Published on May 23rd, 2012 | by Joe Glass5
Tales From The Four Colour Closet – The Tiny Pebble That Started a Tidal Wave
So by now you have undoubtedly heard about how DC are revealing an iconic male character as now gay in the New 52. After the comment was uttered at Kapow last Sunday, the story has snowballed and wound up everywhere from Bleeding Cool, i09, IGN to New York Post, Huffington Post and The Guardian. The idiots at Fox News try to intimate DC are making Superman gay (morons), and the Daily Mail tools claim that using a fans off-handed remark that they hope its Batman is actual journalism (lazy).
What no one has mentioned, and what you may not know, is who asked the question: it was little old me!
Honestly, had no idea it would blow up like this, but you’ve undoubtedly seen in earlier posts in this column that that comment Dan Didio made in Advocate over a year ago kind of bugged me. So Sunday I got my chance to confront him about it.
Of course, I unexpectedly got the most awesome answer that DC would now happily consider re-writing an existing character as gay, and in fact were doing so as soon as June. And that this gay male character (it was implied they meant gay as in a homosexual man, as they already have a prominent lesbian character) would be their most prominent gay DC character.
Now frankly, this can be even better than creating new characters for one simple reason: existing character are pre-packaged with an existing fan base, existing history of awesomeness and existing ideas of what and who they are. By reintroducing such a character as gay, you will get a lot of readers who won’t care as it’s still the same old hero they loved before and carry on reading, which is awesome, particularly if that character is now open to tackling ‘gay’ issues (end of the day, there’s no such thing as ‘gay’ issues, they’re all ‘people’ issues). You’ll get the other fans calling an uproar, which attracts media attention, and that can be incredibly useful. And hell, we could use some more gay characters, the bigger, the better.
And to anyone arguing that if they did the reverse and made, say, Apollo a straight character, then ‘they’ would call bloody vengeance on DC: yeah, ‘we’ would, because changing a character to reflect a minority and yet be accessible to the original readers is an awesome feat of positive representation; changing a minority character to a heterosexual, white dude removes one of our few elements of representation in favour of the most well represented face in comics.
It reminds me of the to-do over Miles Morales…even though that technically was still a new character. The negative comments on that character revealed a troubling undercurrent of racism in some of those angry fans; likewise, we’ll probably see a great many troublingly homophobic comments and haters.
But what we’ll probably also see is the majority of readers really take to it and love it, much like the have loved Miles Morales.
It’s also amusingly brought to mind how much this DC news, brought up accidentally by me and (possibly, we don’t know if he was meant to reveal it yet) Dan Didio, has almost completely swamped out Marvel’s big gay news. The Worst-Kept-Secret in comics that Northstar was marrying his partner Kyle felt really underwhelming by comparison. But that might be because we all guessed it months ago, and it really does feel like Marvel trying to jump on the Archie bandwagon. I’m all for it, don’t get me wrong, but the timing stunk of vainglorious media hounding. Still, out of it all, in the coming month, we’re getting a gay wedding and a massive, new/old, prominent gay superhero.
Oh, and Scott Snyder totally said there’s a new LGBT character coming up in Batman who becomes a great ally (pretty certain she was already introduced in issue 7, but that’s just my theory)and Marvel have big plans for Wiccan and Hulkling which they cannot discuss yet (seriously, I was asking all the gay questions last weekend). Maybe they will decide they can now they’re pink thunder was taken.
Whoever it is that gets revealed in the end, pretty awesome month coming up in my books.