What’s Wrong With You? The Gay and DC Comics

It feels like there’s finally a consensus among the remaining comic book readers, and it’s that the people who publish comic books are idiots and horrible people. That might well be true, but my guess is that they have no idea what to do, because nothing they try seems to adhere to any common wisdom. Let’s take the following situation. I believe these points to be truths.

  • Readers call for more diversity in the DC Universe, from women to sexuality to race.
  • Comic books from DC featuring new characters do not sell.
  • Readers do not like when the existing characters are changed from the traditional iteration.

Do you see how the publisher cannot possibly win? How in the sweet flames of Hell does one bring those contradictions to accord, and still meet their goal of selling enough comic books to remain profitable and in business?

So we’ve been through the “lady whoever” phase of making lady versions of existing male characters, and that didn’t count. We saw the terrifying and sad bigot shitstorm that followed the new Ultimate Spider-Man, and now we’re seeing the introduction of Alan Scott, who is not the same Alan Scott as Alan Scott used to be following the relaunch of DC Comics, as a gay character in Earth 2, written by James Robinson and drawn by Nicola Scott.

This is DC trying to sidestep as many of those landmines as possible and do something, since doing the same thing, with the exception of most Batman titles, doesn’t get them anywhere. It’s bringing more diversity to comics, without changing the major characters, but still trying to take a step in a positive direction.

DC played it cool. If James Robinson is to be believed, and he is, because we have talked to him and have no cause to believe otherwise, this has been in the offing for a long long time. At a convention a couple of weeks ago, Dan DiDio answered a question from the audience, stating that a gay character would be introduced soon. That’s it. They didn’t say who it was, and I can’t say why. Maybe they wanted that to be revealed in the pages. I get the sense that DiDio sort of shoots from the hip, and goes off plan sometimes. He’s not un-savvy, and probably knew that it would cause some buzz, but that is routine as it gets in comic book marketing. That was their giant marketing ploy to boost sales. Also, in this case, let’s be honest, sales on Earth 2 are never going to be Earth 1 shattering. The best they can hope for is a goose of maybe 10K books, which isn’t peanuts, but it’s not raising any eyebrows at Warner Bros HQ. I highly doubt anyone in sales at DC Comics thinks there’s some unearthed treasure trove of gay readers who were just waiting for the right book. No, they waited a little while, and gave media, such as us, a chance to talk to James Robinson about it when it was announced. It wasn’t like they took out banner ads. Everything that took place after the panel question and the announcement today was from fans on the internet, and websites playing the great Gay DC Witchhunt and Closet Outting game. DC didn’t do that. They just didn’t do anything to stop it. It doesn’t strike me as a master plan of marketing guile and manipulation, but the thing is, we’ll never know. It’s hard for me to be all that upset about their relative inaction as a way to manipulate the marketing base.

It also seems like the right time to bring up the writer, James Robinson, who said he floated the idea of making Alan Scott gay, when Obsidian (Alan’s Scott’s gay son) disappeared in the reboot. I’ve read a lot of James Robinson’s work, and I know two distinct things about that work. First, I know that no one working in comics today has a better handle on, reverence for, or understanding of these JSA characters. No one. Period. I wouldn’t know jack nor squat about Alan Scott if not for James Robinson. The other thing I know? Robinson, in Mikaal Tomas, blue Starman of space, was gay. Well, he was sort of pansexual, but in a long term gay relationship in the Starman series. He was also in the Justice League. I guess they could have tried to float a Mikaal Tomas series, but even with Alex Ross on art duties, it would have been canceled in about 1 1/2 issues. The point is, Robinson is as good a guy as any to do a story like this. It’s not going to be the Rawhide Kid (the worst example of gay conversion in the history of comics). That’s just not how Robinson works. He’s understanding, empathetic and respectful. If you’re asking if the guy’s heart is in the right place, I’m almost sure it is.

Finally, there’s the “changing a character who has been around 70 years” argument. I’ve got nothing on this one. These characters change all the time. They always have. There are maybe 8-14 actual Alan Scott fans left on the planet, and James Robinson is their king, so let it go. Grasping, white knuckled, to an imagined pop culture history is a waste of energy as far as I’m concerned. Many will disagree, but if characters in comics never changed, they would be awful today. They would be more awful today. Maybe this is a more fundamental change, because sexuality is a fundamental aspect of personality, but really only in relation to how society treats them, and how that affects their personality. As far as 95% of comic readers go, Alan Scott is a 70 year old blank slate. It’s not that no one knows who he is, it’s just that no one really cares.

So what do you want? Accepting that nothing is perfect, I don’t see the harm in this compromise. They’re just not going to go full queer in the DCU, especially given today’s political climate on sexuality. They’re also not going to keep everything the same as it ever was ever for all time in perpetuity. Yet eventually, the tellers of stories, even stories told solely for the financial continuation of a multinational conglomeration are going to dab their antipodal feet out in one direction or another, and when it comes to comics, it makes NO ONE happy at all. Then when the thing actually comes out, and everyone immediately stops talking about it. DC Comics literally cannot win when it comes to making their fans happy.

Unless the story is really good, and then none of this part is remembered, and what is not remembered is often repeated.

Comments

  1. JDC JDC says:

    If the majority of comics readers ran the business, there would be no more comics. Fact.

    • JDC JDC says:

      Actually, that’s a dickheadishly simple thing for me to say. Elaboration: Comics readers rarely known what’s best for comics.

      That’s also very simple, but I’m tired. Josh said it better than me anyway, and I wanted to get in before this thread goes to a dark place.

    • Daveracer says:

      I also don’t care if the Green Lantern or any other super hero is gay. What I don’t look to comics for is romance, I look to comics for adventure. I’m sure if James Robinson wants to work on guy on guy action comics, a gay publisher is out there waiting for him. If you want to make a comic about a guy sucking face with another guy, dont do it in the main title so I won’t have to buy it. I don’t want to sound like an A-hole but, you can just tell us the green lantern is gay and skip the bromance.

    • jerriblankstare jerriblankstare (@dbergene) says:

      So conversely, I would really appreciate any man on woman interaction be kept to a minimum,,,you can just tell me Batman is straight, I dont need to see Catwoman riding his wild horse so to speak.

  2. Mogloth Mogloth says:

    Agreed. Story is what is important. And Earth2 is a title I have interest in.

    I’d be curious if anyone will ever introduce a gay character that acts like Bruce Wayne or whoever. You know, a different partner every few issues. Would that raise a stink as well?

    • DeadpoolFan1 DeadpoolFan1 says:

      I do think there is anshying away from the more flamboyant gay characterizations – even if they are accurate for a certain percent of the gay community, because it is seen as a stereotype or worse.

      I think to have a gay male character go through multiple partners in no time would come across as offensive.

    • This is a symptom of a group being so underrepresented. Each representation of an individual within that group has to hold up the burden of representing every individual within the group. A storytelling limitation that can only be overcome with more, effective uses of gay characters.

    • Mogloth Mogloth says:

      @Deadpool – I would love to see society advance enough to where there could be a gay character like Bruce Wayne.

      @Nick – True. More storytelling like what is going on in Batwoman.

  3. I couldn’t care-less if Superman, The Flash, Batman or even Wonder Woman all were gay, it’s the over leaking idea of controversy that pisses me off, if a story is well-written & the characters are likeable it shouldn’t matter whatsoever about anyones sexuality. Of course you will get fans who will be outraged & shocked, but then you’ll get people like me who isn’t bothered about any of that.

    I just feel the whole thing is rather petty & truly pointless, especially in this modern-thinking day & age. Let the readers just enjoy the surprise of the content & take it from that, not a sales pitch!

    • MaxPower MaxPower says:

      I’m not sure I understand where you think there was a sales pitch. Didio’s comment at a panel? Or Robinson giving an interview? Of course it doesn’t matter what a character’s sexuality is, but how can they possibly ever have more diverse characters without either changing a current character or introducing a new character. And when they do either of those, it is going to get reported on, which is frustrating I agree. It sounds like you are more upset with the way this has been covered by media than by DC’s actions.

    • Of course my attack is mainly aimed at the media, but the main slip comment by Didio was so blatantly deliberate & petty that is what has annoyed me more!
      I am all pro any new-diverse-creative ideas & new characters, I just don’t like media spin to look for any possible new-sales/increase in-sales especially over something so insignificant.

      @MaxPower: I am just a sceptic, sorry if we don’t agree!

  4. I guess DC did have some success with introducing a new character; Batwoman/Kate Kane, but i agree with your points overall. They really can’t win when it comes to giving fans what they ask for.

    This may be the most Alan Scott has been discussed by anyone born post color TV. in a very long time.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      Define “very long time.” Alan Scott was the most popular character in various relatively popular incarnations of a JSA book that Geoff Johns wrote for nearly a decade.

