Monday, October 31, 2022

What is: The Joker? A Beautiful Butterfly

This week I'm going to lay down the law on what Batman's five most iconic foes are and are not, starting at the top: the Joker. 

The Joker is highly intelligent and methodical.

The invention of Joker venom (below). His "cure" of the Weeper.  His undoing of the Silver Age Justice League.  The 48 Jokers (WAY better than just three).  Crime in Reverse.  The list of evidential stories and schemes is long.

Pictured: Evil. Not crazy. Evil.

And it doesn't stop at comics.  His bank heist planning (and about 9 other incredibly complex schemes) in Dark Knight Returns. The binarization and distribution methods for Smilex (Batman 1989). I mean: the work that must have gone into BTAS "Christmas with the Joker" ALONE, people.  

This isn't really a point for much debate but it's an essential underpinning for several of my subsequent points.

The Joker is not an "agent of chaos."

The Joker doesn’t stand for chaos. The Joker doesn’t stand for anything. If you think otherwise, then you've fallen for one of the Joker's tricks, or you have been indoctrinated by a writer who has.  

The Joker isn’t trying to make a point to Batman or to anyone else, because he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.  This is one of the principal reasons I hate Heath Ledger's Joker: he's an insecure ideologue desperate for attention, trying to prove the validity of his worldview.  That's a very weak figure, no matter how much dust he throws in your eyes or how impressive his schemes, because his motivations are based on caring about something rather than not caring about anything.

Writers are always desperate to make the Joker MEAN something. 

The real Joker told us exactly what he stood for when he painted
"Death of a Mauve Bat".  And we loved him for it.

They are missing the point and defanging the Joker in the process. What makes the Joker scary is precisely that he stands for nothing.  His only motivation is to have fun, which just might mean killing you; it's nothing personal and he doesn't care what you think about it.

Now, it's easy to make the case that the Joker, therefore, symbolizes the impersonal chaos that can ruin our lives in a second at any point; he's a bogeyman. But that's a far cry from chaos having anything to do with the character qua character and having chaos being HIS rallying cry.  

The Joker is not obsessed with Batman.

The Joker is already obsessed with someone: himself.  There's zero room for anything else. If you read Joker stories from the Golden Age and Silver Age, you understand that the Joker has only one true enemy and it's not Batman.

It's boredom.

The Joker's not crazy.

The idea that the Joker is insane -- now considered by most to be most essential characteristic -- is an invention of the Bronze Age, specifically of one of DC's least subtle writers, Denny O'Neil, in 1973 (Batman #251, "The Joker's Five-Way Revenge"). 

And, no, Batman #74 doesn't count.

Certainly, the Joker has always been... non-normal.  His sense of humor is especially so.  But, no matter how many times a writer tells you the Joker is" crazy", the evidence is strongly against it.  The Joker could not function at the incredibly high level he does and meet any traditional real-world definitions of insanity (a severely disordered state of the mind usually occurring as a specific disorder). 

I'll admit his repertoire of reactions has always been ... non-standard.  Most people do not laugh when they realize they are dying. But having an unusual worldview doesn't mean you're insane.

The Joker doesn't have a severely disordered state of mind and good luck trying to figure out which specific disorder(s) he has.  Some mental pathology? Sure. Questionable taste in clothes and decor? Yup. Anti-social morals and a lack of empathy? No doubt.  But if those were qualifiers, half of all celebrities would be eligible for Arkham.

We don't need to talk about him.

The Joker has no backstory.

The Joker is a bit like the Phantom Stranger: the things that make him a bad character are part of what make him a great character.  He has no origin and no name; he just is.  It's not an oversight: it's an essential part of the character. The Joker isn't a person so much as he is a concept, an archetype.  

The Joker is a blank canvas, as it were.

He doesn't need to be more; he shouldn't be.  The more you try to make him some else, something more specific, the less he becomes.  

He's like a talkative Art the Clown.  
Trying to give him a backstory with a pregnant wife will not improve the character.

