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Controversy In Comics: When Is It Genuine?

When is controversy in comics used to promote social commentary and when is it used as a way to garner sales?

Contentious issues exist in our society, so it makes sense that these issues would exist and come into play in many of the comics that we read. Comic books aren't only a form of entertainment, they also often act as social commentary. They provide an outlet for creators and fans of these books to discuss issues found in our news headlines and use stories to provide a discussion about these topics. They have the ability to spark conversation, debate and reflection because lets face it: we don't all always agree.

In the last year, for example, the issue of same-sex marriage has really taken center stage in this country (more recently due to the Supreme Court's hearing of whether or not Prop 8 -- which eliminated the rights of same-sex couples to marry in California -- is constitutional). In the last year we also saw the very first same-sex marriage ceremony in mainstream comics in ASTONISHING X-MEN #51, which featured the marriage of Northstar and Kyle. This is a great example of comics taking a topic that is really present in our society, and bringing these issues into the stories we read. It's a reflection of reality, to an extent: same-sex marriage exists in our reality and therefore is brought into various forms of our entertainment. From television, to film, and yes, even to the comics we read. However, is the inclusion of these issues a natural progression of these characters and an honest way of bringing diversity to comics, or is it simply for the "hype"? At the end of the day, comics are a creative medium, but they also have to sell. And let's face it, there's nothing like a bit of controversy to get comics flying off the shelves, right?

BATGIRL #19

Late last week the internet was abuzz with a recent development of a certain character in writer Gail Simone's BATGIRL series. According to sources like the Huffington Post and even the Human Rights Campaign, DC comics had introduced the very first transgender character to mainstream comics (even though that wasn't the first, but we will get into that later). In the issue in question Barbara Gordon revealed to her roommate Alysia Yeoh that she had endured some trying times: from being shot by the Joker, to recovering from paralysis, to the the fact that her brother is a complete nut-job. In return for Barbara's honesty, Alysia revealed that she is in fact transgender. This is a pretty significant moment in the issue and it comes during a conversation where the two characters are revealing much of their innermost secrets. They are trusting one another with personal information and as a result, this is a sensitive point in the story, and should have been significant, but was it genuine? Did the panel where Alysia revealed that that she is transgender feel genuine, or did it feel like a plot device that was inserted into the story in order to gain traction? Regardless of the intent, the moment did in fact gain traction and by the time the week was through even NPR was talking about it. The news of the "first transgender character in mainstream comics" had sparked a conversation that made national headlines.

DEMON KNIGHTS #14

However, these outlets had it wrong as Alysia Yeoh was not the first introduction of a transgender character to mainstream comics. In fact, DC Comics had at least one other reveal of a transgender character to mainstream comics earlier this year and that is an honor that goes to Sir Ystin, DC's Shining Knight. In DEMON KNIGHTS #14 following a battle that nearly took their lives, Sir Ystin and Exoristos engage in a conversation. During this exchange Exoristos reveals that she feels very close to Shining Knight and implies that her feelings are of the romantic kind. This results in Sir Ystin's reveal of not being "just a man or woman," but that Ystin is "both." The scene was far more subtle than Alysia's reveal to Barbara and it also feels natural in a very different way. If this is a subject to be brought up, then a romantic exchange seems the most likely scenario in which to do it. The moment was brief, and the story moved on in a different direction very quickly, but that moment still felt compelling. It did not feel like a plot device because it was inserted into a point in the story where it felt natural: it was the natural progression of the character and that moment. Additionally, the fact that artist Bernard Chang (you can read our interview with him from earlier today, here) illustrated Sir Ystin as this rather androgynous looking character really helped; giving Ystin both male and female attributes gave the inclination that this is something very much at the core of Ystin's character and something the Paul Cornell (the series' writer at the time) had intended all along. This did not feel like merely a plot device.

What do you think? Do you feel there are moments in comics that feel less than genuine? Do you think that by referencing contentious issues publishers are promoting awareness to the topics in question, or simply piggy-backing on the issues to potentially garner more sales? Are there moments you can think of that felt really genuine to you?

