Right now? It’s good to be gay – that is, if you’re a superhero.
Marvel’s Northstar tied the knot with his civilian boyfriend last week, and this week DC announced that as part of their New 52 reboot, the original human holder of the Green Lantern ring has been retconned queer. Which is awesome! He’s a powerful business man and destined to be a superhero, and does everything he usually does, except he has a boyfriend.
I don’t know how I feel about this.
Not in the One Million Moms kinda way – which, by the way, is ridiculous. All those glamour shots of bulging, sleek muscles are probably doing more to turn readers gay than a very chaste kiss.
Northstar, Wiccan/Asgardian, and Hulkling are three of my favourite heroes, and not least of all because they’re all gay. But they’ve always been gay. They were created gay – even if the closest the writers of the original Northstar could get to it was “confirmed bachelor”. His recent marriage, while admittedly probably a publicity stunt on the part of Marvel, was the logical conclusion of an established and long-running relationship. I think the more shocking part of it isn’t that he’s marrying a man, but that he’s marrying a civilian. That never seems to end well (see: Gwen Stacy, Bucky . . .). I am hoping that “gay” counts as enough of a superpower to save him.
I don’t want to wave the ‘If he used to be with a woman, now he’s only bi!” flag like “only” and “bi” have anything to do with the topic, but I do wonder at the wisdom in completely scrapping a character’s romantic history in order to have an outed character. Alan Scott can be in a relationship with a man without being gay, gay, gay, gay, and then a little more gay. Especially Scott, who has canon children who turned into pretty respectable heroes of their own! Now that they’ve been retconned away, what’s going to happen to Jade and Obsidian? Other than make long-time fans grab desperately for their Infinity Inc back issues. Interestingly, Obsidian was established in canon as gay. I hope my grandmother doesn’t take this as proof that it really is hereditary. But, considering that Alan Scott is Earth-Two continuity, if he’s reintroduced into Earth-One, then maybe there is still an Earth-Two Jade and Obsidian. After all, Ultimate Colossus and Earth-616 Colossus don’t share the same romantic preference.
Everyone who zoned out for the last half of that paragraph, come back!
Then again, when they said it was going to be a major character, they weren’t kidding. Alan Scott is one of the originals, he’s been around as long as Captain America, Batman, and Superman. While the title and powers of Green Lantern have changed over the years, Alan Scott is still the originator of the role.
Alan Scott isn’t the first gay character in the DC universe, or even the first in the New 52; but somehow, people don’t get as angry about Batwoman and her live-in girlfriend. In fact, I really recommend The Mary Sue’s collection of 10 Badass Gay Characters for how blasé comic book readers can get about the whole thing.
In the end, good for DC for showing their support of the LGBT community in such a – pardon the pun – flamboyant way. I’m looking forward to seeing how it will play out. So far, it seems that, as with other gay characters, it will turn out to be little more than another background trait and not the subject of any significant upcoming plots.
What do you think of DC’s big news? What other characters would you like to see switch teams, or do you want to see new characters developed to reflect the range of