I'm not just a comic fan, I'm a huge horror fan. And in scary cinema, you make the distinction between horror and terror.  Terror is what you feel BEFORE you open the scary door in the scary place; horror is what you see after you do.  Horror is specific and concrete and known; terror is the infinite fear of all the things that MIGHT be behind that door, a fear of the unknown or unknowable.  

You want terror?

Too many clumsy modern writers write the Joker as horrifying and insist on increasingly graphic depictions of his huge and constantly growing body count.  What the Joker should be is terrifying; an unknown evil, without origin or goals or relatable emotions. 

The Joker holding a baby is terrifying.

Giving the Joker an origin was stupid when they tried it the first time.

Admit it; you haven't read this story. 
Do; then you'll realize how stupid it is.

Why writers and fans are wed to this stupid story and the impulse to pin down the Joker's origin.  It's not just that THIS story is stupid; ANY origin story you give to the explain the Joker lessens him.  

The Joker's just like a beautiful butterfly. Free to be the simple creature it is, it's one of the world's most colorful, elegant creations.  Try to pin it down, to add to your collection and all you get is a dead bug.

Fine, it's a death's-head moth, not a butterfly.
I have to work with what's available.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Milk Carton Characters: Latin / Bicultural Edition

This second installment of what characters DC might choose to reintroduce with The Dawn of the DCU focuses on some Latin characters who've fallen by the wayside.

13-14. Yolanda Montez.  I know; there's really nobody I seem less likely to want back than Yolanda *hic* Montez, especially now that she's already back as the whingeing Catholic-guilt–crippled JSA member from television's Stargirl. I mean, really; ANOTHER woman in a skintight catsuit? Isn't THAT just what comics needs in 2022. BUT there are two reasons I want her back. First of all, Wildcat is funny, as in ridiculous-funny to make fun of.  

omg, I forgot she was a journalist.
A ROCKSTAR journalist.

Second, I still have a crush on Alex Montez, her brother, who could become a low-key heroic (or non-heroic, or anti-heroic) version of Eclipso again, and you can't have Alex Montez without Yolanda.

If he won't, Alex, PLEASE give me a call.

15.  Jose Delgado.  Do you remember him? He was around during "The Triangle Era" of Superman titles (the one that DC now hopes to recapture), when the supporting cast mattered.  He was kind of modern Wildcat: a boxer/MMA-type with a costumed crimefighting identity ("Gangbuster"). José Delgado actually was like what Robert Beltran imagined himself as being.  Obviously, Delgado couldn't be brought back as a romantic rival for Clark Kent.

No; no, he really couldn't.

But he could be something; he could certainly be Gangbuster again.

16-18.  The Brothers Ramon. Vibe (whether you call him "Paco" or "Cisco") is simply the sign of healthy DCU eco-system, of a healthy SOCIETY. And his brothers, Dante and Armando, go with him.  Since there are three of them, you could have your bizcocho mojadito and eat it, too.    

If Vibe had a sister, "Ruptura" would be a great codename.

You could have the revised 'modern' version of Vibe, you could have the classic breakdancing Vibe, and you could have the tech-savvy Vibe (or powerless Cisco) of The Flash tv show, all in one family. The potential for drama and comedy is all there.

19. El Dorado. Television's Young Justice did a clever revamp of this originally paper-thin Super Friends character, which could work in comics.  

"Ed Dorado" was a ... straightforward name choice.

He doesn't need his own title, or even to be IN a regular title. DC makes that mistake too often. He doesn't even need to do that much; he's a kid, not a professional hero.  Just acknowledge that he exists every once in a while in the Southwest.  

20. Bunker.  Bunker (Miguel Barragan) is so often cited as The Gay Teen Hero that's it's easy to forget he's The Mexican Teen Hero. 

Personally, I think of him as the Teen Hero with Freakishly Large Thighs.
Seriously, brah, are you AMRAPping those kneebucklers or what?