    • Wrkngclasshero (@joinedtofollow) says:

      With all due respect, Johns didn’t get Alan Scott on the front page of TMZ.

      http://www.tmz.com/2012/06/01/the-green-lantern-gay-dc-comics/

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @Wrkingclasshero: I’m not sure what that has to do with anything. I was challenging the idea that no one has talked about Alan Scott this much in a long time. Comic book fans, and more specifically, JSA fans, have certainly talked about him in the last ten years. If you’re talking about mainstream, outside of comics, of course this is the most he’s been talked about.

    • @conor-hmm, well i didn’t quite realize that. I was aware of the book (before my time in comics) but didn’t know it was as big as you suggest. i honestly haven’t heard the Character or any Golden Age JSA characters for that matter being talked about in the comics community in any kind of A-lister capacity at all. It always seemed to me that it was a niche audience at best.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @wallythegreenmonster: I wouldn’t call them A-listers. But then I wouldn’t call most characters A-listers–there’s only like 6 or 7 of those in all of DC Comics.

      If you want to know more, we did a show on the JSA books:

      http://ifanboy.com/podcasts/ifanboy-episode-227-justice-society-of-america/

    • Wrkngclasshero (@joinedtofollow) says:

      @conor- Didn’t realize you were talking only comic readers. All I meant was this was the most mainstream exposure Alan Scott has ever gotten. I’m happy any time a comic gets this kind of press. Only bummer is most of the negativity I’ve seen is from comic readers. That and some unfortunate “weakness to wood” references…

    • @conor–thanks for pointing that out. I kinda remember that show now that i see it.

  5. Robinson wrote the JSA brilliantly every time he went near the characters. Why would anyone expect him to do otherwise now? The merging of Alan and Obsidian makes complete sense in the reboot. By doing this something of both characters endures in the new continuity. Otherwise we could be waiting 20 years for Obsidian to make any mark in the DCNu.

    And if you don’t like it don’t read it. There’s plenty of good pre-Flashpoint Alan Scott books put there for those who don’t want to move on to something new.

  6. JokersNuts JokersNuts says:

    “Readers do not like when the existing characters are changed from the traditional iteration.”

    I disagree with this point. (sorry in advance for spelling errors)

    Ryan Choi fan favorite
    Jaime Ryes fan favorite
    Cassandra Caine, Stephanie Brown fan favorites
    Damian Wayne fan favorite
    Kate Kane fan favorite
    Renee Montoya (Question) nobody minds
    Dick Grayson (Batman) everyone knew it was temporary but most all pretty much loved it
    Kyle Reiner fanboy favorite

    just off the top of my head, i’m sure there are more.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      Almost none of those can sustain a series on their own. Most of them have failed at it.

      Kate Kane’s series? I’m sorry, but just wait.

    • MaxPower MaxPower says:

      Bucky-Cap / Bucky as Winter Soldier? But yes, Josh’s statement is true, as is the general comment that fans of anything in any industry aren’t keen on changing the status quo.

    • JokersNuts JokersNuts says:

      @ Josh – Can Alan Scott sustain his own series anymore? Cass and Steph were doing ok on Batgirl, I think Kyle Reiner was fine with GL, Dick Grayson sustains, Damian can probably sustain-

      Anyway, moot point, but sustaining or not, these characters have all been embraced by fans. would a Ray Palmer Atom sell better than a Ryan Choi Atom? I doubt it would make much of a difference. The point is the character change under the masks have been well recieved.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      Alan Scott cannot sustain a series on his own, or it wouldn’t be called Earth 2. And we’ll see how long that lasts in today’s market. Those Batgirl books were canceled. There is no Dick Grayson solo series, and when there was, it was as Batman (same with Kyle), and they both switched back. If sales were going nuts, they wouldn’t have changed back. Damian Wayne is a non-factor that people only react to when written by Grant Morrison. My point is not that they’re not good, or that people don’t like them, it’s that they can’t support sales, and in the end, that is all that matters to DC Comics.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      Wait, there is a Dick Grayson series, Nightwing! I’m an idiot.

      And yet, he’s not really a new character is he?

    • ctrosejr ctrosejr says:

      “Almost none of those can sustain a series on their own. Most of them have failed at it.”

      @Josh: That’s a strawman. How many characters can sustain their own title? And, sustain for how long?

      Most of those characters he listed had series that went for 2+ years, or would have if not for the DC reboot. Runs of that length or greater are successes in today’s comic environment. And, really, that’s beside the point. If the question is about how readers FEEL, then JokersNuts is absolutely right — they LOVE these characters.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @ctrosejr: Some fans love those characters, but other than Dick Grayson, that number is limited. Josh is correct, if those characters had enough fans they’d still headline books.

    • ctrosejr ctrosejr says:

      @Conor: Seriously? That’s the bar?!? Why doesn’t Martian Manhunter have his own book? He must not have enough fans. Aquaman didn’t have a top-selling book until the reboot, so he must have gotten really popular all of a sudden. Animal Man must be really popular because he has a TOP SELLING book.

      You guys argue all the time that sales do NOT equal popularity. I cannot believe you’re falling back on that trope now.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @ctrosejr: Martian Manhunter doesn’t have a book because every time they’ve tried not enough people have bought it. He can’t sustain a book on his own. Aquaman is a well known character who has a top creative team on his book, which he has had in the past and when he has his book has sold well.

      ANIMAL MAN is not a top selling book. It’s popular around here, but in the general comics market it sells less than 40k.

      We’ve never argued that sales do not equal popularity, we’ve argued sales do not equal QUALITY.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      Quality. Sales do not equal quality.

      There’s almost no way to measure popularity other than sales.

    • Gerry Lopez Gerry Lopez says:

      Sincere question here: How much of sales can be attributed to the creators rather than the character in today’s market? I know there’s really no way to know that number, but I wonder what your opinion on that is. Because I, for one, tend to buy based on creator before character and I suspect that trend might be growing, but I could be completely wrong. Thoughts?

    • ctrosejr ctrosejr says:

      @Josh and @Conor: Respectfully, I feel you also argue both quality and popularity. Maybe “argue” is the wrong word. Maybe I should say you are “aware” of what I am saying. Here’s what I am saying. Who is arguably the most popular superhero on the planet? Superman, yes? How’s his non-Grant Morrison written book doing? You know, the one with his name on it? Not very well, right? Conversely, Animal Man is D-list. It doesn’t get any more obscure than him. But, somehow he is managing to support a title that is at no risk of being cancelled anytime soon. Why is that? Perhaps the writer has a strong following. Perhaps it’s the art. Perhaps the story is compelling. Perhaps it’s the right genre. Perhaps it is all of these things. But, regardless, there is one thing we know for sure — it is not because Animal man is “popular”. You know all of this, which is why I am surprised to hear you make these arguments.

      Anyway, this is beside the point. My point was that “sustaining their own book” is an unrealistically high bar to set for almost any character (i.e., a strawman.) Josh’s argument was readers don’t like iterations of their characters. JokersNuts offered examples of popular iterations of characters. Josh’s counter argument was that they were not in fact popular because they could not sustain their own book. I am merely calling out that these characters are popular by almost any standard that is reasonable for a comic book character to have in today’s sales environment. How do measure popularity? Sure, sales is a good measure. Perhaps it’s the best measure, but it is also not a perfect measure. Most of the characters he listed have had titles that lasted 2+ years. That’s pretty darn good for almost any character.

    • ghettojourno ghettojourno says:

      Re: Cass Cain Batgirl. You are being very dismissive of a title that lasted 6 years.

    • JokersNuts JokersNuts says:

      ctrosejr is doing a good job articulating my point, thanks –
      If I have it right (and its possible I’m misunderstanding), Josh said fans have a hard time embracing new iterations of established characters. i disagreed and said there are many new versions of characters that fans have embraced over the years (i didn’t even mention Barry Allen or Wally West).
      the response to this one seemed to be, those versions aren’t really popular because they can’t sustain their own book.
      I’m think the fact that they can’t sustain their own book has little to do with that. I’m saying Ryan Choi has just a good a shot with a book as Ray Palmer and that Stephanie Brown has just as good a chance as Barbara Gordon.
      I tend not to keep track of sales numbers though, so i differ to you guys on that. (i should start though)

    • ed209AF ed209AF says:

      the original argument was against “Readers do not like when the existing characters are changed from the traditional iteration.”

      Let us just prove this point with the dozens more examples of this than that of your initial small list of character changes that some people did like.

      Frankencastle
      Wonder Woman’s pants and jacket
      Mr.Freeze in the recent Annual (as proven by this very site)
      Most, if not all, of the supermen who came after Superman’s death
      Superman’s death itself
      Red/Blue Superman
      Jason Todd taking over as Robin
      Jason Todd getting killed as Robin
      Jason Todd getting Resurrected
      Almost any character changes made for TV or Film
      Spider-man’s powers internalizing
      Spider-man going public
      The changes made in Spider-man One More Day
      The changes made in Spider-man OMIT
      Miles Morales being created AT ALL
      THE IDEA OF THE NEW 52 ITSELF certainly set some people off
      and many many more

      The point is, we (comic fans) are apprehensive to change. Sure some people end up liking things, but 9 times out of 10, we don’t. We like things the way they are, it is human nature and it is just easier that way.