107 Comments
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Posted by Master_Thief

Yeah that batgirl thing felt kinda forced

Posted by Xanni15

That reveal seemed out of nowhere, but like you said they have to sell comics.

Posted by Superguy0009e

If handled correctly, I believe any subject is worth talking about. The problem? Stuff like this transgender thing happen and blow the news out of the water. Look at Max Moddell. He is an amazing person and treats everyone with dignity and respect. Slott revealed that he was gay in a subtle way. I love max, not because of his gender, but because of who he is. Compare that to Kevin Keller and you see an obvious attempt to shove ideals done people's throat. If your characteristic is that IM GAY, then I think that is insulting to not only the reader, but people who are actually gay/transgender etc.

Edited by Fudgie29

wonderfully written article. i do agree that comics take advantage of what is popular or controversial in this country and use it to make sales. I think it is good to have people of different sexual orientations and genders but creating those characters just for the sake of it or to increase sales is wrong & unnecessary.

Posted by Crimsonlord53

Sorry but this feel's forced like DC is jumping on the LGBT bandwagon by creating a transgender character. The fact she's asian also rankle's a bit because we can't have a hetro female asian or hispanic or heck even a coloured new super hero.

Just my 2 cent's

Posted by The Cyan Lantern

Not to be lewd or satirical, but James Robinson should be like a DC LBGT correspondent. He may or may not be the main guy in comics to help this community, but when his work tried to reach out he has been more successful. And if it's the case of an editor trying to shove this down Gail's throat, then maybe she should walked away like Joshua Hale Fialkov did. No shame in that

Posted by judasnixon

I know that there are people who hated what popped up on Prince Robot IV's face in Saga #12. They think B.K.V. just threw that in there to be shocking....... They should go read Saga #1 again. Brian K. Vaughn is a very clever man........

Posted by iceslick

I LOVE YOU FOR WRITING THIS ARTICLE!!! It's so wonderfully written and just proved everything I agree with in transgender, gay, lesbian or bisexual characters. I kind of wish you wrote something about Green Lantern Alan Scott being a plot device. But this is good enough. I'm very glad some of my previously comment on last week's podcast sort of inspired you to write this. It feels so good that i'm part of comic vine in some sort of way. Thank you, Sara Lima! @babs

Posted by Trevel8182

Northstar and Kyle had a genuine romance that had been built up for years but for the Batgirl's transgender character just felt like DC jumping on a bandwagon. DC just stop trying to diversify your brand because almost every time you do you just look like idiots for every Batwoman you have the mismanaging of John Stewart or the screaming to the heavens about Allen Scott being gay. Now I don't really think DC should stop trying to diversify their characters they just need to do it smarter like how they did with Demon Knight's or Kyle Rayner.

Edited by ColonelRunAway

I'd say the New 52's had plenty of more in-your-face controversy.

"Let's make the least-known Green Lantern gay! That'll show how progressive we are!"

"But... Doesn't that erase his children, a pre-existing gay character and the only female human GL?"

"Ah, nobody cares about them anyway!"

"...Okay. And it says here you want to add a Muslim Green Lantern?"

"Yes! Challenge the post-9/11 jingoism!"

"But you want him to be a thief and use a gun?"

"Hey, nobody's perfect."

"...Uh-huh. Well what about John Stewart? He's a minority character, and probably the best-known Green Lantern among the non-fans, but we don't seem to be doing much with him."

"The black one? S***, I dunno, kill 'im off to make room maybe?"

Posted by Trevel8182

@colonelrunaway: Yep you definitely hit the nail on the head.

I miss Jade and Obsidian :-(

Posted by Sifighter

I do like that comics do try to diversify their characters more, and Alan Scott is one of my favorite characters to be honest I actually think its offensive that they forgot all about Sir Yistin(sorry if misspelled). I think it all depends on who is writing the comic to see if it feels genuine. However best gay couple of comics in my opinion is Apollo and Midnighter. Just my opinion though.

Posted by laflux

Do you know what I did when I read this article? I went to Alysia Yeoh and added in Attractive male to the powers description in addition to Attractive Male.

