The Big Two’s Evolving Views on Gay Characters

Marvel's announcing a gay wedding on The View, and DC's planning to switch a notable character's orientation.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Northstar and Kyle

Tomorrow morning on The View of all places, Marvel's planning to announce to the world that their views on gay marriage have "evolved" just like the President of the United States. They do like to make a splash in the mainstream media with comics stuff, and the impending nuptials between Marvel's first gay character Northstar, aka Jean-Paul Beaubier, and his lover Kyle Jinadu will be that splash. Of course, no one in the mainstream knows who Northstar is, as he's actually from Alpha Flight, Canada's Avengers, but the landmark issue will be Astonishing X-Men #50. With any luck, this will significantly raise the snarky speedster's profile.

Astonishing X-Men #50

What the hell is going on with Storm? Wait… is that even Storm?

On the same tip, DC has reversed their earlier New 52 stance on flipping the sexual orientations of their established characters. Where once, they'd just planned to introduce new characters of those persuasions, this June, a "major iconic" male character in the DC Universe will be coming out as gay, when he was previously straight in the original DC Universe. And according to Dan DiDio, it's someone we haven't seen yet in the New 52.

Place your bets now! Who have we been waiting to see that hasn't shown up yet? Could it be Shazam? Billy Batson's shown up as an irritable jerk, but the actual Big Red Cheese hasn't yet. Wait… Plastic Man, maybe?

Overall, this is a great sea change for an industry steeped in appealing to lady-ogling testosterone factories in the past. Progress. At last, progress. Both of these efforts could come off as obnoxious, as going on The View might seem to anybody, but Marjorie Liu's writing Astonishing X-Men #50 (and Greg Land isn't drawing it), and we trust her to make sure that Jean-Paul and Kyle work out well. Once, this would've been something they had to sneak by an editor, or probably fight to get through – and now, Marvel is proud of this, enough so to make a big deal out of it. Let's spin it that way, and not think it's a shameless publicity stunt.

DC is slightly more suspect, due to the weird and varied changes like slimming down Amanda Waller and not knowing who the creators are, but switching an established character's orientation is a bold move – bolder than it was to make Ultimate Colossus gay, since that was and still is an alternate reality. There is no alternate to DC's New 52 – it's all we got. We fear outcry and backlash, as there always is from the fanboy community, but if they do it right, it's a win for everybody, even if it takes some getting used to for veteran readers.

It's evolution, baby. Nothing to be afraid of.