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  1. #1
    Obsessed & Compelled Bored at 3:00AM's Avatar
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    Default The "retroactively making old DC characters gay/bi/biracial" thread

    That poor Watchmen got delayed again thread got so rerailed by this discussion, I figured it deserved its own thread.

    Anywho, I totally understand why some fans don't want older characters retroactively made gay by modern creators. When George Takei was against revealing that the NuTrek Sulu was gay, I got it. The character Takei played for decades was not a gay man, nor was he ever intended to be.

    However, the NuTrek Sulu is explicitly not the same Sulu that appeared in the original Star Trek show, cartoon and movies. This is a new continuity set in an alternate reality. Yes, they handwaved it away for the mainstream audiences with time shenanigans, but none of that holds up to any degree of scrutiny, otherwise Khan would still be a Latino actor pretending to be Indian, rather than a pasty white Brit NuTrek is not classic Trek altered by old Spock travelling back in time, it was always old Spock travelling back in time to a parallel universe and changing it. It's the same deal with Discovery, which is no more a prequel to the original series than the Abrams-verse. They are each different continuities distinct from the original for legal reasons.

    The same goes for the DCU, which has been destroyed and recreated into new and often very different versions at least FIVE times by now. Even Roy Thomas was playing with new versions of those Golden Age characters, since Earth-2 was not an exact copy of the stories published during the Golden Age. Those old stories didn't have any kind of consistent continuity, so Thomas would have had to make changes here and there in order to make everything fit together. The Superman of Earth-2 is based on the Golden Age Superman, but he is definitively not that character.

    Long-running characters are tweaked and updated all the time to keep them relevant to new audiences. I understand that older fans want everything to be exactly the way it was when they first started reading, but that fails to understand that these characters have never been static. They have always been changing and evolving, often in ways their original creators never intended. Superman is a prime example. Would we even be reading about him today if he was the exact same circus strongman leaping around out-bullying other bullies? Probably not.

    Now, characters can certain be changed so much from what readers liked about them that they lose their audience, as DC discovered during the New 52 and its diminishing returns. The opposite can also be true. If a character never changes or evolves, they are forgotten. Roy Thomas's All-Star Squadron did that for the Golden Age characters in a very additive way, which I think is generally the best way to go about it, but since the DCU is several continuity revamps away from that particular continuity, I don't have any problem with revealing new information about the sexual orientations of some characters if it makes for interesting stories and brings in new readers.

    Setting aside sexy ladies man Firebrand for the moment, Alan Scott's main attraction to readers has never been his raging heterosexuality. It's always been his cool powers and heroism. Was he ever intended to be a gay or bi character by Bill Finger or Mart Nodel? Of course not. Nor do I think any of the previous depictions of Alan Scott prior to the disastrous New 52 phase were meant to be in the closet. However, the idea is now out there and I think the character could potentially benefit from this reveal.

    Yes, that is not what Alan Scott originally was in the old comics, and that's perfectly fine. If it makes you feel any better, a wizard did it. A wizard made Alan Scott gay. Or the Anti-Monitor or the Time Trapper or Parallax or Dr. Manhattan. Black Canary wasn't a founder of the JLA either, until she was, and then wasn't again, but Cyborg was. Batman's parents were killed by Joe Chill, until they weren't, and then were again. Amazons were really into BDSM, until they weren't. Superman used to be able to use his super-muscles to change his entire face, until he couldn't. Alan Scott wasn't gay, now he is.

    If that bothers you, if the idea of Alan Scott kissing a dude in new comics shatters your worldview, you can always ignore them as I do any comic written by Scott Lobdel or Chuck Austen You can even go on reading about Alan Scott without acknowledging he's gay if you really want. And, if the stories suck, we can all ignore them in the same way we ignore Northstar.
    Last edited by Bored at 3:00AM; 05-10-2018 at 06:42 PM.

  2. #2
    Ultimate Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    Are you really expecting a thread like this to be peaceful without anybody complaining that other people with opposing viewpoints are "trolls" who are
    . . . bigoted . . . sexist, homophobic & racist . . .
    Really?

