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Do DC's solicitations out the LGBT superhero?


By Todd Allen


Everyone does seem to be all hot and bothered about DC’s gay superhero announcement.  The really odd thing about all the hubbub is it really doesn’t seem to have been planned out ahead of time… and as such, the June solicitations show perhaps a slightly different picture than all the buzz.  Let’s look at the actual timeline for all this:

May 19, 2012, as reported at the Kapow comic convention:

When asked by a fan during a convention panel why race or age could be changed in the relaunch but not sexual orientation, Bleeding Cool reports DiDio responded that a previously established heterosexual character will be reintroduced as “one of our most prominent gay characters.” Bob Wayne, senior vice president of sales, added that like President Obama, DiDio’s stance “has evolved.”

May 21, 2012 at ABC News:

“One of the major iconic DC characters will reveal that he is gay in a storyline in June,” Courtney Simmons, DC Entertainment’s senior vice president of publicity, confirmed to ABC News.

May 22, 2012 on Scott Snyder’s Twitter account:

…But the announcement was “a character not seen since the relaunch will come out as gay,” so no, it’s not Bruce.

So, a somewhat off-the-cuff, perhaps even defensive, comment on Saturday was followed by a teaser on Monday and then Scott Snyder giving a little more info as everyone starts reviving the old Wertham jokes about Batman and Robin.  Given the time frame involved, it would be almost impossible to make a last minute change to a newly reintroduced character’s orientation.  That means this has been planned for several months.  Since the retailers weren’t made aware this was happening at the solicitation stage, it suggests DC didn’t think that introducing the gay character was a big deal and likely to cause a sales spike (i.e., they weren’t planning an Event around it).

Of course, this would have all been planned/written/drawn before the North Carolina firestorm making gay marriage a more prominent national news story and word of the Northstar wedding over at Marvel breaking out.  It turns out, the publicity was there for taking and they took it at the last minute (in the form of the Monday statements to ABC).

So, with this in mind, let’s see what “iconic” male characters we haven’t seen since the relaunch are being announced as re-introduced in the June 2012 advance solicitations (published March 12, 2012 — LONG before any of this current PR frenzy):

1:25 B&W Variant cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
On sale JUNE 6 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. The variant cover will feature the standard edition cover in a wraparound format.
• MR. TERRIFIC – Michael Holt – lands on EARTH TWO!
• Don’t miss the origin of the Earth Two FLASH – and the first time he uses his powers!
• What could be a bigger threat to Earth Two than APOKOLIPS? Jay Garrick is about to find out!

There’s a lot of buzz that the Earth Two Green Lantern will be the gay character.   The June issue is the Flash origin.  Technically, Jay Garrick, Alan Scott and Al Pratt’s non-superhero debuts were in the first issue of the series, but this is being hyped as the Flash origin.

(FYI, the Green Lantern origin is issue #3 in the July solicitations:

EARTH 2 #3
1:25 B&W Variant cover by IVAN REIS
On sale JULY 4 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. The variant cover will feature the standard edition cover in a wraparound format.
• The all-new origin of ALAN SCOTT GREEN LANTERN – unlike any GL origin that’s come before!
• The debut of the all-new HAWKGIRL!
• And Jay Garrick, THE FLASH, meets his first Super Hero!


Back to the June solicitations:

Backup story art by RAFAEL ALBUQUERQUE
1:100 B&W Variant cover by GREG CAPULLO
On sale JUNE 13 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Combo pack edition: $4.99 US
Retailers: This issue will ship with three covers. Please see the order form for more information.
• BATMAN takes the fight to THE COURT OF OWLS!
• Discover the evil mastermind behind THE COURT.
• Plus: The “Fall of the House of Wayne” backup by SCOTT SNYDER, JAMES TYNION IV and RAFAEL ALBUQUERQUE.

Is the evil mastermind behind the Court of Owls an iconic villain that will be reintroduced as gay?  I’m not under the impression the iconic character is going to be a villain but at least we’re getting teased about a reveal that could be a character that hasn’t been re-introduced yet.

Art and cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS
Backup story art by GARY FRANK
Variant cover by CULLY HAMNER
1:100 B&W Variant cover by JIM LEE
On sale JUNE 20 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Combo pack edition: $4.99 US
Retailers: This issue will ship with three covers. Please see the order form for more information.
• The identity of the Justice League’s newest and deadliest foe is revealed!
• Part four of the debut of SHAZAM!
This issue is also offered as a combo pack edition with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.

Another spot where an iconic villain might be revealed.

