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Robin, Batman's Sidekick, Comes Out As Bisexual

DEBBIE ELLIOTT, HOST:

After 80 years, Batman's trusted sidekick finally had his coming-out moment. In the latest comic, Robin - his real name is Tim Drake - accepts a male friend's offer to go on a date. Many fans of the character have been looking forward to this.

MEGHAN FITZMARTIN: Tim's struggle with identity - he knows who he is when it comes to vigilantism. But this was a space where it felt the most correct. This was the next moment for him.

NOEL KING, HOST:

That's Meghan Fitzmartin. She's the writer for this series of DC Comics.

FITZMARTIN: The significance, I think, has been others seeing themselves in the character and feeling seen and cared for in a way that speaks to something that they've seen for a long time.

KING: Robin made his first appearance back in 1940. And he's not the first comic book superhero to come out as queer, but he is by far the most high-profile one.

GLEN WELDON, BYLINE: People like Northstar, Batwoman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Iceman, Apollo, Midnighter. But you notice something about all those names. They're not necessarily household names.

ELLIOTT: That's Glen Weldon, host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour.

WELDON: He has always been a Robin who thinks too much, so it makes sense that his coming-out process is also marked by a kind of deeply introspective self-analysis that finds him trying to reconcile his heart and his head.

KING: So how are fans responding? Belen Ortega is the comic's illustrator, and she told us that social media feedback she's gotten has been very positive.

BELEN ORTEGA: Mostly it's people feeling that they were in the same situation that Tim Drake was, feeling very lost in their lives. So this was like a reflection for themselves.

KING: Robin's journey will continue in the next issue, which comes out in December.

(SOUNDBITE OF DANNY ELFMAN'S "'BATMAN' THEME") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.