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Green Lantern comes out. . .

A student of mythology, I have long been fascinated by how American superheroes have much in common with the heroes of ancient Greece–indeed of the heroes of other cultures as well.* Like most of their Hellenic counterparts, the “big” three comic book legends, Superman, Batman and Spider-man, were all raised by surrogate parents.

And the similarities don’t end there.  All have the capacity for superhuman feats of strength, Heracles a bit like Superman and Perseus like Batman in his ability to use technology to outwit diabolical villains, er, supernatural beasts.  In some ways, a Mesopotamian hero, Gilgamesh, is like Batman, achieving his greatest deed (slaying Humbaba) as part of a dynamic duo, but with the former wildman Enkidu instead of with the former acrobat.

As many have speculated about Batman and Robin enjoying a “special” relationship, so too have scholars considered the homosexual aspects of Gilgamesh’s friendship with Enkidu.

There are similarly ambiguous relationships with the Greeks.  To be sure, most of their heroes have strong, often defining relationships with women.  Perseus seems truly to care for Andromeda.  Theseus has several relationships with women, first, Ariadne, then Hippolyta and finally Phaedra.  That said, though Heracles had many wives, he failed to return to the Argo when accompanying Jason on his quest because Hylas, the young man for whom he had taken a fancy, had disappeared.

In short, while most of the male heroes definitely preferred the ladies, some did take an interest in men.  With that in mind, I’ve been following the reports about a DC comic book hero coming out.  And today, we learn it will be Green Lantern:

The original Green Lantern – a DC Comics mainstay for the past 70 years – will be revealed to be a gay man in next week’s issue of “Earth 2.”

Alan Scott – formerly a married father of two who first appeared in 1940 – tips readers off to his sexuality early on in the comic when he gives his boyfriend a welcome home kiss.

Nice.  It’s a good idea to have such a superhero, particularly given our changing understanding of sexuality.

In the ancient world, however, they may not have had a gay hero per se perhaps because they had different notions of sexuality than we do today.

——

*To note, my first post on this new platform — since we moved away from Blogspot was a reflection on Spider-man 2.

FROM THE COMMENTS: Stone K. offers why he doesn’t think this was a bold, er, brave move:

Lets face it, they needed a headline, they got it. They needed to make people take notice, they wanted to get attention. So what do they do? Do they make one of their two biggest money makers (Batman or Superman) gay? There by chilling their financial future with the movies and TV franchises?

Or do they take a character not many think of when it comes to top tier heroes (the movie showed that to be the case) and make some headlines for a few days?

The day I heard the announcement the plans were to make a character gay I said “it will be Green Lantern, because he is the safe choice.” I was right.

If they wanted to do something brave they would have made Robin gay and had a sub plot where he has to restrain his feelings for Batman (who is straight), and that’s why he is always so damn moody. lol

At the end of the day it is just a publicity stunt and it ultimately will not change the fate of DC being a lower rung Comic brand with only one true Hit.

Emphasis added.  I hope he’s not right —  and will address this issue in a followup post.  If it’s just a publicity stunt, they won’t be able to make this much of a gay myth for our time.

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41 Comments

  1. I’m afraid I can’t share your pleasure in this turn of events, Dan. I see this simply as part of a larger and insidious viral pattern of revising traditional cultural heroes into acceptably PC forms: Superman renouncing his American citizenship, the Black/Hispanic Spiderman, etc.

    You might like this particular brick, but the wall they’re building is designed by Marx, Gramsci and the Frankfurt School.

    Comment by EssEm — June 1, 2012 @ 1:41 pm - June 1, 2012

  2. I think it’s sadder than that EssEm,

    Alan Scott (preboot) had two kids, Jade and Obsidian. Obsidian was gay, and out, since 2006.

    So DC’s brave announcement was to replace a D-lister with his C-lister dad.

    Given that this is Earth-2, a complete reboot and in its own contained book, it will be interesting to see if it tanks or stands on its own.

