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Robin comes out as gay in new Batman comic, adding to DC’s LGTBQ characters

Tim Drake is the Robin who doesn’t quite know how to be Robin anymore – but this week Batman: Urban Legends, he understood at least one thing. A nice boy asked him on a date and Tim said yes.

This makes him the first new LGBTQ member of Batman’s immediate family in 15 years, since Batwoman herself.

Batman: Urban Legends is one of DC’s newest anthology series. In each issue, multiple creative teams share an episode of various ongoing stories featuring characters under the aegis of Gotham City. On several issues, writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Dc superhero girls, Future State: Eternal Robin) and artist Belén Ortega (Sensational Wonder Woman, Captain marvel) came up with “Sum of Our Parts”, a story in which Tim Drake tries to defeat a mysterious new villain who has captured his old friend Bernard.

In “Sum of Our Parts”, Tim struggles with uncertainty in a way that has become the heart of his character over the past decade. He feels like he doesn’t know what he wants, until Bernard – not knowing that Robin and Tim are the same person – nostalgically refers to their interrupted dinner as a “date. “, And Tim has” a light bulb moment. “

Tim and Bernard in Batman: Urban Legends # 6.
Image: Meghan Fitzmartin, Belén Ortega / DC Comics

At the end of this episode of the story, Bernard asks Tim for a real date and Tim happily accepts.

“When Dave [Wielgosz] (my editor for Batman: Urban Legends) asked to make Tim another story, I was thrilled, ”Fitzmartin told ServerPlay via email. “We talked about where Tim Drake was versus where he was at the time and came to the conclusion that it has to be a story about identity and discovery. . What was the next step for Boy Wonder? ”

She says she spent days thinking about it before she emailed back to say, “Look, I don’t know if this is something that can happen, but that’s the story, because it’s something that can happen. is the only story that can be. “

Even after getting the nod, Fitzmartin says it took a while to absorb the idea that she was going to create an upcoming story for a Robin – and a very established Robin version of it. “I sat completely on the floor of my apartment for a good two minutes of bliss as he sank down. Ultimately, this wouldn’t have happened without DC champions like Dave and James Tynion IV, and I hope it’s as meaningful to others as it has been to me.

Kate Kane is the canonically most prominent member of the sprawling Bat family. She made her debut as Batwoman in 2006 on the company’s one-year weekly television series. 52, and immediately made headlines, though she ended up getting a fairly minor role. Gotham City has slowly grown into a much weirder place since its introduction, but mostly with villains and side characters. The Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy subtext was finally allowed to be text in the early 2010. Before marrying (almost) Batman, Catwoman briefly had a girlfriend. Midnighter has become a recurring supporting character in Nightwing stories. Police detectives Renee Montoya and Maggie Sawyer and young vigilante Bluebird / Harper Row entered and exited the sequel.

At the same time, Tim Drake struggled to find a new editorial niche in the Batman stories. From its inception in 1989 until the late 2000s, Tim’s place was easy to explain. Dick Grayson was the first Robin. Jason Todd was the Robin who died. And Tim was the youngest Robin, Batman’s partner. More independent than Dick and more empathetic than Jason, Tim has been Robin for two decades of readers, as well as the huge audience of Batman: The Animated Series.

Damian Wayne / Robin and Tim Drake / Red Robin face off on the cover of Red Robin # 14 (2010)

Damian (left) as Robin and Tim as Red Robin.
Image: Marcus To, Ray McCarthy / DC Comics

That changed with the introduction of Damian Wayne in 2006, created by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert, who was immediately installed in Tim’s place as Robin. No longer being “the youngest Robin” or even Batman’s primary partner, DC seemed to be struggling to find Tim’s new niche. 2009 saw him adopt the Red Robin identity – you know, like the burger chain? – The New 52 reboot in 2011 attempted a drastic overhaul of its origin story, but the Rebirth relaunch in 2016 restored the original. More recently, in the pages of Young justice, Tim said he was going to start using the codename “Drake” instead of Red Robin … but it looks like Infinite Frontier’s changes have included forgetting that this has already happened and i just called him robin again.

After 15 years of flow, Tim’s clearest niche is that he’s the Robin who isn’t quite sure where he fits in the Bat family, a character who is constantly put in a position to question his own identity, but who never found a lasting resolution. That alone might be enough to make him a point of identification for queer fans. But Tim has a long history of being read as not quite right thanks to a fandom affection for associating him with fellow Teen Titan (and easily queer character) Connor Kent, the Superboy of the 1990s.

“The best thing about working with an established IP address,” Fitzmartin told Playserver, “is that there are so many character story decisions that have already been made for you (often by a lot of people. smarter than you). [“Sum of Our Parts”] happened because that’s who Tim is. I really like this character, and as I reread as much as possible to do Robin justice, it became clear that this was the story Tim needed to tell.

And for those eager to update various wikis and fan lists, Fitzmartin says Tim has yet to put a label on himself – and this story also doesn’t delegitimize his decades-long relationship with the Teenage superheroine Stephanie Brown. / Disclose.

“I wanted to pay tribute to the fact that sexuality is a journey,” Fitzmartin told Playserver. “To be clear, his feelings for Stephanie were / are 100% real, as were his feelings for Bernard. However, Tim is still figuring out himself. I don’t think he has the tongue for everything. . for the moment.

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