  7. thecizco thecizco (@cizco) says:

    I’m very satisfied by the announcement. I understand that as a business DC needs to publicize things from time to time. That’s just the way things work. With this news and the fact that they killed off their golden trinity in issue 1, I’m much more excited for what’s to come in Earth 2 than Earth 1.

  8. Happy to see the return of this article, even if it is about something shitty like knucklehead fans!

    One thing I learned from reading this was the real reason for The DC Gay Witchhunt. I thought it was something that DC set in motion, but it makes sense that it was actually the comic media who put those wheels in motion. Makes me happy to hear that DC didn’t push something as tacky as that.

    As for the other pushes for letting the mainstream media know about this, I get it (and this goes for Marvel as well). For so long, people point out the lack of diversity in mainstream titles. In fact, it seemed that publishers were confronted at every convention about this issue. So of course both Marvel and DC are going to make it well known that they’re starting to buck the trend. When gay characters and original female characters are more commonplace in these books as they should be, an announcement like Alan Scott or Northstar getting married won’t be news. But we’re not there yet.

    • JokersNuts JokersNuts says:

      “When gay characters and original female characters are more commonplace in these books as they should be, an announcement like Alan Scott or Northstar getting married won’t be news. But we’re not there yet.”

      agreed – and i actually think headlines like these will help get us there too. its also good for isolated young gay people to see stuff like this in the news and hopefully assure them that attitudes by and large are evolving, and that they are not alone.

  9. Really Josh? Only 8-14 Alan Scott fans left on the planet?

    I must be one of the few. And those never ending lines of convention fans waiting to get Alan Scott stuff from his creator Martin Nodell must’ve all been Life Model Decoys. ;)

    To me, Alan Scott, like Jay Garrick really did represent an altternate comic book universe where the All American comics imprint DID have their own history and stars. Alan Scott & Jay Garrick were the stars of multiple books, just like Batman & Superman today

    In Two Morrow’s magazines former DC writer/editor Bob Rozakis’s wrote an entertaining alternate history of what might have happened had AA head Charlie Gaines bought out National Comics , instead of the reverse. It was Alan Scott and Jay Garrick getting the TV and movie treatment that Batman & Supes have enjoyed.

    It bothered me when DC made Alan young and called him SENTINEL , and that crappy power-ring looking costume he had in the last JSA book looked ridiculous.

    Robinson’s use of him in THE GOLDEN AGE was inspired, and I loved Scott’s character arc in the Robinson-Goyer-Johns JSA stuff.

    In the hands of a guy like Robinson, I’m sure the portrayal will be respectful and great, but I can’t deny that it bothers me that DC choose one of my all time favorite heroes to retcon.

    But I’m also an older reader and understand the fact that publishers need to keep re-inventing their heroes to keep attracting new readers, so any reason to get Alan back on the main stage is ok with me.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      Yes, that was a literal number. Totally.

    • Don’t sweat it, John. I’m the President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and sole member of the “Nate Grey Is The Greatest Marvel Character” club. I feel you.

    • diebenny diebenny says:

      I was watching a Community episode the other day where Abed comments that one of the other character’s favorite comic book character was “X-Man” making fun of the fact that they didn’t even know it was a team. It made me think of you.

    • diebenny-Give me a little credit , I did read plenty of the original 5 x-men’s stories…however I’ll confess to not knowing who Nate Grey was.

      josh-I saw David Gallagher give you similar smack for the 8-14 line too.

      I know you weren’t being literal with your fan count (do I really need to say that?) , but I think you’re still denying that Alan Scott might be a bit more popular than you gave him credit.

      especially given the many statues, toys ,and action figures they’ve made of him, as opposed to other golden age characters like the Ma Hunkle Red Tornado, or Dan Garrett Blue Beetle?

    • diebenny diebenny says:

      Haha, sorry John, should have specified who I was talking to. I was referring to Chris being the only person whose favorite character is X-Man. Though now that you mention it, I kinda wish I’d wrote it the other way. Woulda been a good zinger. Alas, I’m not that witty.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      Alan Scott is even less popular than I think he is.

    • iroberts007 iroberts007 says:

      Nate Grey was an excellent character when he had his own series.. i highly doubt that Chris is the only homo sapien on the planet that thinks fondly of that series… just sayin….

    • diebenny diebenny says:

      There should be some Highlander shit for X-Man fandom. Get em Chris! There can be only one!

    • As president of the “Nate Grey Is The Greatest Marvel Character” club, I would like to formally recognize the head of the “Taking Jokes Too Literally” club!

    • DeadpoolFan1 DeadpoolFan1 says:

      My one question or concern out of all this – is when another writer comes along or another reboot in 10 years, will they make Scott straight again? How much of a backlash can DC expect if they go back and change one of their iconic (albeit less popular) characters’ sexuality back?

  10. muddi900 says:

    I think it’s commendable that DC is trying to be more inclusive. I think it’s deplorable that they are doing it on such a crass manner.

    • TomO TomO says:

      If trying to answer a fan’s question at a convention, and then letting the writer of the book go do a coordinated series of interviews about it is crass…then DC is truly in a no-win situation.

      Other than that, what has DC done?

    • if they didn’t make any kind of deal about it, people would be bitching that DC was “hiding” a gay character from the public, and making a weak move by not publicly supporting and promoting a gay character.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      Thesis proven.

    • What’s crass about how this was handled? And shame on us that we need a thread this long discussing the characters sexual orientation. We don’t discuss which race a character is, we should get over this and let the story be told. I’m really into the Earth 2 story and Worlds Finest, god forbid Huntress and Power Girl kiss the Internet would melt.

    • Actually there were MANY, much more terrifying thread discussion Miles Morales’ race. Not on this site particularly, but in general.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      Oh yeah, that was way scarier. But then, I made the mistake of reading the USA Today comments on that. I’m avoiding anywhere else about this.

    • thered thered says:

      crass is probably the wrong word, but i’m not sure what the word you’re looking for is. maybe something like calculated? like they’re trying to make money off of it? they definitely are trying to drive up sales by reaching out to different markets. and i hope that works. maybe more of my friends would read comics if they had more diverse characters! that would be great!

      crass would be if dc made him the rainbow lantern and gave him assless chaps as a uniform.

    • muddi900 says:

      Here’s Webster’s collection of synonyms for crass”
      “common, coarse, crude, gross, ill-bred, illiberal [archaic], incult, insensible, low, lowbred, lowbrow, raffish, rough, rough-hewn, roughneck, rude, rugged, tasteless, uncouth, uncultivated, uncultured, unpolished, unrefined, vulgar”

      This is a cheap way to grasp mainstream media coverage.

      @walythegreenmonster
      I know you probably won’t read this, but presenting a hypothetical situation and a generalization is not a way form an argument. Maybe *people* would have bitched, but none of those people would have been me, and since that event really didn’t happen, your we know way to test this hypothesis.

  11. Can anyone explain why Green Lantern is on fire? In both articles the depictions are in flames, why?

    • Don’t you think that will be explained in the story? Can you at least wait for that to come out with out needing a spoiler?

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      Historically Alan Scott’s green ring power has been manifested by green flames as opposed to random green energy of the Corps based guys. I’m not really sure why, but it’s been like that forever.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      In the original comics, Alan Scott’s power came from a cosmic green flame. If you look at the old comics, the energy coming out of his ring would look like green fire. That green flame effect has always been a part of his iconography, and according to the interview with Robinson, he’s playing heavily on the mystical roots of these characters.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      Tagged in Conor for the takedown!

    • @Conor & Josh: I’m not so informed as to Alan Scott’s origin, so I’ll defer to the experts on this, but the art placed along with the headline in both articles is… interesting.

      @John Siuntres: I can’t grasp the tenor of your comments, so I’ll just state that I’m asking a serious question and don’t take this topic lightly.

    • vadamowens vadamowens says:

      @Treeofthestoneage “the art placed along with the headline in both articles is… interesting”

      Come on man. Really?

    • @conor: so does he make constructs like a GL Corps lantern or does he just blast out green flame?

    • Skypants Skypants says:

      He makes constructs as well.

    • Josh & Conor are correct, it does play into the actual origin of alan scott’s GL. It is unfortunate that a flaming visual is being used to promote a newly turned gay hero, but that underlines the clumsiness of how this is all playing out.

  12. Smasher says:

    How is Ultimate Spider-Man selling these days?

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      According to March’s sales estimates, #8 sold 46k. (#1 debuted at 95k.)

    • Smasher says:

      Thanks Conor. Couldn’t help but look it up myself.

