DC confirms that Alan Scott is their "outed" gay character

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Ever since Dan DiDio said off-handedly that a DC character would be gay upon their return to the New 52, the internet was rife with discussion about who it might be. Bulleteer? Ambush Bug?  Bat-Mite? Were three people who nobody thought it might be.

But then MTV Geek suggested that the character would be original Green Lantern Alan Scott. Which, officially, DC have now confirmed to be the case. So insecure Batman fans can breathe a sigh of relief, while Wonder Woman fans will look glumly at their feet. Maybe next reboot, you guys.

In interviews published in seemingly every newspaper in Americatoday, EARTH 2 writer James Robinson discusses his decision to change the sexuality of the character upon his reintroduction to the DC Universe:

What I really want to do with this character is make the fact that he’s gay to be a part of who he is and not to be the one identifying aspect of him…  have his humor and his bravery be as much or more a part of him as his sexuality.

And what you can grab from most of the interviews is that this does seem to be a storyline Robinson organically planned, which was simply hijacked by publicists to try and steal some of the limelight from Marvel’s gay marriage. Aware that de-aging Scott would mean Obsidian, Scott’s homosexual son in the previous continuity, would be magically erased from existence, Robinson simply decided that Scott would make a strong gay character instead. Here he is in the next issue of EARTH 2:

 DC confirms that Alan Scott is their "outed" gay character

Tall, isn’t he? And finally, a last quote from Robinson.

Quite honestly, it was an offhand comment that Dan made at a panel in England that got everybody suddenly aware and excited. I’m as surprised by it as you are. This was not ever meant to be sensational. It’s meant to be about a team that’s well-rounded, that shows the diversity of the world around us.

Comments

  1. MARVEL did it?

    Also, can’t wait for the nuDC defenders try out the it’s-NOT-Golden-Age-GREEN-LANTERN that was “turned Gay” here: it’s just a reboot
    new character with the SAME name!

    Silly, silly superhero comics.

  2. It’s too bad that you end up losing an already out gay superhero, Alan’s son Obsidian in the reboot. So the amount of gay superheroes stays the same.

  3. Steve says:

    I’m all for Alan being gay (though I think having the gay hero be “Green Lantern, but not the Green Lantern that people know from the movie or JLU” is a bit weak) but I think it’s silly if his being de-aged apparently means Obsidian can’t show up. Just make him NOT Alan’s son this time. I mean, he’s already got a different last name, and it’s not like his identity is all that dependent on being Green Lantern’s kid.

  4. Wally Strong says:

    Insert your weakness-of-wood jokes below. LOL

  5. Torsten Adair says:

    Okay… everyone in the “real world” will assume that Hal Jordan is gay. Just like how people thought that Spider-Man was black.

    (That is, if the news breaks. I didn’t hear it on the radio this morning.)

    So, points for DC for doing this, but minus-one for doing it in an “alternate” universe. Is Batwoman the only “out” character in the New 52niverse?

    (And as nice as Northstar’s wedding is, it kinda pales to the previous wedding of five years ago, where a lesbian alien (born on Earth) married a trans-gendered alien. And nobody noticed.)

  6. Sooo… GL is gay…. just not the GL anyone actually cares about.

    Huh.

    That was rather uneventful.

    Next story…

  7. Jerry Smith says:

    “This was not ever meant to be sensational.”

    I wonder if he said that with a straight face?

  8. There are a fair few gay supporting characters active in the main DC Universe – in The Flash, for example, they’ve just reintroduced Pied Piper. And then there’s Maggie Sawyer, Bunker also.

    Plus obviously Batman.

  9. Synsidar says:

    DC Editorial would probably have been better off if they had just let Robinson reveal Scott’s sexual identity in the course of the series. Promoting the change as they did will create expectations among readers, especially readers who don’t know superhero comics, that Robinson won’t be able to satisfy.

    SRS

  10. Torsten Adair says:

    I think Batman is asexual.
    He just uses sex as a tactic.

    Given the childhood trauma (and the possible lack of psychiatric care afterwards), I suspect young master Bruce decided to lock away all emotion and become a stoic, analytic individual. Everything is strategy.

    Which might explain the revolving door in the Batcave…

  11. Mikael says:

    DC didn’t promote anything. A question was brought up at a convention panel and they answered it. It was the “comics media” that “promoted” it and blew it up and spread it all over the place. Get your facts straight.

  12. @Jerry Smith; “This was not ever meant to be sensational.”

    I wonder if he said that with a straight face?

    No pun intended?

  13. At least fifteen prominent newspapers are running separate interviews with James Robinson today. DC are absolutely promoting this for as much as it’s worth.

  14. “but I think it’s silly if his being de-aged apparently means Obsidian can’t show up. Just make him NOT Alan’s son this time.”

    Or better yet, MAKE HIM STILL BE ALAN’S SON. Adoption, surrogacy, fosterhood, or even just have in the backstory a young-confused-in-the-closet-reboot Alan Scott have a brief marriage when he’s 20 that resulted in a son. Plus it sets up a delightful Les Cages Aux Folles issue of the comic.

