Has DC’s New Gay Character Been Outed Early? (Updated June 1st, 2012)

Posted: May 28, 2012 in Comics News, Debate
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

(*POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD…YOU’VE BEEN WARNED*)

IF you haven’t been locked in a room without windows and doors, then you may have noticed a definite increase in a certain aspect of comics lately that in the recent past has only been occasional, and further back was not only absent, but discouraged. I’m speaking of the appearance of homosexuality in comics. In the past few years, we’ve seen a gay male character be introduced to Archie Comics, and the introduction of several prominent lesbian characters in DC Comics (through Batwoman, Renee Montoya, Scandal Savage, Knockout, Grace Choi, and Thunder). These characters have not only been masterfully written and long overdue in our comics, but have been largely accepted by the comics community, with the exception of several anti-equal rights groups (many of whom have never read a comic book in their lives).

More recently, however, we’ve seen a jump in some major plots that will be showcasing these characters and some major plot lines. These include the biracial marriage of Kevin Keller (Archie Comics’ gay male character), the biracial marriage of Marvel’s Northstar (who has been open about his sexuality since the early 90’s), and the announcement that one of DC’s “iconic male characters” will be revealed as gay.

We’ve now received some “reliable” evidence, thanks to Bleeding Cool, that this soon-to-be-revealed character with DC is none other than

Alan Scott - GL

Does anyone else get a bit creeped out by this new look for the Original GL?

the original Green Lantern (and former Sentinel), Alan Scott. Personally, Alan would have been my last guess to be the character in question. Other rumours and guesses have been making their rounds as well, which I believe to be far more reasonable at this point: Joker, Icon, Jason Todd, Captain Atom, and Lex Luthor.

As many who have read my opinions on the DCnU (Post-New52 Stories in the DC Universe), I have many issues with their decision to reboot the universe and change many of the characters I’ve loved and followed. This is going to be one of those times. Alan Scott has never been a gay character. He has two children who’ve grown to become superheroes in their own stories and exploits, and has loved and lost several women in his life. Before the reboot, Scott was still happily married to Molly Maine, his wife of over 60 years that he has been completely in love with through age fluctuations, other dimensional travels, and a few world-spanning wars. To completely change all that history about Scott changes his entire back story, and truly spits in the faces of everyone who has followed Scott and his Justice Society adventures all these years.

Before I am misunderstood, please note that I have zero problems with homosexual characters in comics. As a matter of fact, I think it’s a great idea, as they’ve been sorely under-represented in the past in this medium. But what is the advantage in revealing a long time heterosexual husband and father to actually be gay? There are several other homosexual characters to work from at present (Appolo, Midnighter, Bunker, Damon Matthews, and Scott’s own son, Obsidian), an infinite number of possible new characters to introduce into the universe, and many characters whose sexuality has never been established or discussed in any major way, or wouldn’t be changed much if they were revealed to be gay (Joker, Jason Todd, and Captain Atom).

The Joker

Would it be so wrong for this to have been their choice? Male? Check. Iconic? Check. Not explored much in new 52? Check. Just don’t tell Harley…

Do I disagree with Alan Scott being outed? Yes. Does that mean I disagree with other such stories, like Northstar’s wedding? Nope. Northstar has been a gay character for a long time. He was never shown to be heterosexual. He’s been shown to love Kyle. He deserves this marriage as much as we deserve to see it happen. The same goes for Kevin Keller’s marriage. Kevin seems to be a great character, and there is no reason why any part of his stories shouldn’t be included as they are currently appearing.

But now we see a bigger question. Why are all of the publishing companies making such big decisions to show homosexuality in comics now? Some may tell you that it is a part of the liberal agenda attempting to destroy our family structures in North America. This is false, and only serves their own agenda to force their views on others. What about the world we find ourselves in? The 2012 world? Homosexuality is certainly more acceptable to the masses now. More and more people are more comfortably sharing their sexual orientation, and the world around them is becoming more welcoming (though slowly) to that as well.

Here’s my opinion on why we are seeing these stories and characters now, summed up in one word: Money.