Sure, it's a bit awkward having a Mexican-American hero whose power is constructing walls, but you can't help your power set. Bunker's vivacious; stop shopping for new spices and use the ones you already have, DC (and I DON'T mean just trotting him out for a panel in your annual Pride issue).

21. René Ramirez. Yeah, I'm going there.  

As often as possible. Who wouldn't?

René Ramirez was the best character on all of Arrow, and no one's done anything else with the Wild Dog character for decades.  Put the René Ramirez version into comics (and give me a reason to read Green Arrow).

22. Lourdes Lucero. Encantadora (as she was known)!  She was a charming, fun, femme fatale.

Whose breasts defied the law of gravity and possibly unrelated local ordinances.

Superman deserves a low-key, mystical villain who's not out to kill people. So do we.

23. Before there was Bunker, there was... Hero Cruz.  His story is complicated, but basically: gay black latin teen with the H-dial.  

And a VERY early start on the daddy look.

There are lots of ways to introduce a swiss-army-knife hero without using the H Dial and, almost by definition, he'd be useful anyway and fit in anywhere.  DC could use some more utility players and an updated Hero Cruze would be a great choice.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Milk Carton Characters: Black & Bi-racial Edition

With its upcoming universal reboot The Dawn of the DCU , DC has (another) opportunity to fix whatever is still messed up since (or because of) their last universal reboot. I'm going to take a look at some wrinkles and missing characters I personally think they should address.  Because there are so many I'm going to have to do so in installments.

It's clear that DC is invested in diversifying representation in their cast of characters. How nice; I applaud the effort.  However, their job would be easier if they didn't keep misplacing the ones they already have.  DC spends a lot of time running in place trying to replace characters they've allowed to fall of the edge of the Earth-1 (or -2, or -you-get-the-idea).

The Cosmic Treadmill is the perfect metaphor for the DCU. It uses infinite energy to run in place, has no forward motion, resets the timeline, and Barry Allen is always in the middle of it.

Here are some of the black and biracial characters whose status deserves to be cleaned up going forward.

1. Wallace R. West.  I get what you were trying to do by introducing this character in 2014, DC. But it's 2022, and delightful Keiynan Lonsdale hasn't been on the soon-to-end "The Flash" show in years.  Even for the Flash family, his comic book backstory is absurd.  In his eight years of existence, I think I have seen him appear beside Barry Allen exactly once.

I'd rather remember him as he was:
cooler than Barry in every possible way.

Delete him; the DCU is already lousy with speedsters, most of whom are less problematic than WRW (even though almost all of them are quite problematic).

2. Melba Manton. Sure, I sound crazy when I mention this '70s back-up character from Lois Lane. But DC confirmed her existence as recently as 2017.  DC wouldn't be in a state of continual concern over lack of minority representation in their cast of characters if they didn't regularly jettison all supporting characters who lack Golden Age pedigrees every time a writer or editor changes on a title. Just bring back Melba already and stick to it. 

And she'd damned well better be wearing that outfit when you do.

3-5.  Ron Troupe.  Speaking of black characters, remember Ron Troupe, who's been around for over 30 years now? Does anyone remember that when last we saw him, he was Superman's brother-in-law,  because he married Lois's sister, Lucy Lane, with whom he had a son, Sam Troupe? Do any of these people still exist, DC? Do you realize I am more interested in knowing that than in hearing about Gosh-Darn, or whatever other latest Kryptonian villain you've pulled out of your ***?  

One of the distinguishing characteristics of Superman stories over the years is that his civilian supporting cast was an integral part of the storylines; we knew who they were and they mattered.  You can only do that if they are large and diverse enough to be interesting and Ron Troupe is part of what can make that possible again.

6-7. Lucius and Luke Fox.  Look.  It's pretty simple, DC. I don't know how many times you have to see this happen before you get it.  You create characters like the Foxes as part of an iconic character's dynasty. Then you (or one of your writers) immediately decides to 'grow' the character and they 'outgrow' being part of the dynasty.  Or you never really had a unique role planned for them in the first place.  Then you have them boldly set out on their own in the own title, which, naturally, flops (or folds after an initial splash).  Then you shuffle the character around as the diaspora representative of that dynasty in various ad hoc team books, usually of similar characters. Harley Quinn and The Outliers; The D-Listers; Odd-Man and the Also-Rans; the Underwhelmers. 