  15. Steve P says:

    “DC Editorial would probably have been better off if they had just let Robinson reveal Scott’s sexual identity in the course of the series. Promoting the change as they did will create expectations among readers, especially readers who don’t know superhero comics, that Robinson won’t be able to satisfy.”

    If they didn’t promote it, nobody would know about it. I doubt people who don’t already read superhero comics were flocking to the Earth 2 series to begin with.

    Truthfully, E2 may not be a terrible choice for new readers, in that it’s self-contained, and has kind of a good hook in the first issue. It’s not much of an introduction to the “real” DCU, but it should be easy to follow in itself.

    (Not that I actually expect this to bring in a significant number of new readers, but points for trying, I guess.)

  16. DC didn’t plan this. You have to give Rich Johnston all the credit or the blame for it. And it’s actually pretty remarkable.

  17. Roberto Briceno says:

    Ever since this stupid “new 52″ crap came out I have been shaking my head over and over. This one ranks up there as number #2 (number #1 is the re-boot). How stupid and lazy.

    Is it that really hard to create a NEW and ORIGINAL character that just happens to be gay in this private life?

    I enjoy Robinson’s work and ideas, but this…woooow…just being lazy without being any thought.

  18. Glenn Simpson says:

    Why would DC need to create a new character to be gay when they have plenty of other characters they are re-introducing to establish as gay?

  19. Glenn Simpson says:

    Why does making a character gay require a huge amount of thought?

  20. I actually really liked the Alan Scott/Rose and Thorn marriage. The hero marrying a villain and having kids thing would have been cool to explore.

  21. You know what would have been cool? If this came through from the story, if the readers found this out first, getting to know the character and understanding what they’re about, rather than having this handed to from a comic news sites.

  22. This should clear up all that confusing DC continuity. Someone at work asked me,

    “So Green Lantern is gay?”

    “Yeah, but not the one pictured in the news or movie. The original GL from 1940. He is now aged back and is young and also lives in a place called Earth 2, which is separate from the DC universe that you know”

    Accessibility accomplished…..

  23. MBunge says:

    Does having this happen this way almost 30 years after John Byrne created an obviously gay, to anyone paying attention, character in Northstar qualify as progress or not?

    Mike

  24. Jerry Smith says:

    Yes Richard, pun intended … :)

  25. PAUL D HOUSTON says:

    Boring.

  26. Thomas Wayne says:

    I said it once…and I will say it again…taking established characters and changing them for the sake of change is a terrible idea (and one that doesn’t look like its going away anytime soon).

    Yes, I get the fact that the character was “rebooted” and it is technically not the original Alan Scott – but that doesn’t whipe away his history in the minds of readers and fans. It’s on par with a killer taking the stand and admitting his guilt only to have the judge say to the jury “disreguard the previous statement..” no matter how hard you try you just can’t do it.

    It’s changes like this, along with the Asian Atom, Spanish Blue Beetle and so on that may have DC feeling diverse (though diversity really isn’t their strong point when you look at the canceled Mr. Terrific and Static Shock books as well as Oracle being yanked from her chair) but in reality all it proves is they are lacking (or worse, lazy) in the creativity department.

    What ever happened to developing characters and letting their stories unfold for the reader to anticipate on a month to month basis? It’s hard to anticipate a comic every thirty days if you already know what’s going to happen inside.DC and Marvel release to much info…they’ve become little more than a series of bad movie trailers giving away all the best scenes or story points before you see the movie.

    Imagine how boring Crisis On Infinite Earths would have been if you new six months in advance that Supergirl and Flash were going to bite it? Would you have been excited about Secret Wars if they had announced that Spidey’s new costume was an alien symbiote before you saw the mysterious black ball cover him in issue # 8? Great stories and great storytelling is about anticipation – the great Jim Thompson once wrote “There is but one plot – nothing is as it seems”. Marvel and DC need this printed on their collective foreheads.

    If you want new, diverse characters (for a bump in sales or for real social diversity) try creating some from scratch and not strip mining characters from the past.

    And if you have to use an already created character do it right – like they did with Batwoman. Take a character that hasn’t been used or sparesly used for the better part of a couple of decades and bring them back in a fresh, socially diverse way. Bring something new to a slightly used or forgotten character and you can make a social statement and tell the story of a character who needs a fresh new take to become relevant.

    Does DC really believe in diversity or do they think they will get a few thousand issue bump out of the announcement that Green Lantern is gay for a month or two before no one cares any more? Do they really believe this makes the character more relevant??

    Like I said – if they cared so much about diversity they’d bring back Oracle and not “out” an alternate version of Alan Scott. This is clearly about selling a few more comics with the sensationalism that will come with GREEN LANTERN IS GAY!!! Gasp…the horror…mother’s turn your tv channels to Fox News and cover your baby’s ears!!! Yep, you get a sales bump for a month or two but not much else.

    You want to sell more comics – TELL GREAT STORIES!!!! This works and has worked forever in any and all storytelling mediums…great storytelling sells the story. Books, comics, movies, whatever…great stories are rememebered and passed on. This is what sells….not sensationalism through controversy.

