NEW YORK, NEW YORK, May 23, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – As part of its ongoing campaign to increase its characters’ diversity, Marvel Comics will feature X-Men superhero Northstar having a same-sex “marriage” ceremony with his partner, Kyle.
Northstar became the first openly homosexual comic character in 1992.
Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Axel Alonso said, “Marvel has a long and proud tradition of reflecting the world in all its diversity, and this is just one more example of that.”
Marjorie Liu, an X-Men writer, told Rolling Stone she wanted to inspire others to follow their footsteps. “Here are two people, trying to live their lives – mutant and gay, black and gay – empowered in their own ways, but also fringe-dwellers,” she said. “They’re living life on their own terms…The message is: You can do the same thing.”
The “marriage” will take place in next month’s Astonishing X-Men #51.
Alonso told Rolling Stone the editorial team was inspired to pursue the wedding storyline after same-sex “marriage” became legal in New York State, where the characters live.
However, not everyone in the Marvel universe supports redefining marriage. “Not everyone will accept the invitation or the validity of Northstar’s vows,” Alonso said, revealing even “one of Northstar’s team members will turn down the invitation.”
Alonso insisted the views of those who support traditional marriage “will be fairly represented.” Co-editor Jeanine Schaffer agreed, “There are also people who are struggling with it. We want to tell those stories, too.”
The move follows closely on the heels of another comic book outing. On Sunday, DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio told a London’s comic book convention that an existing DC character, who had been assumed to be straight, will become “one of our most prominent gay characters.”
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Northstar will not be the first homosexual superhero to tie the knot. Stormwatch characters Apollo and Midnighter already “married” and adopted a child.
More recently, Archie comics book character Kevin Keller “married” his homosexual partner in the January 2012 issue. One Million Moms, a project of the American Family Association, asked for members to contact Toys ‘R’ Us stores to prevent the issue’s display in front of an impressionable young audience. Attempts to contact One Million Moms about the X-Men issue were not successful by press time.
The quest to diversify the superhero world has seen rivals Marvel and DC introducing homosexual characters for decades.
DC’s Teen Titans features Bunker, an Hispanic homosexual born in Mexico. In 2002, the DC character Terry Berg was nearly beaten to death in a homosexual hate crime in the Green Lantern comic series.
Wolverine’s son, Daken, has had homosexual escapades in Marvel’s pages, while DC’s Starman had a same-sex partner until his own fictional death.
The newspaper comic pages are not exempt. The long-running comic strip “Funky Winkerbean,” penned by Tom Batiuck, had a same-sex couple attend the prom last month.
At other times, the comic companies have added minority groups to the comic book world by changing the historical sexual orientation and ethnicity of existing superheroes.
DC reintroduced Batwoman, who was originally Batman’s love interest, as a lesbian who celebrates Hanukkah in 2006.
In 2002, Marvel relaunched the 1950s-era cowboy the Rawhide Kid as a homosexual gunfighter.
Marvel writer Peter David helped turn asexual mutant Shatterstar into a bisexual.
Marvel killed off Spider-Man’s alter ego Peter Parker last June, replacing him with Miles Morales, a teenager who is half-black, half-Hispanic, and may be revealed to be homosexual. At the time, Alonso said, “This was a conscious decision. Here at Marvel, we pride ourselves on reflecting the real world in all its diversity.”
The artist who helped create the new Spider-Man look, Sara Pichelli, said, “Maybe sooner or later a black or gay – or both – hero will be considered something absolutely normal.”
Superheroes such as Blue Beetle, Firestorm, and The Atom have also been changed from white to Hispanic, black, and Asian.
While some are tempted to laugh off gay comics, their impact on popular culture – and the children whose worldview they help shape – cannot be calculated. Before President Obama endorsed same-sex “marriage,” Vice President Joe Biden said “when things really begin to change is when the social culture changes.” He credited the TV program “Will and Grace” with doing “more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody’s ever done so far.”