A new novel which re-imagines the story of Batman and Robin sees the hero him come out, and in a relationship with the iconic sidekick, as well as being friends with Sir Elton John.

The book, Erotic Lives of the Superheroes, by writer Marco Mancassola, features the Dark Knight settled down with sidekick Robin, despite the couple having a failing sex life.

The couple bicker, and Bruce Wayne picks up younger men for one night stands, as well as attending charity dinners with Sir Elton John.

“There was no intention to shock or offend anybody,” Mancassola said in an interview with The Independent. “’Erotic Lives of the Superheroes’ is just an attempt at exploring the complex humanity of a group of characters.

“Batman has always had a very dark side. And it shouldn’t be a shock that my version of this character indulges in weird forms of fetishism and extreme sex.”

The Italian author did go on to say that some die-hard Batman fans may be offended by the new portrayal of the hero.

“This is true especially when it comes to Batman… who comes across as the least nice character of the book – egocentric, ridiculously vain, in some way ‘perverse’.

“But, actually, I depicted him that way because I love him. He is human. He embodies the tragedy into which contemporary society has transformed the fact of getting older.”

The book also features Superman, Mr Fantastic, and X-Men’s Mystique.

Despite some controversy, this is not the first time Batman’s sexuality has come into question, as last year Grant Morrison, who has written for DC Comics last year talked on the character’s “sexual deviance”.

He said Batman is “very plutonian in the sense that he’s wealthy and also in the sense that he’s sexually deviant. He revamped Batman for DC Comics, and also said that the titular character is “very, very gay.”

“Gayness is built into Batman. I’m not using gay in the pejorative sense, but Batman is very, very gay. There’s just no denying it. Obviously as a fictional character he’s intended to be heterosexual, but the basis of the whole concept is utterly gay. I think that’s why people like it.”

The book is already out in Italy, and will become available in the UK this wee