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Interview: James Robinson Reveals DC's Latest LGBT Character

SPOILER ALERT: The writer discusses the decision to make the leader of the EARTH 2 Justice Society an LGBT character and why that doesn't really matter.

Some writers, like James Robinson, are familiar with writing LGBT characters. Perhaps this is why the decision to re-introduce one of DC's oldest characters as an LGBT character in the New 52 came so easily for the man who wrote the first kiss shared between two gay characters in a comic book. We had the chance to catch up with James and talk to him about the decision, ask him why it was (and wasn't) an important decision, and what readers can expect out of his EARTH 2 series.

We also get a look at two pages from EARTH 2 #2, the upcoming issue of his ongoing DC title. Finally, due to the time constraint we were unable to ask all the questions we wanted to ask. We also know there are a lot of questions many of you might have about the decision and the series overall which is why we have invited James to join us for next Friday's podcast (Friday, June 8th 2012). Please submit your questions and comments for James to podcast@comicvine.com. If you don't mind the spoiler before the release of EARTH 2 issue #2, check out the full interview below.

== TEASER ==
*click to enlarge*

Comic Vine: Why Alan Scott? Was this your choice? Was it an Editorial decision and how and when did the decision come about?

James Robinson: It came about 8 months ago when I was first putting the team together. One of the things that bothered me about the reboot and about the Justice Society being young again was that there were some characters that would no longer exist. One of those characters is Obsidian, Alan Scott's gay son. So from then on I started to think about it and it seemed like a logical leap to make Alan Scott gay. And the idea that the leader of the Justice Society, the most honorable, dynamic and gallant hero on Earth 2 would be a gay man just seemed like a really cool and interesting direction for the character.

So it was my idea, but to be fair Dan DiDio, when he heard about the idea, there wasn't a moment of hesitation on his part. He thought it was a great idea

CV: My next question is actually about Obsidian and Jade. Pre-New 52 Alan Scott had had a romantic relationship with Rose Canton and the two characters had twin babies, Obsidian and Jade. Now that Scott has been reintroduced into the DC Universe as a gay character, does that mean neither of these characters (Obsidian and Jade) ever existed? Does that mean Scott and Rose never had a relationship?

JR: Remember, this is a reboot. Not a relaunch. There are sweeping changes that were made in the DC Universe and one of those is that Jade and Obsidian couldn't exist because Alan Scott is just too young -- he's about 27 years old now. So, they couldn't exist in that way but because they were popular characters I have been thinking of a way that they could exist that I might try and implement in the future, but that won't be for a while yet.

CV: As a writer, is it important to make Alan Scott a gay character or is this sort of a "non issue"? How do you see it?

JR: Well, it's not like "ooh, we've got a gay character" -- that's sort of been manufactured by fans, really. I think anyway. We've had this idea running for months and months and I didn't think it was a big deal, honestly. I really didn't think it was a big deal. I mean you should have them. Just like there are LGBT people in all aspects of society, it makes sense that there would be gay characters in comic books as well. And when Dan DiDio made that announcement he wasn't being cryptic, he was just making an off-handed comment. He feels the same way honestly. It's just the reality of life and it's not a big deal. I guess it is to some people and as a result there's been this wave of interest in the subject on the internet and in the media.

CV: Alan Scott is a Golden Age character, which means he has a lot of history. Did you worry about any negative reactions from long time fans of the character? Is this something you are anticipating? Or has the feedback so far been mainly positive?