    Look at trades that have been in print for years (in some cases decades) …Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns, Long Halloween, Killing Joke, God Loves-Man Kills, Crisis on Infinite Earths and so on and so on…these stories are read over and over again by fans, NEW and old on a yearly basis. Why? Because they are worth reading. They are not read over and over again because we changed a characters nationality, religion, sexual orientation or whatever and dropped a press release to alert everyone to said sudden change.

    Look at Sandman, 100 Bullets, Preacher, Y the Last Man, Fables, and James Robinson’s Starman. These series have sold tens of thousands of trade editions and with the exception of Starman have no super heroes in them that were rebooted or changed (and if you really think about it Starman wasn’t changed – The original Starman Ted Knight was there for his son throughout the series until his death, Jack Knight just kind of played Starman because it was thrust upon him after his brother’s death). What sold them? What had readers wanting more? What do they all have in common????

    Say it with me now….GREAT STORIES….

    DC and Marvel have both missed the boat lately…great stories involve great characters…not abrupt characterization.

    I am not alone in this assessment…

    Eric Powell understands this…just check out the Previews solicitaion for Powell’s THE GOON # 39 which just hit the shelves a week ago….

    In order to try to compete with the gimmicks and rehashes of the Big Two superhero companies, Eric Powell has decided to completely sell out and relaunch the Goon in this super-epic, brand new, first-ever first edition of the 39th issue of The Goon! Not only do the Goon and Franky get new costumes, but we also discover there are different-colored versions of the Goon! Green Goon! Red Goon! Blue Goon! Purple Goon! WHAT A PLOT!

    Ladies and gentlemen of the jury…I rest my case.

  27. Torsten Adair says:

    “Is it that really hard to create a NEW and ORIGINAL character that just happens to be gay in this private life?”

    Yes, it is. Ask the average DC fan if they know who Bunker is. While the series is new, it’s too early to see what will happen in Teen Titans.

    But it is refreshing that people tend not to notice unless the media or the publisher make a big deal of it.

    Heck, Marvel had an Earth-born lesbian alien marry a trans-gendered alien back in 2006. No Big Deal was made.

  28. Thomas Wayne says:

    Torsten,

    I think you’re missing a solid if not totally important point in your assessment of the following statement…

    “Is it that really hard to create a NEW and ORIGINAL character that just happens to be gay in this private life?”

    Your response was…

    Yes, it is. Ask the average DC fan if they know who Bunker is. While the series is new, it’s too early to see what will happen in Teen Titans.

    Regardless of his lack of notoriety, Bunker is an original fresh character who was created (hopefully) because he stands to be a great new character and not just because the writer was trying to fill a “gay” or diversity quota.

    Does DC want diverse characters or to be noted and applauded for being diverse?

    There is a huge difference and sadly I think its the latter of the two examples that both DC and Marvel are striving for…they don’t care about diversity…they care about being noted as diverse.

    Creating a new character is easy….changing a character for the sake of back pats and applause is just plain lazy.

  29. The problem is DC is highlighting their biggest weakness. Confusion, making Earth 2 GL gay first muddies the water around the GL brand and who GL actually is. And secondly reaffirms their confusing universe now with multiple confusing universes. This should have been Shazam or a really iconic character that lived in their primary universe.

  30. Josh says: ‘I actually really liked the Alan Scott/Rose and Thorn marriage. The hero marrying a villain and having kids thing would have been cool to explore.’

    Go watch the Young Justice series as they just did that there!

    Splendid series btw: easily the best ongoing DCU series right now, animated or print.

  31. Obviously gays and lesbians can have children. There is no reason that Todd Rice has to be eliminated, or that he has to have a change of sexual orientation, but this is going to mean some changes and I think that needs to be addressed.

  32. Torsten Adair says:

    “I said it once…and I will say it again…taking established characters and changing them for the sake of change is a terrible idea (and one that doesn’t look like its going away anytime soon).”

    Yup. That sort of thing has been going on since 1954.

    But let’s see what happens when characters aren’t reinvented or gimmicked in the DC Universe:

    There is no Green Lantern Corps (and the other rainbow rings).

    Superman cannot fly. There is no Superboy or Supergirl.

    Wonder Woman would become powerless when handcuffed.

    Barry, Wally, Bart, and the entire family tree… gone. No speed force. No time travel.

    Justice League? You’ve got the Justice Society.

    Aquaman? No Atlantis. No Ocean Master or Black Manta.

    No Jack Knight. (Starman was never married in the Golden Age.)

    No imaginary stories (so long “Dark Knight Returns”).

    Teen Titans? Robin and Speedy. No Wally, no Donna, no Garth. Maybe some of the other Golden Age sidekicks could join…

    Of course, those old Golden Age superheroes would be just as popular as the pulp heroes are today; not very. Which means that the superhero genre would not be as dominant. Or maybe some newer concepts and characters (like the New Gods) would have revitalized the stories.

    —-

    The Latino Blue Beetle (he’s not Spanish) ignores Ted Kord’s origin and refers back to the Charlton/second version with the scarab, which most readers do not know/care about. The New 52niverse version ignores the mysticism completely, turning the scarab into an alien warsuit. DC keeps the trademark, reinvents the character. That’s what you want, right? Like Sandman and Starman?

