Although the pages of DC Comics are peppered with bisexual heroines, from Wonder Woman to Harley Quinn, bisexual heroes are few and far between. The only one of any note in #DC's pantheon is Constantine, the chain-smoking, foul-mouthed occult demon hunter who has charmed his way into the hearts of many a fan. The cult fave got his own show on NBC a few years ago, but it was cancelled after just one season. Now, Constantine will team up with the Waverider crew in Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 and, if that news wasn't fantastic enough, it looks like the Legends writers will finally embrace Constantine's bisexuality.
"As for the character of Constantine, we knew that an alienated, chain-smoking, bisexual, world-weary demonologist would feel right at home among our Legends."
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Klemmer listed #Constantine's central character traits, all of which he demonstrated in the NBC show — all, that is, except his bisexuality.
The Erasure Of Constantine's Bisexuality
Constantine's bisexuality, although canon, is a well kept secret in the world of comics. Often suggested to be boundary-less when it came to choosing sex partners, Constantine was finally revealed to be bisexual in a 1992 issue of Hellblazer, Constantine's solo comic published by Vertigo (a DC sub-imprint).
"Girlfriends, the odd boyfriend... they all have a habit of walking out on me."
This throwaway line was swiftly swept under the rug, until Brian Azzarello's turn at the comic's helm in 2001. Through to its conclusion, Constantine was openly bisexual, flirting and having casual sexual encounters with men as well as women. He never got a serious boyfriend, but the point was made clear: Constantine didn't give a toss about heteronormative conventions.
Unfortunately, after the comic's conclusion this was also swept under the rug fairly quickly — which was due in a large part to DC transporting Constantine from Vertigo to the main continuity. Once he joined the big leagues, all subsequent iterations of Constantine seemed perfectly straight, apart from a few innuendos here and there. And of course, this was exactly what happened to the NBC show version of Constantine, played by Matt Ryan.
The live action version of the character never gave viewers a hint of his attraction to men, and what's worse, the writers lashed out at fans when challenged about this erasure. At the 2014 SDCC, showrunner David S. Goyer snapped at a fan who asked whether Constantine's bisexuality would be shown onscreen, protesting that because Constantine wasn't introduced as bisexual, then there was no need to include this in the show. Considering that many of the most iconic #LGBT superheroes came out long after their comic introductions, Goyer's protestations predictably caused something of a controversy at the time.
'Legends Of Tomorrow' Takes Another Step Forward
Because the NBC version of Constantine is the one who will be jumping aboard the Waverider, it's very heartening to know that Phil Klemmer considers Constantine's bisexuality a vital part of his character, and yet another reason he'll fit well among this team of misfits.
Legends Of Tomorrow has garnered much critical praise thanks to its portrayal of Sara Lance. Revealed to be bisexual in #Arrow, Sara later became the captain of the Waverider crew, and she has spent much of their mission seducing both men and women (but especially women) throughout history.
This positive representation of bisexuality is very much welcome, and we can only hope that the writers will take a similar approach to Constantine, because there are very few positive depictions of bi men in the media. And of course, Constantine being open about his sexuality in Legends would redeem the NBC show for not making this clear.
But it's not all about Constantine's sexual identity. Klemmer also detailed what we can expect to see in the demonologist's debut episode, and it sounds like a real corker:
"His appearance will involve the following: a revisiting of 'Arrow' season four and the events following that season's finale episode; a confrontation with this season's Big Bad on Legends, Mallus; some hot sex; and Damien Darhk, because how can you do an episode about dark magic and not have Damien Darhk?"
Klemmer describes this episode as "The Exorcist meets One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest," with the crew investigating a demonic possession in a mental institution — which sounds right up Constantine's alley.
The British demon-hunter will appear in episodes nine and ten of Legends Season 3, though Klemmer hopes to have Matt Ryan back on the show later on, feeding the hopes of fans who want to see Constantine join the Legends for good. But even if this is just a one-off, it's fantastic to know that Klemmer is dedicated to portraying Constantine faithfully, from the tip of his smoldering cigarette to his true sexual identity.