It's never the time, Luke.

Then after those fail, you either forget the character, have them Question Their Path, or relegate them to special guest-star in dynasty-wide crossovers when Dynasty City is threatened. Even Ace the Bat-Hound got treated better than that. **** or get off the pot. Either make Luke Batwing with something to DO, or put him in the Batcave doing the backup stuff every hero in the field needs and let Lucius do tech research for Bruce so that Alfred can do some DUSTING. That mansion is BIG and the man's come back from the dead twice now to clean it.

P.S. No, I am not going to mention Jace Fox. The situation is bad enough as it is.

8.  Power Girl.  Not the one with the boob window. The one with the pom-pom hair.  Tanya Spears was from Earth-2. Does that still exist? Does she? Or does she now exist again, because multiverse? I don't know; do you?  How would I even find out if I wanted to?  From what little I know of her, she seemed like an interesting concept. But she suffered from the same problem so many of today's "young heroes" do. 

Because the concept of 'kid sidekicks" is considered passé, such characters almost never appear with the heroes they are supposed to be connected to.  They are created only to be junior versions of those heroes in Teenager Hero Group. If you don't read Teenager Hero Group, you have zero idea who they are.  The multiverse is back, DC: just confirm that she's on Earth-2 and ignore her until you need her. That's still better than leaving her in limbo.

9.  Miss Martian. I know what you are thinking: Miss Martian's not a black character. I know; that's the problem.  Because J'onn Jonzz is a black character.  Or, rather his "human guise" has generally been depicted as one, rather consistently, for quite some time now.  And Miss Martian's human guise, as Megan Morse, is supposed to be his niece. Yes, people of different races can be close relatives. But even Martians should realize it might raise fewer question if her human guise were also a black character. It's an easy fix, DC.  

The CW certainly mishandles lots of things, but generally they do really well on handling race and sexuality with equanimity.

I mean... assuming Miss Martin still exists.  There's really no way of knowing these things unless you read Teenager Hero Group, is there? And I don't think that's even being published right now.

10-12. Icon, Rocket, Hardware, & Static. Give the Milestone characters their own Earth. They deserve it, because as time has made extremely clear, they will never get any attention if you keep pretending they are on the earth of your main continuity.  

Treat them like Milestone characters, not millstone characters.

Sunday, October 09, 2022

Lazarus Planet

During its "Explore the Universe Panel" at New York Comic Con on Thursday, DC announced its first 2023 event: Lazarus Planet.

Gee, a giant crossover event based on the signature magic wand prop of Batman's least interesting foe, a Fu Manchu rip-off who, despite limitless time and resources, is less effective in his eco-goals than Greta Thunberg.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, the Martian Manhunter could become mentally unstable. 
But, as Dorothy Parker said when Calvin Coolidge died,
"How can they tell?"

Quite a lot, I'm sure. I can already tell from the solicits that this will follow a familiar pattern. To wit: DC wants to make some big line-wide changes, so instead of just, you know, doing them...

If Kanigher were here, he'd just shove Damian Wayne
and "Sideways" in a drawer and that would be it.

they are building them into a story that makes the changes happen diegetically. DC loves doing this. 

DC invented doing this.

So, they take a throwaway device that was introduced for convenience for one story, one which has grow monstrously overused in the 50 years across all continuity since, and they blow it even more wildly out of proportion so they can use it alter the status quo.


In Crisis on Infinite Earths, the device was the parallel universe concept introduced in the Flash of Two Worlds story shown above (which grew monstrously over the years with each 'crisis' crossover with Earth-2,-3,-S,-X,etc.).  

The anti-matter universe from Green Lantern was piled on, too, because Hal Jordan can always be relied upon to tagalong on Barry's nonsense.