On sale JUNE 6 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
• The deadly return of ANTON ARCANE!
• This is the beginning of a new chapter in the SWAMP THING saga and a perfect time to start reading!

I wouldn’t personally call Dr. Arcane an icon, but Swamp Thing has been on TV and film and it’s a reintroduction.

Backup story art by JOSE LUIS GARCIA-LOPEZ
Cover by LADRONN
On sale JUNE 27 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T+
• Part one of a story exposing the beginning of a battle for GOTHAM CITY between THE COURT OF OWLS and THE CRIME BIBLE!
• And in a new BAT LASH backup story illustrated by legendary artist JOSE LUIS GARCIA-LOPEZ, an outraged father is accusing Bat of tarnishing the honor of his twin daughters – and he’s making his case with a double-barreled shotgun!

Is this Bat Lash’s new 52 debut?  I’m not sure I’d call him iconic, but it’s a reintroduction.

And that’s all I’m seeing for male character re-introductions in June.  Given how DC had not been making an event out of this and the publicity seems almost accidental or a reaction to Marvel’s publicity, it is entirely possible this wasn’t something they were even highlighting in the solicitations.

Iconic heroes being reintroduced?  The only thing I’m seeing there is the Earth Two Flash.  Maybe the Earth Two Green Lantern makes his costumed debut in that issue, but based on what DC’s representatives have said and what the 2 month old solicitations said, I would have to guess the Flash is the mystery man exiting the closet.

On the other hand… there is a set of characters making their post-New 52 debuts in June.  That’s right.  Before Watchmen: Minutemen, Before Watchmen: Comedian, Before Watchmen: Nite Owl, and Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre. I think you could call the Watchmen cast iconic and not giggle.  One of the Minutemen?  The Comedian?  (OK, that might be less likely.)  Nite Owl I or II?

Remember, nobody has said “DCU.”  I’d still put my money on it being a character in Earth Two, but based on the available information, you can’t dismiss Before Watchmen out of hand.

  1. I’m guessing its Al Pratt mainly because he was also in the military and I have a sneaky suspicion that they’ll capitalize on the removal of DADT.

    Just a thought.

  2. Picking Alan Scott might work if they’ve erased Obsidian from the mythos, and if you’re into keeping some kind of sort of pointless ‘gay quotient’.
    Though the BW option has potential energy. Confirming Rorschach’s “Possibly Homosexual” charge against Veidt would be seen as a commendable small step, by myself at least. And one that doesn’t completely shit on the preexisting material.

  3. The problem with it being the Earth-2 Flash is that Jay Garrick *was* introduced in Earth-2 #1, which came out in early May. He had a long-term relationship break up because he wasn’t ambitious/serious enough for his girlfriend. Granted, nothing there to stop them pulling that particular reverse — it would be a perfectly sensible reason why he wasn’t serious enough about the relationship — but that’s a fairly dramatic step to take, especially in an issue where he’s also about to get his powers. Surely that’s enough to deal with all on its own.

    If it’s an iconic Earth-2 hero, especially given the solicits, then Green Lantern makes far more sense. Though it does likely mean that both Obsidian and Jade won’t exist there.

  4. “Picking Alan Scott might work if they’ve erased Obsidian from the mythos, and if you’re into keeping some kind of sort of pointless ‘gay quotient’.”

    Um, you know gay folks can have children, right?

  5. I really liked the whole Superhero marries a Supervillain thing that they never really touched upon much in the old comics. I’d rather see them explore that more than see Alan Scott come out as gay. (although having 2 dads one a superhero the other a former villain would make for an awesomely screwed up childhood for jade and obsidian)

  6. … but we don’t usually have children who are tormented all the way into adulthood over the horrific possibility that they might be… homosexual.

    If Alan Scott is gay, his son Obsidian has to have his whole life story rewritten.

  7. C’mon guys. DC has a time travel device. So when Obama made his announcement, they fired up the time machine, changed one of their stories, and implanted the question asked at Kapow. I think they time machine was borrowed from Obama himself.

  8. First, Ron Hogan, well done.

    Second, as far as I’m concerned, the only “iconic” DC heroes are Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (Jordan or Stewart), Flash (Allen or West), Aquaman, and Robin (any of them). MAYBE Supergirl. Anyone else, this is severely overhyped and there will be a letdown.

  9. @ Wally Strong Monsieur Mallah and the Brain were gay for each other. I can’t even begin to describe how’d you classify that relationship. I think DC should have the balls to either introduce a gay villain or change a villain gay. A lot of them just seem non-sexual.