      According to Diamond’s Top 100…
      QTY DESCRIPTION
      26 ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #153
      27 ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #154
      32 ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #155
      29 ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #156
      26 ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #157
      24 ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #158
      1 ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #160

      9 ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #1
      35 ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #2
      37 ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #3
      37 ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #4
      30 ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #5
      30 ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #6
      34 ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #7

      The average rank for the last 7 issues of Peter Parker Ultimate Spidey was 23
      The average rank for the first 7 issues of Miles Morales Ultimate Spidey was 30

      So yes, there’s a drop off in sales. Other factors worth considering – digital sales which would not have been calculated in the first 7 issues of Miles Morales Ultimate Spidey.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      That is entirely normal for most comic books. Sales decline.

    • diebenny diebenny says:

      I know this is my subjective opinion, but I also don’t think it has anything to do with race, if that’s what Smasher may be implying. There was a quality drop even before Miles came on board. When the quality goes, so do the readers.

      The art was good.

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      I dropped Ultimate Spider-man last month, but that had everything to do with the pacing (and the price for that pacing) and nothing to do with the quality and certainly nothing to do with Miles’ ethnicity. Miles is an AWESOME new character, and the book reads and looks fantastic, but I’d rather read it in trade-sized chunks.

    • iroberts007 iroberts007 says:

      Arent sales supposed to go up with a new series and a new character? issue 155 compared to issue 3? thats no contest right? Besides Miles’ book is better than Pete’s was because it has the same talent on it but with added freshness. Unfortunately sales dip even with the buzz…. thats ridickilickolous.

    • Smasher says:

      By asking that question I was hoping to see whether introducing a new minority character in his own series in the Big 2′s universes can be perceived successful – sales wise. I don’t think the numbers on Ultimate Spider-man suggest introducing Miles Morales as the new Spidey in the Ultimate Marvel U was a poor decision.

    • Smasher says:

      To @diebenny’s point I agree, a popular, well-regarded creative team really makes a difference.

      For instance, I think Mr. Terrific could have made it past 8 issues had that been the case.

  13. scottdfane scottdfane says:

    I was waiting for this one.

    • scottdfane scottdfane says:

      Also, “I wouldn’t know jack nor squat about Alan Scott if not for James Robinson.” is a fantastic sentence. You used a lot of big words in the last bit, but that sentence was great.

  14. Neb Neb says:

    It always bums me out that we still live in an age where this type of stuff still matters. But alas, it’s the way the cookie has crumbled. I’m glad to see DC add some diversity into the line, and I’m not bothered by their choice. To me, it seems natural to make changes like this with the reboot. I think Alan Scott’s a great character, but the vast majority didn’t care about him in his older form. Why would they do the same thing with him this go around?

    What’s interesting to me is that everyone is up in arms about changing Alan Scott, but in the first issue, Jay Garrick is essentially told to die by Joan, who was his wife in the last universe. No one really seemed to care about that, even though Garrick’s long time relationship with her was important to his character previously. It only seems to matter to people when it has something to do with sexuality or race.

    I might add, as well, that we’re talking about fictional people, places, and things. So long as its a good story it doesn’t matter, and if the story sucks, then I’ll stop buying it. A character’s sexuality really has nothing to do with it.

    • It doesn’t but its all a media hype. Marvel has a gay marriage, now DC needs a big gay outburst. No one should really care but most comic fans are uptight pains in___. Like you said if the story is good, who is going to care if he’s gay. about 00.1% of comic fans, so why does there need to be a big article about it. The fact people are promoting this is saying its weird or different is wrong

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      You know that “media hype” is specifically the goal of someone trying to promote and sell media, right?

  15. DaveCarr DaveCarr says:

    i agree with what you’ve written here, but I think that plenty of work could be done to address the low selling nature of books featuring minority characters of race, gender, and disability if said comics were marketed differently, outside the Wednesday crowd of 200,000 Wednesday readers. That’s happening, but slowly. And is in some ways that is a bigger and more difficult seismic shift to pull off

  16. wyn wyn says:

    well,i think DC really was shooting from behind the overturned table,so to speak. really playing it safe.i say this because they are doing it in an alternate earth book,much like what marvel did in astonishing x-men.i can only assume that they wont do that in their main “universe”.

  17. mark. mark. says:

    anyone else think this is a really interesting opportunity to tell a story about an older person coming out later in life? i’ve known a handful of men who accepted their true sexual identity well into adulthood– some after being in a hetero marriage and having kids — and that process of being really honest with who seemed to be a pretty critical turning in their lives. given that alan scott is a legacy character and would have grown up in a time when to be gay was less accepted by the public, it seems like a natural fit.

  18. MaxPower MaxPower says:

    @Josh so did I, it was very very good. Christopher Plummer was phenomenal.

  19. azrael1981 azrael1981 says:

    so they made alan gay? i guess when you see the big picture it doesnt really matter. i for one cannot wait to read the storyes. how are they gonna separate alan from the rest of the lantern corps and are they gonna give his powers a new origin that will make him an even more powerfull character? is he still gonna have the weakness to wood thing? is grundy gonna be his nemesis again? im rerally looking forward to all this.gay or not gay earth 2 looks like a promising way to restart the master of the green flame.

  20. Volcaos says:

    This. The only way to meaningfully diversify the DC universe is by tweaking established characters. New characters not only rarely sell, but do little to change the company’s image. This is not the only new “new 52″ gay character, there’s that guy from teen titans as well, but no one cares about him because he’s new and there’s no emotional attachment. What people have to learn is that the fact that some character is gay does not in any way diminish him, and in the hands of someone as talented as Robinson it can only be a good thing.

  21. JohnDoe101 says:

    I think I love you… This is literally exactly how I feel… and that 8-14 line made me laugh so much XD

  22. scottsisco scottsisco says:

    Wow! I’m really impressed with how mature the dialogue has been on this board. I love this site so much :)

  23. mikegraham6 mikegraham6 says:

    the love lives of batman, superman, wonder woman or whoever never interested me to begin with. it’s not why i read these books, so DC, feel free to make them all gay. it won’t really affect my enjoyment as long as you keep up the action and adventure that i love in my comics

    • stuclach stuclach says:

      Yep.

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      Well said. Thread over.

    • mark. mark. says:

      i’ll agree with this statement and add some qualifications.

      the part for me that is important to remember is that superheros are human characters (even the gods and squirrel girl and groot). i loves me some action and adventure, but i want something human as well. i define pretty broadly – whether its more of a psychological investigation (i kill giants, watchmen), political ramifications (y the last man, watchmen again), or something more emotional (that issue of spider-man that was just on great moments in comics this week). sexuality is valid another component of that. i think if we ignore those important aspects, then comics become issue after issue of bam! pow! hulk smash! which *totally* has its place, just not all the time.

      so, for me it’s less of a “i don’t care about sexual orientation and it doesn’t matter” and more of a “it really does matter and it’s a valid topics to be discussed because it says something about us as people.” just as long as the story is good.

      wow. sorry about the diatribe, ya’ll.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      what @mark. said. Word.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      I agree with mark. as well. If they took the human relationships and romance out of superhero comics they’d get really boring really quickly.

    • mikegraham6 mikegraham6 says:

      @Mark, Josh &Conor I can agree with that. Basically what i was trying to get at was that a character’s relationships aren’t the driving force that draws me to superhero books, it’s an added bonus. So making them gay or straight won’t really affect my enjoyment as long as the superheroics part is done well enough. it’s all icing on the cake.

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      @mikegraham6 I would have to state the reverse of this. It is most certainly the relationships and humanity that interest me in these stories. Sure some big action sequences are fun and all, but why would I bother to read about these characters if I don’t care about them and the people that they care about? The superheroics are the bonus for me. It’s the quiet moments that turn me on. The emotional parts keep me hanging on, waiting for the next big one…

    • Mark is spot on…the story is what matters. If the love life of any character is handled skillfully it will add to the story.

  24. NJBaritone NJBaritone says:

    As a gay man, I hereby commandeer the phrase “go full queer” as my own.

  25. LucasEwalt says:

    I just want to read a good story. All the bitching and moaning about how much the industry sucks, for whatever reason, is why I don’t usually hang around or talk to other comic book enthusiasts.

  26. Mark_S says:

    “Do you see how the publisher cannot possibly win? How in the sweet flames of Hell does one bring those contradictions to accord, and still meet their goal of selling enough comic books to remain profitable and in business?”

    So basically it is all my fault? Being able to afford only 4 to 8 comics per week I’m just not buying the right ones? Instead of buying comics I know I might like I should just buy comics that feature new ideas? I’m sorry I’m not being the right kind of fan.

    I don’t mind if Alan Scott is gay, in comics I’ve read of romances and sex between Howard the Duck and Beverly Swiztler, between Swamp Thing and his wife… as Harley Quinn said when she went to hell love is love, it doesn’t make judgements. I’m not buying USM because I gave up on any Spiderman after OMD/BND, Batwoman’s orientation does not affect my buying of her title, I read Girls WIth Slingshots and don’t care that the characters are gay there.