In Zero Hour, it was the Time Trapper, who had become a recurring and increasingly powerful foe of the Legion of Super-Heroes. 

Courtesy of the Legion of Superbloggers: The Time-Trapper being waapped by the imbecilic Wonder Twins, in the days before he used to casually alter all of reality repeatedly.
I hope he didn't land on any universes in his pockets when he fell.

In Infinite Crisis, the device was Superboy Prime, a throwaway character from Crisis on Infinite Earths, who was blown up into a being of nearly limitless power into order to accomplish the editorial aims of the crossover from inside the boundaries of the story. 

Actually, Superboy Prime was introduced the year before in DC Comics Presents 87,  but who cares about him any more? In one version of reality, he BECAME the Time Trapper, but the less one thinks about such things, the more sleep one gets.

In the Flashpoint/New 52, the device was the key figure in the concept of the multiverse: Barry Allen (or, more accurately, his ability to alter the timeline, a power that grew monstrously since its introduction). 

Always remember that, appearances notwithstanding, Barry Allen is DC's greatest monster.

Then All Known Heroes will be thrown together in grab-bag combos to deal with the situation, including: 

Highly Iconic Ones (the JLAers and such), 

Congratulations, DC; that's Batman's third-most ludicrous hat.

Niche Characters That Somebody Likes (Harley Quin, Poison Ivy, Power Girl, Raven)

"On this week's episode of Our Man, Hal, hilarity ensues when Karen uses Hal's power battery in one of her personal pleasure devices."

Characters DC Always Insists You Like (Cyborg, Firestorm, Natasha Irons);

Of course, it could always be worse.
Actually, if they ever used this sassy queen of the quantumverse version instead of the Silver Surfer knockoff, I'd be willing to give him a try. Um, I mean as a part of the DCU.

New Characters The Publisher Wants to Jumpstart (Monkey Prince, Dreamer, City Boy, The Twins); 

So, they both have queues? Oh, that won't be confusing to readers at all. They aren't old enough to have even grown their hair that long yet, unless they are ghosts in an Asian horror movie.
I guess now that we no longer have a child-from-nowhere in the Superman dynasty, two cropped up to take his slot (who are of course twins). Sigh--comics.

and Existing Characters The Publisher Wants to Revitalize (Mercy Graves, Question, Super-Man, Connor Kent, Supergirl).

I love these designs, but there is NO way they will last because there is MUCH too much muchness going on there. Stop hiring Alan Scott as as a costume consultant; Tim Gunn he ain't.

It will be an insane mess, but impossible to ignore because major changes will hinge upon it, including important changes to the status quo and elements of the origin of new characters.  Regardless, in time, storytellers will distance themselves from its stupider ramifications and start ignoring it, directly or indirectly undermining the roots of the new status quo.

Example:  I am pretty sure that Superman's secret identity is secret again, isn't it?  And yet, Jon Kent's first date with, um, that reporter kid with pink hair, was interrupted by Some Villain dropping a bomb on them at the Kent Farm and blowing it to smithereens because everyone knows the Kents are Superman's parents and that's how Jon finds out his boyfriend (Johnny Nelson, cub reporter?) has powers.  

It's Jay Nakamura, by the way.
I think DC could have tried to make Jon's relationship a bit less yaoi.
Maybe give the kid, you know, red hair and a bow tie, like a regular reporter.

Even if I'm not (yet) right about that exact example, there are plenty of others (I'm sure you can cite them!)  Tying character origins or changes into crossover events that will inevitably become dated is always a bad idea. And yet.

Oh, I'm sure there will be lots of changes from this I will enjoy.  I've always thought that Batman should run around Gotham City fighting muggers with the Helm of Nabu!  That what the Superman Family lacked was twin members who looked liked they worked on building the transcontinental railroad. That Power Girl should shoot energy blasts from her pelvic region.  That Mercy Graves needed to become the next Harley Quin.  That you just can't have enough Trigon Family.  That all Supergirl needs is another new costume. That Monkey Prince was going to be the Sensational Character Find of 2022.

