Comiquad

The ComiQuad: Comic Book Publishers Out-Gay Each Other

By Jon Erik Christianson • June 1, 2012 at 10:00 am


Boom! Wham! Pow! The ComiQuad is a column dedicated to the spandex-laden world of comics and superheroes. It goes up each Tuesday at odd intervals during the summer and will alternate between comic book reviews and other comic book news. Reviews shall try to be spoiler-free. Zam!

Update: DC has officially confirmed that it is, in fact, Green Lantern Alan Scott who is officially now gay. And based on Earth-2 #2‘s art, they sure aren’t beating around the bush about it.

Today marks the beginning of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. It is a celebratory month filled with parades, colors of the rainbow, an enormous amount of glitter, and people on the Internet asking, “Why isn’t there a Straight Pride Month?” Oh, and Father’s Day. It has nothing to do with the previous list, but I wanted to remind everyone before it’s too late to purchase that last-minute tie.

Marvel is making a point to not be subtle. | Cover courtesy Marvel Entertainment

In two very specific cases, some unlikely LGBT allies have been waving the rainbow flag early: DC Comics and Marvel Entertainment.

“The Big Two” are unlikely allies because the comic book industry has been notoriously slow to adapt to a changing and more diverse demographic. Female superheroes and viewers alike are still being treated poorly, comics starring people of color have been getting canceled left and right, and the LGBT community is not really well represented.

For example, the most well-known gay male superhero in comics is Northstar. I would hazard to say few people outside of comics know who he is.

Additionally, every time there is a perceived “change for diversity,” like a mixed-race teenager becoming Ultimate Spider-Man, a very vocal minority begins to predict the apocalypse.

Marvel was the first to test fate and risk stirring up controversy. Months ago, early solicitations teased a superhero marriage in the pages of Astonishing X-Men #51, written by Marjorie Liu. Many predicted it would be the marriage of Northstar and his civilian boyfriend Kyle Jinadu. That speculation was confirmed on ABC’s The View on May 22 (fun fact: Disney owns both Marvel and ABC).

Marvel has pulled out all the stops to support the comic’s gay marriage, including an X-Men “Create Your Own Wedding” variant cover for Astonishing X-Men #51.

DC Comics’s reveal was much more accidental.

On May 20 at the Kapow Comic Convention in London, a fan asked Dan DiDio, the co-publisher at DC, if the company’s stance on only creating new homosexual characters and not changing an existing character’s orientation still stands. With the New 52, marriages have been broken up, ethnicities have been changed, characters have disappeared, and many other character qualities have been altered, so why not sexual orientation?

If the rumors are true, DC's new gay character will literally be "flaming." | Cover courtesy of DC Comics.

To everyone’s shock, DiDio revealed that they had, in fact, changed that policy. He also revealed that an “iconic” superhero would come out as gay in an upcoming storyline.

According to BleedingCool.com, a “strong source” confirmed that the character will be Alan Scott, the first ever Green Lantern. If the rumors are correct, this revelation will occur in Earth-2 #2, coming out (pun not intended) this upcoming Wednesday.

These decisions behind the two major comic book companies has even managed to gain the disapproval of OneMillionMoms.com, the “family values” organization that has publicly protested JC Penney for endorsing Ellen DeGeneres and Toys ‘R’ Us for selling the Archie Comics Life with Archie #16 where openly gay Kevin Keller gets married.

Undeniably, both of these events are positive for LGBT portrayal in comics. The first major gay male superhero will be getting married in an event that the X-Men superhero community will celebrate. A pseudo-iconic (within the comics world) superhero will act as another role model for those looking for diversity in comics.

One has to wonder, however, how much these events are based in genuine acceptance or in competition over who can grab the most headlines.


Jon Christianson (COM/CAS '14) is the zany, misunderstood cousin of The Quad family. His superpowers include talking at the speed of light, tripping over walls, and defying ComiQuad deadlines with the greatest of ease. His lovely copyeditors don't appreciate that last one. If for some reason you hunger for more of his nonsense, follow him at @HonestlyJon on Twitter or contact him at jchristianson@buquad.com!