The reveal of Jon Kent, the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, being bisexual and in love with another man was met with joy around the world. A bisexual Superman allowed people to see a symbol that embraces heroism and justice that also felt the same way as they do… But it also revealed a darker underbelly, with colourist Gabe Eltaeb, backing Comicsgate and quitting his work with DC over a change of the Superman motto.
The original motto for Superman seemed simple enough: “truth, justice, and the American way” but it wasn’t as all-encompassing as Superman himself, hence why the motto has now become “truth, justice, and a better world”. The new motto was revealed via the DC Fandome, 2021. In our humble opinion, the quote actively reflects the alien’s dedication to not just America, but everyone all around the world.
For colourist Gabe Eltaeb though, who was working on the comic that features a bisexual Jon Kent, Superman: Son of Kal-El, the change of the motto is a step too far.
In a four-hour livestream with Ethan Van Sciver, a previous DC employer who has rallied against the company for being ‘too woke’ and a leading figure in the Comicsgate ‘movement’, a hateful brigade that targets anyone for including diversity in comics, Eltaeb spoke out.
“I’m tired of this sh*t. I’m tired of them ruining these characters – they don’t have a right to do this.” Eltaeb told Van Sciver. “What really pissed me off was saying ‘truth, justice, and a better world’. F*ck that it was truth, justice, and the American way.”
It has long been debated whether ‘the American way’ was a suitable fit for Superman, especially as there’s been no real definition of what that way actively is due to the ever-changing nature of the world that we live in. In Inverse, one argument is that, regardless of how you feel about the motto, it makes Superman feel dated and out of touch. For Eltaeb though, it’s a matter of changing something personal to him.
“My grandpa almost died in World War II. We don’t have a right to destroy sh*t that people died for to give us. It’s a bunch of f***ing nonsense.”
Eltaeb told Van Sciver that he would not be finishing his contract with DC and, despite the sleuth of gay jokes made alongside Eltaeb during the livestream (Jon Malin, creator of the Graveyard Shift, predicted that after ‘gay characters’ had run their course in comics, the inclusion of pedophiles would be next) that him quitting had nothing to do with the decision to make Jon Kent bisexual.
Regardless, the reveal of Superman’s son being bisexual has been met with more cheers than disapproval. More importantly, it offers the chance for new audiences to get into a new comic book series with a protagonist that is just like you, and at the end of the day, that’s worth celebrating.