JR: Well it's been mixed. Most people have been very positive and of course there are some people that have…I mean, yes he appeared in a few pages of EARTH 2 #1, but they haven't really gotten to know the character yet. I think there is a rush to pre judge from audiences online, but something I want to stress is that what I want to do with all the EARTH 2 characters is not…I'm not trying to change them in any radical way. In fact I think I am being very faithful to the characters and their origins from the 1940's. These characters have aged…the continuity for Alan Scott, for example, if you follow it is very strange and convoluted. He was an engineer, then a news reader, then he owned the radio station, then he lost his job and became a scientist, then he somehow got back his radio station…So, there's a lot of stuff that's been lead on the character and all I am doing is stripping a lot of that away [getting back to his roots]. What was he back in the day? He was this young, gallant, dynamic take-charge, type A personality, very brave and very caring -- he wanted to protect the world. He was the big powerhouse of the Golden Age characters, in a way. All of that hasn't changed. All that's changed is that the media that he is the master of is the internet media. He's just moving with the times. And in a way he's just moving with the times again. In every way he's the same dynamic, likable Alan Scott that he was before -- all I've really changed is his sexuality; which to me is just one factor of him and it isn't that big of a deal in the first place.

CV: Romantic relationships, will we be seeing any?

JR: At first I'm setting up the team and dealing with threats to the world and everything, but there will be breather moments where we do see what people get up to outside of being a superhero. So yes, you will see romantic relationships.

CV: Are you excited?

JR: I've grown more excited as people have grown excited and interested in it. I was more concerned with other aspects of EARTH 2, Alan Scott's sexuality was just a small part of it but the fact that people have responded so mostly favorably, I am very happy that this have been given the reception that it has been given.

CV: Now, this isn't the first time you've written a gay character in comics, you've actually written a gay character in the past, right?

JR: I actually believe I wrote the first gay kiss -- male gay kiss -- in a comic book back in STARMAN #45. So, I've been doing this sort of thing for a while and it isn't that I have any kind of agenda or anything, it's just that when it suits the story and when it makes sense for that character it's just a realistic depiction of present day society.

CV: In your eyes do you feel it's important to have the leader of the EARTH 2 Justice Society be a gay male?

JR: Well, is it important? Not necessarily. But I think it's cool and it makes a change. I mean one of the things that can happen with gay characters is that when they are on a team they sometimes get pushed aside and their whole identity is wrapped up in this "oh that's the gay character." But when you meet Alan Scott you will find that there are so many [other things that define who he is] different aspects to his life, who he is as a person. I mean, I live in San Francisco, I have plenty of gay friends and their sexuality is just a part of who they are. Obviously there's a whole lot more to all of them and Alan Scott is the same way. By making him the team leader there really is no way that I can't show that aspect of a gay person through him being so at the forefront of the team, and that has to be a good thing. This character is going to be very likable, very brave and he will be someone that a lot of people like. I mean, if there are teenage kids and they like Alan Scott and he is kid is going though his or her own feelings about being LGBT…if it helps him or her in any little way, or if a kid reads Alan Scott and he really likes the character and that makes him think twice about bullying a kid, you know, that's a fantastic plus to the character being the leader of the team.

CV: What can we expect in issue #2 of EARTH 2?

JR: The book -- based on the cover -- is sort of apparent. It really focuses a lot on the origin of Jay Garrick and how he becomes the Flash and his origin as the Flash and why he becomes the Flash. What you will also see is the first appearance of Mr. Terrific from his own comic, and you will meet a major villain in the EARTH 2 universe that Mr. Terrific will encounter. That will be a huge part of the second arc. You will also see more of Alan Scott, who he is and what kind of a person he is and some of his origin will be played out in issue #2 and that will be picked up in issue #3 and by issue #3 he will be the Green Lantern.

Issue #2 of EARTH 2 hits stores on June 6th, 2012. We were lucky enough to have the chance to ask James all these questions about EARTH 2, Alan Scott and what we can anticipate in his ongoing series -- but we also want to give you a chance to ask James questions as well. Mr. Robinson will be joining us on our podcast next Friday, June 8th 2012 to discuss the release of issue #2 and anything else you want to talk to him about. Email your questions and comments to podcast@comicvine.com. You can also follow James on Twitter @JamesdRobinson. What do you think of the news?