I'm here till Tuesday guys and gals, oh those people in the middle..........obviously

Edited by dondave

Wasn't Apollo and Midnighter's marriage the first same-sex marriage in comics?

Online
Posted by Psycho_Soldier

Sorry, but I think is not DC getting into the LGBT boom, just Simone, in a title that is awful and several steps backwards for Barbara "Oracle" Gordon, we get a character that has done nothing really relevant coming out with this out of nowhere. Well I guess is that or to wait for the next Batman Line crossover

as for the other characters :

Green Lantern/Alan Scott: I found odd that revelation when Earth 2 #1 came out but now that issue is lost in what I think is one of the best DC's comic books

Sir Ystin: We had 19 issues building characters and how they relate to each other and that situation between Exoristos & her didn't need that controversy factor to make it good or to be "News!"

Batwoman/Kate Kane: Here we see a real strong female & lesbian character but is not just her we also have Maggie and before we had Renee

Weren't Midnighter & Apollo married?

Posted by pspin

It is only a controversy when the company advertises it to non-comic readers in an attempt to penetrate new and mostly untapped markets. While the medium does get a degree of freedom, any controversy, such as gay characters, will eventually fade and basically give the company a 15 minutes of frame scenario.

Plus this is the internet, if it isn't blown out of proportion, you are doing it wrong.

Edited by bladewolf

Thank you for noting that DK had a transgender character first! Definitely a series that flies too much under the radar; as you said, that plot point makes sense and helps inform Ystin/Ystina's character.

Online
Posted by kilomac29

Comics have been tackling issues like this for years. Its one of the biggest reasons these types of stories make main stream headlines. Whether used as a plot device, or not, its important that these issues are discussed.

Great article!

Posted by Vitaeleous

I think comics will inevitably reflect the cultural climate in which they are being written; if they don't, then they're doing something wrong. I've been working for about a year now on a thesis proposing that superhero comics are America's mythology. This article reflects that idea pretty strongly. Mythologies are bodies of stories created to tell a cultural narrative, the story of a civilization. Isn't that what we're seeing here? We're seeing the issues that exist in our lives and our world reflected in these heroes and villains. X-men #1 was published just after Martin Luther King Jr. made his I have a dream speech, a comic about racial minorities. When we are gone, these stories will reflect who we were and what we were dealing with, the same way that we understand ancient Greece in part through Homer and the tales of Perseus, Hercules, and other heroes. So yeah, it might be fair to chalk it up to hype. I think that's a huge part of why it's included. But the only reason it IS hype is because it's present and relevant in the modern world. My two cents.

Edited by DP812

Proof that the media doesn't really do their research.

Rebis from Doom Patrol came around long before Alysia or Shining Knight and the marriage of Apollo and Midnighter predated Northstar and Kyle.

Posted by mickeyangel

I can't believe they forgot Yistin which I believe Chang does a great job drawing an androgynous character. I was shocked by this revelation because looking at the character I'm not sure what the transgender is: boy to girl or girl about to be a boy. I am gay and to me it didn't feel organic to the story. But I see people comment that these gay outings are fodder for sales and shock value. Someone even mentioned that Kyle and Northstar were a gradual development. Hello, anyone old enough to remember the awful news grabbing issue when Northstar came out in the early 90s in an issue dealing with HIV and aids. It was bad then that mass media couldn't separate the two. It's taken 20 years for gay characters to be presented in media as everyday people building families and not just surviving and fighting aids. As for alan Scott, as a gay man I appreciate the effort to make a prominent hero gay but as a comics fan I am sad that this may have closed the door on jade and obsidian. I loved infinity inc characters since their inception and lord knows they have suffered the rewrite mills of crisis after crisis. I agree also that Apollo and midnighter are or we're the best gay couple although I wasn't a fan of Millars beat down on Apollo. I don't read stormwatch so I don't know where these characters' stand today. Another organic and great support chatacTer was Kyle Rayners friend who unfortunately also got seriously gay bashed. I don't mean to sound naive when I say that I'm not sure these are sales ploys. I do know its important to represent these characters from the lgbt community. It's not an agenda. Nor more so than when back in the 70s the big two tried to have more black heroes or in the 80s when cyborg of Wolfman's NTT was starting an interracial romance with Sarah. A lot of the rhetoric I hear about the gay agenda and how we are destroying the fabric of everything (as if gays would destroy fabric) sounds a lot like the white scare during the civil rights movement and the end of segregation. I know it's a hot button issue because people think this is just an issue of sexuality and those issues don't belong in comics (although we've seen much worse in the treatment if women). It's a matter of identity and love and after a lifelong fandom of this media I'm glad to see artists create a voice and their employers support it.

