Iconic? Yes, but not in the way many expected.
DC Comics made it official: the character they teased (shamelessly) as being gay under the new revamped “52” reboot is Green Lantern Alan Scott, who in the previous continuity was the Golden Age version of the Green Lantern character. In the New 52 continuity, he’s a character in the present that exists only on “Earth 2,” which is an alternate reality Earth that revamps but is not to be confused with “Earth-Two,” the old version of Earth where the Golden Age characters resided that was combined with Earth-One (DC’s primary Earth) in 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Got all that?
Probably not, unless you’ve been a comic fan for a long time. And that’s the problem.
Look, it’s great that they have a gay character. Actually, let me rephrase that: it’s about goddamn time somebody did it and acknowledged that it’s something that should be seen as acceptable in today’s society. But to tease that it’s going to be an iconic character and then make it an alternate version of a character living on an alternate Earth? To the mainstream casual observer, it’s going to look like a cop-out.
It speaks to the problem that DC and Marvel has when it comes to everything they do that’s related to the actual comics themselves: they cater to an older and shrinking base of fanboys that excludes a larger potential base. I personally don’t think their press release announcing the “iconic character” was written with the intent to deceive. No, the problem is that the guys in charge over there are fanboys themselves who seem to write and speak only in fanboy. You see it in the comics and you even see it in the press releases. To them, Alan Scott is an iconic character on par with Superman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and so on, and they don’t and won’t understand why the people they sent the press release to won’t understand or get it and they’ll scoff.
Oh, and don’t even get me started on the concept of rebooting continuity with “The New 52″ to make it more accessible for new readers only to immediately start re-introducing the multiverse and alternate Earths that are and aren’t connected to previous versions of alternate Earths that were wiped out because things got too confusing and convoluted. Oy vey.
By the by, writer James Robinson says he won’t be the only gay character in Earth 2. Which is good, but – and this might be unfair but it’s a question that’s going to be asked – is Earth 2 going to be the dumping ground for gay heroes they’re not brave enough to put in their main titles?
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