Another day, another comic book character is retconned into being a member of the LGBT community. Now, it turns out that Batman’s sidekick “Robin” is bisexual. More accurately, the third iteration of Robin, Tim Drake, has now come out as liking both boys and girls, throwing him into a growing sea of LGBT characters in DC.
If you, in the LGBT community are celebrating this awesome get, then I’d hold tight to your horses, because this isn’t really a show of respect to your community. This is what’s known as “pandering” and it’s meant to make you like something more so you’ll buy a product.
Pandering is a really useful tool primarily utilized by politicians trying to get you to vote for them by adopting accents depending on the places they go, or telling your area that they’re the backbone of this country, right before you vote for them and they completely forget about you. Corporations are also big-time panderers and will release commercials talking about how they understand you and that’s why they made this product that you should buy a lot of.
Comedian Bo Burnham had an amazing bit in one of his comedy shows about how country music panders to audiences in ways so refined that their kind of country has become the standard.
While the writers of the comic may have had a heartfelt moment in writing bisexuality into Drake’s storyline, DC Comics brass is only happy to do this so that they’ll stop being targeted as being anti-this and that, and so that more people will buy their comics. They want you to think they’re woke as well, and are willing to retcon characters into being whatever they need so that you’ll buy whatever they try to sell you.
Do they actually care about you? Sure, but specifically they care about how much money you have in your account to fork over.
Case in point, they know that if they create a new character with all the LGBT fixins’ that this character will likely go ignored. It won’t really move the needle in terms of press coverage and likely won’t sell a lot of volumes.
Take an already popular character and turn them LGBT and you have an easy payday. It’ll print headlines resulting in free publicity and you’ve got people purchasing the comic either to show support for LGBT causes or buying the comic in order to be able to comment and review on it for your own following. Either way, DC is going to cash out on this.
And that’s really the bottom line here. Is Tim Drake being bisexual going to make other people have more reverence for the LGBT community? Likely not. DC may see an immediate sales bump but not a long-term one. To be honest, it’s going to cause far fewer people to relate to the character as most of the globe isn’t in the LGBT community. Not that it mattered. Comic book sales have been on the decline, thus making the call to retcon Drake into a bisexual all the easier.
At this point, they’re squeezing money out of the Batman franchise in the same way you try to get the last of the toothpaste out of the tube.
Bottom line, this is about money, not about representation. DC Comics is pandering for cash and you, the LGBT community, are the target. Maybe you don’t mind being used, but I would.