Thursday, June 21, 2007
"No one really knows the number of gay comics fans, but I think there are more than DC and Marvel believe there may be. I also think there’s a much larger number of potential readers with money to spend if the Big Two and other publishers allow, maybe force is a better word, themselves to think outside of the box in terms of content, marketing and outreach."
-- Joe Palmer, Gay League
I think the audience and the money are there. But will mainstream comic book companies take the money if it means potentially alienating other readers? Or does the media play a role in creating more tolerance in the world by going ahead with these more diverse characters in spite of that potentiality?
Take the original "Star Trek," for example. When Kirk & Uhura kissed. The producers & the network had everything to lose by showing an interracial kiss. But they went ahead with it anyway. Ellen Degeneres had everything to lose by coming out on her TV sitcom, but she came out (please forgive the pun) a winner.
I think sometimes you just need a pair of balls (or ovaries of steel, take your pick) and just push the boundaries.
What else is this life good for than to be yourself, to express how you really are, and not live your life in a friggin' closet? I just finished listening to this NPR interview with a former interpreter for the U.S. Military, a gay male. How he lived for years hiding who he was, not being allowed to formally reference it. And it sucked.
We play our roles in daily life. Some of our roles are close to who we really are, and a lot of them are not. We justify it all by referencing our need to succeed in business, to support our families, to be faithful to our Higher Power.
But I think the true source of our own personal power is to express ourselves as we really are. I think what is suppressed, oppressed -- whether within ourselves, in society, or in our media -- comes back to haunt us.
Anyway, I think having good, strong, visible gay superheroes in comic books is important. Not botched ones, like "Rawhide Kid" & "Batwoman." But really good ones. Because there is a gay & bi audience reading comics, and they deserve something more than a broad stereotype or invisibilty.