So, in a recent comic, the character Tim Drake (Batman's second longest Robin) has decided to explore a broader sexuality, or 'come out as bisexual', or however you'd like to put that.
|The decision seems to have taken YEARS off, because he looks|
Naturally, as part of the Gay Bloggers Union, I'm obligated to comment.
Well, good for him, I suppose.
I know it can seem forced and heavy-handed when writers suddenly reinvent a longstanding character's sexuality. I mean...it IS. How could it seem otherwise in a society that currently makes a big deal over such things?
|Well, not EVERYONE makes a big deal over it.|
To us, Tim Drake's been around for 32 years, and WE think we know him quite well, so this sort of thing can come as a bit of a shock. During that time, it's not like Tim was so young as to be asexual. He had some notable (heterosexual) relationships, the best known being with Stephanie "Spoiler" Brown. So, while this doesn't exactly contradict that history, it definitely feels like a surprising change.
In universe, however, it's not really so odd. To "Tim Drake", Tim Drake is young and discovering himself, so it seems quite understandable. It's not Tim's fault that we've seen him live what seems like a 100 lifetimes without realizing that he's bisexual. To Tim Drake The Character, he's still a young man and he's just figuring that out now and that's perfectly appropriate.
|Some Boy Detectives just have a better sense of themselves and what they want than others do.|
Remember, in our universe, Tim had been out of the picture for quite a while. I think he must have been dead (I don't remember why and don't care). And since he became un-dead, I got the sense DC didn't know what to do with him. It wasn't so much that DC wanted him alive, they just ... didn't want him dead any more.
|You KNOW that Bunker knew.|
They didn't bring him back to be Robin again; lord knows, for some ridiculous reason, DC has doubled-down again and again on the odious Damian as The New Robin. They tried putting Tim in Teen Titans, but, like a lot of the New 52, that didn't work out.
After a character has been gone a while, and then is brought back, and DC doesn't seem to know what to do with them...well, then some reinvention is in order. Sometimes updating them for the times is useful and less taxing for readers than forcing-feeding us a new character or imposing a change on a more strongly established current character.
Oracle was a good example of this technique. You probably don't realize how edgy the idea of having an internet/computer-tech expert on your crime team was in 1989 when "Oracle" was introduced. Had she been some new standalone character, I guarantee she would have failed and be used today as a punchline: yet another character based on the latest craze!
|I mean, jeebus, look at the SIZE of the buttons on that thing.|
BUT because this new concept -- a computer-expert crimefighter -- was a way to revitalize and repurpose a beloved but long underused character, Barbara Gordon, "Oracle" was accepted and thrived.
Making a character bisexual isn't quite the same, of course, but it's not entirely different, either; it's a potentially refreshing new spin on a character that could use a new lease on life.
|Not all new spins actually turn out to be refreshing, however.|
Evolving a character's sexuality isn't a cure-all, but it's not an unreasonable device to use with Tim. First of all, it's age appropriate; a Damian would be too young, a Dick Grayson would be too old. Second, it's not wildly out of keeping with his past or his personality. Third, it's particularly apt for this character, who always seemed to know everything, to learn something new about himself. Tim always seemed way too mature and wise for his years, and with this reveal he automatically seems more interesting and realistic than Tim The Perfect Detective Robin who had evolved over 30 years.
So, I wish Tim the best on wish new journey of self-exploration. Particularly if it involves going out with Bunker.