2012, Comics, General, Rants

Green Lantern is now gay and mainstream comics again miss the point

DC just announced that the most recent reboot of Green Lantern would hearken back to the 1940s version of GL…but he’s now a gay man.

The creators involved with this probably had very good intentions. I for one would love to see gender represented better in mainstream comics and I believe most creators do, too. However I believe that this is just not right, for 2 main reasons:

1. Reboots and convoluted What Ifs do seem to spike sales from people who are already fans of comics, but I don’t believe they are very welcoming and easily understandable to new readers who may not be comics fans. We have an industry based off of regurgitated characters from the 40s rather than new properties that might pull new people in to expand and sustain the industry for decades to come.

2. You can’t just wave a magic wand and BOOM a pre-existing character is now gay. Being gay is more than a stereotype. Gay people are people first.

Here’s an idea – why don’t mainstream comics concentrate on writing good, relevant characters that may be gay or straight or black or white or asian rather than rebooting something and putting a sticker on their forehead that says, “Hello, I’m gay!”

I applaud them on making a gay hero – I really do. I just don’t think this is the right way to do it. you can’t just send a marketing pixie around to change things about your characters just to get a rise out of the press and seem serious to me. This concept of making a spectacle out of killing/changing characters for press is what pushed me away from mainstream comics in the first place.

Marvel came out with a gay character then DC had to. It’s nothing more than the same type of marketing that pop stars use to generate headlines. It’s so transparent. “OMG POP STAR DYED HER HAIR BLACK FOR HER SECOND ALBUM SHE IS SOOOOO CONTEMPLATIVE AND EMO NOW BUY BUY BUY.”

No she didn’t. She dyed her hair black because her management thought it would be a good headline, make them more money, and differentiate her album from the first album enough to convince people it wouldn’t be the same as before.

The problem is that it usually IS the same as before.

6 Comments on “Green Lantern is now gay and mainstream comics again miss the point

  1. So true! There are a few mainstream comics I’ve followed this year, but these big marketing spectacles are so overplayed. There definitely needs to be more gender equality and more LGBT characters in comics these days, but you’re right. They have to be well-written characters first and foremost. Like in life, the gender and sexuality of characters are just aspects of who they are.

    1. Yeah, like I get that they need to sell books, but I think that this way of going about it doesn’t instill trust in the customer. Most of my friends are like, “Yeah, I used to read comics when I was 10.” …and we are all geeks!

      It’s a novelty if someone reads comics – there was a post a few years back where someone did a “family tree” of various comic book characters. I can’t find it now, but the point was that it illustrated how many people died and came back and had things done to them then died and came back then died and moved to a different team then changed their mind about their powers etc etc…the whole tree was so convoluted that it was impossible to follow. Someone posted it saying “This is exactly why “average” people don’t read comics. There are no clear jumping on points that can be explained.

      I personally had thought about buying comics again, but when I went to the store it was all over the place. It also doesn’t help that they used to have writers stay on books much longer back in the Claremont days so there was a lot of consistency.

      The movies are great moneymakers because parents take their kids and people remember what it was like back in the day. The stories are easy to understand. I am not certain that comics will thrive in the same way for the next 100 years on regurgitations and What Ifs alone. If I were running the companies, the focus would shift to nurturing good writers who stay longterm, putting cohesive social media campaigns behind the books, and making digital versions of the comics even easier to obtain and read.

  2. I would suggest picking up Batwoman. Its a great book with great art about a character who happens to be gay. Which is to say, that Batwoman’s sexual preference is not the only facet of her personality. I only hope that DC continues this trend with Alan Scott, and doesn’t turn him into another Extrano.

  3. The problem is that it usually IS the same as before.

    Artists whose next album is different/evolved/better don’t HAVE to change their “look” to draw attention to it. The Who have been the same scruffy Brit rockers since like… forever, just older now. But the music continued to evolve over the years.

    Weirdly enough we just caught the Green Lantern movie on cable, and I an glad I didn’t drop $12-20 a ticket to see it in the theaters. At home we could snap on the fuckups, random Hollywood STUPID and the thin acting, and Ryan Reynolds being a total jerkface without feeling ripped off. And there was enough “ooh shiny” and badassery to be kind of entertaining. But I can’t remember when I last read a GL COMIC. Likely in the frakkin’ 90’s.

    But I find it interesting that they dug back to the original Hal Jordan incarnation of GL, despite the convoluted history of the GL Corps and the comic. Try to follow all the “ringbearers” varied careers if you REALLY want to get lost. Mind you as a teen I LOVED LOVED LOVED the Dennis O’Neil/Neal Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow era. One of the most perfect meldings of Art and story and still holds up to scrunity. One of the very few comics series’ to every receive notice outside the comics community. IF I recall, the John Stewart version of GL was introduced during that run.

    But as for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual characters, DC and Marvel have generally handled it as ham-fisted and cluelessly as they have heterosexuality in their comics. Which is a shame, as independents often get it SO right with subtlety and a sense of genuineness.

  4. I think it’s nice that they’re trying. At least we’re starting to see characters that aren’t judged by their sexuality or race or gender, but by their actions. (It stands that no matter how much my comic reading friend tells me otherwise, I still think Capt. America and Wolverine are jackasses for particular reasons to the Young Avengers but I digress).

    My main issue is that this is an alternate Earth version of an old GL and suddenly society is enlightened so therefore it’s “ok” for him to be homosexual. And yeah fine, that’s wonderful, but I think that took away the responsibility of having to write a more in depth world where he’d have to juggle a relationship that was only just starting to be realized as something that should be accepted and saving the world.

    I think Marvel actually does an OK job with homosexual characters due to Young Avengers, two of the characters involved are gay and in a relationship with each other and they’re super awesome about it.

    Otherwise, I don’t much care about them announcing that they made a character gay. Giving it all this fanfare is going to detract from what it’s really supposed to do, which is show acceptance. Making it a big deal just to prove that you’re up for equality just makes it really token.

Comments are closed.