Happy Coming Out Day to the latest Man of Steel.
DC Comics announced Monday, on National Coming Out Day, that the new Superman is bisexual and will start a relationship with a man in the forthcoming issue of "Superman: Son of Kal-El," as first reported by IGN.
Jon Kent — the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, who inherited his father's powers — will fall for reporter Jay Nakamua, whom he met while trying and failing to attend high school using a secret identity, according to The New York Times. After Jon Kent burns out from "trying to save everyone that he can," Jay is there to care for him, according to a news release from DC Comics.
The two kiss in the fifth issue, which will hit stands Nov. 9.
“I’ve always said everyone needs heroes and everyone deserves to see themselves in their heroes and I’m very grateful DC and Warner Bros. share this idea,” writer Tom Taylor said, according to the release. “Superman’s symbol has always stood for hope, for truth and for justice. Today, that symbol represents something more. Today, more people can see themselves in the most powerful superhero in comics.”
In an interview with the Times, Taylor added, “The idea of replacing Clark Kent with another straight white savior felt like a missed opportunity.” A new Superman "had to have new fights — real world problems — that he could stand up to as one of the most powerful people in the world," he said.
Many fans on Twitter were thrilled by the news.
Anthony Rapp, who originated the role of Mark Cohen in the Broadway production of "Rent" and who plays Lt. Cdr. Paul Stamets on "Star Trek: Discovery," wrote that the news made "my queer heart glad."
Superman is far from the first openly LGBTQ comic book hero, but he is arguably the most recognizable. In June, DC and Marvel both released LGBTQ anthologies to celebrate their queer characters during Pride Month.
DC's anthology, “DC Pride,” featured out crimefighters Batwoman. Aqualad, Midnighter, Apollo, Harley Quinn and John Constantine in stories created by LGBTQ people and allies.
Comic book author Anthony Oliveira, who worked on the anthology, said at the time that queer comic book characters saved his life when he was "a very closeted, very lonely kid."
“It’s an honor to tell stories about them and to see the kind of stories queer people can tell about queer people deepen and grow,” he said in a statement when DC announced the anthology in March.
The 80-page book also included the first comic-book appearance of Dreamer, a transgender superhero, in a story by trans actress Nicole Maines, who plays the character on The CW’s “Supergirl.”
Though there is an increasing number of LGBTQ characters in comics books and entertainment, generally, bisexual people are still underrepresented, said Megan Townsend, director of entertainment research and analysis at GLAAD, an LGBTQ media advocacy organization. Superman's coming out is especially important as a result, she said.
“As we recognize and celebrate National Coming Out Day, it’s worth noting that while bi+ people make up the majority of the LGBTQ community, we are less likely to be out due to the unique stigmas our community faces," she said. "Bisexual men in particular continue to be underrepresented in media. We look forward to seeing Jonathan Kent’s story explored further as he comes to understand his own identity, his mantle as Superman, and his relationships — and hope to see this wave of growing visibility of LGBTQ characters in comics be reflected in TV and film adaptations.”