ANDY FISH

ANDY FISH is a comic book artist


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Friday, May 25, 2012

DC Comics to Reveal "MAJOR" Character is Gay

Are they or aren't they?  We might just find out soon.

The story is abuzz all over the internet, here's the Huffington Post take on it.  But click the link after we talk, 'kay?

First, I am of the side that hopes someday the question "Is he/she gay?" will one day be answered with "Who cares?"-- but I do see the value in making a "major" DC Comics character a homosexual, both as a writer and artist working in the comics field and as someone who often works with teens troubled by trying to find their own identities and looking for role models-- for many people into comics those role models can come in the form of one of the fictional characters.

The X-Men in particular have a special appeal to many gay and transgendered teens because of the idea that those characters face bigotry and hatred because their mutant powers make  them outcasts.

DC Comics relaunched their entire franchise of titles with the NEW 52, rebooting each and every character and creative team and taking comics to a "Same day as print" digital edition that as far as I can tell has been very successful.  I followed Batman for the first two issues and then decided to just pick up the collections as they are released so I'll let you know what I think somewhere down the road.

I'm not necessarily DC's demographic, never having been a huge fan of superheroes, I lean more towards what Vertigo, Dynamite, Boom!  and IDW put out for titles, but I admire DC's spunk.

So which "major" character is going to be revealed as gay?

Co-publisher Dan DiDio didn't name names but he continuously referred to the character as "he" in an interview but that could be to throw us off the track.

You'll note that in the above post I've also been using quotes around the word MAJOR, and that's the key isn't it?  If DC is really doing this then MAJOR character is important-- there are plenty of second and third tier characters who are already gay (again, it's fair game in comics where a characters personal life is often a big part of any storyline so it's not as gimmicky as it sounds).

The Suspects: The Big Guns
SUPERMAN - He's their oldest character and one of the BIG THREE of DC Comics.  If they're serious about MAJOR you can't get any more so than Superman.
My guess; Unlikely.  Too much history with Lois, but I'm not following the new titles he's in so who knows if he's even involved with her.

BATMAN - Another leg of the BIG THREE and possibly their most well known character.  This would be the boldest choice, but in the 50s Batman was plagued by allegations that he and Robin were gay and living a lifestyle that would make Alfred's single hair curl.  To alleviate the concerns Aunt Harriet was brought in as a character to add a woman to the mix.
My guess; Highly Unlikely.  Part of Bruce Wayne's act is that he's a playboy, but the big killer is Batman comics seldom focus on his personal life or relationships, so Batman turning out to be gay would be like finding out an African Elephant hates snow.

WONDER WOMAN - The final leg of the BIG THREE and if you want it to really be a MAJOR character WW is the way to go.  She's already a champion among gay circles so this one seems possible.  The only reason I would cast any doubt is that DC Comics revamped Batwoman and made her a lesbian, do they want to have their only two gay characters (at least above third tier) female?
My guess; Possible.

The Second Stringers
AQUAMAN - The King of the Seven Seas gets played as a limp wristed pansy on CN's ROBOT CHICKEN-- does DC want to perpetuate that notion thus re-enforcing a negative stereotype?  He's also been married since about 1962.
My guess;  Possible but unlikely.  Too easy of a choice and Aquaman is the single most rebooted character DC Comics has.

THE FLASH - The Fastest Man Alive?  I'm not sure who's wearing the suit these days.  The actor who played the Flash on TV was gay-- does that count?
My guess; Possible.

GREEN LANTERN - He's a skirt chaser in the comics-- is it all an act?  The hope was that he would be another film franchise character but that seems unlikely since his movie bombed.
My guess; Possible.

CAPTAIN MARVEL (SHAZAM) - Sad that he's a second stringer-- and I might be letting the fact that he was THE most popular superhero of the 1940s (beating even Superman) color my thinking because he might actually be third string-- the Big Red Cheese, like Aquaman, can't catch a break.  No creator has been able to get lightning to strike with him and he's about to be re-booted in the next round of NEW 52 so he seems to be the likely bet.
My guess; Very likely.  They tried him as black, they tried him as a kid in a man's body, they've tried everything to inject some life into him-- hell, I'd give it a shot.

The Third Stringers
PLASTIC MAN - Plas was a great character under Jack Cole, but that was 1946 and the times they did a change-- now he's been down on his luck since his cartoon series in the 80s.
My guess: Probable.  The issue is would anyone care?

GREEN ARROW - Once Green Lantern's co-star in a well regarded series by Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams in the 70s, The Arrow started out as a carbon copy of Batman in the 50s, then floundered until O'Neil made him a counter culture warrior and Frank Miller made him the ultimate lefty anarchist in THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS but he's had little going on since 1986.
My guess; Likely.  If he's the choice I think most of the world will gasp "Who?"  confusing him with Green Lantern who is often confused with The Green Hornet.

MARTIAN MANHUNTER- John Jones has been done well in the various animated versions of The Justice League, which is more than we can say for his comic book counterpart.   I don't know if he's ever even had his own title, much less be even remotely considered a "major" character.
My guess;  He's a Martian, like Iran, there are no gays on Mars.  Unlikely.

Even more likely is it will be a character well known to fans but no one else-- this would include Red Robin, Nightwing (Dick Grayson) and a host of other characters I would not call "major."

But we'll see- and soon.