312 Comments
Posted by Jorgevy

My only problem with this is.... DIDNT HE HAVE BIOLOGICAL KIDS??? Is he gonna adopt them instead now or are they erased from continuity?

Posted by The Mighty Monarch

@Jorgevy: Sounds like someone didn't read the article.

Posted by doordoor123

No more legacy characters :(

I never liked the big heroes of Earth-2, but I have adored their legacy heroes; especially Jade and Obsidian.

Posted by zombietag

@The Mighty Monarch said:

@Jorgevy: Sounds like someone didn't read the article.

Posted by danhimself

I don't really have a problem with him being gay it just seems odd that he is.....I mean technically these are still the same characters from the previous timeline but because of the alterations that Pandora and Barry Allen made they have different histories...so what they're kind of saying is that outside influences can make a person gay when I've always thought that being gay is just who you are from the start

Posted by havok75

Before I get labeled as a bigot or a hater let me say this. I 100% support gay marriage and gay rights, I have several homosexual friends and coworkers. I believe in rights and equality for everyone regardless of race or sexual preference. I read Teen Titans and I love Bunker (the new gay character in the DCU) he is a fun interesting character to read. I will buy the Northstar Marvel wedding issues because I love that character regardless if he marries a man or whatever he chooses, he has been one of my favorite mutants for years. I have read JSA my entire life, Alan Scott has always been the "real" GL to me and the person that even Batman treats with respect, and Superman ask for advice. I love his children especially Obsidian (his gay son) who was a fantastic and amazingly interesting character! His relationship with his father and his acceptance issues, Obsidian was great and perfect character to promote homosexuality and gay rights. And I am fine with this and support it all the way. But this is not Alan Scott! And I hate this book and what they did to my JSA. First the erase YEARS of solid super hero history from LEGENDS in the DCU! You want them out then just move them to another dimension but leave the history and the stories and what made them who they are. I don not want more origin stories I am sick of origin stories, you just did a whole year of introducing characters. Can us loyal fans who have been with DC for over 30 years keep something sacred? And then they make him gay? And for what reason? For some shock and awe to get some new "gay" fans to read comics? What about us loyal fans? Alan Scott was married he had kids, his kids were awesome and had history and roots in the DC universe. You do not need to make an already established character gay just to get some press! So go ahead and say I am a jerk but you can keep this comic DC and I will keep my 2.99 and go read something else. Cause this is not my JSA and not one of my childhood heroes! Disapointing!

Posted by hectorsquall

James Robinson said:

It came about 8 months ago when I was first putting the team together. One of the things that bothered me about the reboot and about the Justice Society being young again was that there were some characters that would no longer exist. One of those characters is Obsidian, Alan Scott's gay son. So from then on I started to think about it and it seemed like a logical leap to make Alan Scott gay. And the idea that the leader of the Justice Society, the most honorable, dynamic and gallant hero on Earth 2 would be a gay man just seemed like a really cool and interesting direction for the character.

Honestly, this is really my only problem about it. The primary reason for this choice was to replace the gay son by his father, I don't see what's so logical about this because it just feels odd and inappropriate. If he was chosen just because he was the leader of the Justice Society and that they could develop the character even more, no problem but I really dislike Robinson's train of thought and the reason behind this choice.

Now, that won't stop me from buying this book because the first issue was really great but I just hope that it will be handled well and that he will do the character justice. That would be a real shame if being gay was the only thing that defines Alan Scott. It's now a part of the character but they shouldn't only focus on that.

Posted by KnightRise

@deadpool25mm said:

WTF NOOO! WHY ?!?!?! Earth 2 #1 was awesome, now ill have to stop reading it since there is this gay stuff thats going everywere, !@#$ i was so looking forward to this series.. aghh damnit.

i dont even

Posted by texgnome1

I'm sorry but I have a huge issue with this. Why did it have to be Alan? 60+ years of continuity flushed down the toilet. But oh wait, Batman and Green Lantern don't have to change. I'm sorry, but this is just a blatant attempt at one-upmanship by DC because of the pending Northstar wedding. They could have picked any one of hundreds of characters. Ugh.