Drawing from myth and folklore can work but this is WAY too on the nose.

Seriously, it looks like they are giving Jon Kent Electric Blue Superman power(s), which might be an interesting way of distinguishing him from his father.  But keep everything else I've said here about Lazarus Planet in mind because it's going to come in handy elsewhere pretty soon....

Friday, October 07, 2022

the Golden Age of Comics board game

This looks like fun.

Rather fiddly, but fun.

I'm backing it, so I thought you might be interested, too.

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

The Heck With That

Individually, each choice--Jackson Hyde, Jon Kent, Tim Drake--makes some sense.  DC deserved some higher profile gay characters, particularly some younger ones for kids to have as role models of confidence.  Really, it's part of a larger issue we may discuss another time (DC not knowing what to do with "younger heroes", now that the days of "kid sidekicks" running around with their mentors on rooftops are over).

Jackson Hyde was introduced as and to be a gay character, but his real hook is that he's Aquaman's heir apparent despite being the son of his nemesis, Black Manta.  The character he was based on (Kaldur'ahm) wasn't gay; he had a crush on Aquagirl/Tula. That's why in later seasons of Young Justice, when they adjusted Kaldur'ahm to better align with Jackson by giving him a boyfriend, they made Kal bisexual so as not to create an apparent conflict with his original portrayal.  

"So; 'Thriller Moth'. Is that just your screen name or your actual superhero name? You... are a hero, right? I mean... you're not just...wearing that for no reason, right?"

Jackson's introduction certainly could have been "cleaner".  It's kind of amazing that even when DC has complete control and all the properties are theirs, they always seem to be trying to reconcile and merge similar characters or various versions of the same character.  Such is the process of mythic syncretism, whether it's in Greece 2500 years ago or in the DCU right now.  

Jon Kent was a known character before this reveal, but, since he was a child, sexuality was not at issue.  it was dealt with pretty much as soon as he was aged-up (and pretty tastefully, I thought).  Is his relationship with his boyfriend developed too fast and too corny? Absolutely. But, you know modern writers hate decompression and thus modern comics move so FAST! It's not like we're going to get 40+ years of will-they-or-won't-they courtship.

How absurd and tedious would THAT be?

Jon Kent's sexuality is, honestly, the only normal thing about him, because his backstory is NONSENSE. He went immediately from non-existence to 10-year-old cuteness and then just as immediately to 17-year-old sexy earnestness.  I mean, even on SOAP OPERAS you get a few scenes as a baby or a toddler first.  Fans of Moppet Jon have been understandably upset that that character basically got overwritten overnight. Well, I still don't understand when, how, or why Clark and Lois got married (let alone had a 10-year-old), so welcome to my world.

I mean, Lois is, objectively, a terrible person, you know.

I think much of the resentment against "bisexual (young) Superman" is really about "you stole our adorable super-tot from us and turned him into sexy agit-prop for headlines' sake!" No one wants to think of Their Innocent Little Child growing up into a sexual being, but usually they have TIME to get used to the idea.  DC did not give readers who thought of Jon Kent that way that kind of time.  Heck, I still I shake my head sadly at youthful ward Dick Grayson shacking up with that foreign girl in the metal bikini.  

Tim Drake?  My sissy-sense tells me that DC would have liked to have made Tim Drake gay, but thought it might be too inconsistent with his history; he had already had several girlfriends (especially Stephanie "Spoiler" Brown). Now, young men who've had girlfriends can certainly turn out to, in fact, be gay, but that's a bumpier reality than comics usually embraces. Besides, doing that would have seemed to undercut or invalidate Tim's relationship with Stephanie, and fans of Stephanie Brown--well, I guess DC figured they'd been pushed far enough over the years.  And so Bisexual Tim was born. 

Tim always seemed to have selfhood issues of some kind. What kind of Robin to be, what his motivations were, whether to become Batman, whether to insanely attempt to clone his dead friend, blah blah blah.  