    Comment by The_Livewire — June 1, 2012 @ 2:29 pm - June 1, 2012

  3. EssEm, I don’t have a problem with changing Spider-man’s ethnicity, but do have a problem with Superman renouncing his American citizenship. The decision to have him do so is a telling indictment of the new DC executives/writers and how they misunderstand the “myth” they “inherited” — and how they don’t “get” the nature of its appeal.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — June 1, 2012 @ 2:50 pm - June 1, 2012

  4. Essem has nailed it.

    Comment by Bastiat Fan — June 1, 2012 @ 2:55 pm - June 1, 2012

  5. Blech, who cares. Green, or is it Pink Lantern won’t be getting any more popular.
    Marvel comics on the other hand does the right thing. Has it’s art dept. create a special character for a special boy. No this isn’t a mainstream new Character, it’s a company doing good for one little person http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-57441370-71/marvel-creates-superhero-for-boy-with-hearing-aid/?tag=rtcol%3BmostPop

    Comment by Leah — June 1, 2012 @ 3:11 pm - June 1, 2012

  6. DC made a big mistake having the Golden Age Alan Scott Green Lantern to be gay. DC Comics has a loophole for this though. This is not the mainstream post-Crisis Alan Scott, but a revamped New 52 DC Alan Scott.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw (@BlueLantern02) — June 1, 2012 @ 3:53 pm - June 1, 2012

  7. Dan, I have a problem changing Spider-Man’s ethnicity. He’s Peter Parker, a Caucasian Anglo-Saxon white guy nerd. Period.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw (@BlueLantern02) — June 1, 2012 @ 3:56 pm - June 1, 2012

  8. Actually on the Spider Man thing, they didn’t make Peter Parker Hispanic. They killed Peter Parker in the Ultimate Universe (1616) and Miles Morales took up the tights. Except for the permanence of death in Earth-616 it’s just like Bucky taking up the shield when Steve Rogers was dead (he got better) or Jim Rhodes taking up the Iron Man armor when Tony was drunk/dead (Jim’s stepped up a couple of times).

    In the Alan Scott case, they erased three characters (one of which was gay) to ‘reboot’ Alan Scott as gay. If I could read new adventures of the JSA, it would be the same as Ultimate Spider-man vs Spider Man, but they’ve destroyed the original timeline, along with all my childhood favourites.

    Comment by The_Livewire — June 1, 2012 @ 3:56 pm - June 1, 2012

  9. er permance in earth 1616, Earth 616 is the ‘prime’ universe where everyone gets better.

    Comment by The_Livewire — June 1, 2012 @ 3:57 pm - June 1, 2012

  10. The pink lanterns are the Star Sapphires created by the female Oans, the Zamorans (amalgam of Amazons). Their power is love.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw (@BlueLantern02) — June 1, 2012 @ 3:57 pm - June 1, 2012

  11. *pats Sebastian on the head* All will be well.

    Comment by The_Livewire — June 1, 2012 @ 3:57 pm - June 1, 2012

  12. Actually aren’t the saphires the violet lanterns? Which also had the great line by Geoff Johns that it’s an all female corps because men can’t feel that level of love?

    Comment by The_Livewire — June 1, 2012 @ 3:59 pm - June 1, 2012

  13. The Star Sapphires are violet which can be pink or purple. Men are not worthy for being Star Sapphires for some reason.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw (@BlueLantern02) — June 1, 2012 @ 4:05 pm - June 1, 2012

  14. I’m still in the TwitterGulag. Please post to get me out of the gulag; I’m @BlueLantern02.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw (@BlueLantern02) — June 1, 2012 @ 4:07 pm - June 1, 2012

  15. I guess that puts a chink in Blake Lively’s plans.

    Comment by Cinesnatch — June 1, 2012 @ 4:34 pm - June 1, 2012

  16. Ka—-BOOOM goes the romance at the centre of Green Lantern film canon!!! LOL.

    Comment by perturbed — June 1, 2012 @ 5:05 pm - June 1, 2012

  17. So who do we want to see Ryan reynolds hook up with?

    Comment by Cinesnatch — June 1, 2012 @ 5:18 pm - June 1, 2012

  18. The whole world of super heroes is beyond me. When I read Batman and Superman as a kid, I never related to them as role models anymore than I believed in Popeye or Mighty Mouse or Tom and Jerry. I knew Dumbo couldn’t raise his bulk with his ears, feather or no feather.