And let's not forget, there's not a single "fix" they've done that couldn't have been done in the old DCU.

Posted by blackadamFTW

@NlGHTCRAWLER said:

I just feel like this is a little forced, but i'm not going to judge the quality of the book as a whole based on the little gimmicks. He could be gay all he wants, just don't preach about it in every single issue. I'm sure they won't, but ive seen it done a lot. The sexuality of the character shouldn't be what defines them.

Posted by The Mighty Monarch

@KnightRise said:

@deadpool25mm said:

WTF NOOO! WHY ?!?!?! Earth 2 #1 was awesome, now ill have to stop reading it since there is this gay stuff thats going everywere, !@#$ i was so looking forward to this series.. aghh damnit.

i dont even

Posted by No_Name_

@Joey Ravn: It didn't say his name anywhere on the homepage.

Posted by Crackdown

@Redberry said:

@Illuminatus said:

Oh, Christ. This thread will soon be overflowing with ignorance and intolerance.

I agree, I wish people who don't like it just move on. No need to waste time on things they enjoy.

sorry if my back forth in the northstar thread upset anyone

just gets frustrating, ya know?

Posted by esreborn

Gay, straight, whatever... please tell me this comes in A1 poster size...

Edited by Jorgevy

@zombietag said:

@The Mighty Monarch said:

@Jorgevy: Sounds like someone didn't read the article.

true I didn't, I was overwhelmed with shock. Now I am going to, I'm deducing the answer is in there....

Posted by PhoenixoftheTides

Cool. I'm not that familiar with his character, so not really in a position to judge if this is a good or bad thing, but at least the writer has thought about how this would be executed.

Posted by Redberry

@Green ankh said:

Earth two from now on is called the Gay Univesrse.

A bit melodramatic, don't you think? Earth Prime has Apollo, Midnighter, Bunker, Question, Pied Piper, Voodoo, and Batwoman while Earth-2 only has one gay character...

Posted by WildStyle

Marvel and DC sure loves them gimmicks.

Posted by The Mighty Monarch

@Redberry said:

@Green ankh said:

Earth two from now on is called the Gay Univesrse.

A bit melodramatic, don't you think? Earth Prime has Apollo, Midnighter, Bunker, Question, Pied Piper, Voodoo, and Batwoman while Earth-2 only has one gay character...

Voodoo? I haven't seen any evidence of homosexuality in her so far.

Posted by Mancotron

I have no problem with this. I just wish they didn't have to write an article highlighting it. It would be better if they just put it out there as non-chalantly as possible, internet reaction be damned.

Posted by TheWitchingHour

Well, I've got to say they threw a curveball. I wouldn't have expected Alan Scott in a million years.

Edited by katanalauncher

I'm getting they are just making characters gay to get press attention, without establishing the importance of their relationship to the story or the characters.

Posted by Manwhohaseverything

Meh..who cares? I hope the stories are good. That's why I buy comics. What I hope is that it doesn't get "preachy"..Political folks, left or right, love to be preachy. Though I do find the left to be more self-righteous, so I worry that this book actually will have an agenda. if it does, I'll drop it. If it doesn't, they can make the whole Justice Society gay for all i care.

Posted by leejunfan83

@esreborn: He's flaming

Posted by Redberry

@The Mighty Monarch said:

@Redberry said:

@Green ankh said:

Earth two from now on is called the Gay Univesrse.

A bit melodramatic, don't you think? Earth Prime has Apollo, Midnighter, Bunker, Question, Pied Piper, Voodoo, and Batwoman while Earth-2 only has one gay character...

Voodoo? I haven't seen any evidence of homosexuality in her so far.

She's bisexual back in the Wildstorm universe.

