Tuesday, June 05, 2012
Yes,Virginia,Green Lantern is gay
For awhile now,folks were speculating on which DC Comics superhero would be reintroduced as gay during the recent reboot of the franchise and now we have our answer. In the Earth 2 series(meaning an alternative universe,a standard scenario for comic book changes),it is the Golden Age version of Green Lantern Alan Scott whose new origin will be featured in issue #3.
The reactions to this development have been mixed so far,with many people welcoming the new level of diversity and others either complaining that this
was simply done as a cheap way to boost sales or looking to compete with Marvel who is planning a same sex wedding for one of their X Men characters,Northstar later this month. No doubt the Moral Majority types will be making their opinions heard about this situation as well:
There are those who would prefer that a new character had been created for this purpose rather than change an existing one. I can understand that argument,however there are a couple of flaws there in my opinion. One,it does make more of an impact artistically and socially to give such a dramatic twist to a pop culture persona that just about everyone is familiar with. Also,by introducing the concept of a gay superhero with a whole new character,it does leave the door open(so to speak)for charges of tokenism.
Granted,there's no way to please everyone and that shouldn't be the goal here anyway. What matters is does this change suit the character and I believe that it fits just right in this case. Green Lantern,unlike Superman or Wonder Woman,is an alter ego that can and has been passed on to more than one person which allows for plenty of adjustment and leeway for who wears that particular mantel.
In addition to Alan Scott,we've had Kyle Rayner,John Stewart,Guy Gardner and the best known of the bunch,Hal Jordan,all ordinary human beings who were chosen for their inner virtues as worthy of holding such great power. It's no different that Batman being able to pass on his suit to someone like Terry McGinniss in the animated/comic book series Batman Beyond or for Spiderman in an alternate reality to be a biracial young man(which caused some ruckus amongst the purists,too).
Certain superheroes are self made,determined to avenge injustice and stop the forces of evil on their own merits,which makes them even more relatable to the average person.
Some are chosen,like Green Lantern,to be protectors of our world and that distinction is what separates the nearly god like heroes from a guy or gal wanting to right what once went wrong,when the established powers of law and order can't. Both are great sources for story telling but clearly one type is far more flexible than the other in reflecting the social changes in society.
This doesn't rule out the opportunity for brand new heroes who are gay to appear in pop culture at all. Hopefully,with Green Lantern and Northstar out there to pave the way,gay superheroes will no longer be seen in the future as such a major conundrum:
It's important to note that James Robinson,the writer of this series,sees Alan Scott's sexuality as one of many components of the character's personality and wants to portray him as a strong example of heroism who just happens to be gay. That is the right direction to take this concept in and given that Green Lantern is a member of an intergalactic group of warriors,the timeliness of this change is incredibly suitable. What better way to show that love is universal than demonstrating that belief via the Green Lantern Corps?:
Once the initial surprise wears off,Green Lantern fans may be able to appreciate the revised version of Alan Scott and enjoy a great new set of superhero stories in the bargain. Even non fans may find this updated take on the traditional hero to be more engaging,making this a win-win all around.
Then we can get back to more pressing debate topics like will Ryan Reynolds stay with the GL films,after his first try failed so miserably and should there even be a sequel in the first place? Enquiring minds want to know!:
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