    So I really don’t know what to make of changing the race or the citizenship or the sexual orientation of one of these figments of imagination. Maybe there is a crowd that needs Undescended Testicle Man to make them feel whole.

    Frankly, I think that all of this is the work of Pander Man who is trying to drum up interest in what is basically a unicorn and Yeti fantasy world where lollipops have intelligence and mere humans are true simpletons.

    Will the Green Lantern be in 3-D so we can all see his reactions to men in tights? And if he is gay, will he have to be liberal as well? How could you even conceive of a conservative gay super hero loose in the land.

    Green Gay Lantern will have to save the whales, defend the snail darter, enforce the twisty lamp, fight man-made global warming, stand firm for Obamacare, draw his energy from the sun and wind and imaginary forces from the universe and only eat green things and compost his poop. What a guy. Can’t wait for him to come up against Redneck Man.

    Comment by heliotrope — June 1, 2012 @ 5:49 pm - June 1, 2012

  19. No Jade or Obsidian in the New 52 Earth-2. Sad.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — June 1, 2012 @ 8:28 pm - June 1, 2012

  20. I need to get more back issues of the 1980′s All-Star Squadron.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — June 1, 2012 @ 8:29 pm - June 1, 2012

  21. Oh great, now someone with superpowers will be assaulting my traditional marriage? Damn, I’d better warn my wife.

    Congratulations — I’m rather surprised (and pleased) the first openly gay comic book hero isn’t a supervillian! But didn’t you guys already have Wonder Woman on your side? My brother-in-law is gay (as is his partner, which is very convenient!), and they’re both big fans of Wonder Woman…

    Comment by Robert Hewes — June 1, 2012 @ 10:41 pm - June 1, 2012

  22. Way back in the eighties, when Alpha Flight had a gay character (North Star), way less of an overhyped big deal was made of it. IMHO, not making a big deal about a comic book hero’s homosexuality is a better indication of mainstream acceptance than overhyping it.

    Comment by V the K — June 1, 2012 @ 10:57 pm - June 1, 2012

  23. Helio #18 best. Post. Ever.

    Comment by Cinesnatch — June 2, 2012 @ 12:20 am - June 2, 2012

  24. So who do we want to see Ryan reynolds hook up with?

    ME!!!

    Comment by Bastiat Fan — June 2, 2012 @ 11:36 am - June 2, 2012

  25. Just more pro-gay/anti-Christian indoctrination for the kiddos. Geez! Can’t the PC police leave children’s entertainment alone for just once?!?!

    Comment by Seane-Anna — June 2, 2012 @ 12:40 pm - June 2, 2012

  26. “Nice. It’s a good idea to have…a [gay] superhero, particularly given our changing understanding of sexuality.”

    Surprise! Dan supports DC Comics’ “brave” move. Just more of his tradition-hating, social liberalism leaking out. In the end, all (most) gays really care about is the aggrandizement of their sexuality. Sigh.

    Comment by Seane-Anna — June 2, 2012 @ 12:45 pm - June 2, 2012

  27. Seane-Anna, I would hardly call this a “brave” move. . . perhaps, rather, one suited to the times.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — June 2, 2012 @ 2:18 pm - June 2, 2012

  28. It’s not brave at all. It’s pandering & trying to boost sales out of desperation.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — June 3, 2012 @ 9:25 am - June 3, 2012

  29. Northstar–who is going to be married this month in Astonishing X-Men–was far better when his homosexuality was used to be the token gay guy. Find Marvel Masterworks: Uncanny X-Men Volume 3, Alpha Flight Classic Volume 1-2. John Byrne never overtly stated Northstar to be gay, but he left clues.

    For instance, although Northstar is an Olympic ski champion & celebrity which made him wealthy, he never had any girlfriends; he never seem interested in the women throwing themselves at him. When Heather MacDonald Hudson called Northstar at his mansion in Quebec, a man answers the phone. Byrne left little hints sprinkled throughout the stories. It’s better this way.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — June 3, 2012 @ 9:30 am - June 3, 2012

  30. Seane-Anna, how is this anti-Christian? Or you consider any display or mention of homosexuality in this nation as anti-Christian?

