Superman comes out, as DC Comics ushers in a new Man of Steel

Jonathan Kent, who is the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, will share an unexpected kiss with his friend Jay in a story that will be published next month. PHOTO: DC COMICS / WEBSITE

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - Up, up and out of the closet!

The new Superman, Jonathan Kent - who is the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane - will soon begin a romantic relationship with a male friend, DC Comics announced Monday (Oct 11).

That same-sex relationship is just one of the ways that Jonathan Kent, who goes by Jon, is proving to be a different Superman than his famous father.

Since his new series, Superman: Son of Kal-El, began in July, Jon has combated wildfires caused by climate change, thwarted a high school shooting and protested the deportation of refugees in Metropolis.

"The idea of replacing Clark Kent with another straight white savior felt like a missed opportunity," Tom Taylor, who writes the series, said in an interview. He said that a "new Superman had to have new fights - real world problems - that he could stand up to as one of the most powerful people in the world."

Jonathan Kent took the mantle of Superman alongside his father this year. The Clark Kent version of Superman was introduced in 1938. He married Lois Lane in 1996. Jonathan was introduced in 2015 and - let us skip a lot of comic book shenanigans - spent some time as Superboy before being encouraged by his father to become the new Superman.

Jonathan and Jay Nakamura met in an August story during the new Superman's ill-fated attempt to establish a secret identity and attend high school.

Last month, Jay, a budding journalist, met Jonathan's parents - and was awe-struck by Lois Lane. Jonathan and Jay will share a kiss in a story that will be published next month.

This month, readers will discover that Jay has special abilities. "Jay could be the only person in Jon's life that he does not have to protect," Taylor said. "I wanted to have a really equal, supportive relationship for those two."

The editors at DC were already considering similar lines of the development for the character and were supportive, he said.

"I've always said everyone needs heroes, and they deserve to see themselves in their heroes," Taylor said. "For so many people, having the strongest superhero in comics come out is incredibly powerful."

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