Robrt L. Pela

Holy cow, Batman!

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Those of us who don’t care about superhero comic books and their Spandex-clad denizens missed all the fun last month when rival publishers, Marvel and DC, went to war over which of them had the most gay characters in their super-stable.

No, really. Gay is the new black in comic book-land. The trend started in 2006, when DC brought back Batwoman (who had languished for years without an inked presence) as a lesbian. Then, in May of this year, Marvel Comics shipped out a new edition of its Astonishing X-Men collection that included a story about how Northstar, the first-ever gay mainstream comic book character, proposed marriage to his longtime partner. Not to be outdone by all this bursting out of the super-closet, DC began intimating to the press that one of its superheroes might include homosexuality among his or her super powers.

The possibility that one of the DC icons might be gay apparently had comic book nerds all atwitter. DC fanned flames with earnest abandon on websites and blogs: Could it be that Superman was about to really live up to his name? Was the Green Lantern, in fact, more chartreuse? Perhaps, Wonder Woman was … oh, never mind. 

A front-page headline in London’s Daily Mail was the corker. “Is Batman gay?” it shrieked. But, before Bruce Wayne had a chance to come out of the bat closet, DC announced in June that its most male-friendly character is none other than 72-year-old Alan Scott, better known as the Green Lantern.

Seriously, aside from a few gay activists and maybe Ryan Reynolds’ press agent, who cares? It is possible that a handful of teenagers in Nebraska might be disappointed – or even thrilled – that one of their favorite pretend conquerors has any kind of sexuality at all, but the rest of the world almost surely never gave it a moment’s thought. For us, a superhero is just a line drawing whose job it is to keep our kids entertained while overseeing the fate of the planet.

But, since the subject has come up, one can’t help but wonder: Are gay superheroes super-monogamous?

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