    Sebastian, I don’t doubt this was done in attempt to boost sales. Sometimes that’s what businesses do. I don’t know why it’s any more pandering than other business decisions. And I’m not sure why all comic superheroes have to be straight.

    Comment by Pat — June 3, 2012 @ 9:35 am - June 3, 2012

  31. the “big” three comic book legends, Superman, Batman and Spider-man, were all raised by surrogate parents

    Dan, that’s an interesting point. Maybe it’s because a cross-dressing (real men don’t wear capes and tights – sorry), vigilante superhero would not be plausible even to kids, if he came from a perfectly well-adjusted family.

    Americans adore psychology – and are ambivalent about heroes. So part of us wants to see something painfully weird in the superhero’s family background, driving his unusual behavior.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — June 3, 2012 @ 11:12 am - June 3, 2012

  32. Lets face it, they needed a headline, they got it. They needed to make people take notice, they wanted to get attention. So what do they do? Do they make one of their two biggest money makers (Batman or Superman) gay? There by chilling their financial future with the movies and TV franchises?

    Or do they take a character not many think of when it comes to top tier heroes (the movie showed that to be the case) and make some headlines for a few days?

    The day I heard the announcement the plans were to make a character gay I said “it will be Green Lantern, because he is the safe choice.” I was right.

    If they wanted to do something brave they would have made Robin gay and had a sub plot where he has to restrain his feelings for Batman (who is straight), and that’s why he is always so damn moody. lol

    At the end of the day it is just a publicity stunt and it ultimately will not change the fate of DC being a lower rung Comic brand with only one true Hit.

    Comment by Stone K. — June 3, 2012 @ 12:08 pm - June 3, 2012

  33. [...] things and compost his poop.  What a guy.  Can’t wait for him to come up against Redneck Man.  Heliotrope at Gay Patriot Share this [...]

    Pingback by The Green Lantern Goes Predictably Gay | — June 3, 2012 @ 5:24 pm - June 3, 2012

  34. Byrne left little hints sprinkled throughout the stories. It’s better this way.

    I agree. “Is he or isn’t he?” is a way more interesting approach to a character than just being out with it.

    Comment by V the K — June 4, 2012 @ 5:58 am - June 4, 2012

  35. @ Robert Hewes #21

    How do you define assault?

    Matthew Shephard was assaulted. Rick Santorum was assaulted (glitter bombed.) How is someone assaulting your marriage? Did someone break into your home and go after your marriage license with a knife? Maybe someone just broke into your home with a bottle of Elmer’s glue, and glitter, and decorated your marriage license? Are you afraid Green Lantern will break into your home, and turn your mariage license into an outfit for Lady Gaga?

    I thought marriage was more than just paper. How do you define ‘traditional’ marriage? How would someone outside of your marriage, outside of your home, assault (or affect in any way) your ‘traditional’ marriage? Are gay marriage supporters going to force a sex change on you, OR your wife?

    Does ‘traditonal’ marriage mean anything other than adult man and adult woman? Or does it include anything else? Does everyone agree what ‘traditional’ marriage is?

    Maybe Green Lantern will go back in time, and change all humanity into genderless entities that fertilize a husk (Star Trek: TNG reference.) And, if you are afraid that he would be assaulting anyone other than bad guys, wouldn’t that make him a Villian, and not a Hero?

    Comment by Jason — June 4, 2012 @ 7:23 am - June 4, 2012

  36. @Stone K.

    Which Robin is the question.
    Dick Greyson? Well Since Morrison sells books, the bat family mostly survived the reboot intact (sniff, Stephanie, Cassandra). Richard has always been the ladies man, and is a personal favourite.
    Jason Todd? Now here would be an interesting choice. He’s the most estranged from the Bat Family (Watch the excellent ‘Under the Red Hood’ animated movie) but in his ‘anti-villian’ role would provide interesting tension. I’d lean more towards making him bi, based on his current book.
    Tim Drake? He’s been a running fan favourite for a while, because he’s not had a steady girlfriend. (Also search for Robin/Superboy slashfic) He has had the ladies chasing him though, and personally I thought the socially awkward teen was an angle that made him unique. His supporting cast (Including Tam Fox) was thrown to the reboot though. Sad really.
    Damian Wayne? Ewwww, no. a) he’s actually still a kid b) He’s Bruce’s son. Not the kind of character you want to be gay. Well unless you want to see Joachim Steuben as a young boy.

