Alan Scott is Gay: From the “News That Isn’t Really News” File
Jun 8, 2012 by     24 Comments    Posted In: Articles

Alan Scott Green LanternFirst of all, some of my best friends are gay.

Not really. If I look at those whom I consider my “best” friends, I’d have to admit the majority of them are heterosexual males and females of European descent (not that there’s anything wrong with being white and straight.) I have, however, worked in New York theatre for about 20 years. As stereotypes are indeed sometimes based in truth, this means I am and have been friends and colleagues with a disproportionate number of LGBTQ individuals, most of whom are wonderful, professional people, some of whom are amazing douchebags, all of whom are as unfortunately human as the rest of us.

And I’d be willing to bet American cash money that not one of them gives much of a damn that Alan Scott, the original-but-now-rebooted Green Lantern of DC’s new Earth 2 monthly comic, has been re-imagined as a gay man.

I mean, it’s just Alan Scott. It’s just Green Lantern. Big-time bad movie aside, Green Lantern is a firm B-Lister, at best. And again: it’s Alan Scott. He’s not even the most popular Green Lantern, who as we all clearly recognize is John Stewart (I don’t know about you, but when I mention Green Lantern to non-comics fans, the first point of reference for them is the black guy from the Justice League cartoon.)

Earth 2 #1 CoverThis was DC’s version of Secret Invasion, honestly. Marvel pumped us up for months with that one, promising us some hugely prominent Marvel heroes would be revealed to have been Skrulls since the seventies, or whenever. Who did we get? Dum-Dum Dugan? Elektra? Spider-Woman? I guess Hank Pym was the most high-profile of the Skrulls, and he’s just Ant-Man. C’mon! This teasing reveal of the gay character in DC continuity felt the same. It was announced that an established major character would be outed, and who did it end up being? The fifth most popular Green Lantern. Forgive me for being underwhelmed.

Look at this list: Northstar. Shatterstar. Rictor. Hulkling. Wiccan. Ultimate Colossus. Batwoman. Renee Montoya. Daken. Obsidian (who also happens to be the gay son of the Old 52’s Alan Scott, BAMF’d out of existence in the across-the-board DC retcon of just about a year ago.) These are just a few of the, frankly, fairly large list of LGBTQ characters in the DC and Marvel universes. Are all of these characters less important than Alan Scott? More important? Equally important? Who knows? Forgive me for thinking they all come across as C-List characters, characters that exist on the fringe. And as much as I applaud DC’s not-entirely-based-in-wanting-a-sales-bump move here, we are past the time where gay characters should be “on the fringe.” During Secret Invasion, I was hoping Marvel would have the nerve to make Wolverine a Skrull. Instead, I got Jarvis, the guy so unimportant he was replaced with a Star Trek computer voice in the Iron Man movies. After the hullabaloo surrounding DC’s “we have a pre-existing character we’ll soon reveal as gay” announcement, I was hoping it would be Damian Wayne. Instead, the big reveal was the sixth most popular Green Lantern. (I forgot about Kilowog. He rulez.)

Maybe it’s unfair for me to shake my head at DC for this. I don’t follow comic book press releases or conferences anywhere near as closely as many of my contemporaries here at StashMyComics do. Maybe DC’s big “reveal” was an offhanded comment at a Con panel, and the media heard “gay” and “superhero” and ran with it. To be honest, though, the Northstar wedding news was far more surprising and bewildering to me than was the Alan Scott news. Not because I think gay marriage is such a taboo subject, but because the last time I read a story featuring Northstar he was getting killed by Wolverine. It’s comics, though; characters coming back from the dead shouldn’t surprise me. (The X-Men even survived and eradicated their Legacy Virus, which is kind of unfair when you consider the disease the Legacy Virus really stood as a metaphor of has yet to be wiped clean from the planet.)

