Marvel Plans Comics’ First Gay Wedding


X-Men mutant Northstar made news in 1992 when he came out to his over 100,000 followers with an explicit “I am gay” [1]. Twenty years later, he’s set to marry his longtime boyfriend, the superpower-less Kyle Jinadu. Northstar, whose civilian name is Jean-Paul Beaubier, got down on one knee and proposed in “Astonishing X-Men” issue No. 50, which went on sale Wednesday, May 23. The couple will be married in New York’s Central Park in issue No. 51, which comes out Wednesday, June 20. The New York Times wrote:

The news was officially announced Tuesday on “The View” on ABC, but it has been the subject of fan speculation for some time. Axel Alonso, the editor in chief of Marvel Entertainment, said the story line was discussed shortly after New York State legalized gay marriage in June 2011. “Most of our characters reside in New York State,” he said. “Our stories work best when we reconcile drama with the real world, so it raised questions” [2].
 

The conservative organization One Million Moms (which is actually only a few thousand moms) has publicly denounced the X-Men’s marriage just months after threatening to boycott JCPenney for choosing Ellen Degeneres, a lesbian, as its spokesperson and featuring gay couples in advertisements. They said in a statement:

Children desire to be just like superheroes. Children mimic superhero actions and even dress up in costumes to resemble these characters as much as possible. Can you imagine little boys saying, “I want a boyfriend or husband like X-Men?” [3].
 

“Actually, yes,” says comics commentator Sina Shamsavari at the University of London, who wrote on the particular appeal of the X-Men series as a venue for gay rights:

It has to do with the notion of a double identity and being set aside from humanity by possessing – and in the case of mutants, for instance, being born with – strange and unusual, ‘unnatural,’ powers. Superheroes are sometimes, perhaps often, at least on some level, outsiders. The X-Men are an archetypal example, hated and feared by the ones they seek to protect, but really this could apply to Batman, Superman, Spider-Man or Wonder Woman as well [4].
 

To see a dozen other gay and lesbian characters who have appeared in major comics over the years, check out this slideshow. Believe it or not, Wonder Woman was originally scripted as a lesbian in 1941. The early Batman and Robin had a highly homoerotic relationship before the authors gave Batman more of a family life to fend off criticism. DC now has plans to reintroduce Alan Scott, the secret identity of the Green Lantern, as a gay man.

Twenty years ago, The New York Times wrote on Northstar’s coming out: “Mainstream culture will one day make its peace with gay Americans. When that time comes, Northstar’s revelation will be seen for what it is: a welcome indicator of social change.” Since then, the superhero’s sexuality has matured from a liberal stunt to a legitimate reflection of reality, with gay marriage now legal in the characters’ native New York state. With gay marriage becoming less controversial each day, the X-men’s media splash is sure to fade, but for now, congrats to Northstar and Kyle.


Attribution

[1] The Comics Break New Ground Again, The New York Times
[2] Marvel’s Gay Superhero to Propose, The New York Times
[3] One Million Moms Condems Gay Superhero Announcements from DC and Marvel
[4] The Rise of the Gay Superhero, The Globe and Mail


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