DC Comics has announced that it will debut the Green Lantern as the first openly gay male character in its comic books in order to push aside "prejudice barriers" and provide a "positive" gay role model.
Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, will come out as gay next week in the latest issue "Earth 2" which has remade the character into a younger version of himself. Scott's first comic appearance came in "All-American Comics" No. 16 in July 1940.
"It was just meant to be - Alan Scott being a gay member of the team, the Justice Society, that I'll be forming in the pages of `Earth 2," writer James Robinson said. "He's just meant to be part of this big tapestry of characters."
DC Comics has won awards in the past from GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), for its portrayal of an openly lesbian Catwoman. Robinson stated the he hoped to shape Scott's character without his sexuality "defining" him.
"What I really want to do with this character is make the fact that he's gay to be a part of who he is and not to be the one identifying aspect of him," Robinson says.
The gay lantern will run parallel to Hal Jordan, the famed lantern with the powdered ring who was depicted by Ryan Reynolds in the Hollywood make of the film.
Some have questioned the intention of DC Comics, by portraying a gay character. Robinson has declared that the character may help those with "small minds" who are prejudice to homosexuality.
"He's someone you would want to watch over your children," Robinson stated. "Presenting that kind of a heroic role model hopefully will be a good thing and help to show gays in a positive light for people who might be a little more small-minded."
Others suggested that including openly gay characters was an attempt by DC comics to enforce a political agenda on young kids.
"Remember when comic books were just comic books?" wrote IHateTheMedia.com. "When a boy could read his comic and dream about being a hero? And a girl could decide whether she wanted to be Betty or Veronica? No political agenda being shoved down your throat? Those days are gone."
Robinson however accused those who protested the gay characters as "ignorant" and naïve.
"Most people's prejudice stems from their ignorance and isolation, be it racial or someone's sexuality. It's usually due to them not going out into the world and experiencing it," Robinson stated. "I hope that showing a positive character like Green Lantern Alan Scott helps in some small, small way to bring down the walls and barriers."
Comic fans who claimed to have no issue with homosexuality also suggested that a political agenda seemed to be in play because the creators chose to make an already known character gay.
"Ok, nothing against gays(really), but why would you use a character that had been around since the 30's and not just create a new?" Scott Frommert asked on the USA Today blog.
"That is my only problem with this. (Being gay)," Jon Heckman responded. "I love comics. But they should have just created a new character. Instead they are going to anger people who may not actually be homophobic because they are completely changing a character. And to me this sort of sends the wrong message. I know its a new storyline but it just screams "you can change" or "its a choice"
Most believed the decision to be about marketing and politics. Cole Zondag argued however that comics for children and adults alike, should be about the adventures and characters and not political agendas.
"I read comics to get away from having to be PC (politically correct). When I read them I don't want to worry about social issuse I want to worry about when Superman gets out of the next super bad trap," Zondag wrote on the blog.