Superman actor Dean Cain has accused writers of “bandwagoning” after they said the latest incarnation of the character would come out as bisexual.
In a comic next month, Jon Kent – the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane – has followed in his father’s footsteps and, as well as saving the world, has fallen for a male reporter.
The storyline was announced on National Coming Out Day, an annual LGBTQ+ awareness day.
But Cain, who starred alongside Teri Hatcher in TV show The New Adventures Of Superman in the 1990s, said it would have been a “brave” storyline 20 years ago but less so now.
Cain, 55, told US show Fox & Friends: “They said it’s a bold new direction. I say they’re bandwagoning.
“I don’t think it’s bold or brave or some crazy new direction. If they had done this 20 years ago, perhaps that would be bold or brave.
“But brave would be having him fight for the rights of gay people in Iran where they’ll throw you off a building for the offence of being gay.”
The actor also appeared to refer to a recent storyline about the superhero fighting against the deportation of refugees, suggesting: “Why don’t they have him fight the injustices that created the refugees whose deportation he’s protesting? That would be brave, I’d read that.
“Or fighting for the rights of women to attend school and work and live and boys not to be raped by men under the new warm and fuzzy Taliban.”
He added: “There’s real evil in this world today, real corruption and government overreach… It’d be great to tackle those issues. I’d like to see the character doing that.”
The new storyline is featured in Son of Kal-el #5 from writer Tom Taylor and artist John Timms, out on 9 November.
“I’ve always said everyone needs heroes and everyone deserves to see themselves in their heroes and I’m very grateful DC and Warner Bros share this idea,” said Mr Taylor.
DC chief creative officer and publisher Jim Lee said they “could not be prouder to tell this important story”.
He added: “We talk a lot about the power of the DC Multiverse in our storytelling and this is another incredible example.”
It is the latest move by an industry that is steadily embracing more diversity.
In August, DC Comics announced Batman’s sidekick Robin was bisexual.
In an issue of anthology series Batman: Urban Legends, boy wonder Tim Drake – at least the third of four men to don the green and red tights alongside the caped crusader – accepts a date from another boy.