Alan Scott Kisses BoyfriendHold on, though. I almost forgot to mention something very important, and maybe I should have opened with it: in no way do I put any of my disappointment on Earth 2 writer James Robinson, and the art team of Nicola Scott and Trevor Scott. (Related? No idea.) They have no responsibility for forwarding any sort of social agenda. Their only responsibility, as far as I’m concerned, is to produce a well-written and well-drawn entertaining monthly comic book, and if you haven’t yet read the first two issues of Ultimate Justice Socie– I mean, Earth 2, I highly recommend it; it’s a gorgeous book with a (so far) well-crafted story. In speaking to the mainstream media on the subject of a fictional comic book character’s made-up sexuality (sounds kinda silly when put that way, huh?) Robinson has made clear he wanted to keep the LGBTQ character element present in what is essentially the New 52 version of Justice Society of America, after the company-wide retcon eliminated Obsidian from the DC roster. So he decided he’d make the rebooted Alan Scott a gay man. Well, okay. Off we go. Frankly, as long as Alan Scott is written well, it doesn’t matter who he sleeps with. Robinson’s job is not to get the world to accept gay superheroes. His job is to write a good comic book, and so far so good.

So I’m not addressing Robinson and his fellow artists when I ask this question: when will we get a gay character in a book that we can’t ignore? Or in a book that doesn’t exist in an “alternate” universe? Is any character on the list a few paragraphs back a lynchpin in either DC or Marvel comics? Alan Scott exists in the extra-fake version of the DC Universe as the seventh most popular Green Lantern (Abin Sur is pretty dope). If Earth 2 gets canceled after 15 issues, what happens to him? Does he fade away into obscurity? This is why, again, I think DC missed an opportunity for a fascinating storytelling turn by not choosing to out Damian Wayne. Robin’s an A-Lister as a member of the Bat Family, and there’s been four or six or twelve of them, or something. What’s the difference if one of them is gay? And Damian’s personality and upbringing on a gay teenage boy doing the work he does as Robin? That would be amazing to read (or write.)

But I’m pipe-dreaming, I know. We’re just not there yet. This Alan Scott reveal does no wrong, sets no movement back, does nothing to hurt LGBTQ rights or causes. But it doesn’t do much to forward anything, either. We’ve seen a laundry list of B-List and C-List superheroes brought out of the closet. We need an A-Lister. That’s when I’d pay attention. That’s when I’d be impressed.

Because, you know, some of my best friends are gay.

Tom Hoefner (@TomHoefner on Twitter) is a playwright, theatre director, college professor, and would-be novelist living in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter. He also has a gay cousin who works for Google, which goes to prove they ARE trying to take over the world! (Gays. Not Google. BUT MAYBE ALSO GOOGLE!)

Check out From the Casefiles of Race and Cookie McCloud, a blog of super-short stories chronicling the adventures of Race McCloud, Private Eye, and his 15-year old former-secret-agent-in-training niece Cookie: http://raceandcookie.blogspot.com

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24 Comments Add Comment

  • MattB June 8, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Great article. I talked to a guy at a comic book shop and he has to keep telling people that the gay character is Alan Scott, not Hal Jordan. Talk about mass confusion for people who don’t keep up with comics.


  • Jason Newcomb June 8, 2012 at 10:41 am

    My best friend is a black gay muslim vegan woman.


  • Mike June 8, 2012 at 11:56 am

    I just see this as a publicity stunt, especially with the timing and all.


  • Chance Peterson June 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    “I applaud DC’s not-entirely-based-in-wanting-a-sales-bump move here” I honestly cannot imagine how you a money grab by them for the exact reason @MattB said. Every nonreader hearing the news and even some who do read has to keep being told it is not Hal. The Green Lantern movie no matter how big of a flop it was put out the GL name. DC knew that and so did not the writer. I do blame Robinson because it was entirely his idea to do this and DC immediately jumped on it.

