by Comicbooks.com staff writer Jon Langer
The month of June is turning out to be quite the interesting month for fans of comic books and LGBT activism.
Less than a year ago, Dan DiDio, the co-publisher of DC comics, had indicated that there would be no change to any of the DC characters’ sexuality. However, on May 20th at the DC booth of the London Kapow! Comic Convention, Senior VP Sales Bob Wayne said that, similar to President Obama’s position, their stance “has evolved,” and that they would be revealing an established DC character to be a homosexual in an upcoming issue.
While DC’s announcement was largely ambiguous, more details were later revealed to ABC News which suggested the character would be “major”, “iconic”, and “male”. Many news outlets began the speculation as to what character it would be; Fox News glibly suggested Superman, while The Daily Mail wondered if it could be Batman.
In the meantime, Marvel also made a big LGBT-related announcement by letting fans know that the wedding of Jean-Paul Beaubier, aka Northstar, and longtime boyfriend Kyle Jinadu, would be featured in the next Astonishing X-Men issue, due out at the end of June. Northstar proposed to his boyfriend in the previous issue.
While Northstar’s character has been openly gay since 1992, and Marvel has featured several other homosexual characters, this will be the comic book’s first gay wedding. However, Marvel has not promised the wedding will go smoothly, including this ominous rhetorical question in the wedding announcement: "Will their path to wedded matrimony in New York City be smooth, or are there hidden dangers around the corner?"
While the comic book industry has usually been fairly tolerant of the gay and lesbian community, it has taken mainstream media and entertainment outlets a little longer to catch up. So these announcements are not as much of a surprise as many news media outlets would seem to portray. And while both announcements are important in terms of furthering cultural equality as well as marketing prospects, this places DC in a much greater risk/reward situation. Which character they choose to out as gay could have a huge backlash in terms of fan reaction. Fans could perceive the move to be too weak if the character isn’t important enough, or too overbearing if the character is a well-established favorite. And since DC never specified that the character was a “hero”, what if they chose to out a villain as homosexual? The outcry from fans and the LGBT community for making an antagonist homosexual is a legitimate concern. But the reboot of a strong character from the past such as Plastic Man, or the further definition of a rising star like Superboy, could be exactly the sort of bold move that would unify fans and readers.
The ambiguity of DC’s comments has led many fans to wonder, who could they be planning on outing? And what sort of trouble could be in store for Marvel’s first gay wedding? What do you think? Sound off in the comments section and let us know!