Edited by Duo_forbidden

To be honest, with Batgirl #19, I thought Barbara killing her brother was more controversial than the transgender reveal.

Posted by kilowog52

I just want my comics to be enjoyable. I wish they didn't wander over into something as gross and disgusting as the issue of sex changes. I'd say I'd stop buying the product, but that'd be a lie. As they've proven with the New 52, DC Comics fans are just flat out addicted to their books and they could f*ck with the characters all they want, whether they make Alan Scott a sexual deviant, erase the marriages of both Superman and the Flash, or delete several founding Teen Titans altogether. Aye aye aye.

Edited by NightFang

@crimsonlord53 said:

Sorry but this feel's forced like DC is jumping on the LGBT bandwagon by creating a transgender character. The fact she's asian also rankle's a bit because we can't have a hetro female asian or hispanic or heck even a coloured new super hero.

Just my 2 cent's

DC had transgender characters before (Shade, The Changing Man), people are just now noticing because of the New 52 and I guess Katana doesn't count as Asian?

Posted by LyraFay

I do applaud for comic book companies (big and small) bring in gay characters in to their universe to diversify their cast of characters since gay characters are now common on TV these days. However I do agree with that Batgirl scenario feels forced as oppose to Demon knights. And let's be reminded that comics are meant to push and examine current situations around the world aka Green Lantern/Green Arrow in the 1970s, The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen.

Posted by LyraFay

I do applaud for comic book companies (big and small) bring in gay characters in to their universe to diversify their cast of characters since gay characters are now common on TV these days. However I do agree with that Batgirl scenario feels forced as oppose to Demon knights. And let's be reminded that comics are meant to push and examine current situations around the world aka Green Lantern/Green Arrow in the 1970s, The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen.

Posted by fables87

THANK YOU FOR THIS! I'm starting to see some readers of Fables want a gay character because of it's lack of gay characters. I feel like if Fables did add a gay character it would be forced more then anything else. Then if you think about it Fables lacks a bunch of different types of characters and maybe that's why it does so well. Just saying Some writers don't need to add a LGBT character because they don't want to offend anyone, but they probably don't know how to write one well.

Edited by NightFang

@superguy0009e: Here's the problem with Max Modell, If you asked fans whats he doing and the last time they saw him in comics they'd shrug their shoulder, but Kevin Keller is the new star of Archie and he's not gonna fade into the background. In other words "subtlety means nothing if not memorable".

Posted by Avengers_4everXX

@colonelrunaway: You do realize that whether Alan Scott was made gay or not, Jade and Obsidian still wouldn't have existed because the character is now in his late twenties? And are you aware that being gay in no way prevents him from having biological children?

@kilowog52: You're calling Alan Scott a sexual deviant? Really? Just because he's gay? Homosexuality does not equate sexual deviancy. If you want to complain about deviants, take a look at what Tim Drake has been getting up to lately.

@fudgie29: but how do you distinguish which LGBT characters are made "just for the sake of it"? Aren't all characters essentially made for just for the sake of it?

