Published on July 27th, 2012 | by Joe Glass0
Tales from the Four Colour Closet – Loved Up
In September, DC will be continuing the success of their New 52 line by not only having the Third Wave of titles but also giving every series a Zero Issue that month. The main purpose of these issues is to present a story that takes place before the first issues of that series (early suggestions seem to show that these will range from shortly before to years before in terms of in-continuity time) and provide a fresh jumping on point that also holds hints as to the future of those titles and the line as a whole. And Scott Lobdell, writer of several of DCs titles, has revealed that his Teen Titans Zero issue will be about Bunker and his boyfriend, who up until now we have not seen but we have known he is in a coma. It will apparently also be about Tim Drake before he was Red Robin, but not being Robin as that never happened…despite Lobdell himself stating in earlier issues that Drake was once a Robin, and all the other Bat titles have mentioned him being Robin at some point too…but that’s the kind of annoyance that is better served in a different blog.
Now, BleedingCool.com is reporting that Bunker’s boyfriend may in fact turn out to be the New 52 version of Vibe.
Now, Vibe isn’t a hugely well-known character (I’d certainly never heard of him until fairly recently myself), but DC does seem to be increasing his profile somewhat by including him in some of their DC Nation shorts in the US.
(And his new costume design is certainly a lot cooler than his old one)
Moreover, Vibe has appeared once in DC’s New 52; as part of their Free Comic Book Day title that was filled with heavy suggestions and teases of what was to come in DC’s immediate future. Vibe was seemingly taking part in the upcoming Justice League event Trinity War.
The event seems to possibly be about a rival Justice League being formed, with Vibe being a possible member. So could we have another prominent DC gay character, this one actually being a member of a Justice League and taking part in a major event? That would be awesome, for sure.
Of course, at this time it’s all entirely speculation. BC’s story seems to stem from a tweet Lobdell made last night in response to concerns that Bunker’s erstwhile boyfriend was just going to be ‘fridged’; just like Alan Scott’s, Green Lantern of Earth 2, was (though I prefer the term ‘bullet-trained’).
“SPOILER ALERT: Bunker’s BF will NOT be ‘FRIDGED! In fact, there’s a very good chance he’s going to join the team! I just get that vibe.”
Nice declaration of lack of murderous intent from the writer, but is his wording a pun to suggest the character or just a turn of phrase? Knowing Lobdell and his previous comments and tweets, probably the prior, so it’s a strong suggestion. It’s probably worth noting that when DC announced that a pre-existing character would be turning up in the DC New 52 as a gay man now, many believed Vibe to be the most obvious candidate (though it obviously turned out to be the aforementioned Alan Scott). But one trend this had raised in my mind: we’re getting a lot of gay COUPLES introduced in comics lately. Apollo and Midnighter, Wiccan and Hulkling…even Northstar started having a lot more presence in comics since his relationship with Kyle Jinadu which blew up when they then got married.
Most single gay male characters I can think of have either vanished entirely or have been relegated to the background with nothing to say or do. In fact, at this late hour (I’m writing this approaching midnight) the only single gay male character I can think of is Anole, and he hasn’t been seen much in some time. Wait! There’s Striker in Avengers Academy, but I hear (I haven’t read the book in the while, so forgive me if this is inaccurate) his role since coming out has been somewhat less…not gone, but less focus on him.
Even side characters and supporting cast, if gay, seem to be couples, such as Flash’s Pied Piper and Director David Singh and Amazing Spider-Man’s Max Modell mentions having a partner.
I wonder about the reasoning: are gay couples easier to sell than single gay men? Are they more readily accepted as they aren’t a ‘threat’ i.e. as they are dating someone (which in mainstream comics is almost always exclusive and monogamous), would fans consider them less likely to crack onto straight characters and try and turn them? Anti-gay fear is a well-documented phenomenon and it’s terrible to say that it has been successfully used in the past to reason away murder charges.
Could a similar thing be in affect in our comics?
As well as the previous points, it’s worth noting that there are quite a few single lesbian characters; and lesbian characters are considered an easier sell to the comic reading market. There’s no threat to the majority heterosexual male demographic there: in fact, lesbianism is viewed as titillating (bizarrely, as these heterosexual males by definition have no chance with a lesbian; this fantasy is not understood by me at all).
I personally would like to see a single gay male character, and maybe even get to see their trials, successes and failures in romance in dating, a la Peter Parker’s luck with the girls.
So as much as it’s fantastic to see more gay characters, let’s have a broader range of their experiences romantically, eh? I hope I’m wrong with my theory, I hope I’m way, way, way off the mark…but there has been a suspicious lack in unlucky in love gays for a while.