Interview: Scott Lobdell Introduces Gay Teen Titans Member in Issue #3

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Posted by G-Man (32737 posts) - - Show Bio

There was a time when having a gay character in comics was practically unheard of. We've been seeing more and more and it's about time they start getting the spotlight. In this week's TEEN TITANS #3, we will be introduced to the newest member of the team, an openly gay and flamboyant teen going by the name Bunker.

We asked writer Scott Lobdell a few questions on this new character.

Comic Vine: Where did the decision come from for a gay Teen Titan on this team?

Scott Lobdell: It just came about because when Brett [Booth] and I were asked to create some new characters, he and I agreed that the comics industry is filled to overflowing with straight white male characters... and it was time (well, past time) to bring an openly gay teenager to the series.

It may or may not surprise people to know that while the character was already agreed upon, we had a lot of back and forth about what his powers would be. The next time someone interviews Brett they should ask him if he has any pre-Wall sketches.

Actually, it wasn't until I had a sit down with DC Maestro Geoff Johns and I was talking to him about how Miguel's powers were really giving me trouble... and he suggested he always tries to create powers from character. Now, certainly I've done that before with Marrow and Cecilia Reyes and others... but hearing it from Geoff really drove the point home.

So I was thinking "What is it this character is about?" Pretty much Miguel doesn't have a lot of walls between what he thinks and what he says or does. He's not "angsty"... he says what he's feeling, he'll hug you if you surprise him or make him happy! So in that way he's also about tearing walls down as well -- he strips away the pretense. Walls, hmm. Then I thought it was kind of subversive, if a gay character had the "wall" powers because here in the States the gay rights movement started with Stonewall in NYC's Greenwich Village.

That night it was settled: Wall it was! I wrote to Brett at about a hundred words a minute and, like Brett almost always does, he threw himself into it (even when we don't necessarily see eye to eye, it never keeps us from creating awesome stories and characters together). And to be clear, I don't mean we're on different pages about having a gay character, only that you can imagine anyone's trepidation to get an excited email about how the brand new super hero we're creating is going to be able to mentally control a 3 x 3 square foot of bricks. "It was like, Um..."

CV: It's already been said that he's an openly gay character, how much of that will we see in the issues? Will it be a focus for the character or just a fact everyone on the team will know about?

SL: Well for the first six months the book is so on the run, it is unlikely Miggs is going to find anyone with to share some down time with, romantically speaking. But there are certainly plans in the future for him to date if not exclusively. As far as being "a focus for the character" I'm not really sure what that means. It will be part of his character, but the focus?

CV: Will anyone on the team have difficulty adjusting/accepting who he is?

SL: I can't imagine, can you? I think for the most part super heroes are the most open minded people in the first place, but also (and everyone can rail against this theory if they chose) but I just don't think being gay is much of an issue for today's more enlightened youth. Now, certainly there is bullying and coming out to one's family and all the myriad problems and obstacles that come with coming out... but we're living in a time where there are more gay celebrities and television and movie stars and talk show hosts and rock stars and reality show contestants and even other super heroes... but as far as this new generations acceptance of gays it just feels like it would be false note on our part if we decided that one of the Teen Titans would have any difficulty accepting Miggs because he's gay.

Even Superboy, who has been in his share of VR simulations, we can see in his very first issue that two of his classmates were gay. To that end I don't think he'd find anything out of the norm about Miguel.

CV: You also wrote the issue where Northstar revealed he was gay (ALPHA FLIGHT #106), is your approach to handling Bunker different?

SL: Night and day! Northstar spent his entire life, up until that point, publicly in the closet -- and I believe he was angry with a lot of the world because of it. Miguel on the other was all but born out of the closet. There was never a time in his life that his parents or family tried to shoehorn him into a straight lifestyle... he's just always been Miguel, which as someone who has always been Scott I can tell you it is very liberating to not try to be someone you're not!

CV: Will we see him in a relationship anytime soon?

SL: At least one! But again, honestly, not until around issue eight or nine.

CV: Do you plan on taking on the prejudice and hate some feel towards the gay community or is his sexual orientation not going to be a major issue?

