Sexualized Saturdays: That cape is Fabulous!

So, this happened yesterday:

That’s Alan Scott, kissing his boyfriend after coming home from a business trip. Alan Scott is also known as the first Green Lantern, receiving his powers from a mysterious green flame fashioned into the shape of a green lantern. Yeah, not exactly the most cerebral origin story out there, but it spawned my favorite superhero, so I let it slide.

DC Comics yesterday announced that the first Green Lantern is gay. Scott’s change in sexuality (he had a wife and kids in the original) comes from a reboot entitled The New 52.

Now, normally I’m all for mixing it up from time to time. I think, when done properly, a gay superhero can show readers that you can be a hero no matter what, as long as you’re blessed with a supernatural origin or your parents are killed.

However, a gay superhero can easily become a caricature created just to garner press and focus. Northstar was one of the first gay superheroes ever created, and Marvel butchered his character badly with that fact. In 1992, writers of Northstar’s home comic, Alpha Flight, bounced around the idea that Northstar was gay and he also had AIDS.

This is in 1992, when homosexuals were literally driven into hiding because they were connected to the spread of HIV. So Marvel creates a superhero that just happens to be gay and turns him into a gay superhero, complete with stereotypical disease to show “The Gays” that we support their plight. Man, all he needed was a rainbow cape to complete the homophobic trifecta.

Now, Marvel has since cleaned up their act. Later this month, Northstar will marry his longtime boyfriend, Kyle. Bells will sound. The wedding will probably be interrupted by The Juggernaut, fight, win, wedding. It’ll be beautiful.

And not to be outdone, DC has announced that in The New 52, Alan Scott is the CEO of a major media company, the original Green Lantern, and also a gay man. Cool. No problem, right? Actually, there are several problems.

First off, this is not the Green Lantern we all know. That’s Hal Jordan. They went with a big-name superhero, but the first draft of him. Now, that’s forgivable. Northstar wasn’t a big name, even when he joined the X-Men. That’s a slide.

Secondly, this is the first hint that Alan Scott was gay. The Robin jokes are there. Superman/Batman slashers have been crossing their fingers for months hoping that one or both come out. But Alan Scott had a wife and kids. He never showed a hint of homosexuality. That, in my opinion, argues that homosexuality is a choice, not a “born this way” mantra. Yes, it’s a new universe, blah-blah-blah. It still rubs me the wrong way.

And here is my biggest problem. This is such a political stunt, it’s not even funny. DC doesn’t want Marvel to get all the gay glory. They want to be on the equality bandwagon. Never mind that, in The New 52, one percent of all superheroes in the universe are women. Never mind that, in The New 52, sexism is thrown around like a hacky-sack. Ignore that, because here at DC Comics, we’re all for male equality.

Right when the news broke that Alan Scott was gay, conservative group One Million Moms released a statement, saying:

Why do adult gay men need comic superheroes as role models? They don’t but do want to indoctrinate impressionable young minds by placing these gay characters on pedestals in a positive light.

GLADD jumped back, saying:

The idea that a comic book character will make young people gay is as outlandish as saying it will give them a green power ring and the ability to fly. Even more outlandish is the idea that there are ‘one million moms’ who believe this hate group’s anti-gay nonsense. From Christian churches to sports fields, to now even fictional comic book worlds, our culture overwhelmingly supports gay and lesbian Americans and that’s what anti-gay groups like this are working against.

So the news stations now have their soundbites. They can run pictures of Hal Jordan from the animated series, because they won’t know the difference. MSNBC can call it a triumph, Fox News can call it a war on… something… and CNN can… CNN sucks.

And DC sells comic books.

This is nothing more than a ploy. No one in DC’s office cares about equal rights. They care about money. And in today’s pop culture, gay sells. Alan Scott could be the greatest superhero in The New 52, and people will still call him “The Gay Hero”.

And somewhere some kid is going to still be scared to tell his parents he’s gay. This is not moving forward.

2 thoughts on “Sexualized Saturdays: That cape is Fabulous!

  1. Fantastic. I couldn’t agree more. I will always have a deep love of superhero comics, but it’s reasons like this that I don’t keep up with them anymore. Marvel and DC are just more corporations out to make as much money as possible. The biggest give-away is (as you point out) the superhero world’s treatment of women. Women are the minority in the comic-book reading audience, and so they get shafted in gender representation. At the risk of sounding like some hippie, indie, hipster type thing, it’s all about small presses. They’re not bogged down with multi-million dollar thought process yet, and actually do care about their stories and characters more than their revenue.

  2. Pingback: Sexualized Saturdays: Transgender People in Comics | Lady Geek Girl and Friends

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