Could they have introduced these changes and stories years ago? Yes. Would they have been accepted as much then? Not as much. In the 70’s/80’s, comics never showed homosexuality, and that reflected society’s perceived view on it. So in the 90’s, when homosexuality was starting to become more widely discussed, comics (the ones concerned with public opinion) introduced a few gay characters, though rarely discussed them in any length after that. In the mid 2000’s, when same-sex marriage (also known as just “marriage” to any logical-thinking person) started becoming a legal and acceptable institution in North America, they started introducing more of them, and actually developed their characters and relationships. Today, where homophobia is hated (by many but not all), we are seeing gay marriages in comics for our highly developed characters.

This pattern is not only due to publishers trying to take a proactive stance on encouraging equal-rights for the LGBT community. They’ve routinely made the safe choice again and again. They always choose times when the issue is slightly controversial, but where the majority of society is slightly more accepting of the issue. This practice sells books, while creating controversy in the comics-reading and non-comics-reading communities, which sells more books amongst new and old readers. This practice is not only sequestered to homosexuality, but every other hot button topic in the world today: Divorce, Religion, War, Terrorism, Sex, Death, Disease, and Vigilanteism (to name a few). Some of these topics were covered on day one of the invention of comics, and some were explored over time, as those issues became a little less controversial, while remaining timely and debatable. This isn’t restricted to comics either, but also TV, literature, music, and film.

So what am I trying to say exactly? Only that we should all remember one thing about comics: it is BOTH a medium of communication AND a business. The secondary goal is for the writers and artists to share their stories and ideas with us all, expanding our imagination and understanding of the world (depending on the comic you read). The primary goal, the main reason for the existence of comics, is to sell comics and make money. If comics did not make money, the publisher would not print them. We’ve seen this happen when a writer/artist is removed from a project, when a title is prematurely canceled, or when a publisher is forced to sell off their business.

Alan Scott’s potential outing is another Death of Superman, another Bucky Reborn, another Mohammed on South Park, another New-52 Slutty Starfire, another Borat, and another 99-crossover with the Justice League. They all make controversy, which makes headlines, which makes new readers, which makes money.

So before you take a stance in one direction or the other on this current issue in comics, just remember that the driving force in comics is this:

Controversy = News in Media = New Readership = More Money

————————

DC Has now made the change official regarding Alan Scott. See all the details here, from Bleeding Cool, who were first to break the story early last week: http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/06/01/its-official-alan-scott-the-original-green-lantern-is-dcs-newest-gay-hero/

What do you think!? Leave a comment below!

Comments
  1. I’m still betting on Aquaman. A good second ranker, and let’s face it, his history was thoroughly shredded many times well before the New 52.

  2. Jimmy says:

    Alan’s backstory has been erased anyway. All characters on the new Earth-2 are changed. Furthermore as a fan of Alan’s old comics I never bought into the retconned marriage to Rose. It was hardly ever explored except to give Obsidian angst, but no new revelations. I too am used to Alan being a womanizing playboy from his old comics and liked his relationship with Molly, but if an alternate version of him is gay it’s technically fine since this new Earth-2 is not old continuity and is not the true Alan Scott of the Golden Age or even of old Earth-2 or post-crisis continuity.

    • martelljt says:

      True, but not showing all the context. Alan Scott, tall blonde Green Lantern (keeper of the Green Flame) owner of GBC already existed. More importantly, this same individual existed on an Earth-2 in a previous continuity. After years of allowing his continuity to flourish and develop his relationship with his children (super-model Jenny-Lynn “Jade” Hayden and angsty Todd “Obsidian” Rice), one would expect to hold some kind of brand loyalty with a legacy family like their’s. Not to say they won’t bring the kids in at some point, in some other way, but it still changes far more than it should about him.

      It is true that this is not the first retcon that Mr. Scott has come through with a few changes. But their first sets of retcons to his character kept as much of him as possible intact, so let’s hope they try for the same things here… Though I am unsure how it will work while still explaining his children’s powers, or his relationships with former super-villains, or the age gap he’d have to fill in to allow for Jade and Obsidian to become superheroes in the next number of years. It’s possible to do, but me-thinks they won’t do it. DC has opted lately to just remove characters from continuity than try to keep true to old stories and plots…

      • Jimmy says:

        I’m not going to go on and on on why I think Alan being a dad to kids he didn’t raise with a mother that was retconned into his backstory is a bad idea as I’m the only one convinced. I will say this though.

        If in theory there are parallel Earths where different experiences happen and even some where are morality is reversed, and others where Supergirl has different cup sizes and some how Wonder Woman can be born… oh never mind. I’m sure this can make sense. His genetics are a bit off he was born later, his eyes are green, he can be gay.