    So if you are going to call fans on not buying the right titles then I think you should start naming specific fans. You want to be mad at fans who don’t like titles then name the fans. Leave me out of it.

    Mark_S

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      No idea what you think you’re taking blame for. I didn’t call for you to buy or even like this book.

    • Mark_S says:

      You’re implicitly stating that one of the reasons this sort of thing turns off readers is that readers don’t like change, yet call for change. I’m a reader, I don’t mind change, yet you lump me into the group that doesn’t react well to this.

      “Yet eventually, the tellers of stories, even stories told solely for the financial continuation of a multinational conglomeration are going to dab their antipodal feet out in one direction or another, and when it comes to comics, it makes NO ONE happy at all.”

      No one? You know this in advance? You know every single comic fan?

    • diebenny diebenny says:

      I’ve stated it before: If you’re innocent chill, only the guilty are catching offense.

      I’m now here to induct you into the aforementioned “Taking Things Too Literally” club. Welcome and be anxious.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      And I’ve got no idea how to respond to that.

      But here is something crazy… I am a comic book reader, and I’m not referring to myself. But have I seen hundreds and hundreds of examples of this in my life as a media professional in the comic book industry? Yes I have. If you don’t trust that, then I’m not someone you want to be reading.

    • Mark_S says:

      Sorry, but I’ve spent a long live being lumped in with one group or another and I’m old enough to remember when being lumped in to the group known as comic book fans meant being lumped literally at school. When I see a blanket statement I react.

  27. CaseyJustice CaseyJustice says:

    As always happens when I read a WWWY column, I’m introduced to a ridiculous trend among certain segments of fans that I have no knowledge of (I really only visit iFanboy and CBR for comic info/discussion).

    People are actually mad about this? How silly.

    • CaseyJustice CaseyJustice says:

      BTW, I think I’m in the 8-14 member group of Alan Scott fans, and I can’t friggin’ WAIT for more Earth 2! I know this makes me an even huger nerd, but I love when characters get new costume designs.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      You know what I didn’t make clear? I LOVE Alan Scott.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @Josh: I miss having a great JSA book to talk about on the show. Hopefully this will be it. (And with Robinson, I don’t doubt it will be.)

    • kennyg kennyg says:

      I miss having a great JSA book to read, but I don’t think this is gonna be it for me. Robinson wrote my favorite series of all time, Starman, and his Golden Age mini was what got me interested in the JSA to begin with. But this is not the JSA. You can call it the JSA, you can have characters with the names and powers of the old JSA members in it, but it’s not the same. This is the New Coke JSA. It’s called the same thing, but it tastes… wrong, to me.

      And I’m not talking about a character being made gay – Robinson can make them all pan-sexual belly button fetishists for all I care. This book will not have the relationships, the legacies, or the inter-generational aspects that made the JSA special and unique.

      Enjoy your New Coke.

    • @CaseyJustice: Unfortunately, people still have a hate/problem with those who not just like them. About a month ago, I was getting on the train and heard three boys (late teens) hurling gay slurs at each other as they got off at the same stop. I was told they did this the whole ride through. Whatever their intent was I don’t, but at the very least it’s offensive not just to anyone who is gay, but all of us. And without care they were spitting these slurs in earshot of everyone. Earlier this week in my city, two gay rights activists (who are not gay) were stabbed because they were mistaken for being gay. And on it goes…

      We still need to have these discussions. Just because someone says its not a problem for him, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it. That’s sweeping a very important problem under the rug. I’m not suggesting this is you specifically, btw, but there are those on this thread with that attitude.

    • CaseyJustice CaseyJustice says:

      @TreeotSA – I couldn’t agree more. Open and level-headed discourse about these issues is the only way to help combat the hatred and ignorance running so rampant in our society.

      You’re absolutely right that simply dismissing violent and hurtful reactions to issues such as these is not helpful, but for the life of me, I can’t bring myself to fill up with righteous fury against people who are seriously angry that a FICTIONAL PERSON has been recreated with a different sexual orientation. I don’t have it in me anymore. The Ultimate Spidey debacle drove it out of me.

      Discourse and discussion is one thing, but authentic rage over gay superheroes is a level of foolishness that I can no longer dignify.

  28. BionicDave BionicDave says:

    A friend who doesn’t read comics emailed me this morning to ask: “So… Green Lantern’s gay??” As we’ve seen, some media outlets have sound-bitten this story into a one-liner. Which is a shame. I wonder how many people are now walking around thinking that Ryan Reynolds played a gay superhero in the movies last summer. (Though, if people are walking around thinking about that Green Lantern movie at all, perhaps that’s a good thing.) I replied to my friend’s email thusly: “Well… a character on a comic book parallel Earth who is based on the original Green Lantern from the 1940s is gay, yeah.” I then confirmed that the more famous Green Lantern from SuperFriends and last summer and the current Saturday morning CGI series is (still) straight. My friend replied to that, saying “it sounds like much ado about nothing, then.” But I corrected him, assuring him that as a gay longtime comic book reader, it makes me happy to see DC Comics trying to do something to represent gays more than they have. And that this new Alan Scott story is being penned by James Robinson – a writer who’s proven himself writing great tales of both Golden Age heroes and gay heroes – so there’s a wonderful chance this could be done very, very well.

    I admit, when I first heard it was going to be Alan Scott, I cringed. Mostly because I know how sour so many straight fanboys can be when a heretofore straight comic character is reinvented as gay. Also, in the time between DC’s initial announcement and the big scoop reveal that it was Alan Scott, I had read about (and conceived myself) other interesting ways DC could have gone with a new gay character, so it was a bit of a let down knowing none of those directions would be taken. But as the days went on, and I had time to wrap my head around the whole Alan Scott thing, I saw its potential. And frankly? After the first issue of EARTH 2, I was thinking of dropping the book, lol. But now they’ve pulled me back in. The title’s got a brand new hook, and who knows – I might end up loving what Robinson does with Alan Scott as well as the other re-tweaked JSAers I read about and loved every month on the fantastic Robinson/Goyer/Johns run of the former JSA title. So bring it on!

    • JesseCuster says:

      I see all these people talking about ‘the people who’ll be mad about this’, but have yet to actually have read any hateful comments about it.

      I’m sorry, I do sort of understand why people are anticipating hate… but there’s no reason to put the cart before the horse. Sometimes a pre-emptive attempt to curb such things comes off as foolish.

  29. electricv01 electricv01 says:

    I like that they made Alan is gay. And I am glad they are trying to diversify the universe.

    However, my issue is that Alan is so young. Being young eliminates his son Obsidian, a strong gay character, and his daughter Jade, a strong female character, from existence. Trading two diverse characters for one. That’s not progressive. That feels like one step forward, two steps back to me.

  30. NOK NOK says:

    The problem is not DC/Marvel or whoever else you want to blame. The problem is you humble readers. You get so attached to these fictional characters and follow them whether they are being well written or not, whether there is the kind of diversity and struggle that exists in the real world or there is this whitewashed world of beautiful people always winning. All the while you waste your time and money on the same old stories. There is great original stuff out there but you won’t take a chance. Naturally the market is going to take cues from their audience. Why has this become a spectacle? well because you “guys” can’t keep your opinions to yourself even when you claim to not care. “This is lame and I don’t care but let me write a reactionary comment.”

    The reboot made things more confusing for me honestly because so much has not really changed while other things have changed or been deleted. I thought there would be greater changes and more diversity. I thought DC was telling their readers we are doing something new here and if you don’t like it there is more fish in the sea. But they are not doing anything new besides giving Swamp Thing and Animal Man the kind of creators they deserve. Still, where are the black people at? and Latinos? or mixed race people? Or where is the comic that could appeal to girl tweens? or that deals with veteran suffering from ptsd? Believe it or not all the above read comics and there are only a few of us because we put up with the bull shit while others don’t. Oh yeah they are not strong enough to hold their own books? because that kind of stuff can only happen in independent comics? where creators don’t pander to established readers!

    In the spirit of the reboot making a character gay does not seem like a big deal but it is. Gay people read comics and they want to see gay characters. To just make him gay and it not be a big deal is kind of simplifying the issue. Your sexuality does not change your heroic character? Uhh HELL YEAH it does, it makes you more heroic unless you grew up in some kind of idealistic family that accepts you for who you are because unfortunately that is not the usual case! If they don’t address the issue of coming out, of how much it hurts to know that having a kid with the person you love is going to be a long and complicated process, and all the other facets of being gay in a world that is not ready to understand you then it just means Alan Scott has a cute (asain?) boyfriend, and that is a shame.

    This can be a move in the right direction but I doubt it. Why? because since Greg Rucka left Batwoman, nothing at DC or Marvel has made me say: Finally!

