The most recent season of “Gotham” has seen a lot of romantic developments for its main characters: Bruce Wayne is sweet on Selina Kyle, Jim Gordon lost his girlfriend to the son of a mob boss, and Oswald Cobblepot is obsessed with Edward Nygma. It’s the latter that’s been stirring up talk amongst fans though with many not liking the development. Robin Lord Taylor addressed those complaints at a recent convention.

Rhode Island Comic Con

While attending Rhode Island Comic Con this weekend, Taylor participated in a panel with fellow “Gotham” actor Sean Pertwee where the duo took audience questions.

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Taylor took time on the panel though to address those fans who have repeatedly told him that they have no problem with Oswald Cobblepot, future “Batman” villain the Penguin, being romantically interested in men, except for one thing -- it’s not comic book canon.

Taylor didn’t mince words, calling that criticism of the show “horses**t.” He went on to assert that audience members whose only complaint is that Penguin might be gay are really saying, “I am homophobic and I am afraid of gay people.”

He also went on to address whether or not Oswald should even be termed “gay” at this point in the show, calling the character both “emotionally fractured” and “vulnerable” in the wake of all of the betrayal he’s suffered and family he’s lost.

Gotham Season 2 : Will Penguin escape Arkham? - gotham season 3 ... - melty.com
Gotham Season 2 : Will Penguin escape Arkham? - gotham season 3 ... - melty.com

Taylor sees Oswald as someone looking for support and affection, and as Nygma treated him with respect and was kind to him when he needed it most, it makes sense for Oswald to cling to him. He explained, “I truly believe that had it been Barbara, or Tabitha… or Butch…. Regardless of if they were male or female, he would have had that same obsession.”

The canon of ‘Gotham’

To be fair, those complaining about the new development are correct that the character hasn’t been written as gay in the past, but on the other hand, “Gotham” plays fast and loose with comic book canon and prefers to develop new twists for the characters instead of telling the same stories that everyone knows.

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Allowing well known characters to explore their sexuality on the series is simply a reflection of the times. (Penguin made his first comic book appearance in December of 1941, not a time when comic book characters were being written in same sex relationships).

If fans have a problem with that one aspect of comic book canon, there’s plenty more where that came from. For example, Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne weren’t childhood sweethearts who eventually became masked enemies on the streets of Gotham.

Instead, Selina is a jewel thief who crosses paths with Batman as an adult. Likewise, the show has introduced Valerie Vale, who doesn’t exist in the comics, as the precursor to Vicki Vale, who does. The show takes inspiration from the source material, but doesn’t go for an exact match.

Sexuality on ‘Gotham’

The more pressing questions for fans who might be wondering just why anyone who isn’t heterosexual on ‘Gotham’ has been portrayed as a future villain so far.

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DC comic books actually have a fairly good number heroes who aren’t heterosexual, as well as villains.

So far, the series has Barbara, Tabitha, Penguin, and possibly Ivy (if the writers choose to acknowledge her fluid sexuality from the comics) who are interested in same sex partners. All of these characters are current villains, or future super villains who will battle Batman. Not a single one of the show’s “heroes” has been played as anything other than heterosexual, which sends a more damaging message to the audience -- that anything other than heteronormativity is wrong.

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Gotham” airs Mondays at 8PM on FOX.

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