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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 BatBen9135

Remember when comic book companies tried really hard to convince the public that their superheroes weren't gay? Funny how things change. Honestly, I really don't care much about Earth-2 at all. I kind of share the sentiments of others in that I wish they weren't de-aged. One of the cool things about the DC universe was how it had a first-wave of superheroes followed by a second-wave. It gave the universe a deeper history. And I honestly don't see why this is getting so much press. I can't wait for the day when character can be gay, bi, or straight and it not be such a big deal.

Posted by colonyofcells

I am ok with dc improving their old products to try to find new customers and sometimes you do have to let go of old customers to catch the new customers. I like the post-flashpoint reboots bec. they have also allowed old dead characters to come back such as Terry Sloane. I also agree with the no history approach which is good for the new customers. Dc comics seems to be trying to more realistic like Marvel so we should see more realistic depictions of gays, and maybe also some politics and some religions. It is hard to keep out politics and religions out of realistic stories.

Posted by Mr. Kamikaze

Heh...I knew it'd be Alan Scott. Soemthing about him even before the New 52 just made me think he was super gay, so this is barely a surprise to me. lol.

Posted by Superguy0009e

Idk about this, i really liked obsidian, great character

Posted by kabukisama

The ambiguously gay duo?

Posted by AskaniSon295

You think He got an Invite to Northstar's wedding maybe "Access" could pop him over. Would love to see him interact with Apollo & Midnighter from Stormwatch, would be cool if Stormwatch went over to Earth-2 still wondering if that is where Harry Tanner and the projectionist are hiding out.

Posted by All_Around_Nerd

This is a great idea.

Posted by LordRequiem

This is an absolute disgrace. Not only to make a great character gay for no other reason than it seems to be the in-thing with this accepting modern society, but also to completely erase Jade and Obsidian, cool characters in their own right. That is frustrating to say the least.

Edited by Mumbles

coming out gay in comics is starting to feel like relaunching a series with a new #1.

Posted by Lion_Heart22

It's funny. They talk about the need for there being gay characters in comics as they are in real life (and I agree with this). But authors don't really believe a gay character can become successful on their own, or else they wouldn't feel the need to take a long-established character and make him gay, even if the character was clearly straight before (as in, Alan wasn't exactly comfortable with Obsidian being gay).

There are several gay characters out there who since their creation were gay, like Northstar. Others whose history simply expanded on a natural curve to reveal them as gay, such as Mystique. Indeed, Batwoman, who is perhaps the best example of a LGBT character in comics in actuality was from the beginning a lesbian, and she's been very successful.

But when you take a character with an extremely long history and just magically decide to make him gay because fuck it, that just looks like a stunt. I could almost picture Alan Scott on the cover of this new comic going: "Yeah, I'm gay. WANNA MAKE SOMETHING OF IT?". If they just wanted a gay character, they would have just made a gay character, but they wanted controversy, a show. And using being gay as a selling point, as a means of augmenting your exposure/sells just rubs me the wrong way.

And please, before making any accussation against me, read what I said and stop to think about it for a while.

Posted by hectorsquall

@Lion_Heart22: Well said :p

Posted by buttersdaman000
@Lion_Heart22 said:

It's funny. They talk about the need for there being gay characters in comics as they are in real life (and I agree with this). But authors don't really believe a gay character can become successful on their own, or else they wouldn't feel the need to take a long-established character and make him gay, even if the character was clearly straight before (as in, Alan wasn't exactly comfortable with Obsidian being gay).

There are several gay characters out there who since their creation were gay, like Northstar. Others whose history simply expanded on a natural curve to reveal them as gay, such as Mystique. Indeed, Batwoman, who is perhaps the best example of a LGBT character in comics in actuality was from the beginning a lesbian, and she's been very successful.

But when you take a character with an extremely long history and just magically decide to make him gay because fuck it, that just looks like a stunt. I could almost picture Alan Scott on the cover of this new comic going: "Yeah, I'm gay. WANNA MAKE SOMETHING OF IT?". If they just wanted a gay character, they would have just made a gay character, but they wanted controversy, a show. And using being gay as a selling point, as a means of augmenting your exposure/sells just rubs me the wrong way.