    One of the things that have really annoyed me about this whole thing though is the people who try to tell me oh it is not the same Alan Scott because it is the New 52. Well if that is the case then I, along with a bunch of other people I have spoken to about this are completely wrong about what the New 52 is. What we saw happen was the timelines merge. Those created new histories for the characters but the characters themselves are still themselves. Now if we are correct and that is what happened then DC is doing one of three things. Either they are ignoring something they just made a huge deal about, saying that this Alan Scott is in fact not the same guy (and that would mean there should still be another Alan Scott out there), or they are stating that being gay is not something you are born with it’s something that happens due to experiences in your life.

    I would actually agree with you that Robin would have been a better choice but DC wouldn’t have the balls to do that. It would honestly get them the same, if not more press, but it would not be the right kind of press for them. It would immediately become “Oh my god, Robin is gay, so Batman is really is the pedophile that everyone knows he is.” So of course they wouldn’t do that instead lets take characters steeped in history and rewrite them instead.


  • Danny D June 8, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    I wonder if they avoided making Robin gay because of the whole “Seduction of the Innocent” by Fredric Wertham debacle from the 50s, labeling comics as a terrible influence and citing Batman and Robin specifically as having an ersatz homosexual relationship, if not an all out one. Then again, what better way to spit in that idiot Wertham’s face by actually MAKING Robin gay.

    Also, not to foo foo anything you said (okay, maybe a little), but 1st Green Lantern Alan Scott is more B-List than C-list. Of all the LGBT characters from DC AND Marvel you listed, Alan Scott is probably the more well known of them all. I mean, yay for Northstar getting married, but at the end of the day, who gives a s&*$? Nobody, not because of the gay marriage issue, but because, outside of the 5 Alpha Flight fans, nobody gives a damn about Northstar.

    Ultimately, this is kind of the testing of the waters for LGBT characters. Believe it or not, I’ve read some comments reacting INCREDIBLY negatively about Alan Scott’s becoming gay, with some saying “why did they have to change an established character” or “I’m gonna stop reading comics right now”, the latter which was used for the Northstar wedding as well. Until intolerance doesn’t exist any longer, no comics company can really risk making one of their major major characters LGBT, even though I think there should be more (and more higher profile) than there currently are.

    Plus, not all of your best friends are white/straight people. That can’t be true.


  • Tim Morse June 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    It really doesn’t matter to me if Alan Scott is gay or not. I’ve read him in a few issues before this, but nothing to make me a hardcore fan. If the stories are good, I’m in. It’s not going to really affect my comics reading experiance one way or another.


  • TomHef June 8, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    @Danny – Oh, come on, Danny. You know you’re pretty much white.

    Actually, Danny caught me in a lie told for the sake of having a clever line. He’s Chinese, and he is indeed one of my best friends.

    Also: Alpha Flight has 5 fans?

    @Chance, @Mike – I’m naive enough to think that James Robinson doesn’t really care about giving DC a PR push. When he says he had the idea of making Alan Scott gay, I buy that (for him, at least) it was strictly a creative choice. Again, because I am naive.

    @Tim – Rockstar. (Meaning, I completely agree.)


  • Jason Newcomb June 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I’m white, I’m assuming this makes us best friends.


  • Mike June 8, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    @TomHef: It was more so a publicity stunt for the overall “Marriage Equality” movement. It was an attempt to push the movement, while trying to get young people more interested, because its always about how the young people will flock to anything that promotes “marriage equality”


  • Jason Newcomb June 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    We’re talking about publicity push as if it’s inherently a bad thing. I don’t share this conviction.


  • Mike June 8, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Again, it was an attempt to capitalize on the whole marriage equality thing, much like how the Gap has their new marriage equality campaign. Who really cares if the Gap has a marriage equality campaign? It’s a way to try and drive more publicity and get people interested, because if someone is clearly in favor of marriage equality, they MUST be a great person/company/comic book creator/writer.


  • TomHef June 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    @Mike – The Gap has a marriage equality campaign?

    I’m not saying DC isn’t pushing the Alan Scott gayness because of some PR angle. I just don’t believe the individual creator was motivated by PR to do what he did with the character.


