« Home | Mad magazine actually mocked Obama » | Miller and Moore led to far more 3rd person narrative » | Grant Morrison goes too far again with his new tak... » | Did overrated celebs really learn to write comics? » | SJW made petty complaint about Neal Adams cover dr... » | Fifth grade class in Camden learns about the art form » | Several writers signal their lack of consideration... » | Darick Robertson seems to love this "stereotype" p... » | Mangas about Japan's recent nuclear disaster » | Russia's Putin is a villain in the Valiant universe » 

Friday, April 15, 2016 

A LGBT propagandist blatantly tries to hijack Batman and Robin

Glen Weldon, a gay activist who works for NPR, wrote on Slate about "gay subtext" in Batman and his partnership with Robin. It goes without saying this is quite insulting because however their relations were depicted, it was on a bigger/younger brother and mentor/mentee level, and the way some nutcases have been "theorizing" about homosexuality in Batman is getting quite tiresome, to say nothing of disrespectful to the creators. Weldon begins by ostensibly acknowledging this:
Let’s get one thing absolutely clear: Robin isn’t gay.

Don’t let the green Speedo and the pixie boots steer you wrong; Dick Grayson is as straight as uncooked spaghetti. In fact, there have been several Robins over the years, and not one of them has exhibited any trace of same-sex attraction or evinced anything resembling a queer self-identity.

Neither, it feels important to note here at the start, has Batman.

Don’t take my word for it. Ask anyone who’s written a Batman and Robin comic. Or, you know what, you don’t have to: Dollars to donuts they’ve already been asked that question, and have gone on record asserting the Dynamic Duo’s he-man, red-blooded, heterosexual bona fides. Batman’s co-creators, Bill Finger and Bob Kane, both firmly swatted the question down. So have writers like Frank Miller, Denny O’Neil, Alan Grant, and Devin Grayson—though Grayson admitted that she could “understand the gay readings.”
Well if Finger and Kane made this clear, then there you have it, they definitely never intended what some might claim. (So Grayson's making a fool out of herself by saying she could "understand".) So what's the point of this article? Weldon claims there's subtext, but I'd say it's all in the eye of the beholder, which in his case is quite cynical. Any supposed resemblance to homosexuality is decidedly just accidental/coincidental/unintentional, and Weldon doesn't help a bit by perpetuating something the Masked Manhunter's cast doesn't need. He goes on to say:
You’ve heard the gags, we all have. Slurs, cheap puns, and innuendo have dogged Bruce and Dick’s partnership from the moment it began in 1940. The editorially mandated addition of Robin the Boy Wonder—the first kid sidekick in comics—occurred less than one year after Batman’s debut, and it accomplished several things at once. It lightened the comic’s tone, a necessary move as the Caped Crusader was developing a reputation for murdering the bad guy; his publisher worried that parents’ groups would object. It also gave Batman—who was and remains, beneath all that bat-themed fetishist folderol, a detective in the Sherlock Holmes mode—a loyal Watson to whom he could explain his leaps of deductive reasoning. In giving Batman someone to care about, it raised the stakes. Most importantly, perhaps, it doubled the comic’s sales.
Excuse me? Was he really? Yes, I know there were a few villains killed by Batman in those early years, but I don't think he'd ever gained a reputation for "murder". If memory serves, what troubled the publishers then was whether Batman should be using firearms, as he was initially seen carrying, but this was soon dropped. Now, here's where Weldon tries to make a claim of subtext from the very start, when he gets to the part about Robin's debut and the introduction that was written:
But the page’s letterer, tasked with squeezing a hell of a lot of text onto said scroll, unwittingly shoved the words “an” and “ally” so closely together as to effectively elide the space between them.

Thus, the first thing readers ever learned about THE SENSATIONAL CHARACTER FIND OF 1940 was that he was someone whom Batman “took under his protecting mantle anally ...”