  10. If it was a superhero, they would have said it was a superhero. So assuming it’s a non-super, and a long established character, I’m going with what some people have already said: Jimmy Olsen. It’ll do Lucy Lane some good to have a platonic pal to hang with.

  11. Jesse: Shazam as a new word for coming out… That’s actually pretty danged funny.

    I’d put money on Alan Scott’s Green Lantern… but reading those stories above, the most likely is Bat Lash. What better defense against the “you tarnished my daughters” than the rebuttal of, “It wasn’t your daughters, sir, it was that strapping young son of yours! Why do you think they call us cowpokes?” Okay… maybe that last part went too far. Plus, I’m not sure Bat Lash is “iconic” enough to fit the bill.

    BTW: They mentioned this on The O’Reilly Factor last night and I had no idea what they were talking about. I had to explain to my wife that, although I didn’t know what they were talking about in this instance, this would not be the first gay or lesbian superhero. She wasn’t surprised, guessing there must have been several by now.

  12. Jimmy Olsen would be offensive to gay people. How much more demeaning and inconsequential can you get than Jimmy Olsen. That would not even rate as lip service.

  13. Wally Strong
    05/24/2012 AT 12:27 PM
    “LOL They’d never create a gay villain; too much risk from the liberal, politically correct crowd.”

    Oh So?

    “The New 52
    In the rebooted continuity of The New 52, Hartley is now the conductor of Central City’s orchestra, though it is mentioned that he is still a reformed supervillain. He is dating Director David Singh, a police officer and Barry Allen’s superior at the Crime Lab.[6]”

    [6] ^ The Flash (vol. 4) #8 (June 2012)

    Not iconic, but at least they didn’t change his history.

    It’s also not that noticeable (I didn’t make the connection when I read the story).

    Could it be Gorilla Grodd? Felix Faust (JLD)? Lobo?

    “A secret is revealed about Black Canary’s husband…Kurt Lance?!”

    “Plus: MERA learns a startling truth about ARTHUR’S past from Shin.”

  14. It’s interesting to me that they consistently use the word “character” rather than “hero.”

    I haven’t read any New 52 books. Have we seen the Joker? Or Lex Luthor?

    The list of “iconic” DC characters is fairly short. I think Shazam is a good guess.

  15. “The list of “iconic” DC characters is fairly short.”

    Yes it is. But the list of characters who can be described as “iconic” for PR and marketing purposes is just about all of them.

  16. Has the Joker really been introduced in the New 52? I mean we saw his face in Detective Comics. But never a characterization or a body. Harley Quinn went searching for him and what happened to him but it never really solidified the “real” new version of the Joker.

    Could the Joker in fact be the evil mastermind behind the Court of Owls? It seems more like a Vandal Savage or a Ra’s Al Ghul given how far back the Court goes.

    But the return of the Joker would be very iconic and revealing him gay even more twisted. Especially given Harley’s love for him never going to be realized. Revealing Joker gay would send Harley over the edge and give DC the chance to showcase her away from the Joker in her own book.

    I am still sticking with my two top faves as THE ATOM and VIBE. But making the Joker gay makes sense and makes the “clown prince of crime” even more twisted.

  17. Has the Penguin been seen post-52? He’s a recognizable character, with plenty of issues about how society sees him, that would be a logical choice for coordinating an attack of owls. Ideally they’d reveal that a well-adjusted, admirable character just happens to find guys attractive, but I no longer expect DC to do anything ideal.

  18. It can’t really be anyone other than Shazam/Captain Marvel, can it? He’s the only plausible hero who even comes close to being “iconic”.

  19. I’m all for Alan Scott being the gay character. He never had much of a personal life that I can remember.

    I’m just pissed that if it is, its at the expense of Obsidian!! Everyone knows Geoff Johns wanted him gone. Now hes finally got his wish! I’ll still be keeping my fingers crossed that he’ll appear on Earth 1/Prime/New… whatever the hell its called!

  20. @Jesse – I wouldn’t mind Jimmy Olsen as the gay character. I love me a ginger! haha… He is definately Iconic. Everyone knows Olsen – although he was just portrayed as straight in Smallville…. or was it his brother/father?? Weird ass writing on that show! haha…

    Maybe the new Superman movie will have him as gay, and the comics are following suit! I’d like that. :)

  21. No kidding in a perfect world I would take gay Olsen, Shazam and Lord Fanny on the JLA. Although, admittedly I am the only one feeling Lord Fanny.

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