Gone, the white, heterosexual and cisgender superhero?
For years, our favorite pantyhose supermen, despite their diverse and varied histories, have often responded to the same male and male criteria, of origins and gender.
Even if it means making an entire part of society invisible, which, in the shadow of these cultural representations, has always had trouble identifying with its heroes.
But for a few years now, the representation of minorities has been coming back to the fore in pop cultural spheres.
It is in this logic that DC Comics made the bet to dust off the most archetypal of its heroic figures: Superman.
Too nice, too perfect, too flat… it is now his son Jon Kent, born of his love affair with the reporter Loïs Lane, who is in charge of the defense of Metropolis.
Just like his father before him, Jon Kent has fallen for a reporter 💙 Learn more about the story to come in SUPERMAN: SON OF KAL-EL # 5: https://t.co/bUQAsos68o #DCPride pic.twitter.com/ wfQPc3CEVD
- Superman (@DCSuperman) October 11, 2021
Jon is still handsome, white and strong, but he's also bisexual, concerned about global warming and social justice, for example taking to heart defending migrants, as DC announced in a statement released Monday, October 11, day world of coming out.
An announcement at an opportune moment, which confirms a change of mentality within the publishing house which, a few weeks before, already announced the exit of the closet of Tim Drake, one of the Robin of Batman.
Heroes in the image of their times
" What's more normal ?
", Rhetorically asks Arnaud Tomasini, editor-in-chief of Comicsblog.fr, the first specialized Comics site in France:" Jon is a young man of 17 who, like all adolescents, asks himself legitimate questions about his sexuality and about meaning he wants to give to his life.
However, would the ad not be the right marketing operation? "Certainly not, this kind of change often turns out to be risky for publishing houses, which then encounter a torrent of hatred and incomprehension, in particular when they affect tutelary figures of the genre", answers us. Jose Maniette, editor-in-chief of the monthly UniversComics Le Mag '. "In terms of figures, the most inclusive comics are rarely the most profitable", argues in turn Arnaud Tomasini, who recalls that Tom Taylor, the author of this new Superman, has always been engaged in a sincere fight for the cause. LGBT.
Finally, far from the media magnifying effects caused by the announcement of a black Spider-Man or a gay Superman, comics have always been an antechamber to modernity and social struggle.
A "reflection of our society", agree our two experts.
“The first comics are born after the war, from the pen of authors who are often the sons of Jewish immigrants who fled fascist Europe.
Characters like Superman or Captain America then fight fiercely against dictatorships, for example, ”says Arnaud Tomasini.
Others, like The Punisher, "testify to Americans' attachment to firearms," remarks Jose Maniette.
Each era has its own considerations.
Blockbusters don't take risks
If the comics have therefore always been in keeping with the times, the cinema itself appears to be lagging behind. It was thus necessary to wait 52 years, and the year 2018, to see appear on the screens the very popular Black Panther, born in echo of the American civil rights movement in 1966. The female characters, like Wonder Woman, have meanwhile had to wait many years before benefiting from an adaptation worthy of the name in dark rooms. “Superhero movies are blockbusters that cost millions and must therefore attract millions of viewers. Taking risks is not in their nature, ”explains Arnaud Tomasini.
“Each time a superhero film represents a woman, I unfortunately see that it is the work of a director,” regrets Jose Maniette.
Anna Boden, Cate Shortland, Patty Jenkins… From Harley Quinn to Black Widow, via the aforementioned Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel, all are the work of a woman (or a female / male duo).
To read also "Black Panther", success without borders
Some canons, especially those of beauty, still have a tough tooth in the world of superheroes.
For Arnaud Tomasini, “the heroes are our modern Greek deities”, naturally beautiful and powerful, they must make people dream.
"And many authors still like to represent beautiful and strong women", remarks Jose Maniette.
But these codes also tend to evolve, like Faith, the “plus-size” super-heroine, or from the youth album “I'm not Starfire”
Dedicated to the daughter of the beautiful and sexy Starfire, the story puts the sticky and lesbian Mandy in the box, who stubbornly steps out of her mother's shadow in a tale of teenage discomfort and mother relationships. girl.
What to KO the stereotypes.