Monday, February 14, 2005

Batman unbound













Separated at Birth?






Over at "news from me" Mark Evanier has another funny and thought-provoking post on the ah, "gayness" of the Dark Knight.

Dr. Fredric Wertham, who looks surprisingly like The Meanest Old Man in the World (on the other hand, why is that a surprise?) wrote a book, as you probably know, called "Seduction of the Innocent" and suceeded in making my childhood life a living hell. For several years, I had to hide my comic books from my father who would trash them upon discovery, convinced as he was that comics would lead me to J.D.ism, depravity, drugs and wild sex with blonde bombshells who smoked a lot and carried pistols in their purses (well, I was hoping for that last one). I'm not sure my Dad ever actually ever read Wertham''s book, but he had somehow picked up the gist of it and I suffered mightily as a consequence. After awhile my father gave up on trying to wean me away from comics, more put out by that time that I was now openly reading Playboy and Penthouse.

One of Wertham's more provocative claims was that Batman annd Robin were gay, although as Mark points out, that's not what he said, but rather something to the effect that their lifestyle was "...like a wish dream of two homosexuals living together." I know very few homosexuals whose wish dream is to beat up criminals on a nightly basis, well maybe a couple into S&M, but I'm digressing. Mark wrote a book with the joking title, "Wertham was Right" (at least about some stuff) where he noted:

In one issue of Justice League of America in the sixties, the heroes discover they have contracted a cosmic plague that will doom everyone they've recently touched. Green Lantern shudders to think that he has infected his eternal fiancée, Carol Ferris. The Flash realizes he has doomed his beloved, Iris West. Even the Atom thinks about the fate that will befall the woman in his life, Jean Loring...

Batman, meanwhile, thinks: "Robin...what have I done to you?"

There is a wonderful copy of that comics panel at the link above. As Mark says, the great Gardner Fox probably dissolved into giggles while writing that scene. It's amazing that D.C. let it go.

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