  33. gunha says:

    So wait New 52 Earth 2 (kind of redundant designation) will be the playground for gender and sexual orientation reassignment? Kind of like how the male singer of Against Me is having a sex change to be a woman. Or the lead singer of Life of Agony was Keith Caputo and is now Mina Caputo.

    They all should be men who want to be women and women who want to be men. Clark Kent would be Cary Kent but still be Clark on the inside. Superwoman away!

  34. Jon_in_Austin says:

    Torsten, let’s be fair, that’s not exactly what DC has been doing since 1954.

    Back then, they decided to create wholly new characters wtih the same superhero names as before, effectively making a clean break with the past.

    Sure there were some holdovers that took time to transition (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc.) but by and large the characters were new and fresh. And after a while they were able to be contrasted in-story with their Golden Age predecessors.

    And that was fun. Does anyone even remember fun comics?

  35. Thomas Wayne says:

    Torsten,

    A valiant effort to make your point but I am afraid you have come up short again…or missed the point entirely…

    You wrote the following on my change for the sake of change comment…

    Yup. That sort of thing has been going on since 1954.

    But let’s see what happens when characters aren’t reinvented or gimmicked in the DC Universe:

    There is no Green Lantern Corps (and the other rainbow rings).

    Superman cannot fly. There is no Superboy or Supergirl.

    Wonder Woman would become powerless when handcuffed.

    Barry, Wally, Bart, and the entire family tree… gone. No speed force. No time travel.

    Justice League? You’ve got the Justice Society.

    Aquaman? No Atlantis. No Ocean Master or Black Manta.

    No Jack Knight. (Starman was never married in the Golden Age.)

    No imaginary stories (so long “Dark Knight Returns”).

    Teen Titans? Robin and Speedy. No Wally, no Donna, no Garth. Maybe some of the other Golden Age sidekicks could join…

    As I said…you missed the point…what you have described here are details or characteristics…not CHARACTERIZATION.

    Once Superman just lept tall buildings…later that was changed to the ability to fly. That is a change in characteristics (the details). A change in characterization would be he lept tall buildings and now he can fly and he hates Jewish people.

    Changing a characters sexual orientation, or religion, or gender is not the same as adding or reducing a super power.

    Like I’ve said before…DC claims diversity…so why not have a gay super villain…or a hero who is a closet pedophile…or a racist super hero…or a hero who won’t participate in certain adventures because of their religious beliefs…diversity isn’t just about the popular choices..it’s about reality.

    Regardless, your examples aren’t characerization…they are characteristics…and their is a big difference.

  36. Jesse says:

    @Jon in Austin, I think it safe to say if DC had just shot the whole New 52 out as alternate worlds within the multiversity the old timey fans would have bitched a little and moved on. DC is enjoying the fan angst and web fighting because people are talking and any press is good press. Screwing with the characters within the “real” world gets people talking good or bad. Same with Before Watchmen it’s about creating the fight and mixing the pot. Making the old guard uncomfortable is the strategy. And it’s working they are buying it and talking win, win.

  37. Thomas Wayne, give it up. Julius Schwartz INVENTED the reboot with the New Flash in 1956. Stan and Jack continued it with Captain America. And the rest, as they say, is retconned history.

  38. Torsten Adair says:

    Here’s a question:

    What if homosexuality was presented as a retcon? (As it is often presented in reality.)

    Heh… then fan reaction would mirror real life! Some would be accepting, others would be angry, some would be prejudicial.

  39. Goodman Holiday says:

    “Is it that really hard to create a NEW and ORIGINAL character that just happens to be gay in this private life?”

    Well, the last completely original superhero character to make it big was probably Wolverine, who debuted in the 1970s. So yeah, I’d say introducing new superhero characters in anything but supporting roles is pretty hard, given there’s already a glut of classic characters that buyers have been attached to for years.

    And both the DC silver age and the Marvel age began with revamps of golden age characters (The Flash and the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four). Taking classic characters and revamping them to tell stories that are more relevant to modern audiences is nothing new, and not limited to comics.

  40. Johnny Memeonic says:

    Of course, those old Golden Age superheroes would be just as popular as the pulp heroes are today; not very. Which means that the superhero genre would not be as dominant.

    That sounds pretty good actually. I think you may have accidentally proven him right about change for the sake of change being bad.

  41. Glenn Simpson says:

    How is a young Alan Scott living in a world where the Trinity is dead not a new character?

  42. Thomas Wayne says:

    the Beat Herself,

    What does any of what you wrote have to do with the concept of creating new characters over changing or rebooting old ones?

    I’m not saying change is bad…I’m saying that change for the sake of change is not good.

    You want great new diverse characters? So do I…but updating the Flash in 1956 is not anywhere near the same thing as changing the characterization of an established character in 2012.

