About two weeks ago, news broke that DC was going to be making one of their oldest characters gay. Today, DC officially announced that the character would be the Golden Age Green Lantern, a man known as Alan Scott. Here’s a little history for you. Before their September 2011 renumbering to new #1s and reshuffling of their history, Alan Scott was active in World War II as Green Lantern. He got his powers from a so-called “green flame” and had a weakness to wood. Yes, I know. Scott eventually married, had two children, Jade and Obsidian, and Obsidian was gay.
When they did their relaunch, writer James Robinson was tasked with making the Justice Society of America relevant again. His first thought? Make them younger. When that happened, Alan Scott could no longer have two grown children, making Obsidian’s existence on “Earth-2” (the comic in which Scott is being reintroduced) impossible. Robinson decided that, since Alan Scott won’t be aging suddenly any time soon, he could make the character gay, no problem. After all, in the relaunch, DC has changed characters’ race, gender, handicapability, and size. Why not their sexual orientation?
Green Lantern is set to get his powers in July’s Earth-2 #3, but we’ll first see him with his partner in Earth-2 #2 on sale next week on June 6th in finer comic shops everywhere.
However, this whole experience has taught me some things about the comic reading internet, and there are some things I just have to say somewhere, so here are my responses to a good handful of the most ignorant internet comments from comic book readers and non-comic book readers alike out there.
1. “Ugh! Why does DC have to make a character’s sexuality a publicity stunt? Gawsh!”
Hi there. You must not actually be reading the news. DC hinted at this–hinted–when asked at Kapow! Comic-Con why characters had changed race and gender, but not sexual orientation. When they did so, it caused the media frenzy. DC did not release a press release or do anything that made it sound like an intentional stunt. If they had, they would have done it at least a month ago considering the issue comes out next freaking week.
I’m all for acknowledging when corporations piggyback on a fringe group just for publicity, but for once this wasn’t the case. Chill, bro.
2. “I just can’t stand the way editorial mandated something like this to appeal for the election season.”
Have you read anything by James Robinson? He wrote a prominent gay kiss in mainstream comics in 1998. (He’s wrong when he says that he wrote the first one; that honor goes either to 1993’s The Enigma or something even earlier). Robinson made his gay character Starman (Mikaal Tomas) a member of the Justice League of America in 2010 and gave him a boyfriend in the form of the Tasmanian Devil in 2011.
Do you really think editorial mandated that he write Alan Scott as gay? Because seriously, the guy has a history of it being his own idea, and I’d like to believe him when it comes to an issue that seems pretty personal to him, a straight guy.
3. “Why do they have to make long-time characters gay just to appeal to a fringe community?”
Hello, comic book reader. Fun fact: There are more gay people than comic book readers in the world. Wanna talk about a fringe community?
4. “Why make Alan Scott gay when Obsidian already existed?”
While I can’t believe that editorial would have had to mandate that Alan Scott be gay, I can believe that they mandated Robinson to make the Justice Society characters younger, nixing Obsidian’s existence. We’re lucky we got this out of it. I’d like to give the guy the benefit of the doubt here.
5. “So is Ryan Reynolds going to have to be gay in the movies now?”
I…no. Welcome to the internet, General Public. Ryan Reynolds plays Hal Jordan. Different characters. Wikipedia it.
So, there have been dozens of other stupid, idiotic comments made, mostly about how DC is evil and is ruining characters (including a guy who got so livid at the thought of the gay character being Robin [Tim Drake] that I fear for my well-being if I ever meet him in person). Those are the kinds of comments that I just have to shake my head at.
Also this month, Marvel will have their first gay wedding between Northstar and his supporting non-superhero boyfriend Kyle in Astonishing X-Men #51, so keep an eye out for that if you’re actually interested in following the stories.
Otherwise, as you were, folks. I just wanted to respond to the illogical internet commenters en masse to make myself feel better.