What you have to remember with things like this is that the comic book industry was created in a time when having an openly LGBT character would have been completely impossible. Now that we are in a day and age where we can have LGBT characters, the industry is becoming more diverse to reflect the diversity in society. Comics as a medium reflect trends and social thought present in modern society, and as LGBT people become more prevalent and accepted, they then must become more prevalent and accepted in comic books; unfortunately, because of the nature of the industry, it is extremely difficult for new characters to become prominent for more than a few years before falling into limbo. That is why, for comic books to accurately reflect the rise of prominent LGBT people in our society, changes must be made either to pre-established, well known characters (Batwoman or Alan Scott) or new characters with close ties to extremely popular characters, or who are involved in extremely popular titles (Barbara's roomate, Bunker in Teen Titans) must be created. Is it often controversial? Yes. But at the end of the day what matters is that more prominence is being given to a group of people who have long been ignored by the comic book industry.

Also it is perfectly plausible that Barbara's roommate would share her secret with Babs as a display of trust after Barbara revealed her own troubled past

And the marriage between Northstar and Kyle was the wedding of two characters who had been in a relationship for years. It hardly came out of no where

Edited by Fantasgasmic

I have thoughts, but I find myself restricted by terminology. Transgender people have a gender identity that does not match their physical sex.

If Ystin's claim to be "not just a man or a woman [but] both," is to be taken literally, we'd call him intersexed (hermaphroditism is a specific kind of intersexuality, and the term is seen as stigmatizing). Intersexed people could have either sexual phenotype, ambiguous genitalia, underdeveloped gonads, or any of a dozen of conditions.

That line could be taken very figuratively, as a poetic way of identifying as a homosexual. Although being from a pre-Christian society, that typically wouldn't have the negative stigma it has in our modern world.

Because the book is in a time period before sexual reassignment surgery, I wouldn't use the term transexual because it is primarily used for/by people who desire a full surgical transition. I don't know if Shining Knight is, technically speaking, transgendered, because I don't think he ever transitioned from one gender identity to another. And I know not all transitions require surgery or hormones, even today.

But as for the whole deal with Alysia, I don't think the scene felt authentic at all, it read as one-upmanship. Her writing made sound stern, the art made her look angry, and there really should've been a beat panel in between. I don't think someone would drop that bomb after someone else has dropped a bomb of their own. I don't think it's trying to cash in on controversy because I don't think the public at large cares about Batgirl's roommate, I don't think most readers care about her, and I don't think Barbara cares. She had no reaction but to get back into her Bat-gear and go seemingly kill her brother. And I know she got interrupted by

I have a few acquaintances/friends of friends who are trans and transitioned since I've known them. And the reaction of everybody when confronted with the news was, "ok, we're all supportive but not really involved." Because unless you are that individual's doctor, or sexual partner you won't be involved in the… practicalities.

Footnote: for the record, I'm using masculine pronouns because I think Shining Knight self-identifies as male. With trans or intersex people, the proper protocol is to use preferred pronouns regardless of physical attributes or chromosomes. If I am mistaken and the character refers to herself using female pronouns, please consider them swapped.

If you want to read a good introduction of a girl character later revealed to be trans, read Questionable Content. As a webcomic, the subject matter can get adult, it's kinda hit or miss, and there's a fair deal of stretching stuff out but the issue where two characters have this same talk feels natural and realistic.

Edited by mewmdude77

I feel like DC is forcing it in, cause they feel like they're behind. Marvel tried to slowly introduce their gay characters, and make it seem more real, since Marvel is more grounded in reality, and in out reality almost. Northstar was one of the first gay characters, so it was natural that when New York made gay marriage legal, Northstar and his partner make the logical leap into marriage, since they probably wanted to, but couldn't. Marvel seems like the more willingly controversial company to me. They had the first relatable characters, the first teen superheroes (Spidey and the X-men) , the first African, and African-American characters in positive lights (Black Panther and Luke Cage), the first prominent Asian-American in positive lights (Shang-chi), the first openly gay character (again, Northstar) one of the first positive Germans and Catholics in comics (Nightcrawler), etc. It just seems like a natural thing for Marvel to be controversial. DC tends to not be as much. I mean, they had some controversial characters, like Apollo and Midnighter, but its had a longer history of tameness.

