Academics accuse DC Comics of homophobia

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com February 16 2001 12:00 AM ET

An article in the current issue of Lingua Franca accuses DC Comics of withholding reprint rights to academics who make assertions regarding the possible homosexuality of the popular character Batman. The article, “All in the Family: Homophobia and Batman Comics in the 1950s,” by Michigan State University grad student Chris York, discusses how Fredric Wertham’s accusations of homosexuality in Batman comics led to the creation of Bat-Woman and other female characters. York claims that, even though he assured DC Comics that his article in no way suggested that Batman is gay, the company refused to allow him to reprint four Batman panels with his article when it was published in the International Journal of Comic Art. While a DC spokesperson says that “censorship was not the motive,” University of Calgary professor Bart Beaty (coauthor of the upcoming International Encyclopedia of Comics) believes that York’s article was “clearly” a victim of “censorship” and “homophobia” and points out that denial of reprint permission hampers academics’ ability to write about comics. “Writing about comics by only quoting the written text,” says Beaty, “is like writing about Shakespeare by only quoting the stage directions.”