3…2…1…Okay, now that the Social Justice Warriors who have only read the title and not the entire column have left their angry comments, the rest of you can go through and see why I used this title.
DC Comics and DC Entertainment has pushed for inclusion since the late-1970s with the Superfriends cartoon. Although by today’s standard, characters like Samurai, El Dorado, Apache Chief and Black Vulcan (based on Black Lightning) were far more stereotypes than inclusive, it was a start.
In 2012, we were given our first Middle Eastern superhero in Simon Baz, who was supposed to counteract the terrorist stereotype by committing a terrorist act by accident. Instead of overcoming great fear, he is overcoming his own prejudice by using his will power. Hey, at least we finally got one…even though he looks Yemeni instead of Lebanese.
Now as the comic book industry is looking to be even more inclusive by only creating minority characters (I hate the term “Person of Color.” No matter how you spin it, you’re still calling us, “Colored.”), gay people have become the latest throwaway.
Going five years to the New 52 when the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott was retconned as gay, in 3-pages he proposed to his boyfriend, their train derails, Sam dies and Scott is saved only to become the bearer of the green flame, avenging Sam’s death in the run of Earth-2, using his sexuality as a throwaway trope to become a hero and only sporadically mentioning he was ever a homosexual.
A couple of weeks ago, The Ray was revealed to be gay for the new Justice League of America comics and in 3-pages, he comes out, finds love with his long-lost childhood friend, and leading into the first issue of JLA #1 where instantly, he’s dumped.
On Wednesday in Teen Titans #6, Jackson Hyde, the new Aqualad who is being pulled into the comic world from the animated series Young Justice, asks his redneck boyfriend to come out to his dad, reveals his powers and in about 3-Pages total, gets dumped. Hyde looks to join the Teen Titans in San Francisco.
As soon as any of the characters mentioned above came out, I instantly thought, “The boyfriend is going to die.” Yes, we all know that every hero has to face great tragedy to propel him/her into being the hero they are meant to be, however, you don’t always have to kill the lover to do it. Announcing someone’s sexuality in 3-pages and then never mention it again is absolutely pointless.
Hell, in almost every Rebirth issue of Titans, Roy Harper’s heroine addiction is mentioned and that all stems from a one-shot in the 1970s from a Green Lantern-Green Arrow comic. However, The Ray, Alan Scott, even Bunker in the New 52, etc. in the DCU only gets about 3-pages to address their sexuality before being forced into celibacy for the rest of their run in their respective series.
Several DC characters were already romantically interested in someone before obtaining their powers. Barry Allen, Hal Jordan, Clark Kent, Wally West, etc. so why do all the gay characters have to be neutered? Why does their lost love have to be the catalyst for them to become the hero they are meant to be? Even Mr. Terrific in the Arrowverse was divorced by his husband for becoming a vigilante.
It makes perfect sense to try to incorporate all customs, cultures, creeds, etc. into the world of comics in reflecting Western society as a whole, but just like 80 years ago when you had to have a dead parent to become hero, today’s gay characters need to lose the romantic love of their lives to take on their superhero mantels and honestly, that’s just lazy.