michael dworkis looks at the recent coming out of one of DC’s characters…
Alan Scott is gay. So what?
This is not the first homosexual character in comics, and is not the first in the publication history of DC. What is the big deal anyway about making Alan Scott, a Green Lantern, but not the Green Lantern, gay?
Nothing. The answer is nothing. Homosexuality is a part of human life, and thus part of mediums, such as comics. DC has Batwoman, the (female) Question as lesbians, and in previous storytelling, Obsidian, the son of Alan Scott was gay also. There were a number of short-but-significant stories or conversations between father and son about his lifestyle choice, and nothing screamed “LOOK!! GAY!! PAY ATTENTION!!!”
Take a look at Alan Scott. He is a Green Lantern, but not part of the same Green Lanterns which characters like Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, and Kyle Rayner are affiliated with. Alan Scott, originally, was a character from the Justice Society of America, the superhero team of Earth-2. The original Earth-2. Or alternate Earth. Whatever you want to call them. They came from a world where the masked men and women banded together and fought in World War II. They are older, veteran heroes. Through many of the Crisis events, they eventually found themselves merged with our universe.
Here is the problem. Alan Scott is not a major character. He never was. Yes, there have been a number of storylines which he played a role in, but most comic book fans do not rank him in the upper echelon of superheroes. DC made this big deal in the past few weeks that a mainstream character would be re-introduced as gay. How is that possible? Through even more convoluted back-tracking and re-writing, DC Comics created the New 52, which is a semi-reset button on their universe. Some characters and storylines changed, while others did not. The Justice Society somehow vanished from existence, but is now coming back as a younger group post epic-war against Apokolips and the Daemonites. So since DC is re-writing history, they go and make one of the original founding members of the JSA as gay.
They teased it would be big, but right now, in their New 52 storyline, we have “just met” Alan Scott for the first time. There is nothing about him to make anyone care. He is not the Alan Scott we knew and loved before DC had their Ultimate Infinite Final Crisis on Multiple Earths before this whole reset of the DC Universe. It does not matter if he will be a major character, because right now, he is not. Had DC built him up for a year, and then revealed he is gay, then maybe there would have been an impact.
Is this the problem? Is it that Alan Scott was never gay in history? That having another gay character is a problem for comic book readers? Is it comparable to making the new Ultimate Spider-man Hispanic?
No, on all counts. As I said earlier, there is no big deal to be made, and that is where the problem lies. DC is locked in a bitter war with Marvel to dominate weekly sales, and this was their attempt to cash in on political debate about the issue of homosexuality. The problem is that DC just ignored their current homosexual characters. DC thought by teasing a “major” character to be revealed as gay would show the folks over at Marvel then can pull a publicity stunt too. What stunt am I talking about? Marvel is having their mainstay, and well-known gay character, Northstar, get married to his longtime boyfriend. It made headlines, some media outlets did their usual praise versus disdain, but truth be told, comic fans shrugged their shoulders, wondering what the fuss was all about, all while our planet continued to rotate.
Did DC get what they wanted? I do not think so. They might have received a negative reaction at that. I for one got peeved, because DC turned a blind shoulder to their already known gay/lesbian characters, characters that have great back stories and should have been pushed into the spotlight. Batwoman has a fantastic history; her best comes from her breakout roles in the post-Infinite Crisis weekly comic 52, and her own mini-series post-Final Crisis. Instead, DC rewrites Alan Scott, a second-tier character as gay. If they made someone from the famous Justice League, like Cyborg or one of the well-known Green Lanterns as gay, then maybe the fandom of the comic world would have noticed, so would have major media outlets, and maybe there would have been the spark of attention DC was looking for. Maybe DC just did not have the guts to make a major, well-known character gay. Maybe they were afraid of ticking off their fanbase? If that is true, then why try the publicity stunt at all? Have we not matured and gotten past using homosexuality as a gimmick already? There are gay TV and movie characters, so is it really a big deal anymore?
I support having gay and lesbian characters in comics. I wish both DC and Marvel would stop using these characters as a publicity stunt and use them for who they really are… humans like everyone else on Earth.
The attempted explosion of attention by DC has become nothing more than the fizzle of a faulty firecracker.