Posted by Obsidian307

I think this is a pretty cool change. I'm fairly new to comics, so naturally not ready a lot of golden age books so Earth 2 is my introduction to these characters, looking forward to reading issue 2 and getting to know the characters.

And to those saying they could have easily created a new gay character; they did. Bunker is new and to an extent, the current Batwoman is still fairly new too. But to have a landmark character be gay is completely different and is 10x bigger then to just create a new one.

Posted by StarKiller809

I love Earth 2 so far. I think that this is a good thing. It doesn't affect my view on the character because I didn't really know him to well. Sad news about Jade and Obsidian though...

Posted by danhimself

@havok75 said:

Before I get labeled as a bigot or a hater let me say this. I 100% support gay marriage and gay rights, I have several homosexual friends and coworkers. I believe in rights and equality for everyone regardless of race or sexual preference. I read Teen Titans and I love Bunker (the new gay character in the DCU) he is a fun interesting character to read. I will buy the Northstar Marvel wedding issues because I love that character regardless if he marries a man or whatever he chooses, he has been one of my favorite mutants for years. I have read JSA my entire life, Alan Scott has always been the "real" GL to me and the person that even Batman treats with respect, and Superman ask for advice. I love his children especially Obsidian (his gay son) who was a fantastic and amazingly interesting character! His relationship with his father and his acceptance issues, Obsidian was great and perfect character to promote homosexuality and gay rights. And I am fine with this and support it all the way. But this is not Alan Scott! And I hate this book and what they did to my JSA. First the erase YEARS of solid super hero history from LEGENDS in the DCU! You want them out then just move them to another dimension but leave the history and the stories and what made them who they are. I don not want more origin stories I am sick of origin stories, you just did a whole year of introducing characters. Can us loyal fans who have been with DC for over 30 years keep something sacred? And then they make him gay? And for what reason? For some shock and awe to get some new "gay" fans to read comics? What about us loyal fans? Alan Scott was married he had kids, his kids were awesome and had history and roots in the DC universe. You do not need to make an already established character gay just to get some press! So go ahead and say I am a jerk but you can keep this comic DC and I will keep my 2.99 and go read something else. Cause this is not my JSA and not one of my childhood heroes! Disapointing!

you know I kind of have to agree with you....I like a majority of the stories they're telling in the New 52 but I still really miss the characters from the old timeline....no matter what anyone says...these characters are really different and for the most part just don't feel like the old characters....all of the New 52 has been about catering to the new fans...well what about the people who were reading and supporting the company for years before Flashpoint...what do we get out of this?

Posted by The Mighty Monarch

@Redberry said:

@The Mighty Monarch said:

@Redberry said:

@Green ankh said:

Earth two from now on is called the Gay Univesrse.

A bit melodramatic, don't you think? Earth Prime has Apollo, Midnighter, Bunker, Question, Pied Piper, Voodoo, and Batwoman while Earth-2 only has one gay character...

Voodoo? I haven't seen any evidence of homosexuality in her so far.

She's bisexual back in the Wildstorm universe.

Then I don't think we can say for sure that she still is in Earth Zero, but that's interesting to know. At least the other's homosexualities have been New 52 confirmed. (Prime is 'the real world.')

Posted by RoboShark

"Actually Ryan Reynolds should be credited with creating the first gay Green Lantern."

Posted by Nova`Prime`

This isn't ground breaking, this isn't progressive, this is a marketing ploy and that is all. The only people that will care about this change will be the fans of Alan Scott. This isn't going to bring in new readers.

Posted by Cafeterialoca

Is it wrong that all I could think about is that his kids will never be born now?

Posted by notarandomguy

Alan, Jay... what are they doing to you?T_T

Posted by Outside_85

Meh...possibly the cheapest 'coming out' I've seen. For one, Alan is hardly a character I will call iconic, since only comicbook fans or people who actually read his age old book are aware that he is the first GL, Hal has since eclipsed him on most posts since. Secondly he is on an alternate Earth, so he is tucked away in a corner of DC where it makes no difference in the universe that actually matters. Also Robinsons line of thinking is really simplistic with this, because he used to have a gay son, now he is gay himself because his son doesn't exist any more.