    Face it…DC is lazy…Marvel is lazy…and sensationalism from the instant media world of today helps sell a few more books. If it didn’t I absolutely guarantee you Alan Scott would not have been rebooted as gay, straight, racist, religious, Democrat, Republican, child molester, serial killer or any other out-of-previous-character characterizations.

    You want to show diversity…have Superman save an openly gay Preacher from a burning Church only to have the right wing media and anti gay religious types turn on him…you could have a boy say to him “you were my hero until you saved that queer” and Supes has to fight a fight he’s never fought before – ignorance and hatred based on myth, stereotypes and Biblical interpreted intolerance.

    Wouldn’t that be a more interesting topic for diverse change than just re-labeling various Super heroes as “this” or “that”?

    This is no different than Marvel’s “Let’s keep killing off characters every quarter for a bump in sales” attitude.

    It’s insulting to long time readers like myself…and as a highly intelligent person it should be insulting to you as well.

    We are the audience…we should demand quality stories from the men and women creating these books…or they should not get our money.

    Every comic fan I know has dropped books from their respective pull lists over the past few years and when I ask them why they all say one of two things…or in most cases both of these things….

    One….can’t afford 25, 30, or 40 books a month at 3.99 each…
    Second…and most importantly…the stories just aren’t any good or interesting anymore.

    That is universal…and I am talking about a minimum of 30 to 40 different comicfans here…some black…some white…a couple female…one gay…all of which are dropping books all or in part do to poor storytelling.

    DC and Marvel should spend more time trying to map out great stories for the future and less time trying to get a few thousand copy sales bump out of a media frenzy inspired social change.

  43. Goodman says:

    >How is a young Alan Scott living in a world where the Trinity is dead not a new character?

    I know when somebody dies in MY world I don’t become a completely new character. Nor do I become a new character when my age changes, which is constantly. Alan Scott lived in a world where part of the Trinity died back in the 70s.

  44. Glenn Simpson says:

    Thomas Wayne – I’m of the opinion that DC and Marvel DO think they are already publishing great stories, it’s just that nobody notices, so they have to draw attention to them. Do you think they sit around going “Shall we write better stories today? No, that would be too hard.”

  45. Glenn Simpson says:

    @Goodman – those were just examples (heck, I haven’t even gotten my copy of Earth 1 #1 yet). This is not just the old Earth 2 with a few tweaks. Their whole reality has changed. These are not the old characters – these are new characters with some details the same as the old ones.

  46. Thomas Wayne says:

    Ah..one last thing on the Flash reboot in 1956…it was done to restart the Super Hero comics genre…not for social change.

    They change a fast white guy with brown hair for a fast white guy with blonde hair and blue eyes.

    Not exactly a crowd inspiring act of diversity, was it?

  47. RAGGEDT says:

    @TheBeatHerself,

    As a black, gay man, I have to say Thomas Wayne has a point (and I’ve had my share of differences with him on the “diversity” issue in general). You inadvertently concede it in referring to The Julius Schwartz introduction of Barry Allen Flash in 1954 and subsequent Silver Age creation of the new DC. That was arguably the ultimate reboot of all time. Old-hero names, but new identities, origins, settings, etc.

    But, that’s the point — completely new. Hal Jordan is the new Green Lantern — and there’s a whole swarm of them! Schwartz didn’t reintroduce Alan Scott individually and make him a member of an interstellar police force. Instead, here was a new character with only one aspect of the original concept left intact — the power ring.

    What’s happening here seems cheating to me. DC had one gay character who was also a “legacy” character connected to the original GL. They decide to get rid of Obsidian and just “make” an old character gay, but they don’t even really go that far. They just take a brand new young blond guy and give him an old character’s name.

    Much of the charm of the original “Earth-Two” concept was in its construction as an older parallel world with legacy characters. Making it the same age as the “new52″ world, but just with older names in younger costumes accomplishes nothing.

    So, this isn’t REALLY “Alan Scott” — at least not the character that fans have come to know and love for decades. It’s a young super-hero with the same name (not even the same costume). What @ThomasWayne is protesting about is that this comes off as more pandering and marketing than a truly creative step forward.

    And the “tell” in this is that, with four active Earth-based members of the Green Lantern Corps, DC couldn’t quite bring itself to make, say, John Stewart, Guy Gardner or Kyle Rayner gay. Based on the principles of the “new52,” it would have made as much sense as making “Alan Scott” gay.

    But they can’t bring themselves to do it. So, they don’t introduce a “new” gay Green Lantern, don’t make a more familiar one (part of the canon millions may know from the movie) gay — but just grab an old name and classic hero and “turn” him gay.

    You give DC a pass in the name of diversity; I consider it cheating and intellectually dishonest.

  48. Thomas Wayne says:

    Glenn,
    You are probably right…which is really, really sad.

    I believe in a lot of cases (particularly DC) the writers and artists are handicapped by editors who are handicapped by suits from the Warner Bros. division of we-have-no-talent-but-we-run-the-show-so-what-we-say-goes.

    And my fight for great storytelling continues….

