Once again I complain about the claims of racial agendas, this time with contrived homos! Hey look, gay and black superhero Josiah Power!
So we all know that in the recent issues of Peter David’s fantastically excellent X-Factor book, Rictor, our favorite suicidal ex-mutant, came out of the closet when he planted a highly long awaited kiss to guest star Shatterstar, who lip-locked with his eyes closed in return. The response has been a thing that has caused a huge stir within the community of comic readers in various forums. On one side we have the readers who are praising this decision and feel that it is a great progress for both of the characters after years of “Are they or are they not” debates and on the other side we have the folks who feel it’s highly contrived and I‘ve seen quite a good number of livid opinions bashing this plot point of the characters’ sexuality. Heck, even Shatterstar’s creator, Robert Leifeld, seems to be totally against it and cannot wait to change it if he ever worked on the character again.
Now while I’m reading these on-going debates about whether David wrote that scene in simply as shock value to get people talking and not staying true to the character, I’m also reading some posts of Dwayne McDuffie’s work on a few of his books. Now if you’ve followed my writing for this comic column way back around the time I first started, you’d know I’ve written a piece a while back about my frustration with a lot of comic readers due to feeling that black characters were being created or added to books simply to serve an agenda, especially if it were more than one black character. In a newsarama preview for McDuffie’s last JLA book (JLA #34), we’re introduced to the team of heroes that battle the main villain, Starbreaker, the heroes being Green Lantern John Stewart, Vixen, Dr. Light, Icon, Hardware, Firestorm, and Paladin. Now if you’re use to surfing the internet and seeing idiotic thoughts in posts, you’ll know where I’m going at with this based on the characters alone. Lets look at some truly insightful posts…
"...how many blacks did McDuffie manage to sneak onto the team this time--five? (I bet DC editorial gave him the same order as Burger King in that lawsuit--to "lighten things up around here.")"
"Why don't they call this the "Minority League"? "
"I don't think anyone will support an original black "mainstream" character. I know I won't."
"Maybe they should establish a separate league for all the negro superheroes. I'm not saying kick them ALL off. One would be okay. (Doesn't Hollywood have some kind of law that says every movie has to have at least one black in it?) I just think they're going overboard with all this diversity stuff. I mean, how many comics do minorities read anyway?"
And my favorite…
"Couldn't they get Static, Black Lightning, or one of his daughters instead of Dr. Light on the cover of BET League of America? Ha!"
Oh, how far we’ve come along from prejudice.
Just recently it was also announced that McDuffie will be writing a new book for DC that concerns the black community of the DC-verse and their place in it. Of course we’re introduced to a nice lil’ post from another troll:
“…I can see the story now: Black evil scientist - who used to be Sivana's janitor - develops a plague that will kill off every non-Black on the face of the planet. It's even revealed that he tested it on Michael Jackson, who obviously was "no longer Black" and it still worked! So Obama rounds up all the DCU's Black heroes to band together and stop this mad scientist before he kills off all the Whiteys, Asians, Amerinds, Hispanics and anyone else who doesn't like Fried Chicken and Watermelon. Of course, there'll be a traitor who wants all the honkies wasted, but that's expected in a miniseries with this kind of social importance!
