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Gay Characters - Page 4

Poll: Are the number of gay characters in comics proportionate?

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Thread: Gay Characters

  1. #46

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    Your very last paragraph made complete sense to me, Del (not that I didn't agree totally with the rest of it, lol). Just speaking as a gay man who at one time didn't particularly care for comics, and for my best friend, who JUST got into reading comics because of Northstar and the ANADAF, it's nifty IN SOME WAYS that gay characters have become included into comics, because we can relate to certain aspects of the characters. I didn't like Chuck Austen's reasons for bringing Northstar into the X-Men, nor did I care for how he chose to use him once there, but I did like his attitude. It was realistic to me because I know men like that. He made me laugh, and I found myself rooting for him. I'd always liked him in Alpha Flight, but Austen gave him an even finer edge of sardonic, occasionally vitriolic wit, and I liked that. But I like to see characters that I can relate to, at least on some level, and I see a little bit of that in almost every character that I favor.

  2. #47
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    o why should Marvel or DC or Image or anyone introduce gay characters for the sake of being politically correct?
    In the case of the Authority and Rawhide Kid, it became a marketing issue which attracted a lot of media attention.

    BTW, Millar in one interview said he made Apollo and Midnighter gay to mess with the minds of "macho" comic book readers who would have trouble dealing with the fact that the toughest and most popular characters were gay.

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by DelBubs
    I'm in almost total agreement with your take on what comics are/should be
    crozack, however writers have set up the universes in such a way that a
    reflection of the real world is almost an necessity. As soon as characters
    like Bill Foster, T'challa were introduced, then a reflection of being
    African or African American was the next logical step. As soon as Sabre
    appeared then being Israeli/Jewish and all that involved had to be explored.
    But, you see, Bill Foster or T'Challa or Sabra weren't introduced as simply a way of saying 'Okay, here are black and jewish characters'. (Yes, in Sabra's case it was for the two-dimensional Contest of Champions mini, but I digress) It was because writers wanted to create a new character in a compelling storyline. Stan Lee, back in his days on FF, wanted to create a foreign, mysterious character to compete with Reed's intelligence. Just so happened that character turned out to be an African king. If Black Panther was in line with society's overall view of blacks at the time, Panther would have been very different.

    They also weren't crafted to be reflections of modern society. As I said, all were products of aspirations to good stories.

    What I mean to say is, comics can craft good stories without reflecting modern society. But, in order to craft those good stories, it is most often needed to reach the reader themselves, and that means creating something they can relate to. It's why most successful comics are grounded on Earth, and not space or other dimensions.

    Marvel dropped the ball at lot in regards to The X-Men especially. First
    off being a mutant was an analogy of the African American struggle for
    equality, then with the onset of the Legacy virus, we had the analogy to
    A.I.D.S and the ridiculous concept that certain Viruses will only affect
    certain people. This of course takes up back to the concept of comics
    reflecting real life, no matter how it is dressed up. Marvel explored the
    prejudices that mutants suffered due to the legacy virus, but never fully
    reflected (IMHO) the full implications of it. If you can't go from A to B,
    then you shouldn't set off down that path, to my mind anyways.
    Actually, I believe the X-Men were originally supposed to capitalize on the idea of being a teenager who couldn't fit in high school (as most comic readers are likely to be, let's admit), but over time, in order to evolve the characters and stories into more entertaining and intense ones, it became an almost racist aspect. Now, again, this isn't to show off purposeful connections to modern society. It is to craft a compelling backstory. Claremont could have kept the X-Men in space (where most of his best stories took place) and the readership still would have kept up due to the strong characters and writing which would keep the reader related to the material.

    But I agree that the full potential of the Legacy Virus was not explored. It was the commercial 90s though, so intriguing stories took a backseat.

    In regards to Northstar, Marvel have always used his homosexuality as a selling point, Austen just exacerbated that with his ridiculous use of the character in UXM. On the whole, comics should be an escape, but in places like the DCU and MU I believe that is a target that will never be reached, any character you care to mention from those universes, will immediately bear some resemblance to real people. From patriotic Captain America, to drunken Iron Man. It is how these characters are portrayed by the writer that will dictate whether totally escapism is possible for the reader.
    Well, I have to say that I felt Northstar was one of those few characters that didn't have that one aspect of his personality played up. In the issues after he came out, he was still kept mercifully the same good ol' Jean-Paul that we know. Same with his appearance in Claremont's second (disasterous) run on Uncanny. It was only in Austen's X-Men that he became an unfortunate shadow of the character Byrne crafted.

