So, in case you hadn’t noticed, homosexuality has been the latest big news item in mainstream comics. Both Marvel and DC had some big announcements in the last couple of weeks regarding two B-list (at best) characters. The companies touted their announcements as big events, and game changers, and earth quaking, and senses shattering. By and large though, these have made a fairly minor impact on me and, I suspect, most of the comic buying public.
Marvel got out of the gate first, both in these announcements and in the whole gay superhero race. Northstar, who was confirmed gay in 1992 but whose sexuality had been hinted at for years, is getting married to his boyfriend in an upcoming issue of Astonishing X-Men. This is all well and good, but it doesn’t really change anything. Maybe it’s just me, but gay people getting married shouldn’t be a big deal. I don’t understand why anyone would be against it, and as such I find it hard to drum up any more interest in a gay marriage than I would for a straight one. I mean, maybe if he were marrying Spider-Man, or something. Then, I’d have to get the issue just to see how they pull it off. But, he’s just marrying his regular, average joe boyfriend.
The other thing about the story is that it’s happening in a sort of second-tier X-Men title. All of the main X-Men stories are happening in Uncanny X-Men and Wolverine And The X-Men. Astonishing hasn’t been an important book since Joss Whedon and Warren Ellis were on it. The creative team is Marjorie Liu and Mike Perkins neither of whom is exactly a big draw. Despite all of that, it will probably sell well with people wanting to get a copy in the hopes that the value sky rockets and they can resell it for big bucks. I doubt, though, that in a year or two anyone will care that a second-rate, Canadian X-Man is married to another guy.
On to the DC side of this story. In the whole New 52 relaunch some characters were wiped out of existence due to continuity issues. One of them was the out and proud Obsidian. He was deleted because his father, Alan Scott, is now too young to have had him. And too gay. That’s right, the original Green Lantern is now playing for the other team. A character so important that he hasn’t had a solo ongoing series since the 1940s. He’s barely even connected to the rest of the Green Lantern mythos. And, he’s going to be appearing in a comic book that takes place on a different Earth than the rest of the New 52. He seems like he’ll have about as much impact on the rest of the DCU as Northstar does on the Marvel U.
All I’m asking is that if there’s going to be a push to address hot button issues, have it happen in titles and to characters that people are going to notice. Make Wonder Woman a lesbian or Wolverine a muslim, and then there will be something worth talking about. When the character you’re showcasing these ideas with can just be swept under the rug after the hoopla’s died down, you’re doing a disservice to the character and to the issue.
Graham Becksted’s too tired to think of a quippy intro line to this paragraph. He is the author of Graham’s Grumbles the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 66th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.