Oh, Green Lantern is Gay Now? *Yawn*
Mainstream comics have made some progress creating quality minority characters, but this feels like pure marketing to me. Still, I’m having a hard time getting worked up about this.
It’s true that mainstream comics have a rotten history with LGBT characters, and that the big two are not generally known for their fair and accurate portrayals of minorities. To come out with a new gay character when it is politically advantageous seems rather cheap.
There was a switch at some point when supporting LGBT rights would no longer hurt business. It used to be brave to stand up for marriage equality, but between the Starbucks boycott backfiring, Ellen at JC Penny, and Archie Comics’ gay wedding, the tables have turned. Having a gay spokesperson or character is no longer subversive, but it isn’t “normal” either; it’s a unique advantage. Companies appear to be taking a risk, but they aren’t.
I could point out that this isn’t even the main Green Lantern, but the one on Earth 2, where Batman and Superman are dead and no one outside of hardcore comics nerds knows what’s going on (I sure don’t). I might mention that this is months after Archie proved it could be done without hurting a publisher’s image or sales; proved that it would help sales. Polls consistently indicate that the majority of Americans support LGBT rights. And uh, didn’t the president come out in favor of marriage equality like three weeks ago?
Sorry DC, you’ve been eclipsed by the president.
My point is, there are lots of reasons I would usually make a fuss about this, but in the big scheme of things it’s fantastic. If we’ve reached a point where gay characters are a surefire way to get positive media attention and increase sales, it’s a win-win – more diversity means writers will have to get better at writing minorities, and mainstream comics might gain some new readership in the process. Although speaking for myself, I won’t be running out to start reading The Green Lantern, Earth-2.
Wait, isn’t his nickname The Emerald Guardian? Maybe he really has been in the closet this whole time…
Try harder, DC. I’ll be impressed by your shiny new gay characters when you can design some decent female or racial minority characters, and stop ruining the good ones.