  49. Goodman says:

    >Face it…DC is lazy…Marvel is lazy

    No, just realistic. They know that, for example, a lot more people will check out a radically revamped Doom Patrol book than would purchase an identical book with the same characters that had no ties to an established property. The writers aren’t incapable of thinking up new characters. They create new characters all the time. But it’s difficult to sell new books when the shelves are overflowing with competing books featuring properties buyers have known and loved for years.

    The original readers the JSA was created for are now in their 80s and these characters peaked in popularity over 60 years ago. I’m a huge JSA fan, but if ANY characters were due for a revamp it was probably them.

  50. john layman says:

    I’m gonna buy 20 copies of this issue and pass it out at my swinger parties.

  51. Torsten Adair says:

    “Changing a characters sexual orientation, or religion, or gender is not the same as adding or reducing a super power.”

    Compare a genetic disorder/anomaly to a genetic super power.

    Compare the biological changes of puberty (and gender identity) to the onset of superpowers in adolescence.

    People are afraid of “different”.
    A common theme in contemporary superhero comics is the superhero who tries to do Good, but is misunderstood and hated and feared.

    A person could be the Joe Popular in high school, but find himself ostracized when he develops super strength he can’t control.
    (See: “electric blue Supeman”, c.1998)

    Perhaps a person leads a life of quiet desperation, but then develops powers. Does he fulfill his desires? Do the right thing? Seek revenge? Do nothing? Deny?

    What would you do if you could escape punishment?
    (See: 100 Bullets, Invincible)

    The basic plot: Stuff happens. Something happens (the inciting incident) that causes a change that the characters in the story react to. Maybe the person falls into a vat of chemicals. Maybe the person survives a horrific crash. Maybe the person “finds religion”. “What happens next?” the audience asks. How does it affect the characters? Do they absorb the change and mold it to fit the world they know? Do they let the change mold them?

    What if you were given superpowers, but it changed your sexual preference? (Or your secret word transformation changed your gender? Billy Batson becomes Mary Marvel!) What if you were a devout Christian, but were given powers from a pagan wizard? What if you were an Orthodox Jew, but the only way to recharge your abilities required you to eat pork?

  52. RAGGEDT says:

    @ThomasWayne,

    One area I will disagree with you: Back in the 1980s when Crisis, Dark Knight, Watchmen, et. al. were around, there was no Internet, Twitter, Facebook, etc. A passing remark said on a panel at a comic book convention (in the UK, of all places) — even by a publisher — wouldn’t have bounced around the globe causing a mini-media storm, forcing a company to “clarify” the comment and then let everything leak out.

    It was a different media environment. Now, should the companies try to keep things closer to the vest than they do now? Yes. (Marvel’s habit of dumping spoilers in the middle of press releases the day before a book comes out is especially infuriating.)
    But that doesn’t seem to be what happened with Alan Scott. James Robinson seems to want some genuine surprises in “Earth 2″ — witness the — SPOILER WARNING —

    wiping out of the “Trinity” in the first issue.

    It’s become very difficult to have much of any BIG surprises in comics these days.

  53. Goodman says:

    @Glenn Simpson- You said “(heck, I haven’t even gotten my copy of Earth 1 #1 yet). This is not just the old Earth 2 with a few tweaks. Their whole reality has changed. These are not the old characters – these are new characters with some details the same as the old ones.”

    How would you know without having read the book? Others see them as the same characters in a different setting. Is the Spider-Man you see on the big screen not Spider-Man, because they changed a few details of his biography and made him younger again?

  54. Glenn Simpson says:

    No, he’s the movie Spider-Man, which is why he can have biological web-shooters if they want him to. It’s a different character based on another character.

    DC has had no shortage of changes in the newDC that cannot possibly be traced back to any particular timeline change. If you really want an excuse, note that the current DCNu multiverse is a combination of the Wildstorm, Vertigo, and old DCU. So the Alan Scott we have now may be the one from the Wildstorm or Vertigo universes, not the DCU.

  55. “James Robinson seems to want some genuine surprises in “Earth 2″ — witness the — SPOILER WARNING —wiping out of the “Trinity” in the first issue.
    It’s become very difficult to have much of any BIG surprises in comics these days.”

    What’s interesting is that on this very site Todd Allen repeatedly referred to Robinson’s attempt to keep the end of Earth Two #1 a surprise “the most obtuse PR campaign in history.” So the comics blogosphere helps foster that “we need to know everything about a book three months before it comes out” mentality.

  56. arrowshaft says:

    I have to agree with RAGGEDT. DC has done a poor job on this ndcu. They already had 2 major Wildstorm characters that are gay and Midnighter and Apollo seem to have taken a back seat in all this so called diversity is claiming to have.
    DC introducing Alan Scott does nothing more than to alienate the old loyal fans and cheapen the introduction of a NEW Original Character. This is something that has been lacking in this reboot. We have seen sales as everyone knew would be high to now falling back to the original DCU sales. How long will you go to the well and keep going for the quick money spike and your are left with sales falling even further back.
    The so called push for diversity in the ndcu is missing the mark. DC claims it wants it yet your minority titles are the first to go. Again DC plays it up big but fails to deliver. It was the same problem in the old DCU. Major heroes given lackluster stories that bored the fans and art work just thrown in.
    Sales will be here to show May’s market will it be a 7% drop or 5 % drop in sales for DC. Will the speculators run out to buy the Watchmen titles and the new gay hero? Will they stay or drift off when they do not have a book that will not make them rich?
    Will we see the start of the return to the old DCU if sales keep falling ?

