|Why gay comic book heroes matter|
|Written by Elizabeth Brei, Columnist|
|Tuesday, 26 June 2012 17:06|
In May, Marvel Comics featured in “Amazing X-Men” the first gay marriage in comic book history between Northstar and his longtime boyfriend. On June 6, DC Comics revealed that their new Green Lantern comic, “Earth 2,” features the superhero as an out-and-proud gay man who appears to be in a committed relationship.
They aren’t the first gay characters featured by either company. The heroes aren’t even very popular ones. While the Green Lantern is one of DC’s oldest superheroes, he isn’t Superman. And it’s not as if they chose Wolverine as the X-Man to represent the gay community over at Marvel.
So why is this a big deal? It’s the timing more than anything.
This summer is a big one for superhero movies. Anyone with a TV or a Tumblr is aware of Marvel’s “The Avengers,” which opened in May and has garnered record-breaking box office numbers. We’re also eagerly awaiting “The Amazing Spider-Man” and DC’s “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Comic books are on the radar. We’re aware of them now more than ever because they’re cool. Everyone’s seeing superhero movies.
And because everyone’s seeing superhero movies, everyone notices what’s happening with the creators of those superheroes. It’s the perfect opportunity for someone to make a statement, and a statement about an issue that’s seeing a lot of media and news coverage lately is even better.
LGBT issues are big in the public radar right now. We have President Obama backing gay marriage, North Carolina passing Amendment One, and the Federal Court of Appeals declaring the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.
So when characters featured in big-time franchises are gay, people are sitting up to take notice, much of the time with positive results. But not everyone sees LGBT representation in the media as a good thing.
Conservative Christian group One Million Moms has taken a stand against DC and Marvel due to their decision to feature gay characters.
For those unfamiliar with One Million Moms, their goal, according to their website, is “to stop the exploitation of our children, especially by the entertainment media.”
The website also states that the goal offers “the most powerful tool you have to stand against the immorality, violence, vulgarity, and profanity the entertainment media is throwing at your children.”
On paper, that sounds okay. What mom wouldn’t want to keep her children from being exposed to all of the above? The problem is that One Million Moms seems to exclusively target gay people.
One Million Moms had this to say about Marvel and DC on their website: “These companies are heavily influencing our youth by using children’s superheroes to desensitize and brainwash them into thinking that a gay lifestyle choice is normal and desirable.”
Their statement says exactly why it is a good thing that comic books are taking on this issue. Children are young and impressionable. They are taught from an early age what they should value in people. Why not teach them from the moment they begin to be affected by the media that equality is always a good thing?
If children learn that their favorite heroes can love someone of the same sex, then they can learn that they can be gay and good and moral at the same time. And maybe someday, when those children are in charge, two men getting married in a comic book won’t be news.