    Though it could lead to the narmy line “You’re the world’s greatest detective, Bruce! And you never saw how I felt about you?”

    Comment by The_Livewire — June 4, 2012 @ 8:08 am - June 4, 2012

  37. The_Livewire – lol I was kinda shotgunning an idea lol. Since I don’t currently read DC and have no idea which Robin they are putting with Batman in this newest incarnation I would be hard pressed to say.

    Dick’s persona as a ladies man might just be a cover, maybe he needs a beard? lol

    But see how this would have a greater impact on the DC universe? Not some C-list (at best) hero who no one really cares about anymore. But rather a Character that is attached to a A-lister and has a plausible and an established position to be a major gay character in a comic.

    Ok maybe they wanted to avoid having two gay “Bat” characters, but seriously it makes for a more interesting and daring idea than simply slapping a reboot of a failed character as gay.

    They picked safe and then trumpeted it as something akin to ripping down the walls. Rather than showing courage they play up consistency and expect people to call it greatness… Hmmmm sounds like Obama.

    Comment by Stone K. — June 4, 2012 @ 1:53 pm - June 4, 2012

  38. True, what’s funny is Marvel kind of already did this, in that in the Ultimate universe, Collosus is gay, and they strongly hinted Wolverine was bi.

    So we’ve already seen an alternate universe version of a top tier hero be gay.

    Comment by The_Livewire — June 4, 2012 @ 8:46 pm - June 4, 2012

  39. It’s funny to watch people get bugged out about this while praising Marvel, who has been hyping a gay marriage in the X-Men and who had Spidey literally make a deal with the devil to get out of his hetero marriage to Mary Jane. Marvel hinted that their version of Hercules was hinted at being and having sexual relationships with Namor and other heroes. Not a peep about those “outrages”. LOL

    Seriously tho, people are outraged over a drawing of two men. a drawing. In a comic read by almost exclusively in real life by adults in their 20s-40s, who have probably seen it once or twice in real life.

    Frankly, I enjoyed the first issue of Earth 2 enough that i’ll be back for #2 this Wednesday. I won’t be buying the X-Men gay wedding tho. But mostly because the X-Men suck. ;)

    Comment by Michael — June 4, 2012 @ 9:37 pm - June 4, 2012

  40. The_Livewire They hinted Logan was Bi??? I could make a joke about a rather intrusive bit of extreme sexuality, but I will pass… lol

    It will remain only implied because Wolverine is to popular. To many kids with Wolverine lunch boxes and the like.

    Wake me up when they reveal Wonder woman is a post-op trans-gender multidimensional lesbian and in love with a pre-op multi-gendered gay superman with a bondage fetish will you?

    I think I will stick with the Walking dead comics… very little in the way of plot lines involving gay zombies getting married…. yet…. ;p

    Comment by Stone K. — June 5, 2012 @ 5:35 am - June 5, 2012

  41. @Michael I liked Robinson’s writing on Justice LEague, especially since he had so little to work with. His last issue was kind of a cosmic middle finger to the new 52. I just have no interest in DCnU.

    Though if all the X-men suck, Northstar’s a happy man :P.

    And Yeah, Marvel’s been the king of mixed messages. “Smoking is bad, divorce is bad, but selling your marriage to satan is fine!”

    @Stone
    Ulitimate Wolverine. When the rest of the X-men found out about Peter, there was a scene of him sizing up (lol) Wolverine in the shower. Wolverine just gave a wink and a smile.

    Lots of people have theorized in (616) Logan’s case, he’s been alive for so long that he has to have tried at least once.

    Destiny and Mystique were a couple, and likely meant to be that way. Claremont’s original origin for Rogue was that Mystique shapechanged into a guy and impregnated Destiny. That got shot down quickly.

    Comment by The_Livewire — June 5, 2012 @ 11:44 am - June 5, 2012

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