Thursday, June 21, 2007

Do Gay People Read Comic Books?
I'm just wondering. I think they do. So there is an audience there.

"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.


  1. amen. although young avengers was great, but it was written by a gay, so that's why.

    and it was a HUGE hit among gays and non gays. so it obviously works.

    the fanboys are going to read the avengers no matter what, sure some of the ignorant ones may grown about a "gay guy," but they'll still read it, and learn to love it.

    who doesn't like a little man on man action every now and then? it's hot.

  2. Particularly, I don't subscribe to the notion that pushing for gay visibility in comics necessarily means excluding or alienating gay audiences.

    Like Sammy above said, Avengers fans will buy Avengers books, even if at a first glance they complain about them.

    If the story's good, they'll stick with it.

    And that clip's hilarious, btw.

  3. Superhero comic creators should follow the example of the new Doctor Who series. It's a show that's aimed at (and reaches) a family audience, is popular with children, a massive success story for the BBC, and at the same time features many homosexual and bisexual characters.

  4. i love how flash getting attacked by a vaginal squid gets 11 comments and a mary jane statue gets tons of reaction, but something about gays gets 3. bravo you "civil rights champions"


  5. Maybe it doesn't get as much reaction because there's nothing more to say. Val's right.

    (It could also be that this blog moves so fast people can't keep up with every post :P)

    Actually your angry is reaction is a good illustration of what we DON'T want when it comes to gay characters in comics. We need less sensationalism, less social commentary, and more interesting stories and likeable characters. If a writer makes a character gay just to make a statement, they're missing the point.

    Too many times the companies have cared more about screaming "THIS CHARACTER IS GAY!!! Look at us! Aren't we socially aware?!?! Aren't we!?!?" than just writing a good character.

    So far Batwoman has been a pleasant surprise, despite her initial marketing. We'll see how she does on her own (assuming her solo title is still happening).

    And I fully endorse well written gay characters in comics.

  6. oh no i agree, hence my first post, they gotta be well written first and foremost.