And please, before making any accussation against me, read what I said and stop to think about it for a while.

What this guy said
Posted by InnerVenom123

@jonnystorm777 said:

@InnerVenom123: Dude, you need to quit trying to start controversy. You have no life.

I didn't say I was going to start controversy.

Learn to read past a second grade level.

I said I was awaiting the controversy that would develop on its own.

Posted by ReVamp

ReVamp Supports. Even though he likes Jade.

Posted by Darkmount1

Thank you, idea of alternate universes.

Posted by SavageDragon

At my local comic shop a couple weeks back I guessed it would be Guy Gardner....Guess I wasn't that far off.

Posted by DMC

Well at least it wasn't the Earth 1 Green Lantern, still unfortunate though.

Posted by Ston3face

I feel like comics are becoming gayified (not a real word). It makes no since to me to make Alan Scott gay as opposed to introducing a new character who can be gay. I'm all about inclusiveness but being too politically correct can become insulting to everyone. Frankly I think these pro-gay decisions lately are all about dollars.

Edited by Funrush

Huh... who would have thought. I was guessing it'd be Wally West.

Well, don't care much about Scott's sexual orientation, he can be gay or straight, doesn't really matter to me, just a bit mad that DC is changing preexisting characters.

@SpitfireINK said:

Why exactly is it that we are making the relationship the center point of this issue?

And this preview page - Why is it relevant to the story at all? or Allan Scott's character for that matter?

I really don't care if its not RELEVANT to STORY DEVELOPMENT. - period.

Only thing that bothers me is how its being handled - even with X-Men - its being done for shock value and nothing more.

and if that's not the case - then how come there aren't some major revelations as to other relationships?

Just like Politics or Religion - KEEP them OUT - UNLESS THEY REALLY MATTER!

I Agree with this. I hope Alan and Samuel both play a role in the story arc if they feel the need to put a few pages about them.

@Ston3face said:

I feel like comics are becoming gayified (not a real word). It makes no since to me to make Alan Scott gay as opposed to introducing a new character who can be gay. I'm all about inclusiveness but being too politically correct can become insulting to everyone. Frankly I think these pro-gay decisions lately are all about dollars.

Agree with what you're saying except for the last sentence. But yeah, I don't think DC should change currently established characters, they should just make new ones.

Posted by SkyJK

ANYONE who thinks that DC is doing this to be innovative or tolerant is fooling themselves. They are pandering, and doing this all for money. This shows that DC doesn't care about their loyal fans, who have followed characters their whole life. They only care about making money, and they will erase and change anything to make that happen. They are playing it safe by having it be a character that hasn't really been in the main public spotlight lately, and who isn't part of the official main DC universe. If his sexuality really doesn't matter, then why are all the previews simply focusing on him being gay now? There is nothing there to build up my interest in the story. And, I can almost guarantee all of that happens at the very end of the story. It's all just tacked for the publicity. If their sexuality or race is the most interesting part about your character you are advertising, then you're doomed for failure. And, if people are willing to read a comic simply because there is a gay person in it, without caring about the story or anything else...that's sad. You are just buying into DC's money trap.

This is the middle finger to fans because ALL of his history is gone. He's NOT the same character, he's still a "leader" and he's "likable" but those two things do NOT make a character who they are. It's their experiences, their failures, their loves, their full life. Alan had to deal with his failed past marriage, he had to deal with his children and his son being gay. Alan Scott after years realized that he has always loved Harlequin, it was a love strong enough that he was WILLING TO GO TO HELL AND BATTLE FOR HER ETERNAL SOUL. Then, when she was aged to an old woman he still stuck with her and they were happy. It's not just that he is gay now, but that's the icing on the cake. They have rebooted and destroyed everything about the character, things that I very much liked and that they will never be able to redo the same. It's not Alan Scott anymore, it's just another likable leader with his name. And, THAT is an insult to long time fans. Let's see them change Obsidian when he is reintroduced and make him straight. That would be straight up bullsh*t. But oh, he's the same character that everyone has always liked. This proves that DC don't care about their fans and are willing to do anything to the characters they love just to make a buck.