  57. Todd Allen says:

    @RJT — There’s a world of difference between an adequate product description and avoiding spoilers. It was and is amazingly obtuse and more than a little misleading.

  58. Jesse says:

    @arrowshaft You clearly do not read Newsarma. Every retailer agrees that sales are WAY UP and DC revitalized the entire industry.

  59. arrowshaft says:

    that was a not every retailer, and you can’t claim doubling 2 to 4 in some cases as a win. Look at the overall sales DC numbers have dropped every month and still has not come to a resting place. Look at the long view and not the speculator’s view.

  60. Jesse says:

    @arrowshaft I was being sarcastic….

  61. arrowshaft says:

    o I sorry

  62. Jesse says:

    I was trying to say Newsarma is hyped garbage. As are these hyped stunts to sell comics kind of transparent and desperate.

  63. Goodman says:

    >Will we see the start of the return to the old DCU if sales keep falling ?

    Nope. Sales were dropping on the old DCU too. Bringing back the old DCU would just tie their writers’ hands with a lot of baggage, and make their books less enticing to new readers.

    Look, it’s still Alan Scott, just like Superman was still Superman, regardless of whether he was written by Jerry Siegel, Elliot S. Maggin, John Byrne, Geoff Johns or Grant Morrison.

  64. Allen Rubinstein says:

    The problem with gay superheroes is that it’s much more of a challenge to be fabulous. The straight superheroes are already dressed in colorful outlandish costumes. Standing out would be a bitch.

  65. Jesse says:

    @goodman There are 52 worlds never say never. Remember things have to get f’d enough to need a crisis. A dare I say New Crisis…… I think we all know were the road leads.

  66. Thomas Wayne says:

    RaggedT,
    You have a point on the “no internet in 198o’s” idea…good or bad it kept things secret and more of a mystery. If you read about something it was usually at the exact time it was happening or a few weeks later.

    There were a couple of comic mags back then…I forget their names…Comics Monthly maybe? That doesn’t sound right but I had a few of them and thats where I got my “in the know” kind of info…nothing like a breaking story on Watchme # 1 two weeks after issue # 3 hit the direct market…lol.

    I guess my biggest problem with all of this is it seems so forced. It feels like DC had no plans on creating a gay character (rebooting an established character or creating a brand new one) and then they sat down one day and said…”hey…Marvel has a half black half hispanic Spiderman now…what can we do now to appear as socially diverse???” Someone in the back of the room raised a hand and said…”we can make a character who has never been a homosexual a homosexual”…

    Dramatic pause in the room….then…

    YESSSSSS!!! Brilliant…that should keep our name in the press and make us look like we actually care about diversity. Run with it…

    It takes no creativity to do what DC has done…If you want to make your newly rebooted DCU Earth 2 Alan Scott gay…fine…but don’t tell everyone you are doing it…let it happen…let the fans react to the book and the storytelling…not the announcement.
    Take your time…let the story unfold.

    Wouldn’t it have been much cooler to pick up the book and see Alan Scott kiss his boyfriend without knowing it was going to happen? Reaction could go from shock…to awwwww, how sweet…to NO WAY..or whatever.

    We’ve been robbed of that part of the story.

    And the reason we’ve been robbed is because DC (and Marvel) care more about appearing diverse than being diverse. That’s what all of this is about.

    I have but one word that proves my point on this and I’ve gone back to it time and time again….

    Oracle.

    Where was your diversity when that choic was made DC??

  67. Goodman says:

    >DC numbers have dropped every month and still has not come to a resting place. Look at the long view and not the speculator’s view

    The long view is that comic sales have been trending down for over 60 years. Senate Subcommittee Hearings into Juvenile Delinquency. Television. Computer games. Rising prices. Exile from the newsstand. The Internet. A reboot can only do so much, but it creates a foundation for new readers and new stories.

  68. Goodman says:

    >I guess my biggest problem with all of this is it seems so forced. It feels like DC had no plans on creating a gay character (rebooting an established character or creating a brand new one) and then they sat down one day and said…”hey…Marvel has a half black half hispanic Spiderman now…what can we do now to appear as socially diverse???” Someone in the back of the room raised a hand and said…”we can make a character who has never been a homosexual a homosexual”…

    Or maybe that’s all in your head. Maybe it “seems so forced” because you’re not a writer looking for a way to take characters that peaked 60 years ago, and make them relevant today, leading lives and struggling with issues that people struggle with today. Maybe Robinson’s version of what happened is exactly what happened: “I really believe in this idea of relaunching the Justice Society and making them younger. But I thought it was a shame that we lost Jade and Obsidian, who are Alan Scott’s children. Obsidian has been in the comics for years and was a positive gay character. And then, in the way that one idea can spring forward to the next, I thought, well, let’s make Alan Scott gay.”

