Simply put, if you’re anything other than straight, white, male and cis-gendered, the representation of your identity across all forms of media is going to be pretty abysmal. Because of the changing readership of comics, though, thing are slowly becoming better in the superhero space.
Even so, the big two comics companies – DC and Marvel – could always do better as both are quite poor at presenting their female heroes in a non-objectifying light.
DC recently made headlines after the creative team of Batwoman jumped ship because higher ups wouldn’t let the character get married to her female partner. So, after Marvel Comics character Northstar (of Astonishing X-Men fame) proposed to his boyfriend, DC are following suit with Green Lantern set to get a boyfriend too.
The announcement comes as somewhat of a surprise to Green Lantern fans as the character has been around since before the Second World War, after which the character behind the Green Lantern persona changed in an effort to ramp up the character’s declining popularity.
It’s the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott, who is going to come out as gay in an upcoming issue and not the Hal Jordan version of Green Lantern who was played by Ryan Reynolds in the film. And that’s quite important too as with other characters like Batman and Superman, we only know these as one person (Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent, respectively) but with Green Lantern, the ‘gay version’ of Green Lantern is just another version of the character in a group of many others and so fans can overlook or avoid the superhero’s sexuality in favour of whichever straight Green Lantern that they like best.
While it would be wrong for us to completely turn our noses up a representation especially with a storyline so sweet as this (Green Lantern is set to come home to his boyfriend and give him a welcoming hug and kiss) in the back of my mind, the comics fan in me sees this as somewhat of a cop-out on DC’s part. As mentioned with the Batwoman debacle, they don’t exactly have a brilliant track record either. Nonetheless, it will be nice to see Green Lantern’s storyline and relationship with his boyfriend progress over the next few issues so we’ll keep you posted once we know more.