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Which Classic DC Character Will Turn Out To Be Gay This June?

Tuesday 22nd May 2012 by Eric Diaz

At this past weekend’s Kapow Comic Convention in the UK, DC Editor-In-Chief Dan Didio dropped a pretty big bombshell; a fan asked the question asked at the DC Nation panel about Dan DiDio’s interview with prominent gay magazine The Advocate, specifically over the decision not to change any character’s sexual orientation when restarting the DCU. In the interview, Didio said that they would introduce new LGBT characters instead of switching someone’s orientation, but the fan asked why DC would switch race, size, age, every kind of other feature, but not sexual orientation. Not the company policy  anymore, according to Didio; in fact they are about to reintroduce a previously existing DC character who was previously straight and now will be “one of our most prominent gay characters.”

In fact, since the story broke, DC’s Senior VP Publicity Courtney Simmons has clarified even further: “One of the major iconic DC characters will reveal that he is gay in a storyline in June” Well, now we know he is considered “iconic” and that it is a He and not a She. So who will it be? DC has no shortage of candidates, but as a longtime DC fanboy (and a gay one at that) here are my top ten guesses for who is coming out of the phone booth closet come June:

#10. Vibe

The first Latino member of the Justice League, and also the first member of the Justice League to die in the line of duty. Earthquake powered Paco Ramone was pretty much a racial caricature, breakdancing and speaking in a badly written spanish accent (things like saying “chu” instead of “you” and so forth. It was pretty shameless.)  He was promptly killed off way back in 1986, a mere two years after he was introduced. But now he’s being brought back in the new 52, minus the racism and breakdancing (one would assume) While he seems like a likely candidate, DC has said that that the character would be “iconic”, and just being a Leaguer didn’t help Paco make icon status. So he’s at the very bottom of the list for that reason.

The Detroit version of the JLA was like a weird snapshot of 1984 pop culture; you got the All American bionic athlete (how very '84 Olympic Fever), a Madonna/Cyndi Lauper clone, Tina Turner with powers, and a latino breaker dancer named Vibe. How could this NOT be dated within a couple of years??

#9. Wally West/The Flash

I admit, this one is a long shot, which is why it is way down the list at number nine. And if it turned out to be true I can only imagine how pissed off some longtime fans would be. Wally has been missing in action for over a year now, one of the most iconic DC characters to be MIA since the whole “New 52” reboot. But even my gay ass would be annoyed at bringing back the ultimate hetero family man of the DCU and making him gay for the sake of sales. But since we know that Dan Didio and the guys in charge at DC are hardly above stunts like this to make headlines, anything is possible.

#8. Jimmy Olsen

Making Superman’s best pal a gay guy would make TONS of mainstream headlines, and we know how much DC loves that. But I have a hard time seeing DC giving the ok to this, as every version of this character since 1940 has been heterosexual, especially in other media like movies and television were the majority of the world knows him from the most. Still, something could be made out of the fact that he’s always getting himself into trouble so that a muscular god like male alien in mutli colored spandex can come save him.

#7. Alfred Pennyworth

For decades there have been jokes about how the all male Wayne household is super gay, including Bruce Wayne’s trusty butler Afred. And let’s face it, most upper crust British types come across as gay to most Americans. And DC would probably want to avoid making the de-facto patriarch of the Wayne Household a gay man. But if they did go ahead and make Alfred gay, I doubt many people would drop their jaws in shock about it.

#6. Shazam!/Billy Batson

DC has been making a lot of noise about re-introducing the new Captain Marvel Shazam to their newly rebooted universe in the pages of Justice League. This time, young Billy Batson is a darker, tougher version of his old self (we know he’s tougher…he wears a hoodie now!) DC has been trying to make this character click with modern audiences and failing for decades, as many see him as merely a Superman clone and not much else. But by possibly making Billy Batson a bullied gay teenager who “with one magic word” becomes the ultimate in male power fantasy, well…people might quickly stop making the Superman comparison and Shazam will have finally found his modern “hook.”

#5. Green Lantern/Kyle Rayner

Just having the title of Green Lantern makes Kyle Rayner “iconic” I suppose, so he makes the list. The current DCU main Earth currently has four Green Lanterns, and making one of them gay would help to make him a bit more distinct from the others. Besides, he’s an artist living in Greenwich Village with a bad dating history with women. Screams “closet case” to me.

#4. The Atom/ Ryan Choi

Ryan Choi replaced Ray Palmer as shrinking hero The Atom in the previous continuity, before being killed off like a red shirt on Star Trek. Considering how few Asian super heroes there are in comics, readers made a lot of noise about how poorly DC treated one of their few Asian heroes. So no surprise, Ryan Choi is back alive and kicking as the new Atom once more in the new DCU. But seeing as this character is relatively new, DC knows there is a lot less of a chance of fans making a stink if his sexuality is suddenly switched. But then again…if no one cares, then why bother?

#3. Red Robin/ Tim Drake

There have been jokes for decades about Robin being gay, but most of those jokes have been about original Robin Dick Grayson. Well, clearly those people making those jokes aren’t comic book readers, because if they were they’d know that Dick Grayson is a bit of a pussy hound, with hot superhero chicks like Starfire and Batgirl all on his booty call list.

However, the third Wayne ward to wear the mantle of Robin, Tim Drake (currently going by Red Robin) has had a different history with women. Oh, he’s dated, but most of his relationships with girls seem to go nowhere, and where Dick Grayson was getting’ it on with various women when he was a teen hero, Tim Drake seemed more focused on other things. In the pre-Flashpoint DCU, his biggest obsessive relationship was seemingly with Conner Kent/Superboy, which many fans found to be very telling. Having one of Batman’s teen sidekicks would certainly make a lot of noise in the media, but it also might be a shade to close to the old Seduction of the Innocent “Batman and Robin are gay lovers” hysteria from the 50’s that nearly killed the Batman titles.

#2. Hawkman

I admit, I’m not reading the new Hawkman series (is anyone?) so I don’t know if it has been revealed what his sexuality is yet or not. But really, just look at that leather daddy outfit…the harness, the hairy chest, the muscles…I dunno, maybe the answer was in plain sight all along. Add to that this his former love Hawkwoman is now on another Earth, and well…you do the math.

#1. Green Lantern/ Alan Scott

The new Earth-2 is very different one than the original so far, with the future members of the Justice Society of America being modern day heroes with no ties to World War II. In the recently released issue #1 of Earth-2, it was revealed that the Flash Jay Garrick was in a long term relationship in college with someone named Joan, so that seemingly crosses him off the potential gay list.

But what about Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern? Would DC have the balls to make one of their original icons a gay man? It should be noted that in the old pre-Flashpoint continuity, Alan Scott’s son Obsidian was gay, and he seemingly no longer exists, so maybe by making his former dad gay they are hoping to balance that out. In any event, Marvel got a lot of headlines and sales by making Spider-Man (or a Spider-Man) “Blatino.” While GL isn’t on the level of Spidey, it still says a lot if the first hero to hold the title of Green Lantern at DC was suddenly a gay man.

One strike against Alan Scott being a gay man...red, green, yellow AND purple? Every gay man I know would know better than that.