    Oh, and I believe John Byrne has said Northstar was always intended to be a gay character.

  3. #3
    Astonishing Member DragonPiece's Avatar
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    I do think it will be interesting see how DC handles future appearances of Alan Scott. Would be a PR nightmare if they made him straight again

  4. #4
    Ultimate Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DragonPiece View Post
    I do think it will be interesting see how DC handles future appearances of Alan Scott. Would be a PR nightmare if they made him straight again
    Why would it be?

    That wasn't the Golden Age/JSA version of Alan Scott who was depicted as gay.

    The gay version was the faux-Alan Scott from the New 52 Earth 2 series, a different version of the Golden Age original.

    Would you expect that if DC brought back the Golden Age Mr. Terrific (Terry Sloane) they'd have a "PR nightmare" if he wasn't really the scheming, back-stabbing bastard that Terry Sloan was in the New 52 Earth 2 series?
    Last edited by MajorHoy; 05-10-2018 at 07:00 PM.

  5. #5
    Mighty Member andersonh1's Avatar
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    I object to race/gender/orientation-flipping any existing character. New characters are fair game.
    "Why do the trunks not "hold up with the times"? What exactly is the problem with them? And don't tell me "nobody wears them" because nobody dresses in a blue body suit and red cape and boots either.

    It's a superhero costume. It's the original superhero costume. It's not real clothing, it's not bound to the ever-changing fashion trends of real life. It's nothing like real life clothing. How exactly can it become outdated?"

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MajorHoy View Post
    Why would it be?

    That wasn't the Golden Age/JSA version of Alan Scott who was depicted as gay.

    The gay version was the faux-Alan Scott from the New 52 Earth 2 series, a different version of the Golden Age original.
    Because PR is PR.

    I wasn't following DC comics in 2012 outside of picking up Aquaman every month. I wasn't looking for any news about DC. But I sure as Hell heard about this. And you know how the news was reporting it? "The Green Lantern is Gay!" and things to that effect. And you know what would happen if Alan Scott was brought back as a heterosexual, especially with no sign of Eath-2 Alan ever returning? Headlines saying "Gay Green Lantern turned straight". Regardless of how many people are actually aware of what's going on (if the news goes mainstream again, it'll be the vast minority) or how many people actually read the article, the amount of people who would see the headline and immediately call DC homophobic could lead to the idea spreading very quickly, and as you may recall, the last time there was mainstream news resulting in DC being called homophobic, the cancellation of Kate Kane's wedding, it didn't go very well for them.

    PR aside, I'm definitely on the side that wants Alan to come out of the closet. Doing so makes it so Earth-2's removal doesn't result in the negative net of LGBT heroes, DC gets another prominent male gay hero (they have terribly few) and as we've discussed on other threads, it opens up some really interesting story possibilities.
    Last edited by Assam; 05-10-2018 at 07:16 PM.

  7. #7
    Obsessed & Compelled Bored at 3:00AM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MajorHoy View Post
    Are you really expecting a thread like this to be peaceful without anybody complaining that other people with opposing viewpoints are "trolls" who are

    Really?
    Don't worry, MajorHoy, woke slings and arrows only make you stronger! Seriously, though, I would just ignore that nonsense. There's enough of us here who know and love you that you don't have to worry about it. Beneath your curmudgeonly grandpa yelling at the kids to pull their pants up routine lies the same obsessed fanboy that we each see in the mirror everyday.

    Quote Originally Posted by MajorHoy View Post
    Oh, and I believe John Byrne has said Northstar was always intended to be a gay character.
    Yes, it's incredible how Byrne was able to write Northstar for all those years while resisting the urge to shout "FOR I AM GAY!" in the middle of battle as he did under Lobdel

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Assam View Post
    Because PR is PR.