    Now, in the cases of drunken Tony or patriotic Cap, these are again attributes that make them compelling characters, not so much to do with trying to reflect society. It's just the best way of creating a good story is to ground it in stuff that people will relate to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir John A.
    BTW, Millar in one interview said he made Apollo and Midnighter gay to mess with the minds of "macho" comic book readers who would have trouble dealing with the fact that the toughest and most popular characters were gay.
    You should never take a writer's word for what they meant to write, unless you know for certain he's being completely honest. Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Frank Miller are among those that are notorious liars about what they mean to craft, and most writers are. Not because they don't want to tell you, it's that they don't care to tell you. They say what they say in their writing. Read it to figure it out.

    That being said, Millar is also a very eccentric writer, so it wouldn't surprise me if he was just trying to get a rise out of the internet community, like Morrison did when he first joked that he really did want to turn the Beast gay.

  4. #49
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    I think in respect to racial/sexual monorities, as soon as they are introduced into a story, then difficulties they face have to be explored to take them beyond the two dimensional. It is how this is done that decides whether the fantasy aspect of the stories is lost to realism. I think in my roundabout way, this is what I was trying to get over.

    I'll accept that T'challa, Bill Foster, Sabra etc were not introduced solely for their racial aspects, but that aspect has to be explored, much the same as Nortstars sexual orientation. Northstar unfortunately became a standard bearer and bad writing didn't help him at all. However that said, I think that Northstar has helped in a lot of respect, gay characters are a plenty and their introduction no longer (to my knowledge) causes the hulabaloo Northstars did.

    A good example of how a good story can be weaved around a persons ethnic diversity or sexual orientation was seen in New Warriors. Vance Astoviks (Justice) father was gay, but supressed those feelings, because of his father and his racial background. That repression led to turmoil within him and when Vance manifested his mutant powers he took to abusing him. Eventually this led to Vance accidentally killing him. Good writing, which explored how diversity can affect people.

    As an aside, I think you will find that Apollo and Midnighter first appeared in Stormwatch vol 2 #4 written by Ellis. Millar didn't start writing them until Authority vol 1 #13.
    Del

    Driftwood: Well, I got about a foot and a half. Now, it says, uh, "The party of the second part shall be known in this contract as the party of the second part."
    Fiorello: Well, I don't know about that...
    Driftwood: Now what's the matter?
    Fiorello: I no like-a the second party, either.
    Driftwood: Well, you should've come to the first party. We didn't get home 'til around four in the morning... I was blind for three days!

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by DelBubs
    I think in respect to racial/sexual monorities, as soon as they are introduced into a story, then difficulties they face have to be explored to take them beyond the two dimensional. It is how this is done that decides whether the fantasy aspect of the stories is lost to realism. I think in my roundabout way, this is what I was trying to get over.
    I don't think they necessarily have to explore those aspects of their characters, and Black Panther and Northstar are examples of this.

    Byrne crafted Northstar brilliantly, but never came right out and said he was gay. And, in today's society where gays are becoming increasingly more accepted, I don't think we need to see Northstar protesting the California Gay Marriage Ban, nor do we need to see him with a boyfriend (actually, his character definitely would not support him having a boyfriend). When Lobdell finally revealed Northstar was gay, most of us in the comic community (yes, most of us, it was only a vocal minority that was upset) were all like 'Oh, yeah, that makes perfect sense'. I mean, Northstar is such a great character beyond the fact that he is gay, so we don't need to focus on it in order to craft an excellent story with him, nor to craft him into a better character.

    Whew...did that make any sense? LOL

    In the case of Black Panther, Christopher Priest (the best damn comic writer on the planet, and don't let anyone tell you different) crafted brilliant stories that needed to examine the character of Black Panther. Now, he could have crafted the same character he did while keeping Panther out of Wakanda and with the Avengers, but he didn't. Because he saw the brilliant storytelling potential in telling stories centered around the consequences of being the ruler of a successful African country (something that is very unrealistic in today's world) and being a superhero at the same time. It's all about storytelling potential. You can create great characters without having to deal with the obvious issues of race.

    We, of course, could see what Panther thinks of the KKK and we could see what Northstar thinks of George Bush but it'd be obvious what they'd think. So, it wouldn't make good stories, nor would it further their characters.

