Monday, May 21, 2012

Mystery Date!, from Dan Didio

Well, the Gay Bloggers Union would never forgive me if I passed this conversation up without comment.  Why, it's a modern version of Mystery Date, just with a closet door.

At a convention last weekend, Dan DiDio announced "that a previously established DC character would be introduced in the New 52 universe as gay. DiDio told the audience that the character would become "one of our most prominent gay characters".

Now, there aren't that many "prominent gay characters" in the 21st Century of the New DCU; the few whom I can name quickly would be  Batwoman (and her romantic interests), the Pied Piper, and Midnight & Apollo (whom I don't count too strongly; the whole Stormwatch crew may not be segregated into their own universe any more, but I certainly don't think of them as well integrated with the rest of the DCU).  So for this "newly gay character" to be "one of our most prominent gay characters", he or she wouldn't have to be enormously famous.  But-- assuming that we're talking about a hero rather than a villain -- let's start at the top and work our our way down the pyramid of icons and consider the possible candidates.

Of the major characters we have already seen, the really big ones are already 'out of the running' because their romantic relationships with the opposite sex have already been established.  Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Flash, and the Martian Manhunter.

So let's press on to the next tier of icons: characters big enough to be JSA/JLA-material and who are not subsidiary members of a bigger icon's dynasty.  Among these I would include:
Shazam (as he is now called), Black Canary, Green Arrow, Hawkman, the Atom, Blue Beetle, Jay Garrick, Alan Scott, Mr. Terrific, Dr. Fate, Firestorm, Booster Gold, Captain Atom, Vibe, Cyborg, Zatanna, the Phantom Stranger, Vixen, Animal Man, Metamorpho, and Plastic Man.

I haven't been following each of these characters closely in the New 52, so there may evidence I'm not aware of.  But based on what I do know, the following can be discounted (like the major icons) because of demonstrated heteroromances: Mr. Terrific, Animal Man, Captain Atom, Firestorm, Zatanna, and Booster Gold

I am sure Shazam is out because Billy Batson in under age.
Black Canary, who wears leather and rides a motorcycle?  I don't think they'll go there.

As of this writing, the commenters at the IO9 article zeroed in immediately and almost exclusively on Green Arrow (of all people), which, honestly, seems charmingly naive.  DC, in the course of many decades of publishing, has made plenty of odd or ill-considered character decisions.  Nevertheless, I cannot believe that even DC at its most benighted would ever remake as gay a character whose last name is 'Queen'. Even comic book irony has its limits.

Hawkman?  Well, that would certainly keep the character from getting sucked into the same old dead-end pattern of the Eternal Romance with Hawkgirl storyline.  But surely, there's been some evidence of Hawkman's heterosexuality in the many months since his title launched...?

I think the Atom and Blue Beetle and (sadly) Vibe care unlikely because DC won't use one character to do "double-duty" as both an ethnic minority and a gay character.  But they are possible.  Of these, Vibe would be most likely, because he's the only one who in the "Old DCU" was never shown to have been in a heteromantic relationship. 

As for Alan Scott, Jay Garrick, and Dr. Fate... .  Somehow I don't think we're talking about an Earth-2 character, because, well.... it's cheating.  Earth-2 is literally a 'different universe', even though it's part of the DCU.

Cyborg? Hm.  HMMMMMMmmm.  Does the fact that he's "the black guy" in the Justice League mean, they wouldn't also make him 'the gay icon hero'?  I am not sure.  It would certainly make quite a splash and it's the only chance a JLA-founder level character might be reintroduced as gay. .

The Phantom Stranger--well, I'm not even sure what that would MEAN in his case.  Other than making his Anderson Cooper's perfect choice as a Halloween costume.

Vixen?  BWAHAHAHAHAHAhaha. Yeah... no.

Metamorpho or Plastic Man.   Sure they are highly recognized, but they are still on the periphery of the main action in the DCU. I mean, how do you reintroduce someone as a gay character if we're not seeing them as a character hardly at all?

If' it's subsidiary character -- like Huntress or Nightwing -- famous or not, I'm going to call bullshit.

What are YOUR guesses?