    I wasn't following DC comics in 2012 outside of picking up Aquaman every month. I wasn't looking for any news about DC. But I sure as Hell heard about this. And you know how the news was reporting it? "The Green Lantern is Gay!" and things to that effect. And you know what would happen if Alan Scott was brought back as a heterosexual, especially with no sign of Eath-2 Alan ever returning? Headlines saying "Gay Green Lantern turned straight". Regardless of how many people are actually aware of what's going on (if the news goes mainstream again, it'll be the vast minority) or how many people actually read the article, the amount of people who would see the headline and immediately call DC homophobic could lead to the idea spreading very quickly, and as you may recall, the last time there was mainstream news resulting in DC being called homophobic, the cancellation of Kate Kane's wedding, it didn't go very well for them.

    PR aside, I'm definitely on the side that wants Alan to come out of the closet. Doing so makes it so Earth-2's removal doesn't result in the negative net of LGBT heroes, DC gets another prominent male gay hero (they have terribly few) and as we've discussed on other threads, it opens up some really interesting story possibilities.
    Since the return of classic Alan Scott would likely bring about the return of his children Jade & Obsidian, who was already revealed to be gay, I don't think you'd have to worry about losing the number of gay heroes, but I will grant you that Obsidian is hardly a major character on the scale that Green Lantern is.

    Actually, has Roy Thomas ever chimed in about Gerard Jones outing Obsidian as gay? I never read much Infinity Inc. so I can't say whether Thomas was pulling something similar to what Byrne was doing with Northstar over in Alpha Flight.

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member Lightning Rider's Avatar
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    I suppose it matters what you're giving up. I'd rather add something that always could have been there or makes only a slight change to a neglected aspect of a character's past. It's easier to do this with sexuality. Race is more difficult and I think you stand a lot more to lose depending on how drastic the change. I do get that just making new characters doesn't achieve diversity since they're hard to stick and don't have a longstanding connection to the shared universe's history, but changing one's race changes their life experience, and thus changes the character.

    Dick Grayson being Romani makes sense; he always could have been. Superman or Wonder Woman not being blue-eyed and having enough of a tan to perhaps blend in with people of color when in disguise, isn't drastic or controversial. Making Wally West a black juvenile delinquent? Something else entirely. Especially with Vixen, Stewart, and BL begging for some time in the spotlight.

    Not sure I've added anything new to the discussion but that's my take.

  10. #10
    All-New Member ConnorHawke's Avatar
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    Oh man. I hope this one remains free of modern identity politics mania.

    I'm for AN Alan Scott being gay. I'm not for GA Alan being gay or coming out in later life. He just wasn't written that way, and a comic book from the '40s that was written for children was never meant to be anything but.
    Yes, times have changed. And, before anybody pounces and tries to "educate" me on this topic (bless their little '10s university-confused hearts), I am a child of the '70s who happens to be a gay man, so get off my lawn, I know the drill with this subject.

    I thought what was going on with Icemaiden and Obsidian in the early '90s was interesting, but thought Obsidian's outing was a little shoe-horned in. However, since he was a younger character, I found it believable. While it occurs that an older, married man with children suddenly comes out, it's not something that (I believe) is particularly relevant to the tales of grown adults in lycra punching each other senseless to save the universe!

    When a new character comes along, like Bunker or Batwoman, I'm all for it, as long as it's not their main hook. I for one don't go to gay work, watch gay movies, ride gay horses and eat gay food. It's just not a thing.

    But I'm a traditionalist. I think the biggest problem with DC at the moment is that it has repeatedly shot itself in the foot, at ever-increasing frequency of timing, since 1985. They keep throwing the baby out with the bathwater and saying "Look! This is the new status quo!", to the point that things become unrecognisable. Look at the current version of Barbara Gordon, for example. Gone is the powerful character many of us grew up with, and she spent 2015 sending text messages and dancing with millenial boys. LOL! If only they'd been clever and kept the multiple earths in the first place, we could've had straight Batman, gay Batman, and pinkflowerhippyglowspotrainbowfluffyBatmanwhocan't abideanynegativityorcontraryopinion, and we could all have one. Whichever remains and is most successful is the one we want the most as a whole.