        It is possible for him to be a dad in the future and have kids in that far off time and then they’ll explain away aging since they can’t write baby’s like with Wally. Right now they want to have him young for the first time since The Golden Age. Good I prefer that Alan to what he developed once Roy Thomas made Infinity Inc. He’ll not be the same though I acknowledge. Nobody but Batman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Animal Man and Swamp Thing characters are on Main Earth either. It’ a travesty, but we’re stuck with this. That is why I don’t buy as much as I used to and the few I do I treat as alternate versions.

        However, I think adding Jade and Obsidian at this point unless they were reinventions and even then would be mass disappointment to any fan of the original Earth-2.

        Too bad we can’t have an All-Star Squadron period piece though. Maybe another Earth if there’s more demand, but they’ll do it half-hearted. You know it.

        • martelljt says:

          All good points. Though I’d point out, if this were an earth where sexual orientation was reversed, then everyone, not just Alan, would be reversed as well. So that would not work here. Unless this is Earth “Everyone is a little different and older/younger then they were at one point on another earth and Alan Scott is gay too”.

          Confused by “Nobody but Batman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Animal Man and Swamp Thing characters are on Main Earth either.” Aren’t Green Arrow, Cyborg, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Flash (Just to name a few) all on their main earth? Or do you mean those are the only charatcers that came through the reboot with little to no changes?

          • Jimmy says:

            Man I can’t edit for rewording, I must of deleted something making that sentence make no sense. I mean that Batman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Animal Man and Swamp Thing are on main Earth without change and that the others are mostly changed in many ways. This is what I get for speed checking and posting before going out.

            Furthermore parallel Earths aren’t cut and dry as you make it. It doesn’t take one event with an opposite switch to make everyone straight turn gay. It’s a complex form of factors. I think small things can change some and not all since on main Earth the characters I’ve brought up have no changes and exist in bubble while subtle and drastic changes affect some. How does Blackest Night happen without the same Wonder Woman, Flash, Ray Palmer-Atom and Brightest Day without Hawkman and Hawkgirl and so on. Joan no longer has the same eye or hair color but Jay still does. Why? Her parents recessive genes kicked in while Jay’s didn’t I guess. Some speculate Hawkgirl’s race has changed. Those are harder to explain away then personality changes, morality and attraction.

            Personally I don’t like many of the changes as it makes those who aren’t changed dumb. Though some changes offend me more than others based on how they represent them. For example:

            Alan Scott is young again and gay and never had children and he won’t mention his old stories. Fine.

            Barry Allen was never married and we won’t mention it. Fine.

            Everything Wonder Woman knows about her origin is a lie and this is what really happen. Not fine.

            Helena Bertinelli was a dead mob princess who Helena Wayne posed as this whole time. This whole time. Not fine.

            There is a difference between knocking previous stories and just not mentioning them. I’d rather they not mention them instead of explaining them away in crass ways. Just me I guess.

            You can like the changes or not, but explaining them makes them worse for scrutiny. That’s why Flash of Two Worlds, Original Crisis, History of The DC Universe, Zero-Hour, Infinite Crisis, Flashpoint and many more can be judged so harshly.

            I hope this clears up my position and hope I have no more mistakes.

  3. Midnigher says:

    If it is Alan (I still have doubts due to him already being in Earth 2 before the announcement) but if it is him nothing really needs to change. He wasn’t with Rose (the mother of the twins) for long and many gay men have been with women while working things out. That still allows them her to have the kids and give them up for adoption like in the original comics, so theres one problem fixed. And Molly Mayne becomes Morris Mayne. He can still fight Alan as the Harlequin and their relationship can blossom along the same lines as before. It’s also worth nothing that at one point they intended to introduce a new male Harlequin whom would have been gay. So this would just be bringing that idea full circle.

    • martelljt says:

      Not terrible reasoning at all. The children can certainly still be explained away without changing much, and they would essentially be the same they were before if DC so chose. I’m not as convinced about his wife though. There are few marriages in the DC Universe that have gone on for as long and as devotional as that one… You can’t just retcon that away and tell fans “Be patient… It’ll be fine…” And if they start changing genders just to suit their changing sexual orientations? Then that will be just one more thing for me to complain about at the end of the day.
      Thanks for replying!

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