Following Co-publisher Dan Didio’s announcement that a formerly straight DC character was going to be reintroduced as gay, the comics world has been abuzz with guesses as to just who this character might be. While Didio’s comments have ruled out many characters that have already been introduced, that hasn’t stopped folks from expressing who they’d like that character to be. Today, the Retcon Punchers weigh in with their favorite — not necessarily most likely — guesses. Welcome to the Chat Cave.
Drew: I’ve found many occasions to bring this up on this site, but I really think Jason Todd would make a lot of sense as a gay character. In fact, I think his story becomes more compelling if he is gay. Think about it: he’s this incredible exaggeration of the classic younger sibling of an overachiever; he’s always made to feel guilty about every little thing he does differently from the way Dick did things. It’s not a huge leap to think that he may have felt that pressure in his personal life, staying closeted for fear of the way his father (figure) might react. Gay readers may find a great deal to relate to in Jason’s conflict with Bruce, who fundamentally can’t accept him for hard-lined moral reasons (not that I’m comparing homosexuality to murder).
The fact that both Judd Winick, who crafted Jason’s return to life as the Red Hood, and Scott Lobdell, who is currently writing Jason in Red Hood and the Outlaws, have histories of addressing LGBT issues in their comics is enough to make me think that this isn’t such a ridiculous idea. Combine that with how aloof Lobdell has been regarding Jason’s sexuality in Red Hood, and I could almost think Jason is the character Didio is talking about.
I say almost because it’s certainly NOT Jason. Didio has made it clear that this is a character that has yet to be introduced in the New 52, and that this character will become one of DC’s highest profile gay characters, which I think effectively rules out a well-worn second-stringer like Jason. Ultimately, I’ll be happy as long as the reveal has the kind of emotional resonance I see for Jason, which I think is the most natural way to make a big deal out of it.
Peter: Honestly, I’m kinda sick of this LGBT race. I understand that it is important to allow for equality and fair representation in popular media, but the constant changing of comics, be it adding different types of characters, or changing mainstay characters, is very bothersome to me. Whoever they choose is fine, it doesn’t really bother me. What DOES both me is that they will be changing years of history. I can understand that they it makes more sense since this is the New 52, and DC can pretty much do whatever they want. It’s their prerogative to make their product relevant to popular times. I think it would make more sense to introduce a completely new character that is gay and than messing with established characters. By doing so DC may excite and entice new/newer readers, but this could easily alienate readers who have been around for a long time. Also, the fact that this is coming on the coattails of Marvel’s big LGBT event of the year, seems a little reactionary.
But if I were to pick a character, I think it would be pretty interesting to see someone like The Joker. We haven’t seen him yet, and it would totally fit with his insanely crazy personality. It would be pretty interesting of a character development for him, plus with Harley gone, he will need a new sidekick, and it could totally be something like a homoerotic court jester.
Shelby: I think the thing I am most tired of with this DC Outing is the negativity it has spawned. I don’t know why I am constantly surprised by hatred and bigotry, but I always find myself totally unprepared for it. To be honest, I’m not sure what sort of impact this will have; I don’t know if I believe that the character will be written in a way that his homosexuality will have a legitimate impact. Pointing to a fictional person and saying, “You’re gay now,” doesn’t necessarily change anything about that character’s core culture and personality. I’m sure I’d be singing a different tune, were I homosexual and finally beginning to see people like me well-represented in a medium I enjoy. While the move does feel reactionary, not only to Marvel but also to Obama’s evolution of personal policy, I say so what? If the end result is another stride in the right direction towards equality of representation in comic books, does it really matter why DC is doing it?
Personally, I’m pulling for Alan Scott on Earth-2. Writing-wise, it would be the easiest to go with someone from a second wave title, because they don’t really have established arcs yet. Also, outing someone in a parallel universe has the least-reaching consequences to continuity.
Patrick: Oh I say bring it on. Gay-arms race if we have to. I wanna see Gay Hal Jordan, I wanna see transgender Lobo, I wanna see a bisexual Oliver Queen. And I don’t just want them to be LGBT and have it not factor into their lives – straight heroes are always driven by their love interests, their political beliefs or their families. Why shouldn’t the gay characters’ value systems figure into their heroing?
But, we’ve mostly strayed from the assignment here. The question wants my best guess. I appreciate that – even when we claim not to care – we have more to say about the phenomenon than the actual gay character, but do some reckless speculation:
I love Drew’s read on Jason Todd, (I just read the character as gay now) but he’s not quite the “iconic character” DiDio had promised. Crowd favorite seems to be Alan Scott. That’s fine: both he and Jay Garrick seem to be re-invented whole-cloth for the Second Wave. I’m less sold on the Joker suggestion – frankly, if we’re going to go with a Gotham villain, I’d nominate the Riddler. Go ahead: imagine Sassy Gay Riddler and tell me I’m wrong. (Also, Riddler is the only character we’ve mentioned thus far that hasn’t appeared in the New 52 yet.)
The clues point to another character, but this one might be controversial (and/or perfect) or story reasons: Ralph Dibny – the Elongated Man. Previously, Ralph was defined by his relationship with his wife Sue. The story of her murder is probably the saddest thing I’ve read in the medium and it hinges entirely on the strength of their relationship. It would be a bold damn move, but rebuilding Ralph would involve rebuilding his partner as well. That relationship could easily be gay.