CT Soapbox: Alan Scott Is Gay. So?

| June 6, 2012

Hear ye, hear ye! Once again, I’m back with a stance, and ready to defend it!

This time around, I want to talk about what’s on everyone’s lips: changing the sexuality of Alan Scott, making him a homosexual.

First, let me start by saying that I’m not homophobic, and this is not about bashing anyone’s sexuality. I believe in love, and you can find love anywhere, with anyone. Two men, two women, I don’t care. As long as you’re in love, that’s all that matters.

So, it’s been revealed that the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott, is gay.

The reality of this revelation/announcement? While some are up in arms, and while it’s grabbing attention and some headlines, I like to think of myself as a more savvy comics reader. My reaction?

Big whoop.

Here’s the reality of the situation: DC has rebooted their entire universe, and everyone, whether they say so or not, is just waiting for them to press the button to go back to The Way Things Were Before. With that mentality, they can do anything they want, and there won’t be much of an eyebatting, except for hordes of critics, pundits, retailers, and readers shouting, Told you so! from every corner.

So, as yet, there isn’t much stock in this universe. The stock in it is that it’s a line-wide reboot that they say is going to stick.

The next thing is that we’re in the Second Wave of the New 52. Several titles got the axe, and the Second Wave has replaced them. (I am curious to see what the Third Wave will look like.)

And what’s in that second wave? Earth-2. DC’s separate universe.

So, they take an old character and make him gay in an alternate reality of their rebooted universe.

How is this newsworthy? How is this significant? I mean, it doesn’t count. They might as well have done it as an Elseworlds. (Maybe that’s the Third Wave.)

The third point is that, no matter what you may think, Alan Scott is a third tier character, and has been so for decades. I don’t care that he’s the first Green Lantern, and as such, is venerable. He’s third tier character, so no matter how iconic DC is trying to make him out to be, third tier is third tier.

If DC wanted to make a real splash with this, then they would have done a few things differently.

The first, biggest thing they would have done is make a real character in their real universe gay. What do I mean by a real character? Someone who has more impact than Alan Scott. It would be something (and turn America on its ear) if they were to have Superman liking the males of our species. Because, let’s face it, the only time Superman’s alien origins come into play is when they need to remind everyone that he’s an alien. Being alien, even though he was raised by humans, doesn’t stop him from his tastes in things being different. Making Superman gay and blaming his alien heritage would have grabbed headlines the world over. (It would have also damaged the property irrevocably. As much as Americans like to spout that we’re progressive and tolerant, Joe Average would not accept a gay Superman.)

The same thing with Batman. These are the two biggest, best properties that DC has. They are also the two that DC are most careful with.

Who does that leave? It isn’t Wonder Woman, because being Amazon, there’s the undercurrent of thought that she’s lesbian, anyway. The Martian Manhunter? Second tier, and really, it’s a copout to make a shapeshifting alien gay. Like Alan Scott, there’s really little sense in it.

You’ve got the real Green Lantern in Hal Jordan, Green Arrow, or the Flash. As long as they are in the main universe, and not some closeted spinoff one, then that would be a good thing.

What they’ve done, though, is slap readers in the face with their choice of world and character. It doesn’t count, and because it doesn’t count, it’s patronizing. You don’t thank people for their patronage by patronizing them. (In showing my age, I see Sam Malone saying to Frazier, Thank you for patronizing me. )

Making real characters in their real universe gay would be too much like Marvel, I guess. Marvel’s had gay characters running around for decades, Northstar being the first and oldest there. (Third tier, ignored by most readers and other characters not in Alpha Flight, but still within the regular universe for all of that.) His impending nuptials are gaining headlines for the simple fact that President Obama has come out in support of same-sex marriage, and the Marvel Universe, as ever, is telling stories that are relevant of the issues of the day. (Late to the party, sure, but they are doing a better job than DC.)

So, that is my stance. Earth-2’s Alan Scott being gay is no big deal because it doesn’t count. DC is paying lip service to the idea because it isn’t a real character in the main universe.

(There’s also something to be said about the double standard: men don’t like to see men with other men, but we love seeing women with other women. Watching two lesbians is more exciting and visually stimulating than watching two homosexuals, and thus, more acceptable. If Wonder Woman were to come out of the closet, hardly an eye would twitch over it. Let Batman or Robin do it—or Batman and Robin do it—and DC would have an extremely difficult time putting that genie back into the bottle. It’s a double standard and it sucks, but there is little that can be done about it except the changing of people’s attitudes, one at a time.)

Agree? Disagree? Let me know.

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Category: Columns, CT Soapbox

About the Author ()

Steven is an editor/writer with such credits as Fallen Justice, the award nominated The Standard, and Bullet Time under his belt, as well as work published by DC Comics. Between he and his wife, there are 10 kids (!), so there is a lot of creativity all around him. Steven is also the editor in chief and co-creator of ComixTribe, whose mission statement is Creators Helping Creators Make Better Comics. If you're looking for editing, contact him at stevedforbes@gmail.com for rate inquiries.

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