    Maybe diversity really matters to Robinson. Maybe diversity matters to a lot of writers and other creative people, for reasons you may not understand.

    And maybe DC uses marketing like every other company uses marketing- to tell people that they have a product that might interest them, because otherwise people won’t know and may not buy it. How awful and cynical of them.

  69. Todd,
    Having read the first issue, how would you have promoted Earth 2?

  70. Todd Allen says:

    “What if Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman (and their sidekicks) were the only superheroes to pop up, and what happens when there’s something bigger than they can handle?” is the the first issue. It would be more accurate to describe it as the next generation rising from the ashes of the old. All that hype was about the trinity killing people.

  71. But if the surprise of the first issue is that the trinity doesn’t survive, you give that away. I just don’t think the PR was obtuse. James Robinson & Nicola Scott do a book on a parallel earth where we meet alternate versions of New 52 heroes (which is what they told us) seems like all you need. You just seemed to attack the book for not telling you exactly what was going to happen in it.

  72. @Thomas Wayne:
    “I guess my biggest problem with all of this is it seems so forced.”

    Read some of the interviews with James Robinson about the decision, his decision, to make Alan Scott gay. From his account, it’s nothing like what you’re describing. No dramatic pause in the room. Just a writer thinking about the removal of an LGBT character from current continuity, which led him to make a decision about another character, a character who was already slated to be retconned.

    The initial media coverage also seems to have been either unplanned, or not the driving force behind Robinson’s decision. The more recent (as in today’s) coverage is a response to and an attempt to take advantage of the earlier unplanned coverage, which seems like a reasonable thing to do, given how small the comic book audience is these days, and given that DC needs to find more readers.

    Also note that Robinson has done this before, with a lower profile character – Mikaal Tomas, the 70s Starman. And he did it in a book which you point to as an example of good storytelling.

    “It takes no creativity to do what DC has done.”

    All DC has done is take advantage of some unexpected attention. That’s just marketing. Nothing new. Nothing incompatible with creativity. And if you want, nothing to do with creativity.

    Creativity will come into play in what Robinson does with the character over the next several months. It’s too soon to say there’s no creativity here because we haven’t yet had a chance to see the story upon which creativity may or may not have been applied.

    “Take your time…let the story unfold.”

    This would be good advice for readers and commenters as well. Let the story unfold. So far, we have a couple of preview pages and a bunch of people speculating on the motivation behind those pages. It will take several months, at least, for this story to unfold. Why not wait and see before passing judgement?

    “Wouldn’t it have been much cooler to pick up the book and see Alan Scott kiss his boyfriend without knowing it was going to happen? Reaction could go from shock…to awwwww, how sweet…to NO WAY..or whatever.”

    I agree it might have been cool if it had been more of a surprise, but I’m not sure the reaction amongst comic book readers would really have been all that different. I think the same amount of handwringing over this would be going on.

    “We’ve been robbed of that part of the story.”

    So the rest of whatever story Robinson has planned is now invalid? And if so, if the only important parts of the story were the initial shock and the reaction to that shock, would that really be good storytelling?

    “And the reason we’ve been robbed is because DC (and Marvel) care more about appearing diverse than being diverse.”

    DC and Marvel wanting to appear diverse and wanting to be diverse are not necessarily incompatible.

    DC and Marvel stumbling over diversity issues in the past (even the recent past, with Oracle) does not mean that they couldn’t be making sincere attempts at diversity with either Alan Scott or the Northstar marriage.

    By all accounts, the decision to make this new Alan Scott gay came from the writer, not from DC management. DC management then approved that decision by the writer. Robinson seems to have made this change because he, as an individual writer, does care about being diverse.

    DC may have approved of it either to be diverse, or to appear diverse, or for both reasons. They’re not incompatible. Really, they’re not.

    Either way, Robinson gets to tell the story he seems to want to tell, with a gay character leading a major superhero team. Whether or not it will be a good story, whether or not he does a good job with the character, how the character’s sexuality will impact the story and the storytelling, all of that remains to be seen. Robinson has done some good work in the past, so there is reason to be optimistic.

  73. Zoomy says:

    What would be really good would be if his boyfriend was Doiby Dickles.

  74. jason says:

    the whole point of alternate earths is to have characters with the same name who are slightly different than they would be on a different earth. sorry but this fits the bill exactly. there is probably a golden age earth still out there too.
    calm down people

  75. jason says:

    and to whoever suggested the superman story above thank god you aren’t writing comics

  76. Of course, Thomas Wayne is right again.

    Julie Schwartz may have invented the retcon, but he did it with new characters. The Golden Age originals were part of a different earth — which is kinda stupid, actually.

    As for Captain America and the Human Torch … one guy was the original on ice … the latter was a new guy altogether, but they acknowledged the existance of the original.

    So, there should be new characters created who are gay, and not just established characters retconned into being gay.

    (The sound of teeth gnashing from The Beat?)

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  1. [...] is bringing Alan Scott, the Earth 2 Green Lantern, out of the closet. Check out these posts from The Beat, io9 (with this follow-up), and Straitened Circumstances for all the news, and read this post if [...]

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