    I'll accept that T'challa, Bill Foster, Sabra etc were not introduced solely for their racial aspects, but that aspect has to be explored, much the same as Nortstars sexual orientation. Northstar unfortunately became a standard bearer and bad writing didn't help him at all. However that said, I think that Northstar has helped in a lot of respect, gay characters are a plenty and their introduction no longer (to my knowledge) causes the hulabaloo Northstars did.
    As I said, I don't think it has to be explored, but you are correct in saying that writers have to be careful to stick to the characterization.

    Northstar's characterization in UXM under Austen was such a damn deviation from his previous appearances (even the ones as recent as Claremont's Eve of Destruction...I think that was storyline Northstar appeared in) it was embarrassing, as I know Austen can create good stories. I mean, Northstar under Austen was such a deviation, it was like some writer taking Black Panther and turning him into a BET-watching, fist-raising, orange soda-guzzling Black militant.

    A good example of how a good story can be weaved around a persons ethnic diversity or sexual orientation was seen in New Warriors. Vance Astoviks (Justice) father was gay, but supressed those feelings, because of his father and his racial background. That repression led to turmoil within him and when Vance manifested his mutant powers he took to abusing him. Eventually this led to Vance accidentally killing him. Good writing, which explored how diversity can affect people.
    That is a very good example. You see, this story weaves in the social issues into the superhero setting, while also sticking to the already established characterization of Vance, and furthering it at the same time. Now, as I said, it wasn't needed to further Vance's character, as I'm sure there are other ways it could have been done, and we were lucky that this was pulled off so well.

    The same thing could be seen in the Black Panther title (really, this title was so brilliant, I encourage any to pick up some back issues). Panther is a black dictator, so Priest weaved in plots that would explore that side of him, though that wasn't needed to get the character to the same place. It just furthered the character, while also giving good stories.

    As an aside, I think you will find that Apollo and Midnighter first appeared in Stormwatch vol 2 #4 written by Ellis. Millar didn't start writing them until Authority vol 1 #13.
    I never said Millar did create them, and Ellis did indeed create them. I own all of the Stormwatch and Authority issues since Ellis. LOL

  6. #51
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    As an aside, I think you will find that Apollo and Midnighter first appeared in Stormwatch vol 2 #4 written by Ellis. Millar didn't start writing them until Authority vol 1 #13.
    I never said Millar did create them, and Ellis did indeed create them. I own all of the Stormwatch and Authority issues since Ellis. LOL
    Sir John A. wrote:
    BTW, Millar in one interview said he made Apollo and Midnighter gay to mess with the minds of "macho" comic book readers who would have trouble dealing with the fact that the toughest and most popular characters were gay.

    You should never take a writer's word for what they meant to write, unless you know for certain he's being completely honest. Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Frank Miller are among those that are notorious liars about what they mean to craft, and most writers are. Not because they don't want to tell you, it's that they don't care to tell you. They say what they say in their writing. Read it to figure it out.

    That being said, Millar is also a very eccentric writer, so it wouldn't surprise me if he was just trying to get a rise out of the internet community, like Morrison did when he first joked that he really did want to turn the Beast gay.
    I think this is where the confusion arose, to my knowledge, Ellis wrote Apollo and Midnighter as gay, Millar just elaborated on that.

    Regarding Austens Northstar depiction, I think the thing I found most irksome was the fawning after Iceman plot. Northstar to my mind would never have behaved like that. Austen took a great character, used him for a ridiculous plotline, chucked him into a couple of AF stories and by doing so condemned him to limbo.

    Just an Opinion
    Del

    Driftwood: Well, I got about a foot and a half. Now, it says, uh, "The party of the second part shall be known in this contract as the party of the second part."
    Fiorello: Well, I don't know about that...
    Driftwood: Now what's the matter?
    Fiorello: I no like-a the second party, either.
    Driftwood: Well, you should've come to the first party. We didn't get home 'til around four in the morning... I was blind for three days!

