When it comes to the latest comic book news, I'm reminded of what the late humorist Will Rogers used to say:
"All I know is what I read in the newspapers."
So, what I'm about to tell you is a bit more than I know, but if you have teenagers who read Marvel and DC comic books, you'll want to know about it, too.
Both comic book lines are attempting to capitalize on the culture's increased acceptance of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Marvel is planning a story line that features a wedding between characters Northstar and Kyle. Meanwhile, DC Comics has just announced that the Green Lantern is homosexual.
There was a time when comic book themes, however fantastical, were still pretty much tame and moral fare. They tended to champion good vs. evil. A parent didn't have to worry about their child picking up a copy of a compromising comic book, unless you consider the Superman controversy of many years ago. Back then, parents became alarmed when some kids, so inspired by the "Man of Steel," began to tie bath towels around their necks and jump out of second story windows thinking they could fly.
But now that both comic book lines have committed to plowing this new ground regarding homosexuality, what's a parent of a teenager (both the Marvel and DC series in question have an age-15-and-up rating) who reads the comics to do?
Some moms and dads may encourage their children to invest their time in other reading material, and rightly so. After all, there's only so much time to read. And spending it on a comic book as opposed to something more constructive and redeeming strikes me as a less-than-optimal choice of free time.
But parents might also want to capitalize on this controversial development and use it to initiate an age-appropriate conversation about God's design for human sexuality. It may sound silly to pivot from the Green Lantern to the Bible, but the key to connecting with our children is to grab their attention and communicate in relevant fashion. Talking about sex can be an uncomfortable assignment, but if they're already aware of this controversial development, you could use the comic book story as a natural bridge, at least from their perspective.
Incidentally, both comic lines have expressed a desire to use the forum to accurately represent today's culture. If that's the case, I do hope that the story lines will thoughtfully and respectfully portray religious opposition to same-sex marriage. It would be a cheap shot to do otherwise.
And as a post script, I would like to compliment Marvel on their recent launch of Blue Ear, a story featuring a super hero who fights evil with a special hearing aid. Apparently the strip was launched after a mother of a partially deaf child petitioned the company. Her child, once self-conscious about wearing a hearing aid, now thinks it's cool.
This is the power of pop culture on children.
Those who possess it need to remember to use it wisely – and to use it well.