Let’s talk about DC’s recent announcement that a well-known character will come out as gay this June. This is a very exciting step! I want to see the world I live in reflected in the comics I read, although of course I also want the fantastic, impossible, magical elements that I can only dream about in real life; an important part of my world is the diversity of the people I interact with. Race, age, size, gender, sexuality – these are all sites of difference that can shape who we are and how we interact with others, and when these differences are reflected in the art that we create and consume it enriches both the reader and the art. It’s great to see DC comics embracing that diversity in the characters it portrays, and hopefully this marks the beginning of further diversification in DC’s creators and who they market to as well.
The announcement specifically uses the word “reintroduced”, which suggests that this character has not been active since the relaunch, but they’re also “major” and “iconic”, which rules out lesser known characters. After some in-depth lunchtime discussions with my Bat-fan coworkers, these are my top three picks for who might be the new gay hero, keeping in mind that my first choice (Tim Drake) is disqualified because he’s already been very busy in the DCnU and thus can’t be reintroduced.
1. Alan Scott (Green Lantern, Earth 2). We saw Scott at the end of Earth 2 issue 1, so his reintroduction is happening right now. He’s iconic, having been the very first Green Lantern, but unlike Hal Jordan (Ryan Renolds in the Green Lantern movie) or John Stewart (on the Justice League cartoon show) he hasn’t had much exposure outside of comic books and so there’s less attachment to a certain version of the character. Coming out would probably give this older character a much-needed boost into the modern world.
2. Vic Sage (The Question). He’s an iconic DC character, in that he’s been around forever and lots of readers know him, but he’s also less popular and has less cultural baggage than someone like Batman or Superman. He appeared very briefly in the Free Comic Book Day issue that DC put out this May, so we know the Question is a part of the relaunched universe, but very little other information was given. Plus, maybe there’s something about the Question mask that carries a certain gayness with it… Renee Montoya, who was The Question prior to the relaunch, was a lesbian.
3. The Riddler. It could be a villain, and of any villain, the Riddler is probably the gayest! I know, don’t worry, I’m not saying that the Joker’s straight, but Mister J’s more queer than gay. The Riddler is well known, not specifically written as straight (unlike the Penguin, who’s already had a tragic romance storyline), and hasn’t really done anything since the relaunch. We did get a few glimpses of him with the other inmates of Arkham Asylum in Batman 1.
One problem with my list is that it’s three men, but I didn’t want to include a woman just for the sake of having a lady on the list, and these are the characters that made the most sense to me as possibly the one. Also, it’s often easier or less controversial for a woman to come out as lesbian or bisexual than it is for a man to do the same thing. That’s problematic (to say the least), but this isn’t the right time or place to get into that whole conversation.The point is, the DCnU can use more diversity all over and having a gay man in the scene will help. I’m looking forward to watching this story unfold, and would love to read your comments about these three possibilities and whoever else you think might be getting ready to come out.