The title of the miniseries? Black Power, obviously”
Pretty much from all comments and various other comments I’ve seen all throughout the internet whenever a group of black characters get together, we’re introduced to it being “contrived.” Why? Because if any body of the same race besides whites get together, it’s entirely forced and would never happen without the creators forcing it to happen. Just like how any writer will come up with any type of team up and it’s all fine and dandy. But minorities? Oh no, please! Stay away! When one walks down the street or in the city and see a group of black people hanging out, do you think they’re contrived? To tell you the truth, I do in fact feel that in this day and age, people still get very suspicious and worried when they see a group of black folks together and want to walk the other way or cross the street. Hmm…
Anyway, while I’m shaking my head at the ignorance and stupidity of all this, I’m shaking my head feeling sorry for the gay readers and supporters as their sexuality are being argued as “contrived.” It’s no big deal to see a heterosexual relationship for the, oh… 991,008,921,239,054,906th time in a row, but once we get a gay kiss in a mainstream book which happens less than once every maybe… 5 years it feels (speaking of, how many gay kisses has there even been in a mainstream book besides maybe Midnighter/Apollo and some lesbian make-out sessions?), it’s the end of the world. A common argument that I see a lot when it comes to debates of this nature is something along the lines of, “As long as their sexuality serves a good plot point and feels natural and fit’s the story, go for it. Other than that, it shouldn’t be brought up” and I ask, “Why?” Why do I ask that? Well why should a person's sexuality be done for story purposes? People who are gay are gay, people who are bi are bi, people who are straight are straight. Do they fit the "story of our reality?" We should have characters of all races and orientations without having to think they should be that way for a story. That's what annoys me when people ask for black characters/villains and the response to that is, "The story doesn't call for a black so-so right now." What the fuck? Blacks, Asians, Arabs, and all types of other races and ethnicity, gays, bisexuals, lesbians, and all types of sexual orientations as long as they aren’t hurting anyone should have every right to be depicted in a book filled with the same old white characters who are saving the world and having their own personal issues. Just because a character comes out of the closet doesn’t make him/her any less of a character. If my best bud came out as gay, guess what? This is the same best bud I’ve shared laughs with and chilled with on a Saturday watching cartoons. So what if he prefers bananas over apple pie? I’m pretty sure if he was someone who could kick your ass before, taking a step out of his closet wouldn’t mean he couldn’t kick your ass again.
Which brings me to Rictor who’s been a huge favorite character of mine since the first issue of David’s X-Factor run. Since the beginning of the series, the character has been highly suicidal, all brooding and depressed, angry and easily prone to violence. Now, since before this series, Rictor always seemed like the type that alienated himself from others and always had a… weird look to him, differencing him from his peers. Also, he’s dated and had sex with a few female characters. Now, when it comes to the argument of his sexuality, a lot of readers like to point out that last bit about why the character couldn’t be bisexual. Because clearly he’s had relationships with women so therefore it cancels out all chances of being with a dude and enjoying a night of… okay, let me not get graphic for the easily disturbed and homophobic. But yes, onto what I was getting to… why not do some research on real life gay/bisexual people, or hell, if you have gay friends look at them? From what I understand, gays/bisexuals who spend years suppressing their sexuality are in fact prone of be depressed (I wonder why), afraid to come out, lash at the world, aggressive, snobby, and suicidal. Why you ask? Well for one, prejudice and denying them the right to be happy with the person they want to love! Heck, from what I understand, the statistics for teen suicides are ridiculously high due to teens dealing with their sexuality alone. Great job, folks. And now I get to this, how many men in their lives who are gay or bisexual actually have children and have been married to women for years before coming out of the closet? So does that make them contrived? A common thing I’ve noticed with some friends is that when some do in fact come out of the closet, one of the more common responses from my other friends and peers are, “Wait, what? That doesn’t make sense. Didn’t you used to go out with this girl? Didn’t you have sex with this girl? How can you be gay?” Heh, wow, it’s like real life decided to ret-con my fellow friends to be gay. Oh, life, how can you be so contrived? Don’t you know gay people don’t exist? Why must you spew your agenda on us, life? And why should I exist? Am I agenda too, life? I’m black! I must serve a purpose to your story or else why am I here? Why must you contrive me with black friends, life?!
Due to all this stupidness, I hope Marvel turns Wolverine gay.
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About the Author - Greg
Greg DAE is a Brooklyn born film-maker, writer, actor, and horror/comic fiend. He was one of the first writers of The Outhouse and one of the two original Bludnet writers. One day he’ll be an accomplished comic book writer…. Or else.
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