So there it was, instantly coded into the poor kid’s narrative DNA. Maybe it was fate, then. Maybe everything that came after was unavoidable.
Oh I don't think so. I looked at the picture, and all I can say is, he's ignoring the space that still happens to exist between "an" and "ally", in his quest to say there's subtext. Besides, if it matters, there is another word or three in that paragraph that are close to each other, but they're still very distinguishable. Also, he fails to consider that the word "ally" can also be seen in the caption box next to that one, so I'm not sure why he'd think nobody could get a full understanding of what it was all about. It gets more insulting to the intellect with the following:
True, their partnership came factory-installed with unintended meta-meanings that read to us today like coyly coded messages. Later in that very first Robin story, for example, after young circus acrobat Dick Grayson’s parents are murdered by the mob, Batman swoops down upon the shaken youngster and matter-of-factly informs him, “I’m going to hide you in my home for a while.”
Here, there's more he's not clear about. I own some of the Golden Age reprints for Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, and this helped me do some research on stuff Weldon's not telling here, like why he would tell the young Dick Grayson why he wanted to put him in hiding. I've obtained two page scans from the issue, which give some idea:
Dick's parents and their circus manager had the misfortune of working in a town run by an influential mobster named Zucco, who turned the couple into sacrificial lambs to serve as a warning to the circus owner of what happens when you fail to pay up what the mafia wants. And when Dick joins Batman in his car and asks why not turn to the police, Bruce explains, "because this whole town is run by Boss Zucco. If you told what you knew, you'd be dead in an hour." That's why he wanted to give Dick a hiding place, which would presumably have been a safe-house owned by the Wayne estate, or even the Batcave (but of course, he'd soon enough be letting Dick in on his secret identity, and the rest is history). Even in the early 20th century, there were people, police or civilians, who gave refuge to innocent targets of criminals, and needed places to stay and recover. Batman simply wanted to protect the youngster from the clutches of the mafia and its minions, and Weldon had the gall to fudge it all up and make it sound like something icky.

On which note, this brings us to a serious point: if there really had been "gay subtext" of the kind Weldon's inferring, that would make Bruce Wayne look like a child molester. Is that really what a true Bat-fan wants an altruistic fictional hero to look like? All these years, none of these theorizing nuts ever considered that all their wishful thinking would only make a character creation they supposedly respect look more like something disgusting. In an age when there's crackpots like Jerry Sandusky running rampant, the timing for such gushy propaganda couldn't have been worse. If I were Bill Finger or Bob Kane, I'd feel smacked in the face by people who're obviously taking advantage of somebody else's creations for their own selfish little visions.
And of course there were the plots, many of which turned on Robin’s seething jealousy over Batman’s romantic interests and his paranoia that he might get replaced at Batman’s side by some rival crimefighter. In this era, elaborate ruses and misdirection were the twin engines of comic book storytelling, which meant many a comic began with Batman performatively rejecting Robin as his partner, an act that would send the tearful lad to his sumptuously appointed bedroom to (choke!) and (sob!) his guts out.
Oh, and then he has the blatant nerve to confuse a 12-year-old youngster who'd like his older brother/parental figure to spend more time with him as a good buddy, and play ball or chess with him, with supposed homosexual subtext too. This is one of the most disgustingly fawnish articles I've seen, and only gets more baffling with the following:
People noticed. One person, in particular: Dr. Fredric Wertham, a psychiatrist convinced that comic books were directly responsible for the scourge of juvenile delinquency, led a nationwide anti-comics crusade that proved hugely effective. He published his “research” (read: testimonials from his juvenile psychiatric patients strung together with anti-comics rhetoric) in a book called Seduction of the Innocent in the spring of 1954, just as he testified before Sen. Estes Kefauver’s Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency.

Wertham devoted a scant four pages of his book to Batman and Robin; he had bigger fish to fry, attacking the luridly violent, sexist, and racist imagery found in many crime comics of the day. (About which: Dude had a point.) He did call Superman out as a fascist, and he noted that Wonder Woman’s whole shtick seemed unapologetically Sapphic. When it came to the Dynamic Duo, he seemed to relish drawing the reader’s attention to Wayne Manor’s “beautiful flowers in large vases” and the fact that Bruce was given to swanning about the estate in a dressing gown.

“It is like a wish-dream,” he famously wrote, “of two homosexuals living together.”

Fred Wertham, people. Surely one of history’s first ’shippers.
If I didn't know better, I'd say he actually agreed with Wertham wholesale! Which is probably just what he's doing. One can only wonder if he even thinks the censorship position Wertham unwisely led to in 1954 was justified. Much of today's contributors to superhero comicdom - sympathetic as they are to SJWs - sure seem to think so, if you take all the rampant leftism into account. Weldon continues on his quixotic path with the following:
Even as Wertham was preparing to make his case on national television, the makers of the Batman comic unwittingly served him up fresh fodder. Batman No. 84 hit newsstands in April 1954, during Wertham’s Senate testimony. Its story “Ten Nights of Fear” begins with one of the most infamous panels in Batman’s 77-year history: Bruce and Dick waking up in bed together.
I'm sorry to say, but I think he missed the line indicating there's two separate beds there. Even the backboards in the background give a clue these are two different bedsteads we're talking about here. Weldon sure does seem intent on seeing things as he wants to.
History does not record Dr. Wertham’s reaction to receiving such an exquisitely formed distillation of his argument at such a propitious moment. But I think “a cold, humorless smile” is a safe bet.
I think it's a safe bet Weldon wrote that sentence quite gleefully. I sure don't know why he wants to "prove" Wertham was correct.
Now, of course taking comics panels out of context like this is silly. After all, Bruce and Dick’s relationship was essentially that of father and son, and kids crawl into bed with their parents all the time.