If Marvel decided to somehow have Scarlet Witch resurrect her "real" children, and Wiccan disappeared and was replaced with a copy who was now straight...I would seriously consider dropping Marvel comics. Well, this is the same thing. Except, adding to the fact they have already erased so much...it's easy. I'm dropping DC.

Posted by Beast_in_the_Shadows

@leokearon: Exactly what I was thinking when I saw this. I mean even a parallel universe Superman or Batman doesn't really count as one of their main characters. So not only is it a parallel universe, but it's also a character that most people in comics are even that familiar with? This has all been over hyped to extreme levels if they really thought this would matter. If anything it seems almost like a slight. Kinda like saying "OK, gays. You can have Universe Two all to yourselves and we will have the normal universe"

Honestly, if they didn't make a big deal about it and just let it happen, then it would have been fine. But this just feels like a cop-out and I had been one of the ones really excited I would feel very disappointed.

Posted by battyfan1

was i the only one that wanted them to make Wonder Woman a lesbian.........i mean with the way she is... might as well just make it happen and get it over with.........

Posted by redhood21

Ive said it many times..new gay characters are fine, but why tinker with old characters sexuality? And in trying to be more progressive theyre kinda insulting...im not gay but im pretty sure ive read that LGBT parents dont usually raise homosexual children but to DC it was "the logical step" to have a gay characters dad be gay as well. Id be mildly offended.

Posted by Funrush

@redhood21 said:

Ive said it many times..new gay characters are fine, but why tinker with old characters sexuality? And in trying to be more progressive theyre kinda insulting...im not gay but im pretty sure ive read that LGBT parents dont usually raise homosexual children but to DC it was "the logical step" to have a gay characters dad be gay as well. Id be mildly offended.

Actually, said gay son no longer exists, he may not even be gay when he appears.

Posted by doomsilver

I just want to see how it all goes over with the fans. I loved the New Earth Alan Scott, and I just want to see if they changed him even more.

Posted by redhood21

@Funrush said:

@redhood21 said:

Ive said it many times..new gay characters are fine, but why tinker with old characters sexuality? And in trying to be more progressive theyre kinda insulting...im not gay but im pretty sure ive read that LGBT parents dont usually raise homosexual children but to DC it was "the logical step" to have a gay characters dad be gay as well. Id be mildly offended.

Actually, said gay son no longer exists, he may not even be gay when he appears.

forgot bout that. hrhm. i wasnt too impressed with earth 2 #1 though so i guess i wont find out lol. and each issue of superboy makes me die a lil inside.

Posted by Vance Astro

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION...HOLLA!

Moderator
Posted by RedVelvet

honestly this just about kills it for me and DC. I don't care if they made a character gay, I'm bi myself, but they've thrown decades of history out the window and effectively elimated two very cool characters in the process. As a true Green Lantern fan, the New 52 has been one long list of atrocities.
1. Sinestro is a GL
2. Hal is kicked out
3. The Guardians are plotting the masacre of the entire Corps
4. The FIRST Green Lantern has had his entire history tossed out a window
5. Jade and Obsidian will never exist

I am sooooo done with DC

Posted by _Cain_

@RedVelvet said:

honestly this just about kills it for me and DC. I don't care if they made a character gay, I'm bi myself, but they've thrown decades of history out the window and effectively elimated two very cool characters in the process. As a true Green Lantern fan, the New 52 has been one long list of atrocities. 1. Sinestro is a GL 2. Hal is kicked out 3. The Guardians are plotting the masacre of the entire Corps 4. The FIRST Green Lantern has had his entire history tossed out a window 5. Jade and Obsidian will never exist I am sooooo done with DC

I Know right!? I Would have been PERFECTLY Fine if it was a character that didn't have a friggin' wife and kid previously, If it was someone that had been even SLIGHTLY Ambiguous I'd Be cool with it!

Posted by Oedipus_Rex

I'm going to read it but if I can't just skip over the gay story elements and still get the story, I won't keep reading it. I don't care if he's gay, I just don't want to read about it.

Posted by royale_with_cheese

@spiderbat87 said:

@royale_with_cheese said:

Most people don't even know who Obsidian is, so there's no justification for making Alan Scott homosexual. Why, just why?

why not?