    Bring back the JSA, bring back the Legion, work out the history, stop trying to be so "relevant" and just publish what works. Naturally, that will be interspersed with subcultures that define our times. INCLUDING one of the ones I happen to belong to, along with many others.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DragonPiece View Post
    I do think it will be interesting see how DC handles future appearances of Alan Scott. Would be a PR nightmare if they made him straight again
    Nay. Fans weren't ever exactly clamoring for it.

    As long as Todd his SON is brought back and is still gay we're good. It's the only reason Alan was in E-2 after all.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lightning Rider View Post
    I suppose it matters what you're giving up. I'd rather add something that always could have been there or makes only a slight change to a neglected aspect of a character's past. It's easier to do this with sexuality. Race is more difficult and I think you stand a lot more to lose depending on how drastic the change. I do get that just making new characters doesn't achieve diversity since they're hard to stick and don't have a longstanding connection to the shared universe's history, but changing one's race changes their life experience, and thus changes the character.

    Dick Grayson being Romani makes sense; he always could have been. Superman or Wonder Woman not being blue-eyed and having enough of a tan to perhaps blend in with people of color when in disguise, isn't drastic or controversial. Making Wally West a black juvenile delinquent? Something else entirely. Especially with Vixen, Stewart, and BL begging for some time in the spotlight.

    Not sure I've added anything new to the discussion but that's my take.
    Your thoughts are always appreciated. I am in agreement over turning Wally West in a black juvenile deliquent being a particularly dumb move, which they have admirably course corrected by bring back the classic Wally while simultaneously revamping young Wallace into a much better character.

    I think Dick Grayson being Romani also works given his circus carny background and I think further additions, rather than subtractions or subtitutions, are the way to go. If Iris West suddenly started being portrayed as having slightly darker skin tone because she's biracial like her TV counterpart, would anyone except for a few Alt-Right fanboys really care? Would that really change her established character in any negative way? Would revealing that Lois Lane's rarely-seen mother is Korean actually change her character in such a way that would make her less interesting or would it open her up to potentially new stories that creators could explore. It would certainly make her relationship with her parents more meat and add new layers to her father, Sam Lane, whose distrust of Superman too often gets played off as simple racism.

  13. #13
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    I did like that they made Ray gay on Earth-10 and Orlando's Justice League of America.

    Though I always assumed he was a closeted bisexual given his 90's run had him his explore feelings when he was kissed by Neron using a female form and he was actually kinda "Huh" about it. It doesn't help that Priest was also writing Triumph in Taskforce and he was meant to be gay as well so I figured the two were being set up together (they even interacted together a few times in Ray's run along with Impulse).

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ConnorHawke View Post

    When a new character comes along, like Bunker or Batwoman, I'm all for it, as long as it's not their main hook. I for one don't go to gay work, watch gay movies, ride gay horses and eat gay food. It's just not a thing.
    You have my gay-thanks for your thoughtful reply.

    What's your cut-off for revealing newer characters as gay? Obsidian is okay because he debuted in the 1980s, but not his father because he first appeared in the 1940s? What about Ray Terril, who was created in the early 1990s? I confess I was bored stupid by Orlando's JLA, so I never read enough to know if the newly gay-ified Ray was worth a damn.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by PyroTwilight View Post
    I did like that they made Ray gay on Earth-10 and Orlando's Justice League of America.

    Though I always assumed he was a closeted bisexual given his 90's run had him his explore feelings when he was kissed by Neron using a female form and he was actually kinda "Huh" about it. It doesn't help that Priest was also writing Triumph in Taskforce and he was meant to be gay as well so I figured the two were being set up together (they even interacted together a few times in Ray's run along with Impulse).
    Triumph was meant to be gay? Never knew that. Gotta hand it to Priest. Not only did he retroactively add a gay man to the founding of the JLA, but he also decided to make him a colossal douche nozel that was designed to be unlike-able. Priest seems to delight in playing against expectations, much like he did by pitting the League against his villainous Black Panther knock-off the same month Marvel puts out the Black Panther movie.

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