According to Superman: Son of Kal-El and Dark Knights of Steel author Tom Taylor, Jon Kent merely existing as “a young bi guy” with a penchant for pacifism is a “far more heroic” deed “than somebody punching a supervillain in the face.”
The DC Comics author shared his opinion on the qualities of heroism during a recent interview with entertainment news outlet AIPT given in promotion of his upcoming introduction of transgender Arrowverse hero Dreamer to the mainstream DC Comics continuity in Superman: Son of Kal-El #13.
Asked by AIPT writer David Brooke if “in hindsight, is there anything you might have changed or done differently” during his run on the series, to which his guest replied,” Taylor pointed to the apparently-rushed display of Jon and boyfriend Jay Nakamura’s first kiss, asserting, “I’m a writer, you know, there were things that were like, okay, this has to happen by Coming Out Day. And I would’ve loved a little bit longer for Jon and Jay to be together before the kiss.”
“But having said that the importance of that moment far outweighs slight pacing issues, you know?” he continued. “When it makes global news and I’m watching it on SNL or whatever, yes maybe you could have done with maybe 10 more pages, but as far as global, you’re writer’s cap to one side.”
Adding to his point, Taylor stated, “We somehow managed to keep people engaged without actually having Jon punch anyone for six issues. I think that’s really important as well.”
“So we have a young bi guy who also is just the sweetest, most empathetic nurturing guy who doesn’t wanna hurt anyone,” he said. “And I think that’s far more heroic than somebody punching a supervillain in the face.”
Tying Jon’s pacifism back to Dreamer’s upcoming appearance, Taylor then noted to his co-writer on the issue, original Dreamer actress and transgender woman Nicole Maines, “I have to tell you in issue 14, there’s a moment I haven’t told you yet. Where Dreamer is using things and she’s literally blasting people and Jon’s just blowing them away and they’re side-by-side. Anyway. I’ll tell you about it later.”
However, though Taylor believes that readers truly want their main Superman title to focus on the intrapersonal relationship drama of a pacifistic teenaged superhero, sales numbers show this to be far from the case.
According to official sales reports from ICv2, the last issue of Superman: Son of Kal-El to rank in the Top 50 Comics charts was its sixth in January 2022, undoubtedly thanks to momentum from the previous issue’s highly-marketed reveal that Jon is bisexual.
Further, fan reception to Taylor’s take on Jon can arguably be best summed up by Black Adam in the first issue of DC Comics’ latest crossover event, Dark Crisis, as written by Joshua Williamson.
Attempting to build a new Justice League in the wake of the core team’s apparent ‘death’, Jon approaches Adam to offer him membership, attempting to convince the skeptical Kahndaqian, “We can do this. Give people the confidence they need to feel safe again.”
Criticizing the roster of Jon’s ‘New Justice League’ – Aqualad, Booster Gold, Dr. Light, Frankenstein, Harley Quinn, Killer Frost, Robin, Supergirl, and both Ted Kord and Jamie Reyes Blue Beetles – Adam eventually chastises, “This is no Justice League.”
“The world needs capable protectors, not children,” declares Adam. “You’re trying to run before you can walk, Son of Kal-El. You are not ready for this role.”
What do you make of Taylor’s take on Jon Kent’s heroism? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!