Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Gay X-Man's wedding announced, while execs promise
a 'major iconic DC character' will come out of the closet

From Entertainment Weekly, courtesy of the Huffington Post:

It’s interesting that both major comic book companies are developing major gay-themed storylines so soon after President Obama and Uncle Biden went on the record with their support of marriage equality. But it’s more likely that both storylines are really the echo boom of New York’s Marriage Equality Act, which passed just about a year ago on June 15, 2011. (Both DC and Marvel are headquartered in Manhattan.)

On one hand, Northstar is hardly a major character in the X-Men mythos — a cynic would say that he was the “safe” choice for a storyline like this. And although DiDio promised that the superhero coming out of the closet would be a prominent DC character, it’s easy money that the character won’t be a big-brand heavy hitter.

But let’s be honest. This is a huge deal. Geekery as a subculture has always skewed towards heterosexual male dominance — note how many female characters there were in Avengers — which is what happens when most of the people creating and reading mainstream comics are straight dudes. Usually, this just manifests itself in aesthetic adolescent douchebaggery — see the Barbie-like dimensions of every female character in comics. But the dominance of that single demographic can also create a sense that mainstream geekdom is hermetically sealed.

More here.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the future.

It was only eight years ago that President Bush was reelected on a platform that included adopting a new Constitutional amendment forbidding gay marriage. Flash forward to the future, that is, today. The most recent polls are showing an undeniable majority of the nation in favor of gay marriage rights. President Obama, of course, recently became the highest elected official in US history to support marriage equality. Hot on the heels of Obama's announcement was the NAACP's proclamation that they, too, support marriage equality--this is itself quite significant in that black churches, so very important as a grass roots unifier for black political causes, have been historically resistant to supporting gay rights. So, we're not there yet, but some heavy shit is going down in terms of normalizing gay romantic relationships within our society. And it's happening fast. Indeed, some in the press are calling it the fastest civil rights movement ever.

No surprise that the entertainment media are jumping on the bandwagon. Actually, it's especially no surprise because the media have been gay friendly for some years already, as Vice President Biden pointed out when referencing Will and Grace when he came out recently in support of gay marriage. But comics are ahead of the curve, too. Northstar, the Marvel hero who is slated to marry his male lover at some point in the future, has been gay from the very beginning, when John Byrne created the character some thirty years ago.

And Batman's always been gay, too. Okay, not really, but his real name is Bruce, and he runs around in his underwear with a young man all night. Wouldn't it be cool? It probably won't be him though; speculation I've gotten off facebook is that it will be a well-known character, but not one of the big three, Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman--actually we can cross Diana Prince off the list; DC has already announced that it will be a male superhero.

Anyway, remember the old ACT UP slogan? "We're here! We're queer! Get used to it!" Folks, I think we are currently watching our society getting used to it. Finally. And that's something to enjoy.