Posted by V_Scarlotte_Rose


What you have to remember with things like this is that the comic book industry was created in a time when having an openly LGBT character would have been completely impossible. Now that we are in a day and age where we can have LGBT characters, the industry is becoming more diverse to reflect the diversity in society. Comics as a medium reflect trends and social thought present in modern society, and as LGBT people become more prevalent and accepted, they then must become more prevalent and accepted in comic books; unfortunately, because of the nature of the industry, it is extremely difficult for new characters to become prominent for more than a few years before falling into limbo. That is why, for comic books to accurately reflect the rise of prominent LGBT people in our society, changes must be made either to pre-established, well known characters (Batwoman or Alan Scott) or new characters with close ties to extremely popular characters, or who are involved in extremely popular titles (Barbara's roomate, Bunker in Teen Titans) must be created. Is it often controversial? Yes. But at the end of the day what matters is that more prominence is being given to a group of people who have long been ignored by the comic book industry.

Batwoman is a new character, not the original Batwoman turned gay.

Posted by Herx

@dondave said:

Wasn't Apollo and Midnighter's marriage the first same-sex marriage in comics?

well i don't know about first but i do know that the issue of their marriage was printed in 2002 (10 years before northstar and Kyle, yet as far as i know it had less hype media wise). But this has been my case for these big "controversial" moments. most of the stuff that their publishing isn't controversial as its been printed before. Hell despite me loving how they delt withsir ystin the shining knight isn't even the first character to be printed by DC to have been transgender. As far as i know that belongs to Shvaughne Erin who in an, (now no-longer-part-of-continuity), issue of Legion of Super Heroes published in 1992 claimed (and it was show) to have been taking prescribed drugs to allow her become female, and had been taking them since her teen years (sure its future medicen but considering that the book is set in the future its more "current" medicen than anything else). What it seems to be though (or to me anyways) is that rather than proudly showcasing their current (or who were current) existing characters who fall under the "controversy" banner (which is just stupid to tell the truth) they just decide to turn other character to fit that banner (and garner more sales) case and point Apollo and Midnighter. Does DC, after their relaunch and after / during the whole gay-marriage debate (i dont know if its still ongoing or not in the us, sorry) proudly advertise these 2 characters as having been not only openly gay superheroes, but 2 who were married (but as we all know relaunches hate marriages) and who'd adopted a child. Nope. Instead they go "we gots this new title with our golden age characters. lets make alan scott gay, so that were still topical and cool" "but what about his gay son obsidian and the stories we'd writen about a father who comes from a much different generation comming to terms with and accepting his son and loving him no matter what?" - "SCREW THAT! Instead we make Al gay, and then blow up his boyfriend in his first issue". I think that the real controvery is that DC and Marvel (and any major big company) will just do these stunts to garner more sales, "the real life sexual identity problems of real people is just more money and sales for us". Sir Ystin flew under the banner (and was done really well) becasue people weren't looking at demon knights for something like that to happen in. Apollo and midnighter did have an awsome relationship (and sweet) which lead to marriage YET becasue it happend in another multiverse and not the main DCU the big boys didnt notice. Instead put it in one of the big selling titles, no matter how badly executed it is (i just thought it was clunky and didn't seem right in the setting in batgirl #19) and the headlines go crazy. The controvery is the fact that these "controversies" are still being given big hype. Let the stories sell, not the "shock!" factors.

Edited by Perfect 10

dc and marvel sure like to take the critic for stuff. midnighter and apollo got married first NOT northstar. the invisibles comic had the first transgender superhero, before that excalibur/captain britain had a transvestite villian whom they faced multiple times. not to mention all of the gay and transgender characters in manga but i guess that isnt "mainstream". sir ystin isnt transgender, he's a hermaphrodite, he is BOTH male and female, transgender is someone who goes from one sex to another. two different things.

i dont think either were "forced". just because you didnt see it coming doesnt mean it was for shock value. in demon knights, it has always been a question of "what is sir ystin" so that thought has been placed in our heads for 13 issues versus Alysia where it is never a question. i think people who are uncomfortable with the subject dont like to be "fooled" so since there was never any hint of Alysia's secret they may feel this is something made up at the last minute for shock value. in that scene, Barbara has reveled some really personal and painful things about herself. both have let their guards down and opened their hearts to each other. what is so unbelievable about that?

