Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Gay Characters

As usual, I'm a bit late to the party, but I do want to make a few comments about the Alex Ross comments re: the Obsidian flap. The Beat has a nice overview, with Ross' clarifications.

First, I agree with the general idea that making gay a character who has been around for a while and who has never until recently been depicted that way is to make a major change in the character's identity.

Second, Obsidian may have been around a couple of decades or so now, but he hasn't been high profile. Making him gay isn't on par with suddenly finding out Bruce Wayne is gay (uh, wait, there was all that talk about Bruce and Dick...) or Ollie Queen.

Third, while most of the gay people I know have told me they knew at a rather young age that they preferred people of their own sex, there are others who are conflicted about their sexual identity and clearly, in comics, we don't always see every aspect of a character. Perhaps inner turmoil over his sexual identity added to Obsidian's overall problems.

I can see both sides of the issue re: whether or not it makes sense for Obsidian to be gay. I believe Alex Ross when he says he used wrong words to get his point across and that he's not anti-gay characters. I agree that it's better to create new characters who are gay than retrofit that sexuality to older characters. But it does fit in this case, and it adds some diversity to the universe without trying to get people interested in someone entirely new, which is the case with the new Batwoman.

I remember how upset people were to find out Jefferson Pierce had a grown daughter, Anisa Pierce of the current Outsiders. In a way, that made less sense, given how old Black Lightning was, the fact that he and he wife were never depicted as parents when Anisa should have been around, and so on. Eventually, people calmed down and Anisa has, in my opinion, been a fun character who has added richness to Black Lightning's existence.

I, for one, am looking forward to Obsidian playing an important role in the new JSA and for him to be shown with all current aspects of his nature.

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