Recent developments in the handling of gay characters at Marvel and DC is a topic that deserves all of our attention, and we haven’t had time to give it the investigation it deserves. Lame but true. Luckily, Andy Mangels has put together
In and Out: A Brief History of Marvel’s 2006 Gay Policies which gives a timeline and everything.
While Marvel has not reverted to Jim Shooter’s “No Gays in the Marvel Universe” policy of the 1980s, the fortunes of Marvel’s gay characters have taken a serious downturn in the last ten months. With multiple gay characters killed, maimed, and tortured, the latest twist is Marvel reversing Rawhide Kid’s orientation and making him heterosexual again.
But it’s not just the characters who are suffering. Editor in Chief Joe Quesada has publicly discussed Marvel’s policy about labeling books starring gay characters, stating that it exists, then later no longer exists after discussion. Following that, a Marvel PR flak says that all of Quesada’s direct quotes were “out of context” and the policy never existed.
And within weeks of the interviews, the newly touted Marvel gay character was dead, and almost every other gay character was in for a very rough time.
We don’t mind the Rawhide Kid back into the closet, as the reasons for him coming out were so flimsy to begin with. A pattern of confusion does begin to emerge at Marvel, however.