it on April 18 when Grant Morrison popped off about Batman in an in-depth feature on superheroes for Playboy. Quoth Grant:

[Batman]s very plutonian in the sense that he's wealthy and in the sense that he's sexually deviant. Gayness is built into Batman. I'm not using gay in the pejorative sense, but Batman is very, very gay. There's just no denying it. Obviously as a fictional character he's intended to be heterosexual, but the basis of the whole concept is utterly gay...All these women fancy him and they wear fetish clothes and jump around rooftops to get to him. He doesn't care - he's more interested in hanging out with the old guy and the kid.

First of all, consider the source of this statement from two angles. Angle one: Morrison is the most talented comic book writer of the last thirty years, and I'm including Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman (writers I love and fellow members of the so-called "British Invasion" of comic books in the eighties) in that statement.

Grant Morrison, or a stoop-shouldered, twitchy Lex Luthor? You be the judge
Morrison is brilliant. His knowledge of comic book canon, the occult, subcultures and the fetish and club scenes are encyclopedic and awe-inspiring. His writing is beyond meta - he wrote himself into a major comic achievement called the Invisibles as a form of hypersigil and (possibly) saved his own life by translating a life-threatening bacterial infection from our 4-D universe into the "paper universe" of the comic (trust me, it's even weirder than it sounds).

With that out of the way, angle two: if you read Supergods , his disdain for Batman practically crackles off of the page every time the character is mentioned. Morrison's favorite superhero is the first and oldest (Superman), and in comparing and contrasting the two, writing about Batman's film outings, and generally analyzing Bruce Wayne's fictional psyche, Morrison doesn't outright admit that he hates Batman, but, well, let's just say the outspoken, prickly, eccentric Morrison couldn't hide his feelings about the Dark Knight if he tried his very hardest.

This is kind of peculiar, since Morrison is the best writer who has ever handled Batman. He currently writes for Action Comics, and his Batman: Incorporated title is so freaking good that I have minty-fresh vacuum-sealed issues of the entire first run (and will soon be gnawing on the second). His take on Batman in Final Crisis was a masterpiece, Batman R.I.P. is legendary, and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth is one of the top-grossing graphic novels of all time (and a complex masterpiece with so many moving parts that it is almost impossible to fully comprehend without several readings).

Batman has been left in Grant's cruel and wrinkly hands since 2006, and despite his apparent hatred for "the rich boy who beats up poor junkies by night and then retires to his mansion" (Grant's characterization), Morrison has played Batman like a Stradivarius.

So I tried to ignore Grant popping off. Popping off is what Grant does. Then, within about a week, the first headline hit the Huffington Post: "Batman Is Gay: Comic Writer Grant Morrison Says Concept of Superhero Character Is 'Sexually Deviant'". Crave hit at the same time with the somewhat less incendiary headline "Grant Morrison: 'Batman Is Very, Very Gay'" (and also the below delightful image capture of the legendary Bat-Bulge).

Soon enough, D.C. brass announced that "a major character" would, in fact, be coming out of the closet in the near future. Due to Grant being Grant and saying stupid $h!t in an interview, the smart money is apparently on Batman. And the howls began, and I could no longer ignore this horrible, stupid story that Morrison, in a fit of arrogance or pique or something, kicked off.

My favorite take so far is from Wonkette, who headlined conservative outrage over the recruitment of Master Wayne to the insidious Gay Agenda "Wingnuts Confused Over How To Be Angry About New DC Comics Gay Superhero." I suggest you give that one a read in its entirety.

Look, I'm a Batman guy and Morrison is a Superman guy. We can tread on each other's territory (I love Superman), but in the end the gulf might be unbridgeable. And for a non-Batman guy (who has steered Batman for six years now in an official capacity, and since the eighties in an unofficial one) to trot this kind of stuff out kind of pisses me off.

I couldn't give less of a gnat's fart in a hurricane whether Batman is gay, straight, transgendered, whatever - but I don't feel Morrison is treating the archetype he has been allowed the privilege of piloting the respect it deserves.

Batman isn't just some lonesome weirdo who avoids women and hangs out with "the old man and the kid" - he has had troubled relationships with Kathy Kane (the first Batwoman), Selina Kyle (of Catwoman fame), and even fathered a biological son with Talia, the daughter of R'as al Ghul.

His son was, of course, named Damian.

And that is your Nerd Rage of the week.

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