  7. #52
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    Well, I have to say that I felt Northstar was one of those few characters that didn't have that one aspect of his personality played up. In the issues after he came out, he was still kept mercifully the same good ol' Jean-Paul that we know. Same with his appearance in Claremont's second (disasterous) run on Uncanny. It was only in Austen's X-Men that he became an unfortunate shadow of the character Byrne crafted.
    I was confused at first because I didn't remember Northstar in Claremont's seconf XM run. Then I read.
    as recent as Claremont's Eve of Destruction...
    I know I'm going to get spanked for this, but Scott Lobdell wrote that awful characterization of Northstar, where the character was used only to be gay and give mouth-to-mouth to a homophobe. Scott did have a couple of good bits with the character like the book and the teasing of Jean in rescuing somebody, but it became evident that he was used because he was gay and for no other reason. That's no better than Austen's bit. Think about it: wouldn't AURORA have made a more reasonable choice as a teacher seeing she is, like, you know, A PROFESSIONAL TEACHER? As an orphan who seems to have history of working in a circus and the streets, I have always wondered if Northstar even graduated high school.
    I've said it before and will again: in trying to overcompensate for what he saw as 1-dimensional characters, Byrne went all out in making Northstar particularly a well-rounded character. Most of his other elements have been ignored since he came out. In the appearances since AF #130, I can't remembering him being used because he had speed or light powers, only because he was gay (Inserts book in pants) and Scott's just as guilty of that as any of the others.
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  8. #53

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    Good points, Kozzi. But I wonder, would Aurora have been any better of a choice, considering her MPD? I'm not entirely sure that exposing children to dangerous, possibly violent mental instability would be the best thing to do.

    Then again, Aurora paying a visit to Xavier at the time that Northstar was drafted into the X-Men wouldn't have been a bad idea at all. If anyone could help Aurora with her difficulties, I would think it would be Xavier.

  9. #54
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    Kinda makes you wonder why AF have never taken Aurora to Xavier. He is the worlds formost telepath and maybe could have made some inroads into solvong her psychosis. That said, it wouldn't leave a lot of plotlines in regards to the lady.

    In regards to Northstar, I really cannot see what he could bring to the table as a teacher of young inexperienced mutants, but maybe thats just me.
    Del

    Driftwood: Well, I got about a foot and a half. Now, it says, uh, "The party of the second part shall be known in this contract as the party of the second part."
    Fiorello: Well, I don't know about that...
    Driftwood: Now what's the matter?
    Fiorello: I no like-a the second party, either.
    Driftwood: Well, you should've come to the first party. We didn't get home 'til around four in the morning... I was blind for three days!

  10. #55
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    Kinda makes you wonder why AF have never taken Aurora to Xavier. He is the worlds formost telepath and maybe could have made some inroads into solvong her psychosis. That said, it wouldn't leave a lot of plotlines in regards to the lady
    Good friggin' point! I never thought of that!

  11. #56
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    He did play the psycho mending game with Legion, but a lot of his personalities where malevolent. To my knowledge, all of Aurora's personalities would seem either dependent or subservient. So no real conflict against Xavier.

    Whats the betting there's some saddo somewhere, thinking that Xavier could make Northstar no longer Gay.
    Del

    Driftwood: Well, I got about a foot and a half. Now, it says, uh, "The party of the second part shall be known in this contract as the party of the second part."
    Fiorello: Well, I don't know about that...
    Driftwood: Now what's the matter?
    Fiorello: I no like-a the second party, either.
    Driftwood: Well, you should've come to the first party. We didn't get home 'til around four in the morning... I was blind for three days!

  12. #57
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    If I remember right from Aurora's first shrink visit (AF 7- it was stated that her division was so complete that it would be dangerous to try and meld them. This has stayed true for the most part even as other writers have explored the MPD. Wasn't "the division of personalities being so complete" given as the reason for Mac's failure to see the problem when Aurora was brought on board?
    Neither personality has ever come across as violent or psychotic. One is too reserved and repressed, the other is too uninhibited and impulsive. The only real enthusiasm for violence was her attack on Director in her last Weapon X appearance; after being brainwashed, scarred, further manipulated and made into some nerd's lover, that was probably somewhat justified. Some people suggested that was a 3rd persona, but I think it was repressed JEANNE-MARIE made VERY angry!
    Maybe off panel Xavier has tried; he has to be aware of the problem because of "the gift" in the 1st XM/AF LS. I think it is more likely that both Jeanne-Marie and Aurora have resisted all treatment because each is afraid they would be the personality to go away.
    Very good point though, and would make a great character-driven story.
    I think "Xavier's" motivation for approaching J-P to teach was to be a gay role model. I guess Sharles Austen/Xavier both forgot Karma.
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  13. #58
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    Whats the betting there's some saddo somewhere, thinking that Xavier could make Northstar no longer Gay
    It's been hinted that the "ultimate version" of Xavier might be gay.

  14. #59

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    I think there are enough gay characters. But I wouldn't mind if there was more.
    Richard Vasseur

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