Posted by Smart_Dork_Dude

@crimsonlord53 said:

Sorry but this feel's forced like DC is jumping on the LGBT bandwagon by creating a transgender character. The fact she's asian also rankle's a bit because we can't have a hetro female asian or hispanic or heck even a coloured new super hero.

Just my 2 cent's

I've been saying this ever since they shouted to the world

"HEY! WE'VE GOT A GAY GREEN LANTERN WHO IS IN NO WAY AFFILIATED WITH THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS AND IS IN FACT NOT EVEN IN THE SAME UNIVERSE AS THEM!! SEE HOW PROGRESSIVE AND OPEN MINDED WE ARE?!"

Which, given this sudden need DC feels to FORCE these kind of changes in instead working to make them natural and in the one instance I mentioned using an already established character to do this, along with numerous other problems the company has currently, I've decided to not buy any comic from them unless it meets these following requirements:

Is an Elseworld story whereupon any change is understandable or they completely do away with the New 52.

So yeah, DC will be saving me a lot of money as they so graciously dig themselves a deeper and deeper grave by trying to be "hip" and "modern" while having no idea what "hip" or "modern" means.

That being said I'm happy there are those in the LGBT community that enjoy these changes, but from the perspective of someone who used to be as big a fanboy of DC as he is with Marvel and from just a literary stand point? In the case of Alan Scott it's a SHAMELESS marketing ploy with no thought put into it whatsoever and in the latter they just come off as forced.

Posted by tupiaz

Now I haven't read Demon Knights but Alysia Yeoh don't seem to be real transgender for several reason:

It seems like she is not human (correct?). Even though this a transgender it is still an alien and therefore not a human transgender. Because of the culture (if it is normal) there would be a huge different.

She is both. Is she born this way? If so she is closer to be a hermafrodite than a transgender.

It seems like she identifies herself/himself as both and not as a one gender. A transgender feels like one gender capture in a wrong gender thereby the aren't both but simply one gender trap in the wrong gender. Yeah that is a difference (and huge one if you ask me).

Edited by Perfect 10

@v_scarlotte_rose: Batwoman isnt a new character but the post infinite crisis version of the original batwoman. infinite crisis erased her from continuity (like a LOT of golden age characters) and this was dc's way of bringing her back.

Ross and comic book author Paul Dini initially planned to revive the former Batgirl Barbara Gordon using an updated version of the character's original costume, with red accents in place of the traditional yellow. However, since Gordon serves as one of a very small number of disabled superheroes of DC Comics as Oracle, DC's editorial staff decided to revitalize the original Batwoman instead. In an interview with Newsarama, Ross states:

They had me change the mask and hair to make it a bit more Batwoman, rather than Batgirl...I pointed out to them that the mask makes her look like the Huntress a little overall—but there weren't many options. The original mask that I had in there when it was to be a Batgirl design was the complete head cover that we've seen, so they did need something different from that.[6]

Unlike the Silver Age Kathy Kane, who was romantically attracted to Batman, the new version of Kane is a lesbian.[7]

Posted by Zeeguy91

@avengers_4everxx said:

What you have to remember with things like this is that the comic book industry was created in a time when having an openly LGBT character would have been completely impossible. Now that we are in a day and age where we can have LGBT characters, the industry is becoming more diverse to reflect the diversity in society. Comics as a medium reflect trends and social thought present in modern society, and as LGBT people become more prevalent and accepted, they then must become more prevalent and accepted in comic books; unfortunately, because of the nature of the industry, it is extremely difficult for new characters to become prominent for more than a few years before falling into limbo. That is why, for comic books to accurately reflect the rise of prominent LGBT people in our society, changes must be made either to pre-established, well known characters (Batwoman or Alan Scott) or new characters with close ties to extremely popular characters, or who are involved in extremely popular titles (Barbara's roomate, Bunker in Teen Titans) must be created. Is it often controversial? Yes. But at the end of the day what matters is that more prominence is being given to a group of people who have long been ignored by the comic book industry.

