The sex life of superheroes

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A funny thing happened on the internet this week. (Growing rarity, I know.) In an interview with Variety, Justin Halpern, co-creator of the animated series Harley quinn, noted that during the show’s third season, DC Entertainment challenged a planned scene in which Batman performed oral sex on Catwoman. The reason? “Heroes don’t do that. Halpern responded by asking, “Are you saying heroes are selfish lovers? was not the real reason – it had something to do with trying to sell toys – it led many Twitter users to wonder, “Wait, wouldn’t that have happened. did do that ? (Personal opinion: Yes.)

The reaction was swift: jokes about the easy-to-access form of Batman’s mask and the billionaires reject ethical consumption under capitalism; relief that “Batman’s parents are not alive to see this discussion. Everyone got a hot shot and a realization of how hot it all was. But it also raised broader issues regarding superhero sexuality. Over the years, it There have been dozens of hero and villain romances. Clark Kent loves Lois Lane; Black Widow’s calming voice brings the Hulk back to his identity as Bruce Banner. Wanda and Vision. Diana Prince and Steve Trevor. But these relationships are relatively chaste even in movies and TV shows more aimed at adults.

Obviously, there are reasons for this. First, most superhero comic book stories are still aimed at children and young adults, so super overt graphic sexuality would be problematic. Two, for decades, the Comic Book Code Authority anything but prohibited. Since the 1950s, following the publication of psychiatrist Fredric Wertham The seduction of the innocent, which argued that comics were harmful to children, the CCA code kept a lot of sex out of the medium. This continued in one form or another until the last two editors pulled out of the CCA in 2011. (Although the influence of the code had waned for some time before, which allowed for more sexual innuendo. , including in various Batman books.)

But these are comics. For decades, Hollywood has moved comic book heroes to big and small screens, where they’re at least a little more free to do whatever they want. Ant-Man couldn’t say that Steve Rogers had “America’s ass”If they were not. Hell, Catwoman literally licked Batman’s face in Batman Returns– and that was in 1992. Since then, the era of dark and daring comic book adaptations has allowed heroes to do a lot of things they couldn’t do before. They bleed, they swear, but they usually don’t copulate. Well they do it in antihero shows and movies like dead Pool, Jessica jones, Kick ass, or Watchmen, but the land of superheroes has remained much more pristine, even though it’s clear Tony Stark and Pepper Potts are having sex. (They have a child. Come on.)

Now, that’s not necessarily an argument for copious onscreen Bat-on-Cat action, but the idea that falling is something “heroes don’t” is striking. Since it has been established that Bruce Wayne, you know, has probably had sex before, this stipulation seems more specific to the type of sex appropriate for someone like the Dark Knight. Which is sad. Giving feelings to heroes and showing them as selfless lovers is just good character building. This makes them multifaceted. They often save the world, but cannot save themselves. They undergo trauma; they struggle with their own morals and ethics. Not all it needs to be explicitly on the page or on screen, but it shouldn’t be taboo to show Batman pleasing Catwoman. Real heroes do more than wear capes.

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