Document Type

Social Sciences



Submission Date

May 2021


The DC Comics character of Dick Grayson (Robin and later Nightwing) has been subtextally coded queer since his first appearance over seventy-five years ago, unintentionally creating an ambiguous sexuality up to today. The initial backlash against reading Robin as queer occurred in the ‘50s, but attempts to assert his heterosexuality have had mixed success, leading to contemporary comics writers acknowledging this established – though officially unstated – queerness by pushing how far they can suggest him to be LGBTQ+. This historical foundation establishes the precedent of queer coding Dick Grayson, and provides context when analyzing the subtext of him as a closeted queer character. By examining Grayson’s relationship to Batman and other characters, his various costumes and visual presentation, and the efforts of some modern comics creators, this paper shows how this subtext was created and sustained, and argues the validity of interpreting the character as queer. With the increased understanding about the importance of representing minority groups positively in media, a queer reading of the popular superhero Dick Grayson provides an opportunity to explore marginalized sexualities within the DC Comics critics and/or fandom.


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