    And Josh, Stephanie Brown was doing great on her solo book, who cares if the sales were not great. I believe it was cancelled to make way for Barbara Gordon as Batgirl not because it could not hold its own.

  31. jackietam jackietam says:

    So wait, now that Alan Scott is gay, does that mean Jade no longer exist?

    Damn. I like her a lot in the old Judd Winick Green Lantern run.

  32. Josh I like you a lot personally and as you know truly enjoy your work as a fellow commentator on the comic biz, and the following is not meant as an attack , but as a disagreement of your “arguments/reasons” presented in this story.

    Unlike the arbitrary numbers of “8-14 alan scott fans” or that “95% of the comic reading audience doesn’t know who Alan Scott is.” .. here’s some real sales numbers to consider…

    http://www.comicsbeat.com/2011/10/12/dc-comics-month-to-month-sales-august-2011/

    In its last 6 months the pre new 52 sales (NOT store pre-order numbers) of the last Justice Society comics averaged about 25,000. its last issue was in the top 100 of diamond issue sales (85

    In the 2000′s JSA & Justice Society Of America was a top 10-20 book, and Alan Scott has been featured in DC books in every decade since they brought the JSA back in the early 60′s.

    So, by all means Josh, tell me again that Alan Scott is a character with a tiny fan base , and that today’s readers don’t know who he is.

    Has the new 52 wiped all memory of what was on the stands less than a year ago?

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      John, it’s an obvious humorous use of exaggeration for dramatic effect. Josh doesn’t actually believe that Alan Scott only has 8-14 fans.

    • Geez Conor, I’m well aware of that, but Josh’s general theme still is that this is a character that doesn’t have that big of a fan base .

      All I’m saying is that the sales numbers, and the fact that DC Direct has continued to create new GL/AS products like toys , statues action figures etc..and the mere fact that DiDio referred to AS as an “iconic character” at KAPOW likely suggests otherwise.

      There’s an obvious reason why Alan Scott & Jay Garrick are repped in every incarnation of the JSA since their 60′s revival. He’s #2 only to Jay as the top dogs of the AA line, and again I’m thrilled that James Robinson loves AS as much as I do.

    • kennyg kennyg says:

      I think any of us who have heard the podcast know Josh’s personality. The thing is, it’s a lot more obvious when you can HEAR him that he is being funny or sarcastic. I don’t know why it is, but some people don’t get the jokes in print. There is no inflection or tone like there is in speech. They take written word as an expression of fact for some reason, which they must dispute since it is obviously incorrect. Or it may come across as dismissive, terse, or demeaning. This is why my wife and I frequently get angry when texting each other – there’s no tonal context to the message. It comes across as terse or rude or angry. Instead, we call each other and talk like grownups!

    • abstractgeek says:

      perhaps josh should lay off the exaggerating for comic effect. it seems to be distracting from the point.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @John Suintres: If you understand, then I don’t understand the confusion. Here’s what Josh is saying:

      Take the population of the world and then drill down to the comics fans and then within that drill down to the Alan Scott fans. It’s a relative few against the whole population. That’s what Josh is saying.

      And keep in mind, Josh LOVES Alan Scott. I LOVE Alan Scott. Ron LOVES Alan Scott. No one here is slagging off Alan Scott.

    • Sorry Conor but that ISNT what Josh wrote

      “As far as 95% of comic readers go, Alan Scott is a 70 year old blank slate. It’s not that no one knows who he is, it’s just that no one really cares.”

      this is no different than in politics or sports. when you throw numbers around, you better be willing and able to back them up.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      A lot of people don’t like or give a shit about Alan Scott. I would guess most of the people reading comics. You know as well as I do that there aren’t studies or polls about character popularity, and I’ve got to go with my gut. Anyone using actual numbers is making them up.

    • ghettojourno ghettojourno says:

      @conor I think that it’s less of a comment on slagging Alan Scott and more of a diminishing of whatever Alan Scott fanbase there is out there. John doesn’t seem to appreciate being relegated to a minority within a minority, especially when it could be argued that being interested in Alan Scott is not a minority interest.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @ghettojourno: I don’t see how you can argue that being interested in Alan Scott puts one in the majority. He certainly has his passionate fans, but you’d be hard pressed to convince anyone that it’s the majority of comic fans. Liking almost anything in comics beyond a handful of characters/titles/creators is being a minority within a minority.

    • never said a majority Conor, just saying it’s probably more than the d-list status than Josh and you are suggesting?

      and again I’m basing this on sales and continued production of alan scott based products…

      but by all means , you and Josh go with your guts…ewww ;)

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @John Suintres: First off, I never said he was D-list.

      But people saying that he is popular among the majority of comic book fans is not accurate. The sales numbers don’t bare it out (most of the people reading JSA left when Johns did), and you know as well as I do that Formerly Known as DC Direct only needed 1000-2000 passionate Alan Scott fans to produce profitable collectables.

    • MaxPower MaxPower says:

      I don’t like seeing mommy and daddy fight.

    • CAM CAM says:

      @MaxPower Gold, comedy gold.

    • I love comics and have a lot of friends that love comics, yet Almost none of us would say that Allan Scott is one of our Top Characters. So I would say that “8-14″ range is pretty close.

  33. BrianHuberd BrianHuberd says:

    Understanding what Josh wrote in this very fine article, and that DC has a very difficult position with respect to the three points he makes, I think DC is being a bit disingenuous.

    Of course I’m not enraged that it’s Alan Scott, or infuriated that it’s a member of the Green Lantern family. What angers me is that not only does Earth 2 #2 have Alan Scott literally flaming on the cover, but DC chickened out and chose the brand name (Green Lantern) for the public recognition (what there is of it). Then the details are that it’s the alternate universe version and a completely different guy than what you see every week on the Cartoon Network show, essentially shoving him into a parallel dimension closet. Good work, DC. Good work. If they had the guts and wanted it to be a Green Lantern, and a human one, then there’s Kyle Rayner, who more suits the description for when DC said it was going to be a major character that everyone knows. Or even better, maybe Billy Batson if they didn’t want to go with a Green Lantern.

    Marvel outclassed DC on this by a factor of 100 with the Northstar wedding.

    My opinion, I respect yours, please respect mine. That was a very fine article, Josh, and since it IS James Robinson, I’ll certainly be reading and know it’ll be good. I just wish it was something in the main DCU, that’s all.

    • saz_bby saz_bby says:

      I was staying cautiously optimistic about this until I saw the cover image. I can’t believe that they let that through. While I’m sure the artists didn’t mean anything by it, I think the editors made a BIG mistake letting it go to print. It leaves the book and character open for a lot of cheap shots from people who aren’t open minded enough to accept Alan as a gay character.

      I completely agree on the Northstar point. The story is really compelling, and I can’t wait to see more of it.

    • @BrianHuberd & saz_bby: I asked the same question earlier and basically, part of his power is this eternal flame that engulfs him.

  34. icn1983 icn1983 says:

    The question really is: why is diversity a good thing in comics? I think the answer is that it allows you tell more stories. People from different cultures or ethnic backgrounds allow writers and artists draw upon their histories and mythologies. LGBT characters allow writers to face prejudice from foes and friends alike. Characters with mental disorders afford a different way of looking at the world and add an additional layer of internal conflict, no matter how broadly drawn. As for why these other characters didn’t work, it’s the fault of the creators for not using them in a way that was compelling enough for fans, publishers for not going the extra mile to promote them, and readers for not being more open minded.

  35. abstractgeek says:

    for the record i am one of the 14 alan scott fans, and james robinson is not our king. king imples some sort of divine anointment. We are a democracy and robinson is our president, elected in 1997 with an 9-3 vote (2 people were absent) when Roy Thomas stepped down.

    i am far more bothered by the changes to the costume. He was among the last vestiges of puffy shirts in comics. even doctor strange lost his billowing sleeves.

    • I too will miss the puffy shirt

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      Oh, the costume is awful.

    • ok Josh, now you’re dead to me ;)

    • MaxPower MaxPower says:

      Purple and green and red. Highest collar ever. Gotta respect bold choices.

    • abstractgeek says:

      i find it funny that in supergods, grant morrison goes on quite a bit about alan scott’s flamboyantly gay costume, saying something like even liberace wouldnt wear it. now when his is actually gay, he gets a pretty bland costume.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      No no, the new costume is awful. I liked old Alan Scott in the old outfit. The new Jay costume is even worse.

    • k5blazer k5blazer says:

      I’m with Josh in the Alan Scott costume, it’s not as bad as the last pre-52 incarnation where he looked like a an actual lantern….that was truly awful…but I like the old/original costume myself.

    • captamerica101 captamerica101 (@Autobot_Hunter) says:

      i prefer the old costume as well, even though i find it funny that it has far more red than it does green.

    • The LANTERN is Green, the rest is up to him.

    • ed209AF ed209AF says:

      Yeah i feel they could have done a nice modernization on the old costume instead of just scrapping it all together.

