If you aren’t a comic book aficionado, and haven’t seen 2011 movie starring Ryan Reynolds, you may not be familiar with the story of the comic book superhero the Green Lantern.
Thus, you may be interested in reading this article.
If you aren’t a comic book aficionado, but you saw the movie—you may be completely uninterested due to the fact that it was the superhero incarnation of Mariah Carey’s Glitter.
However, if you are a comic book aficionado AND you saw the movie, you may be so scarred that the mere mention of the Green Lantern film adaptation may give you dramatic flashbacks consisting of a CGI
Ryan Reynolds and a terrible script destroying your childhood superhero. This may make you want to burn this article rather than read it, if only to get rid of the voices!
Oh, the voices!
But alas, you cannot do that, as this article is on the internet. Unless you have a printer, in which case burn away, you resourceful pyro, you!
Before you do that though, please know that this will be unnecessary. I promise you, I will do everything in my power to make sure that this article will not reach that level of putrescence.
However, some people worry that the worst thing to happen to the Green Lantern franchise wasn’t the 2011 movie.
To put it simply, DC Comics, the people behind Batman, Superman, and the Justice League, has rewritten the original Green Lantern, known as Alan Scott, as a gay character. The decision to do so has been met with mixed reactions. Some people are delighted that DC has chosen to make one of their main heroes gay. Others think it’s a marketing ploy that’s trying to stir up some controversy in order to get people interested in comics again. And a small minority of the typical douchemongers (I will not rest until that word is in the dictionary!) think that making the Green Lantern gay is going to somehow sissify a man who wears a spandex unitard and whose powers are given to him via glowing magic ring.
Oh, the irony.
A brief history; Alan Scott was the very first incarnation of the Green Lantern. He was created in 1940, during what is currently known as the “Golden Age” of comics. This age spanned the late 1930s to the early 1950s, and it was during this time that the superhero archetype was honed and established. It was during this period that many other famous comic book characters, such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, were created.
The Green Lantern differs substantially from characters like Batman or Wonder Woman, because there isn’t simply one Green Lantern. Alan Scott was the first, but after him came Hal Jordan in the late 1950s, followed by John Stewart in the 1970s, and so on and so forth. The one thing each Green Lantern has in common is the magical ring that can materialize itself into anything—a handy tool for both kicking evil villain ass and flipping hamburgers at a Sunday Barbeque.
But DC Comics is currently rebooting all of their characters—and, in classic comic book fashion, have created an alternative Universe in which Alan Scott is young again, and gay.
So what does this mean? Is this just a marketing ploy?
Despite the tiny little cynic who lives in my brain and feeds off of reality television and twenty four hour news stations, I honestly don’t think that’s what is going on here.
Although stereotypes would tell you that superheroes are super strong manly men who always get the girl and always save the day—when you actually read the stories, nothing could be further from the truth.
Their stories are complex, and sometimes very downright depressing. Almost all of them have traumatic back stories. Most superheroes have dealt with the murder of parents or guardians, or some form or another of abandonment or rejection. Many times, their super powers don’t alleviate their problems, but rather heighten them. Take Spiderman for instance; his parents are dead, his uncle gets killed, and his first great love, Gwen Stacy, has her neck snapped when he tries to save her from a deadly fall using his web-slinging abilities. He is then plagued with guilt due to his attraction to her best friend, Mary Jane Watson.
Can you say dark?
These guys have dealt with some serious heartache. That’s what makes them so relatable and comforting to their readers. But they must suffer their strife in private. It’s not like Peter Parker can chug some beers with his bros and get it all out…Due to the occupation of being a superhero, Peter Parker and others like him are often outcasts from society. What happens when you’re in the mask has to stay there, no matter how difficult it may be.
But the difference is, they are outcasts with power with the ability to change things for the better—even if that might come at great personal sacrifice.
These characters have almost always written particularly with young men in mind. They are meant to be a form of entertainment and escapism. Thus, characters like Alan Scott or Bruce Wayne have to reflect the trials and tribulations of their readers, while being able to perform actions that your Average Joe couldn’t manage in their wildest dreams.
Let’s say your mother got laid off of work due to corporate corruption. If Batman existed, he could sneak into the office of the CEO, find evidence to indict him, participate in an epic car chase as the CEO’s goonies attempt to catch and kill him, only to blow them all away with his newly acquired heat seeking rocket launcher, and then still manage to be home in time for Alfred to pour him a glass of bedtime tea.
Those kinds of stories provide a release for the frustrated, confused, and lonely.
For once there is a superhero that represents a minority that is so frequently made to be frustrated, confused, and lonely. I think it is a great idea and a new way in which DC Comics can connect to their fan base.
Some people grumble about how superheroes are supposed to be overtly masculine in order to be real superheroes. The ignorant complain that a gay superhero will somehow be weak and incompetent due to his liking of other dudes.
But his sexuality has nothing to do with the magic ring he wears. If Superman was gay, what would be the main difference between his character pre-DC reboot and now, other than a change in love interests?
He would still have all of the same powers. And I can’t help but think that people wouldn’t be nearly as upset if Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl started getting it on behind the scenes. In fact, I know several fan boys that would most likely sign a petition to get that plot line in the works.
I think that this is a genuine attempt at being more tolerant because DC isn’t coming out with an “Alan Scott is Gay and Loving It!” issue. At least in the comic, they aren’t making a big deal that he’s gay—but they aren’t hiding it or not giving his male love interest any less smooching scenes as the other guys get with their female love interests.
I think it’s cool that we have a gay superhero. But not just because he’s gay, rather due to the fact that it’s not really that big of a deal when you think about it. Nothing is different. This is an alternate universe after all, so the original Alan Scott still exists in his own way, so no harm done. So this current incarnation is gay—like a lot of the male readers enjoying these comics are right now. It’s not nearly as big of a deal now as it would have been a few decades ago.
We all have joint human experiences that transcend all of the political bullshit we are fed on a regular basis. So let’s pay attention to what we have in common and actually allow ourselves to enjoy life. Don’t put down a comic book because the character is gay; pick it up because his magic ring can make a giant baseball bat that knocks an asteroid away from a deadly collision course towards Earth!
If we could all just simmer down and just allow ourselves to enjoy life and every part and every one that make it up, now that would be pretty damn super.
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