Posted by Mbecks14

@The Black Hood said:

Hmmm well this wasn't anywhere near as gimmicky as I feared it would be. I had this fear that it would be a character who was already re-introduced but quickly changed to fit into the role as "Gay Flagship Character". The was this is being done really does sort of make sense. I like that the new JSA feel so far and Earth 2 is shaping up to be a cool book.

My sentiments exactly!

Posted by Mediumflyer7

@RoboShark: lol

Posted by PulledaBrad

I'll probably be called intolerant or a bigot because I dont agree with the majority but whatev. In a medium that should be, but isn't, targeted at kids does this issue really need to be brought up in this form of entertainment? I mean the way I see it, its not a way to introduce a gay character and "look at how normal he is!" its a pretty blatant cheap trick to make headlines and sell more books.

Posted by spiderman20991992

i dont think dc, marvel, or any other business gives two flips about gay rights or any of that stuff, the just care about how much money they can make off of a trending topic. they just want the "green lantern now gay" headline so they can sell more.

i have no problems with introducing new characters as gay, but i do when you change a character that has been straight for 70 years.

Posted by Mrfuzzynutz

awwww dammit...Alan Scot isn't ICONIC?!

what a rip off

hahaha

Posted by Iron Apollo

the new cover with jay "the flash" garrick looks awesome really excited about his story, and the story with Alan isn't a surprise but I'm looking forward to issue three and him becoming a lantern. But I really want to see the other members of the teeam.

Posted by Queso6p4

@RScottH08: You've stated my thoughts perfectly. He is my favorite GL.

Posted by GothamRed

wait, so Jade and obsidian can't exist now. Sucks

Posted by Bergquist
Posted by ambigu0us

The sexual orientation isn't why we love these characters. We love them because of what they stand for, their beliefs, not who they go to bed with at night.

Posted by CircularLogic

@Planewalker said:

I dropped Stormwatch because of the in your face relationship between Apollo and Midnighter, I have no prob with them being gay but hugs and kisses bother be... during Warren Ellis time on the Authority that never happened, so I guess I'm not going to pic this one up.

If you really were fine with them being gay, you would have no problem with the physical side. It's one thing to be uncomfortable with it initially, which is understandable for straight people, but to drop a title solely for the reason that you haven't grown up and learned to accept expressions of love between people of the same sex just means you missed the point on those lessons of tolerance just about every X-man comic preaches.

Posted by the_fallen11

I love Alan Scott hes always been my favorite Green Lantern, the fact that he's gay makes no difference to me. I love the JSA but Alan is the main reason I'm reading the book I'm so glad that he's going to lead the team and as long as James is at the helm writing this series I'm positive this book will be great! Can't wait for issue 2!

Posted by shrmntnk62

I am fine with this decision.Good for you James Robinson, DC, & Alan Scott!

Posted by the_fallen11

Quick sidenote: for those of you saying that Alan Scott isn't iconic..im not sure if you have heard this little tid bit buuuuuut he was the FIRST Green Lantern people! Pretty sure you cannot get anymore iconic than that. Sorry but you're not a true DC comics fan if you don't think Alan Scott is an iconic hero. Fact. ....:for those of you about to send me angry PM's telling me how much you disagree with me, do me a favor and put "gerrrrrrrrrr" in the subject so i dont waste my time reading it and I can just delete it right away, thanks.

Posted by MrMazz

I was kind of hoping for it to be Huntress and Power/Supergirl but this works to.

Even if it is Earth2 Alan Scott It's an interesting choice since with his son prior to the New52 being gay and him disowning him basically? Or am I miss remebering something?

Posted by Or35ti

Dammit Earth 2 just isn't coming fast enough! I honestly can't wait for the issues to come or until the Justice Society is awesomely formed.