    • Morrison’s call that Alan Scott’s uniform is “gay” is one point of super gods that I find a bit disingenuous and frankly a bit insulting to the creators of the 40′s who were just making heroes based on film and pulp influences of that specific era.

      Super-Heroes were mostly known as “Costumed Heroes” (hear Will Eisner describe what Busy Arnold wanted The Spirit to be) , and in the era of such period hero films as Zorro, Robin Hood & Captain Blood , it wasn’t far fetched to put masked heroes in similar costumes. Just like the tights other heroes wore came from circus acrobats and strongman uniforms.

      I agree the look may seem silly looking today, but it’s no different than films like The Terminator or Robocop influencing the comics of that era.

    • sitara119 sitara119 says:

      well fuck me. i like the new costumes.
      especially alan not having the pirate shirt and dracula cape anymore.
      a change of clothes is refreshing.

  36. saz_bby saz_bby says:

    While I have been disappointed by the way DC is handling this announcement, I have to agree with Josh a little bit. As much as this was taking the path of least resistance for the sake of sales, it’s still a step forward. A tiny step, but a step none the less.

    I’ve decided to look at this as a catalyst for change. It’s not earth shattering, and the story will more than likely be shoved to the background soon enough, but it does show that people are trying. Creative power-houses still have to answer to the powers that be, so we now just have to wait until the powers that be care less about sales and more about representing the human race.

    • mgriffith mgriffith says:

      +1. I couldn’t have said those thoughts better.

    • ed209AF ed209AF says:

      The problem with caring less about sales is then the books go away all together because the business will fail. To both Marvel and DC’s credit they have created new characters of different races, religions, sexual prefences etc. and most of them just don’t do well sales wise, which from what i understand is important to a business.

      I am really happy this i happening, but at the same time i think it says a lot about entitlement for people to think they deserve old characters to be changed to fit in with their lifestyles.
      I personally think that publishers have tried pretty hard to “represent the human race” but sometimes the sales just aren’t there. Other times they are, look at Batwoman.

  37. zlbenson zlbenson says:

    Some of these petty arguments about semantics wouldn’t happen if sarcasm wasn’t the default tone for so many folks. Sarcasm is funny in well placed doses, otherwise its an irritating personality trait. But… ya know, the internet.

  38. Cal-eb says:

    I know this may seem a little offensive but I think one of the reasons minority characters don’t really always work is that the writers are sensitive to not protraying ethnic stereotypes that they make every character act like a stereotypical wasp. People from different backgrounds and cultures talk, dress, and behave differently and have different life experiences. Thats one of the things that annoys me about Miguel Morales. I would have loved to see a Spiderman become a hero while comming from a more (lacfk of a better term) ghetto background. The vast majoriy of mixed race children don’t come from a stable middle class nuclear family and attend a gifted prep school. I guess they are trying to be PC or set a good example, but its kind of insulting to expect a kid from the projects to identify with a character based soley on his skin color when he doesn’t share any life experiences. Morales is not the black or mexican Spiderman. he’s pretty much just Peter Parker with a tan. I guess its better than going in the entirely other direction and having him swing around with his costume sagging, but its still a little insulting

    • saz_bby saz_bby says:

      Um…it’s Miles Morales. Have you read any of the Ultimate Spider-Man comics with him in it? Obviously not, so you probably shouldn’t use him as an example. Just saying.

    • I was bummed that Peter Parker was killed off. A bold choice if there ever was one. The race of Miles wasn’t of concern to me.

    • Smasher says:

      Ok. First off we’ve only had 10 issues of Miles Morales as Spidey so we should hold a little bit judgement.
      That said, all races identified with Peter Parker as Spider-Man. Why can’t the same be so with Miles?

  39. If there’s one thing I would wish upon a star to come true, it would be these silly ass articles/arguments you see all over the internet when someone jumps to the defense. “The fans say don’t do X, so company does Y, and then fans say don’t do Y! They can’t win! What is wrong with you guys!?!?”

    Like fans are this giant hivemind that all have one voice that can be covered up with blanket statements and wagging fingers.

  40. iSpiderMan says:

    The only iconic DC character that makes sense to be gay is Wonder Woman. Why? She grew up on an island of girls/women. She would, naturally, either be bisexual or lesbian. I’m not being funny or sarcastic.

    • CaseyJustice CaseyJustice says:

      Why is she the only one, though? Lots of people are gay who didn’t grow up on a single-gendered island.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      That’s incredibly ignorant and wrong headed.

      If you grow up around blond people, that doesn’t make you blond.

    • MisterShaw MisterShaw says:

      If you grow up with bald people, it does make you bald, though.

      @iSpiderMan: you may not have been being funny or sarcastic, but your facts are way off. I grew up in a house full of women (1 of the things said to cause gayness, traditionally) and am straight as an arrow. Girls who go to all-girls schools growing up still come out liking dudes. The % of a population that is homosexual stays pretty close to the same across all population sub-groups; so while Wonder Woman being gay wouldn’t be offensive (and would have been a more bold choice for DC), it wouldn’t be any more or less likely than Alan Scott.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      That was more useful than what I said. I can admit that much.

    • I believe that the point being made was that since Wonder Woman’s people live all their lives isolated from any men, the only option besides the solitary would be another woman. That may indeed not change the number of actually gay Amazonians but could conceivably lead to a more open minded view and sexual practice. The difference between this and the all girls school example is the complete, lifelong isolation from the opposite sex.

      Just playing devils advocate. I rather give someone the benefit of the doubt for the strongest possible interpretation of their statements. It was a couple lines of text that the worst has been assumed of; we shouldn’t be so quick to label so harshly.

    • kennyg kennyg says:

      I think Nick Fovargue makes a valid point. In fact, wasn’t lesbianism among the Amazons addressed in the WW comic at one point in the last 10 years or so?

    • troy3825 troy3825 says:

      Agree with Nick. I also took iSpiderMan’s comment in this light, and agree with him. To amplify the point, there is a modern idea (not in the “classic” mythology) that the Amazons were lesbians, AND they have become a symbol to some lesbians and lesbian groups. Because Amazons are more of a mythological culture than an historic culture, science and sociology do not really apply. Given this, I hope Josh and MisterShaw reconsider their somewhat harsh comments to iSpiderMan.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      Nope.

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      I’m no expert on Wonder Woman, but in the New 52, the Amazons obtain and use men for procreation on a pretty regular basis. How else would they create new generations of Amazons?

      So regardless of whether you think homosexuality is caused by nature or nurture, the idea that Amazons are probably homosexuals because there aren’t any men around doesn’t necessarily hold up.

      However, I can accept the suggestion that Amazonian culture might be very open and accepting of homosexual relationships because of their isolation and cultural opinions of men.

  41. zombox zombox says:

    I… Just don’t think this is that big a deal. Gays, as characters, have been accepted in media for over a decade now. The only thing noteworthy in this event is that this is the first ‘well known’ character of the big two to be gay. We had the ‘big deal’ with Northstar in the 90s, again with Appollo and Midnighter and I think we’re over this as a big deal now. Can we get back to telling me cool stories? I don’t care who’s naughty parts any of them are interested in.

  42. ed209AF ed209AF says:

    I have a question, and I am prefacing this that in no way am I against characters being gay, black, jewish, Indian, etc. As long as the stories are great I am there

    Does it say something about entitlement that at conventions fans blatantly ask “why aren’t there more gay (or black, jewish, etc) characters?”. I feel that the publishers aren’t in this position for lack of trying. There are dozens of new characters created every year and so few of them stick. It is just recently that the publishers have started finding ways to take existing characters and changing them to be more multicultural. Maybe I am seeing this wrong, but that is the way it seems to me.

    Why is it that these communities seem to only be happy when an old character is changed over? But not when publishers make an attempt at a new character?Even if it fails, is it not an attempt?

    maybe that’s just me.

  43. xoman xoman says:

    Wow, just… wow.

    Not a fan of Alan Scott, don’t know anyone who is. I don’t care who would be writing or drawing the book, but there’s now way you could say that a Alan Scott Green Lantern book would sell. I LOVED Johns’ JSA but I can’t really say I’m a fan of any of those characters except for Black Adam. I was a fan of the BOOK.

    Don’t care if Alan Scott is gay or not and it seems really dumb that it’s such a big deal. I do think it’s weird of DC to make such a big change to an historic character, but if the book is good…

  44. I’ve been a huge fan of Alan Scott (and Jay Garrick) since coming back to comics. Admittedly, it was because of the costume and I’m sure that’s a big ‘no no’ for some (another Commandment?). But after reading Johns JSA and other stories involving Scott (Brubaker did a great story with him and Batman during his Detective run) and I’ve absolutely adored him as a character.

