There are many examples of fathers in comics and science fiction, and that parent-child relationship has provided a wide array of stories. Notable among those fathers are Batman, Superman, and Benjamin Sisko.
Super-Fathers and Super-Sons
In comics, both Batman and Superman have become fathers in the last decade. Batman learned of his son, Damian, not long before the DC Universe was rebooted yet again with the New 52 in 2011, but the introduction of Damian Wayne survived into the new continuity. Bruce and Damian have a complex relationship, with Damian having been raised by his mother, Talia, the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul, and the League of Assassins, and his existence kept secret from Bruce until he was about 11 years old.
Damian came into Bruce’s care, and the boy soon became the latest to take on the role of Robin, as Bruce tried to instill his own values to the boy. This, naturally, led to a great deal of conflict between the two. Bruce had a great deal of experience in raising children, however, thanks to having taken in the first Robin, Dick Grayson, at about the same age, as well as the second and third Robins, Jason Todd and Tim Drake, over the years.
Superman’s status as a father is somewhat more recent. Clark Kent and his wife, Lois Lane, survived the rewriting of history during the New 52 by spending an extended period in a pocket reality, where Lois discovered that she was pregnant. Emerging at about the same time as the new reality’s Superman first formed the Justice League with several other heroes, Lois and Clark chose to live a quiet life in relative obscurity, raising their young son, Jonathan, on a farm.
Nearly a decade passed before the new reality’s Superman died, and Clark took his place as Superman once again. Then things got weird, with the Rebirth event merging their two histories together, leaving Clark as the one, true version of Superman, and integrating Lois and Clark’s marriage and Jonathan’s birth into a revised history for the New 52 reality.
It wasn’t long before Jonathan became the new Superboy, and soon after when Superboy and Robin met. Much like their fathers, Jonathan and Damian started off at odds, but became close friends, as their fathers hoped that they would have a net positive effect by spending more time together.
Fatherhood on the Final Frontier
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine gave several examples of fatherhood over the course of its seven seasons, a theme explored in that series better than in any other Star Trek series, before or since. Miles O’Brien and his family life featured heavily throughout the series, with its ups and downs. Nog and his father, Rom, saw a great deal of attention as they both defied the expectations of their culture in their own ways. Worf’s dysfunctional relationship with his son, Alexander, even received the attention that it deserved. All of these, nevertheless, took second place to the Sisko family.
Starting from the very first scene, we learned how Benjamin Sisko was a widower who had lost his wife during the Battle of Wolf 359, when his ship was destroyed by the Borg. A single father, Ben Sisko was a far more affectionate and involved father than had been seen on virtually any other television series, science fiction or otherwise. Likewise, Ben’s relationship with his own father was spotlighted on multiple occasions throughout the series. Three generations of Siskos and the strength of their bond formed a large portion of the series’ emotional base.
Ben Sisko’s relationship with his son, Jake, was even more remarkable because it was one of the few positive portrayals of African American fatherhood on television. Ben was a doting, loving father, and was not afraid to give his son affection, both physically and emotionally. Avery Brooks spoke many times of how important that was to him in deciding to take the role, and that relationship even extended off-screen with his relationship with Cirroc Lofton, who played Jake.
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