Mounting calls in Indonesia to ban new Superman comic featuring bisexual character

Jon Kent, Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s son, with his romantic interest Jay Nakamura. Illustrations by John Timms (L); Travis Moore and Tamra Bonvillain (R). Photo: DC Comics
Jon Kent, Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s son, with his romantic interest Jay Nakamura. Illustrations by John Timms (L); Travis Moore and Tamra Bonvillain (R). Photo: DC Comics

Superman’s son is bisexual, and while the rest of us are here for more representation, various organizations and political parties in Indonesia have called for the comic to be banned.

In case you missed it, DC Comics announced on Monday that Jon Kent, the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane in the Superman lore, will come out as bisexual in the fifth issue of Superman: Son of Kal-El series. As if following his father’s footsteps, the earth’s new Superman becomes romantically involved with a reporter named Jay Nakamura following their friendship. Written by Tom Taylor and illustrated by John Timms, the issue is slated for release in early November. 

“Superman’s symbol has always stood for hope, for truth and for justice. Today, that symbol represents something more. Today, more people can see themselves in the most powerful superhero in comics,” Tom Taylor said in the statement, which was published on the US’ National Coming Out Day. 

The news has been mostly welcomed by the global online community and comic books fans alike, but that’s not the case when it comes to the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the Commission for the Protection of Indonesian Children (KPAI), as well as the staunchly conservative Islamic party National Development Party (PPP) — all of whom have zero creative input for the comics but probably thought they could have a say in the comic’s distribution in Indonesia.

KPAI has urged relevant government institutions to censor the Superman comic before wider distribution in Indonesia so it could fit the “Indonesian context,” while also noting that the commission will continue monitoring content from the popular comic book series. 

“The content shown [in the comic] should be information that is educational for children and showing cultural, religious, and social values. There should be Eastern values in Indonesian context. These values are in line with the nation,” KPAI commissioner Jasra Putra said today.

Next, we have MUI deputy chairman Anwar Abbas calling on the government to ban the distribution of this comic book altogether, reasoning that the content is “clearly not in accordance with the values of Pancasila and our identity and culture as a religious nation.”

Anwar expressed disappointment of those involved with the comic book production because its content promotes the “LGBT lifestyle.” He further called on authorities to take legal action against DC Comics, the writer, and the artist ⁠— all of whom are, obviously, based outside Indonesia.

“Furthermore, MUI ask for the police to arrest the comic’s creators and distributor because they clearly have destroyed the mentality of the children and the nation’s [young] generation,” Anwar said

Then we have PPP, who in a statement today urged the government to boycott products from DC Comics following the new Superman comic announcement. PPP said such content is “dangerous” for Indonesian youths, while condemning bisexuality as a “vile act.” On top of that, they also urged DC Comics to stop the comic book’s production.

“We are concerned, should the comic series be consumed by Indonesian children, it could potentially destroy the nation’s [younger] generation. We also demand the government to strictly block any shows that depict the despicable act of LGBT,” Chairman of PPP’s board Achmad Baidowi said in a statement.

It’s not yet clear whether these mounting calls would lead to some kind of censorship or altogether ban on the comic book in question, though we sure hope those in charge have got more room for common sense and representation.

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