He always seemed to be in the middle of some...
identity crisis.

I myself could never figure out how old he was supposed to be.  And, as previously discussed, it all got worse when his very literary raison d'être was undermined by the arrival of that Elseworlds invasive weed, Damian Wayne.  

DC's been looking for SOMETHING to do with Tim. And with Jon. And to a lesser degree, Jackson. So they now they are serving a broader purpose: to bring some "representation" to DC's headliner dynasties.  And it's working. Face it; Bunker (who has been around for ELEVEN YEARS) never made headlines like these three have.  

I'll give you a MILLION DOLLARS if you know Bunker's real name without looking it up.
Didn't think so.

It does seem like "a lot at once" to some people and it's rattling their little worlds.  For a while I was sympathetic. Perhaps it is a bit too much, too fast, too forced. But after looking at some actual timelines and at some very unpleasant chat sites, I finally decided:

the heck with that.

First of all, we underestimate how fast changes in comics used to come. FAST. When the original Robin, the Sensational Character Find of 1940, was introduced, it not only completely changed Batman overnight, it changed COMICS; within a year, they were LOUSY with sidekicks.  You couldn't cross a rooftop without knocking one over.

What kind of archer says "Great Guns!"?
You're an idiot, Ollie.

Well, Jon Kent came out as bisexual (not even just 'gay') a YEAR ago, Tim Drake did so OVER a year ago (August 2021), and Jackson Hyde was introduced SIX years ago. 

You may not love the idea, but your time window for 'shock' has expired and your denial doesn't make it less true.  This evolution of these characters is 10,000 times more believable and in character than THEIR VERY EXISTENCE (the teenager who deduced Batman's identity and becomes Robin just because someone should, the son of a supervillain who becomes his nemesis's apprentice, and the 17-year-old son of a couple who can't be a day over 35 and were NOT teen parents), so LUMP IT.  

Next, I thought about the substance of the problem. The reason I decided to stop having sympathy for all the people bitching about "teh ghey" invading their private comic book pantheon was the sudden realization:  

if that's the reaction they have to a FICTIONAL CHARACTER they imagined to have been straight turning out to be something-other-than-straight, how would/will they react if the same thing happens with their OWN CHILD?  

People bitching that 'every character is gay now' is tedious over-reaction. Sure, there's going to be a period where you see more such characters being introduced just to catch up from having had few before (just as was the case at one point with black characters).  I get it, people; things are changing faster than you can handle. But the harsh reality is: for a lot of you that will ALWAYS BE THE CASE.  There is little reason to slow down the train for you, since you are determined to fall off if it moves at all.

He's not going to save you.

But you can stop saying dumb things like "all/ most / half of  DC's characters are gay nowadays"; you just sound stupid and I really don't want to have to sit down and DO THE STATISTICS, because that's a power I have and you don't want me to do that.  Even if you look across various media versions, it's not that many, certainly compared to the INSANE number of characters in the DCU.  

You're not mad because it's so MANY characters. You're mad because it's now characters that you can no longer ignore. You didn't really care when it was 'gay ghetto' characters like Bunker.

I like his idea much better, Tim; give him a call.
His name's "Miguel Barragan", by the way.

Is DC 'turning their characters gay' a shameless ploy to appeal to 'more liberal readers'? Maybe it is; good for DC!  Being shameless in trying to have appeal to as broad an audience as possible is not the worst survival strategy for any company, I should think.  

There's really only ONE comic that DESERVES to be called 'shameless'.

I guess black characters are shameless ploys, too. And hispanic ones, and females ones, and well, white and male ones, too since those appeal to lots of people. Let's hear it for shamelessness.  The people who labeled "pride" as one of the seven deadly sins are people who wanted to use shame as a weapon against others.

A rationale level of pride in lieu of shame, in fact, is quite emotionally healthy.

DC's motivations are irrelevant.  These characters are now what and who they are.  If I let people piss on them for that, I'm setting the stage for them to do that to REAL PEOPLE; their own children, the children of others.  That would be truly shameless.