Okay, One More Shot at DC

Gay characters: not just to fill a quota, we swear!Usually when I do a rant, it’s a way of me getting something out of my system. Once I’m done complaining, I walk away and don’t really think about it again. But the sheer amount of bullshit coming out of DC Comics as they try to put a positive spin on their ban on Batwoman’s marriage has me coming back to say, “And one more thing…”

After being accused of neglecting gay characters at DC, co-publisher Dan Didio responded with, “That’s a completely misinformed statement, and don’t forget that Batwoman has been a lead character for DC since 2006 with her own stories in Detective Comics and her own series. Please let me know if there is any other publisher as committed as that.”

And that struck me as bad enough logic that it deserves one more comment before I drop the issue.

First, defining Batwoman as a “lead character” is taking some liberties with the phrase, in my opinion. The current Batwoman was introduced to the DC Universe as part of the weekly 52 series, which had many different plot threads running through it all at once. Yes, one of those threads was Batwoman, and yes, it was awesome. Burt does that really qualify her as a lead character? Does that mean that Hulkling and Wiccan at Marvel Comics are lead characters, too? I mean, they’ve never had a book of their own, but they’ve been constant parts of the Young Avengers and have had extensive storylines of their own.

Batwoman also got sucked into the abhorrent Countdown to Final Crisis series, but again, she was one character among many. Are we counting Donna Troy and Mary Marvel as lead characters, too?

In 2009, she did finally get her own series…sort of. While Batman was out of action, she took over Detective Comics for 10 issues. Then her own series was repeatedly delayed until the New 52 reboot in 2011. So all told, she’s had her own series for a combined three years or so. I guess that can be defined as a lead character, but it’s not exactly like she’s being put up there as one of the DC iconics or anything.

Secondly, Didio taking a veiled shot at Marvel Comics in his comment by suggesting they aren’t committed to their gay characters is kinda bad logic. Saying that you’re more progressive than Marvel Comics is like saying you’re the most mature third grader – it might be true, but it’s not exactly something to be proud of.

This is only tangential to this argument, but I love this panel too much not to post it.

This is only tangential to this argument, but I love this panel too much not to post it.

And even the idea that Marvel isn’t committed to their gay characters is a bit questionable. True, they don’t have a gay character with his own book these days, but that might be more a matter of sales than anything else. They don’t have the convenience of being able to tie their big gay character into one of the biggest franchises in history. They have, however, had quite a few gay characters that have been allowed to be happy and have had good story arcs.

In the past few years, Marvel has had the aforementioned Hulkling and Wiccan, they’ve allowed Northstar to get married, and they’ve made it pretty explicit that Hercules is bisexual. There is a Marvel comic out there where you can see Hercules and Wolverine making out. Seriously.

Admittedly, Marvel did have their terrible and insulting Rawhide Kid series, which was basically every flaming gay stereotype they could cram into a comic book. And that’s why I say that being better on gay rights than Marvel isn’t saying much.

The other big thing is that DC doesn’t seem to have that big a commitment to their gay characters. Yes, they have Batwoman, who has the luxury of being part of the cash cow that is the Bat-family. But who else do they have?

Well, they had Renee Montoya, aka the Question, who no longer exists thanks to their recent reboot.

They also had Scandal Savage of the Secret Six, who no longer exists thank to their reboot.

They had the Tasmanian Devil, who got skinned alive in Cry for Justice and then resurrected, but who also hasn’t shown up in the reboot.

They had Obsidian, the gay son of Alan Scott, who made for some good drama because it allowed the writers to show how Alan, a guy who grew up in the 1920s, handled the fact that his son was gay. But that all got undone when – you guessed it – the reboot erased Obsidian from history. But that’s supposedly okay, because…

Alan Scott is gay in the reboot! Forget the fact that this was basically a massive bait and switch sales stunt where DC made the announcement that one of their iconic characters would come out as gay, only for that supposedly iconic character to be the alternate universe version of the Green Lantern.

I mean, seriously. Marvel’s got an alternate universe version of Wolverine who’s gay, too, but they thankfully didn’t pull that BS by trying to sell the news story that Wolverine was gay. (And, to boot, it did give the aforementioned scene of Hercules and Wolverine making out, which I think was awesome even though I’m very straight.)

But, hey, Alan Scott is gay. And he was even allowed to have a boyfriend!

…who died as part of his origin story.

And that pretty much sums up what DC’s real commitment to gay characters is: they’re committed to having them, and they’re committed to profiting from the controversy they create. But they are also committed to making sure that none of those gay characters ever gets to be happy.

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One Response to “Okay, One More Shot at DC”

  1. Man, I wanted the Batwoman so bad. And they kept delaying it. Now, I don’t want to buy it.

    And I would totally love to have a poster of the Wolverine make out scene.

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