    This news of him being gay changes absolutely nothing about my opinion on him. As long as this change is written tastefully and not done for shock then this will mean nothing in the long run. My only problem with this is how DC has marketed the whole thing. They’re battling with Marvel on who can put as many ‘gay stories’ into their work and that’s just stupid. Being gay is normal and it shouldn’t be used to drive up sales. I know that’s why they’re doing it but it feels pretty insulting to me that they’re using this as a tactic to fight for sales against their rivals. I know this turns into a whole other issue on being gay as a whole in this country but it should be noted: BEING GAY IS NORMAL!

    I do have one thing to add though: Please Robinson….for the love of god….change the costume back to the original. I beg you.

  45. Kzinti says:

    @iroberts007, think your comments a bit unfair to us straight white males. Why would we not understand? By your statement then you would not understand what it is like being a straight white male. You do not have to be of one race or sex or lifestyle to have empathy or understanding of anothers plight. It is not as rare as you think for a straight white male to be beat up, I should know as I have been bullied all my life. Why, because I’m a geek, a nerd, different from the norm. I’m almost 50 and still have people snicker in my face, put me down almost on a daily basis. Political Correctness, just like any thing else can be taken to an extreme.

    I take Firevines comments to simply mean that they simply want a character thas is believeable, wether they are gay or not, rather then some forced character that is simply done to make happy with the PC world.

    All I am trying to say is that not all white straight males are bad people, some of us are down to earth and can be friends with anyone, can listen and understand.

    • Firevine Firevine says:

      You are correct in saying I just want a character that is believable. Renee Montoya, Apollo and Midnighter, and a handful of others I can’t think of right off hand are, and I like those characters. Even Kevin Keller seems “real”, and I haven’t even read an issue of his series.

      Batwoman, the kid from Avengers Academy whose name I can’t remember because the arc I read was atrocious, Bunker, and even Northstar seem a bit forced, and I don’t care for them.

  46. Flashfanatic says:

    Would’ve rather have seen 1 of the younger characters such as Connor Hawke, Victor Stone or even Tim Drake (I mean imagine having to come out to Batman?) being gay as it would be more realistic to young gay people.

  47. WheelHands WheelHands says:

    Sigh. Why is it that every time I take a day or two off from the site, something monumental happens? I heard that the mystery character was Alan Scott from my little sister, who despite living with/near me for 23+ years, has never cracked open a single comic book.

    I check the site on and off for about eight hours a work day, but it seems that really important stuff only happens in the comic book community on my days off. Lesson learned; take more days off.

    To distill my thoughts and opinions on the change, I’ll just say that this change can only be a good thing. DC wanted to diversify their universe. Their reasons (I’m sure) were many, and the reasons don’t really matter. They knew that to truly do that, they had to start with existing/popular characters, and the New 52 gave them the perfect opportunity to do so. Robinson had a change in mind that made sense, so they seized the day. Anyone who thinks that wasn’t the only way to do this is beyond reason. Personally, the change, however small (and it IS a small change), makes me excited for something new. I really enjoyed the first issue, and honestly can’t wait to see what other surprises lay around the corner.

  48. VichusSmith VichusSmith says:

    If DC wants to sell a new character (gay or otherwise) maybe they should actually invest in attracting new readers (not this New 52 reb-mix) so they don’t have to worry about the old readers who try something new–then drop it in favor of the few Justice League members they like.

    I thought this reveal is lame, and even if Superman was revealed to be gay, I wouldn’t care. Being gay is like hair color to me. I don’t think any outsider who read/saw this in the news cares enough to pay attention to DC either.

  49. thered thered says:

    i think it’s a good thing, anyway you slice it. i enjoyed spider-man as a teenager because i related to peter parker as a goofy teen that got picked on at school, and i looked up to him as a role model. i’m sure there are a lot of gay kids that get picked on at school that could look up to someone as courageous as alan scott.

    at first i got held up by the word “iconic”, i actually wanted a more iconic character. lots of kids say they want to grow up to be spider-man or batman or superman, but probably no kids want to grow up to be alan scott from earth-2. but there are probably some kids that want to be green lantern when they grow up. actually, alan scott might be the most high profile gay character i can think of. he’s more high profile than northstar or bunker. the toss-up is between alan scott and batwoman.

  50. If a coach starts listening to the fans he winds up sitting with them.

  51. SkonOfVulcan says:

    I don’t see a paradox here. Characters who represent diversity can be brought in as “supporting cast” for Supes, Bats, Wonder Woman and Hal Jordan. Another point: Perhaps there is actually no contradiction in the first place, because comicbook-readers aren’t entirely honest at opinion polls. I.e. it could very well be the case that people say in a poll that they want gay, lesbian, etc. characters because they don’t want to appear homophobic or because they feel obliged to political correctness, but actually, they don’t care and they simply want to read entertaining superhero stories and not socio-political commentaries. Another possibility is that readers who want more diversity in characters make themselves heard (in polls, fora, etc.) while the tacit majority just wants conventional superhero stories.
    I don’t know what is true, but you can’t derive a paradox from the data mentioned in the article.

    • I think it can be assumed that people are gay are actually honest about wanting to see gay characters. I also think it would be nothing more than tokenism at best if diversity is relegated to only the supporting cast, don’t you? People who are fans of super heroes but don’t see themselves reflected in comics aren’t hoping to see themselves as the heroes best friend, they are looking to identify with the hero just like the rest of us.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      The idea that having diverse characters is the same thing as making a socio-political statement is a wrong one. When I am around people who are different than me, it’s not a statement about politics, it’s just that there are all kinds of people, and my stories can reflect that without being a PSA.

    • Killraven says:

      For what it’s worth, I don’t mind the changes in sexuality for Alan, my biggest problem with both Marvel and DC is their thought process about marriage. Both companies have done away with heterosexual marriages but it’s ok to have gay marriage? They need to have both. There is no reason that every married hero in the dc universe became single. I don’t go into that whole argument that you can’t tell stories if they are married. If you are a writer and can’t do it, then maybe the fault lies on you not the marriage. Let’s face it, in the real world where at least 40% of marriages end in divorce, we don’t need to see them ending in our fantasy reading too. We read these to have an escape from reality for however many minutes it takes to read it. I don’t know, like I said, I don’t care about the sexuality, but damnit I want my Peter and Mary-Jane, Clark and Lois, Jay and Joan, Barry and Iris, Wally and Linda, and whomever else I forgot. Thats all I’m saying, be fair, have both sexualities represented in marriage.

  52. With this blasphemous new 52 reboot, things have been messed up in so many ways, it’s not even funny and this is one of them. I mean personally, I still believe that sexual orientation has no place in comics. It does not matter that people are gay. Comic books are not people. Introducing sexual interest into comics is a bad road. I read (past tense) comics for the adventure, not who’s sleeping with whom. There are plenty of comics that explore sexual identity in the market and I should not be forced by my once two favorite companies to read half a comic because they fill it personal life stuff. I want to read comics to get away from this world not be reintroduced to it. If readers want to experience real life, GO OUT AND EXPERIENCE IT FOR YOURSELF.
    Not to be a Prude or anything. But sexual Orientation shouldn’t even be a discussion in Comics. The fact that it is part of the New 52, says a lot in itself. I have always liked Green Lantern and to turn him into a Gay Posterboy doesn’t seem right. Of course, nothing seems right with the New 52 now does it?
    Apparently, the current DC with this new 52 only did this for publicity. DC cares about something Green, but that word isn’t followed by Lantern. Good or bad publicity has, in the past, been good for comic sales. Why not write decent stories that win Eisner awards like they used to?
    Either way, this was a bad move from these A-holes in DC right and quite a smack in the face of the true fans and that’s just so not cool. Poor green Lantern. I hope a lot of green lantern fans are pissed about it. I know I am. This is just an absolute disgrace. I want the real DC heroes back!

  53. undertak1983 undertak1983 says:

    I don’t care if there is a girl kissing a girl, a guy kissing a guy, and/or a guy rubbing his stomach and patting his head, jumping on one leg while trying to kiss the girl. It all doesn’t matter as long as it makes sense within the story and moves the plot forward.

    • undertak1983 undertak1983 says:

      In my opinion, comic books would be boring without the reader connecting with a character on some level. Let’s say you have Superman stopping a train to save a woman tied to the tracks. That in of itself is boring. Why should we care? Now let’s say that the woman is Lois Lane and you know that Superman loves her. Now we have a personal connection to the characters and their situation. Just like Superman, wouldn’t you do anything for the one you love? As readers, we can gain insight to the characters relationships through little moments like a kiss here or a hug there. Comics like The Walking Dead thrive because of these personal moments. Sometimes sex is appropriate to a story in order to learn about a character, whether it’s Tony Stark bedding another random woman or a married Storm and Black Panther being intimate. As long as it makes sense within the story. I’m all for Alan Scott being gay as long as it makes a compelling story.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      Sex and Sexual Identity are not the same thing, also.

  54. Bryce31 Bryce31 says:

    Some of these comments on this page scare me.