This is the issue with gay readings. Any given bond between males can be homosocial without being homoerotic, and even the most explicitly homoerotic bond can exist without ever rubbing up against homosexual desire. To willfully and sneeringly misinterpret what was clearly intended as a familial connection as a romantic one—as Wertham did in 1954 and as so many Tumblr feeds do today— seems ungenerous at best and snide at worst, no?

As I write in my new history of Batman and nerd culture, The Caped Crusade: No! Intention doesn’t matter when it comes to gay subtext. Imagery does.

Remember: Queer readers didn’t see any vestige of themselves represented in the mass media of this era, let alone its comic books. And when queer audiences don’t see ourselves in a given work, we look deeper, parsing every exchange for the faintest hint of something we recognize. This is why, as a visual medium filled with silent cues like body language and background detail, superhero comics have proven a particularly fertile vector for gay readings over the years. Images can assert layers of unspoken meanings that mere words can never conjure. That panel of a be-toweled Bruce and Dick lounging together in their solarium, for example, would not carry the potent homoerotic charge it does, were the same scene simply described in boring ol’ prose.
All I can conclude here is that Weldon wants - what else? - to lend himself to the hijack mentality by moonbats and SJWs desperate to embarrass past works all to suit their trivial agendas, who have no shame about trying to discourage everybody else from reading, and perhaps push them to throw these gems of the past under the bus. Interesting that he uses the word "queer" here, because ordinarily, the word is synonymous with "bizarre" or "strange". (Which one would think they're against being called themselves.) And look at all the harm it's caused today; kind of like Wertham in reverse. It's not just silly to take scenes like these out of context, it's insulting and degrading; a perfect way to leave a bad taste in a sane person's mouth. A little later down the article, he brings up a more recent example of how Dick Grayson's been portrayed:
Recently, in the pages of the comic Grayson, Dick’s given up superheroing altogether to assume the role of a globetrotting master spy, albeit one partial to tight pants that show off that famously well-muscled hinder to all and sundry.
What muscle? I thought the arms were where the muscle really counts. But no surprise if more modern "writers" could conceive anything insulting to the cortex. That aside, you know something's wrong when all modern writers can think to do with a famous crimefighter of yore is take him out of the costume and make him something so mundane.

Then, Weldon brings up Joel Schumacher's Batman movies:
In the comics, Bruce and Dick had long before gone their separate ways. But here, on Schumacher’s garish, neon-lit movie screens, they were together again. The films proved a final, defiantly queer victory lap for the Bruce and Dick team. What Schumacher produced wasn’t gay subtext; it was gay domtext.

Yes, these two movies were gloriously godawful trainwrecks. No human being capable of rational thought would dispute that. But while the Schumacher Bat-films seem like outliers among the kinds of Batman stories that reign in the present day, they fit squarely within a long and storied legacy of homosocial, homoerotic, and homosexual resonances in the Bruce–Dick partnership.
So he supposedly admits the movies were as crappy as they come, yet he thinks the allusions to homosexuality are great? Very sad and depressing, but hardly shocking coming from such moonbats.

This kind of propaganda has been particularly prevalent since the 1990s, when SJWs went out of their way to hijack the X-Men. Today, it's gotten to a very bad nadir, and mainstream superhero creations have become the biggest victims of this degradation, all courtesy of people like Weldon, who couldn't care less how unhelpful their vicious propaganda happens to be.

Labels: , , , ,

...can't tell whether the indented paragraphs are supposed to involve sarcasm or not.

Post a Comment

About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
My profile



  • avigreen2002@yahoo.com
  • Fansites I Created

  • Hawkfan
  • The Greatest Thing on Earth!
  • The Outer Observatory
  • Earth's Mightiest Heroines
  • The Co-Stars Primer
  • Realtime Website Traffic

    Comic book websites (open menu)

    Comic book weblogs (open menu)

    Writers and Artists (open menu)

    Video commentators (open menu)

    Miscellanous links (open menu)

  • W3 Counter stats
  • Click here to see website statistics
  • Bio Link page
  • blog directory Bloggeries Blog Directory View My Stats Blog Directory & Search engine eXTReMe Tracker Locations of visitors to this page  
    Flag Counter

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

    make money online blogger templates

Older Posts Newer Posts

The Four Color Media Monitor is powered by Blogspot and Gecko & Fly.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.
Join the Google Adsense program and learn how to make money online.