Let’s start by making it clear that the Green Lantern who’s been redefined as being gay is not Hal Jordan, one of DC Comics’ most popular characters and the star of last year’s film that featured Ryan Reynolds in the title role.
If you’ve seen the movie (which, by the way, I really enjoyed) or read the comic, then you know that there are a lot of Green Lanterns, two for each of the 3,600 sectors in the galaxy, and they range from a living planet called Mogo to an insect whose name is Bzzzt.
But the hero we’re discussing isn’t even from “our” universe. His name is Alan Scott, and he’s one of the super-heroes on our world in another dimension in a new series entitled Earth 2.
And here’s one last bit of history: Last year, DC (one of the biggest comics companies in the world) rebooted its entire line as the “New 52,” making major changes in many characters in a move that has helped revitalize the comics industry, which had been in decline for several years.
In this update, Earth 2 again has many of the heroes from the 1940s, but they’ve undergone several changes in an effort to make them interesting to today’s comics readers.
And one of those changes is that Alan Scott is now gay.
Of course, Scott isn’t the first gay character in comics. In the previous DC continuity, one of Green Lantern’s children, who had darkness-related powers, was named Obsidian, and he was a gay character.
And the new version of Batwoman is a lesbian named Kate Kane in one of the company’s best-selling new titles.
However, Marvel beat DC to the punch in having a gay super-hero when it was revealed that Northstar, a mutant speedster and a member of the Canadian super-team Alpha Flight, came out and, in fact, will marry his significant other in Astonishing X-Men #51, which will be available at your local comics shop on Wednesday.
Even Archie Comics, known for its wholesome depiction of teenagers like Jughead, Betsy and Veronica, recently introduced Kevin Keller, a gay student who quickly becomes everyone's best friend, is elected class president and marries his “significant other.”
That sure seemed to me to be overkill in just a few months. I mean, what else can they do with the character?
So what do I think about a GL becoming a “Gay Lantern?”
First, I’ve been reading comics off and on since 1959, so I’ve seen many things come and go over the past 53 years.
For instance, back in the 1990s, top Green Lantern Hal Jordan became a villain named Parralax, who fought Kyle Rayner, his rookie replacement with the power ring, before sacrificing himself to save the Earth by re-igniting the sun. (Don’t ask.)
Ten years later, Hal came back as the Spectre and eventually got his ring back, and now four Green Lantern series are among DC’s best-selling titles.
So that brings me to my main thought on this: As long as the stories and characters are handled well, I have no problem with folks being gay, from Mars or super-powered mutants.
In fact, whether or not there’s a gay character in a title has virtually no impact on which comics I buy. I have three standards. First is it a good writer, then is it drawn by a good artist, and finally, does it have an interesting premise?
I will continue to buy Earth 2 and will even pick up Marvel's “mutant marriage” issue when it arrives on Wednesday, but I’m mostly interested to see how that’s handled.
Will I buy the issues that come after? Probably not, since I haven’t been reading Astonishing X-Men for a few years now and don’t expect to be won over by this "event."
But I will continue to buy the four Green Lantern titles, as I have for several years. They’re written well, have great art and have interesting storylines.
It all boils down to this: If you don’t like something, don’t buy it. Poor sales quickly lead to cancellation. On the other hand, if you like something, buy it on a regular basis and it might become a sales smash.
So until the next column, keep going ahead Warp Factor 9!