Because essentially, what Robinson and the staff at D.C have come out and said in response to Alan Scott being gay is that: a) Scott's homosexuality is a homage/legacy to his son Obsidian, and b) to be an honorable, dynamic and gallant leader of the Justice Society in today's day and age you have to be gay. I don't know about you, but frankly those are not valid reasons to conceal a marketing scheme. I.e. appealing to a new generation of readers by conforming to political correctness; that is LGBT.

Posted by zorro62

DC Comics.........DON'T EVEN....Enough, don't you dare go down this trail! If gays want a " role model" look in the gay communities. If they feel that they MUST have a " role model" that's a DC comics hero CREATE a new gay hero.....If you must! Leave the icons alone!

Edited by SuperXAsh

Guess we'll never get New-52 (New Coke) Jade and Obsidian then. XD

Oh well... I stopped giving a shit about DC when they went along with this "New Coke 52" stuff. So it's not like this "shocking" change to a character DC never really cared about till now (when was the last time Alan Scott was a big name character? or treated like he mattered??) will change my mind on this "Heroes Reborn 2.0" concept.

Posted by NlGHTCRAWLER

@jcbart said:

What bothers me is that the preview pages are related to his sexuality, and not to him as a superhero. If the sexuality wasn't an issue, they wouldn't be releasing pages of him kissing his partner. With Marvel it makes sense, as it's a wedding, but with this... As a gay man, I find that pretty forced upon us.

@NlGHTCRAWLER: Exactly.

THANK YOU FOR BEING AWESOME.

Posted by waruikumo

Anti Gay Alan Scott tantrums; proof again (many) comic book fans just want to see fit (straight) white males in spandex.

Posted by BiteMe-Fanboy

Bad idea. But whatever. I never to much cared for Alan anyway.

Edited by colonyofcells

The old customers tend to be against reboots and retcons including reboots to become gay. DC needs these reboots and retcons to find new customers.

I don't worry too much about gay Alan Scott and I worry more about those rats eating the crotch of Jay Garrick. ouch.

Posted by randy_rand

@Green ankh: I wouldn't mind a Gay Universe, out there somewhere in the Multiverse. That would be fascinating.

Not sure how people would manage to procreate though. But since it's an alternate universe, perhaps such things would work differently.

Posted by randy_rand

@PulledaBrad: Gay people are normal.

Welcome to the 21st century.

Posted by difficlus

Not sure how this makes any sense, it feels a bit forced. But i'm just glad alan scott is back in the game!

Posted by randy_rand

Oh well. All the old comics fans who are against the idea of a gay Alan Scott will be dead soon anyway - while DC comics will still need to sell comic books to the rest of us.

Posted by SavageDragon

@RedVelvet: You do realize this is in Earth 2 right?...This isnt normal DC continuity. Alan Scott can be hetero in the normal universe.

Posted by SavageDragon

@SkyJK: This is in an alternate reality....

Edited by Redberry

People get up in arm about this, but this is not the only thing they change about the universe. Over the years, various characters have gone through many different changes, even the skin color, and yet people don't protest as much.

Posted by thechessclub

@SkyJK said:

They are pandering, and doing this all for money.

Yeah. Cuz it was DC that put Obama on the cover of their highest selling title back when he was elected.

Oh wait...

Marvel does that shit like a billion times more than DC.

Posted by monitor_earthprime

I cannot beleive I am going to say this, but as a gay man I am Dropping this title. I have read the JSA for decades and I just cannot deal with this version of Earth 2. I am sorry, I do not see why Alan Scott has to be gay in the comics.

Posted by BoyWander

Can I still kill him with a pointy stick? If so then this changes nothing.

Posted by FanofUltraman

Something tells me Jay Garrick and Al Pratt won't be as comfortable with wearing tight spandex in front of Scott anymore.

Posted by Redberry

@FanofUltraman said:

Something tells me Jay Garrick and Al Pratt won't be as comfortable with wearing tight spandex in front of Scott anymore.

Just because he's gay doesn't mean he's attracted to everyone...

Posted by FanofUltraman

@Redberry: It's a joke. Take it as one. A straight man isn't attracted to every single woman in existence, but would likely enjoy himself in a woman's lockeroom.