Batman and Robin: Just Friends?

Batman and Robin enjoy some downtime: a panel from World’s Finest Comics #59 (1952)

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Today’s National Post contains an article an article I’ve written examining the history of the rumour that Batman and Robin are gay. (like everything I write for the Post the article came along with an instant rebuttal, which you can read here. As a special treat for Sans Everything readers, I’ve posted below the full-length version of the article, which has many details that didn’t make it into the Post.

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Inside the Batcave: Intellectual Genealogy of A Rumour
by Jeet Heer

When Batman returns to the big screen later this summer in The Dark Knight he’ll be joined by his familiar cast of secondary characters: Alfred the Butler, the decent cop James Gordon (soon to be a commissioner), the evil Joker. One character, however, will be missing: Batman’s familiar sidekick Robin, the Boy Wonder. In part this is due to the fact that the movie focuses on the early years of the Caped Crusader. But it’s also the case that movie makers in general have been reluctant to bring in Robin lest they revive longstanding rumours that Batman is gay.

It seems like a stale old joke, albeit one that can still produce a smirk in the immature. Yet the gayness of Batman has been a topic of serious debate over for nearly 70 years now. The history of this idea shows how once-marginal notions can quickly become mainstream.

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Mises and the “Merit” of Fascism

You can’t trust everything you read in a Batman comic book. Ron Paul, the engaging libertarian-minded candidate in the Republican presidential nomination race, told an interviewer that his favorite comic book character is “Berlin Batman,” an alternative world superhero who, as Julian Sanchez notes, rescues “the manuscript of Ludwig von Mises’ Human Action from the Nazis.” The assumption of the story seems to be that  Mises is some sort of unambiguous champion of freedom. The reality is a little different.

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