My Thoughts on DC’s Gay Superhero

Recently, it was revealed that a prominent, formerly-straight DC superhero would be gay following their line-wide reboot. And boy did the Internets go wild. Speculation ran rampant. There were the obvious Batman/Robin jokes, fueled by author Grant Morrison’s comments about how he believes Bruce to have some fundamental homosexuality at his core. But after six-plus months of the new universe, no one seemed to have suddenly switched teams.

Then, it was leaked that it would be the Green Lantern. But, not the one(s) you think. So first, a brief history of the Green Lantern.

In 1940, All-American Comics (later part of DC Comics) published the story of Alan Scott: a young engineer who found a magical lamp, fashioned it into a ring, and became the Green Lantern – a superhero capable of creating anything he willed out of the mystical energies of the ring. He soon became a core member of the Justice Society of America. However, following World War II, most superhero comics began to decrease in popularity, and were eventually cancelled.

By 1959, superheroes were “in” again, and DC was publishing new superhero comics. These often conflicted with previous depictions of characters like Wonder Woman and Superman, and so in order to explain these differences, the concept of the Multiverse was born. All that old stuff – including the original Green Lantern – was put in another universe: Earth 2.

Earth 1, the main universe, got Hal Jordan – The Man Without Fear. He found a crashed alien, and inherited his Power Ring, which allowed him the same basic powers as Alan Scott. Hal was then recruited into the Green Lantern Corps – an intergalactic police force – and proceeded to have adventures across the cosmos. This shift from the mystical to the science fictional was ultimately far more popular for the times, and Hal continues to be “The” Green Lantern to most people.

By the 1980s, Hal was replaced with John Stewart, “the black Green Lantern,” who – not for that reason – continues to be by far my least favorite. Mostly, I think he’s boring.

Stewart was then replaced by Guy Gardner, the Green Lantern With Attitude – personally my favorite. He’s loud and obnoxious, yes, but ultimately has a good, loyal heart, and the most personality of any of the Lanterns.

And finally there’s Kyle Rayner, The Nineties Green Lantern. He’s nerdy and artistic, but also tends towards being over-powered and/or the occasional Mary Sue. Also, lots of fandom hates him for replacing Hal.

ANYWAY, it has been revealed that Green Lantern Alan Scott is gay in this new multiverse. And while I praise the inclusion of homosexuals in comic books, I’m not sure this was the best way to do it. I mean, DC couldn’t make Batman or Superman or some other “higher profile” character gay without infuriating, well, everyone. And yes DC has created new gay characters – Kate Kane being the best/most prominent – but this actually kind of offends me.

I’m trying not to be hypersensitive guys, I really am. But by making your “prominent gay superhero” the Green Lantern nobody (outside of some comic book fans) has heard of, in a completely separate (or second-string) universe, it’s kind of like trying to have your cake and eat it too, isn’t it? “Oh, look, we have tolerance… in another universe that most people don’t see as ‘official.'”

So is it a step forward to have an openly gay superhero, who will be one of his world’s leading heroes? Absolutely. Is it right to “bury” him in a different, less mainstream universe? Probably not. Hopefully, things turn out well. Hopefully Alan Scott defies some stereotypes. Hopefully he doesn’t defy them so much that he’s really just a straight guy that likes guys. Hopefully his long-time fans don’t jump ship over this. And hopefully we’ll see more gays in the “regular” universe, at least in time.


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