  • Tim Morse June 8, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    @Mike: “its always about how the young people will flock to anything that promotes “marriage equality”

    That’s not true. If young people are going to flock to a comic simply because of it’s marriage equality, then they are missing the entire point of comics in general, and should probably go read something else.

    Is DC doing what is creatively right by putting a semi-known character with a very popular hero name as a gay hero? Probably not, but it’s creating a buzz, which is exactly what they were looking for. Alan Scott may have been the 5th or 6th best Lantern to wear the ring, but right now, he’s more popular than Superman. A character can be as gay as the day is long in a comic, or other written creative outlet for that matter, but if the story sucks, young or old, people will drop it and go on to something that captivates them.

    Maybe I’m putting to much faith in our youth, but I hope that they’re not going to be in it simply because it’s popular now. I hope they stay it in because of awesome and thought provoking stories that they can share with other people and enjoy.


  • Mike June 8, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    @TomHef: Yeah, the “Be One” campaign

    It’s the same concept with the whole “Red” thing. It was just PR to capitalize on the fact that people will buy things just because they think they are helping a poor country in Africa.

    Not saying that we shouldn’t be doing that, but that it’s awfully suspicious that right around the same time President Obama comes out in support of “marriage equality” that this happens. You will begin to hear: “Oh my God did you hear that there is a gay superhero? That’s so fetch!” And that creates a buzz around the comic book, or anything in relation to this for that matter.

    Do I care about a gay superhero? Not really. I’ve never been a DC comics kind of person anyway. I’m just a bit suspicious about the circumstances.


  • TomHef June 8, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    @Tim – How IS one gay as the day is long?


  • Jason Newcomb June 8, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Clearly, there’s only one way to get to the bottom
    of this issue. We must all have sex with each other!

    Who wants to go first?


  • TomHef June 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    @Mike, stop trying to make “fetch” happen! It’s not going to happen!


  • Danny D June 8, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    At the end of the day, whether the reason they’re promoting LBGT rights or marriage equality as a publicity stunt or for other ubiquitous reasons, it doesn’t really matter. Any kind of exposure that this matter gets is a step in the right direction. The fact that the Big 2 were afraid to do something this bold 20 years ago shows that slowly, the marriage rights issue is becoming more and more socially accepted. Yes, it’s not the grand gesture of making, say, Superman gay (a gesture that I think would make more character sense in that he’s an alien and wouldn’t look at things the same way, somewhat), but the fact that this issue is out there at all is a good thing.

    I think the hope is that the day will come when Northstar getting married to another dude gets no press at all, because that means gay marriage is universally accepted. And that’s a positive from all this media hype, that that day may be closer than we think.


  • Cas Marino June 8, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Thanks for this mention, Tom.

    My only comments:

    1. Regardless of which Green Lantern is featured (and to a non-com-fag, to be honest all I hear is clicks and whistles in this part of the discussion), once he was associated with Ryan Reynolds they had every gay ear (wait for it) pricked up.

    2. Sometimes “forward” isn’t the goal of the LGBTGQ movement — or any movement, for that matter. Sometimes being invited to the party is enough for us, even if the passed hors d’oeuvres keep making the rounds to other guests and eluding our own cocktail napkins.

    ANY press, my friend, is better than NO press.

    And finally, the most weighty of my contributions (though I know it will scare a great many fanboys out there):

    3. You run around in lycra for a few decades and wear a mask to hide the face attached to those ripply muscles and high-tide buns, and someone’s eventually gonna call you a fairy.


  • TomHef June 8, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    @Cas wins the thread. Point 3 is particularly salient.


  • Tim Morse June 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    @Cas: I don’t think it could have been said any better than that. Point 3 gave me the hearty laugh of the day!


  • Jason Newcomb June 8, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Baha!

    I’d be willing to give Cas the whole site if it were mine to give.


  • TomHef June 8, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    @JasonNewcomb: He might just take you up on that.


  • stevil June 9, 2012 at 7:21 am

    stealing northstars thunder