Batwoman is a new character, not the original Batwoman turned gay.

Well, "new" in that she debuted in 2006 in 52.

Edited by MuyJingo

Errr.....The character in Demon Knights is not transgendered. Nor is Shade.

Transgendered doesn't mean magically switched to the body of the opposite sex, or have characteristics or both. It means your gender does not align with your sex, and many tg people take steps to try and rectify that.

In that sense, the character in Batgirl is indeed the first TG character in mainstream comics.

Posted by girlinfourcolors

I love how people are saying Alysia's coming out has been "forced" when she has LITERALLY been trying to come out to Barbara since they moved in together in THE VERY FIRST ISSUE OF THE SERIES.

Seriously, this moment has been building for almost two years. Two years spent developing her into a fully realized character, with passions and politics all her own, with identities that have nothing to do with her being trans. But this is somehow "forced."

C'mon, people, take your bigotry somewhere else.

Edited by BR_Havoc

I guess Xavin did not really count as transgendered but I still would of though as her as the first character that brought up the issue of being transgendered in comics.

As for the controversy DC has been doing this a lot lately they love to announce to the press what there doing but it does not feel like they are being genuine it feels like they are forcing things just to say there progressive. But that is my opinion.

Posted by RedK

the transgender thing wasn't really a big deal, i like shinning knight since i first read seven soldiers but i don't really care whether she's a guy or girl or whatever same goes for any of the other big news items like the marriage in astonishing x-men, or Alan Scott being gay, actually that one really bugged me but only because it means no Jade or Obsidian, i could really careless about a characters sexuality, it's not a major turning point for me, as long as at their core they are a good character with some decent development, their sexuality or gender will never be a deciding factor in whether i chose to take an interest in them or not

Posted by ForeverMan

A good point that I think Cory made on the last podcast; heterosexual relationships are often used as pure plot device, hook ups and weddings are often tossed in just to be tossed in.

In other words, looks like it's caught up to true equality in record time. Comic books often exploit sexuality, now that includes gay sexuality.

Edited by V_Scarlotte_Rose

@perfect_10 There's a Batman Incorporated issue that shows they're two separate characters though.

@zeeguy91 Yeah, that's it. I meant new as in, she isn't the old one.

Posted by Darkmount1

Uh---what about Coagula, that character from Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol run?

Posted by Strabo

Also, don't forget characters like Earth 2's Wotan, who have lived as man and women so often the distinction or attribution of one gender becomes meaningless. Which again was far more natural and less forced "hey, look at this!" than the reveal in Batgirl.

Posted by AmericanSONE

The Batgirl reveal definitely feels forced. Coming out can be a serious thing, so I don't have an issue with it if it was treated as a serious moment. But the moment is entirely nonsensical. Its one thing to share secrets, its another to share a secret that had absolutely nothing to do with the topic being discussed. The scene would have an entirely different tone if there were panels between the final two panels in which she transitions from what Babs was talking about to her own secret. Instead its basically "I acknowledge you're trying to keep me safe from murderous villains. I'm transgender." Also I think the best thing Demon Knights did there that Batgirl didn't was the use of the panels. They didn't dedicate an entire panel to a close up of a serious face that screams plot device.

As for Earth 2 Green Lantern (which keeps coming up) I do take issue with the idea that--that lacked sincerity and/or its nothing more than a marketing tool. It's neither of those things. The media blew up about it but once the character was revealed in Earth 2 the sincerity was clear. He's written as a man in love. That's it. There's no emphasis on Alan being gay. That's actually what I love about the character. He has all the makings of a classic superhero AND he's gay. I know how that may sound, but as someone who's pansexual (or rather not hetero) it means more to me that way. A gay man being himself as a man would be in reality has a much bigger impact on me than the same character being himself and not being gay OR a gay character being a gay for the sake of being gay. Subtlety is more profound.

Also the idea that its not as meaningful because its Earth 2 and not the main universe is ludicrous to me. One because they're all New 52 and two: Batwoman.

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