SL: Who plans on confronting homophobia? So, no, I don't plan out it... but I'm sure it is out there and relatively sure Miguel or other members of the team are going to have to deal with it in some capacity or the other.... but, no, I don't have any "plans". (Sigh. Wouldn't it be awesome if I -- and Miggs -- didn't ever have to?)

Yes, it would. Be sure to pick up TEEN TITANS #3 tomorrow, November 23.

Staff Online
#1 Posted by laabitres (378 posts) - - Show Bio

lol

#2 Posted by KainScion (2973 posts) - - Show Bio

pff. when in doubt and can't create a good character, create a controversial one. swing and a miss in the creativity department. but i'll give it a running chance.

#3 Posted by moywar700 (2775 posts) - - Show Bio

a latino gay dude? This is interesting enough, I wonder how this is gonna turn out

#4 Posted by Mr. Kamikaze (526 posts) - - Show Bio

cause no group of teens is complete without one of them coming out the closet.

#5 Posted by maxicere (936 posts) - - Show Bio

@KainScion said:

pff. when in doubt and can't create a good character, create a controversial one. swing and a miss in the creativity department. but i'll give it a running chance.

Agree but I don't read this. DC is out the road

#6 Posted by Wattup (648 posts) - - Show Bio

It would be really funny if someone in comics created a superhero character like Tobias Funke from Arrested Development.

"I just blue myself."

#7 Posted by Outside_85 (8763 posts) - - Show Bio

Miguels mom: "Miguel! I will not have you making a bunker out of that closet! Come out!"
 
:)

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#8 Posted by eter (203 posts) - - Show Bio

I read the preview of issue 3 and I liked him.

#9 Posted by frochez (194 posts) - - Show Bio

I just wish we could have a gay charaacter who is out, without being 'flamboyant'. In my mind that means overly camp which, looking at the pic. and the wAy the character is described, is exactly what Miguel's going to be. While I have nothing against people being camp and/or effiminate, its stereotypical and cliched. Not just in comics but in film and tv as well. Is it too much to ask for a character who's gay without being either extremely camp or overtly butch?

#10 Posted by G-Man (32737 posts) - - Show Bio

Hate for the character already? The issue isn't even out yet...

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#11 Posted by ARMIV2 (8447 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm-a diggin' the name. Bunker...sounds like a powerhouse name.

#12 Posted by jcbart (341 posts) - - Show Bio

It sounds like they made a character around his sexuality rather than making a character and then adding, "oh, and he's gay aswell". It adds to the stereotype, if you ask me.

#13 Posted by Mercy_ (92686 posts) - - Show Bio

@G-Man said:

Hate for the character already? The issue isn't even out yet...

Seriously...

I'm one of the biggest critics on the site of his work with Starfire and not even I'm going on about this.

I love how people automatically make the assumption that just because he's a "controversial" character, it's not going to be a good one. A bit presumptuous, no?

People need to wait until at least..y'know actually reading the issue before they start complaining about how it's not a good character, seeing as he hasn't even appeared in anything yet.

Moderator
#14 Posted by moywar700 (2775 posts) - - Show Bio

@G-Man said:

Hate for the character already? The issue isn't even out yet...

hates gonna hate

#15 Posted by DC_LegacyMan (16 posts) - - Show Bio

With so much controversy in the world of superheroes/villains, I'm not sure why there is even emphasis placed on a gay character. IMO it's not a ground-breaking concept. I do like the name though. So what if he is gay? Is that supposed to bring in more fans? I'm not sure what the point of having an openly gay character in comics is. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I'm against gays, not at all, I'm simply not sure why this is headline news.

#16 Posted by NightFang (9990 posts) - - Show Bio

@moywar700 said:

@G-Man said:

Hate for the character already? The issue isn't even out yet...

hates gonna hate

True that.

#17 Edited by CaptainCockblock (3672 posts) - - Show Bio

I wish there were more characters like Batwoman and Renee Montoya who fairly represent the gay community in comics without having that detail of their lives shoehorned in as their entire personality. And then, I look at this guy, how he's drawn, what color scheme they went with, and the name.... and all I can think to do is get a roll of ace bandages for the giant palm-shaped dent I just left in my face.

Still, I'll give Lobdell the benefit of the doubt. He might be able to pull of something more respectful and write the character better than I'm guessing. Maybe. On the bright side, at least they're TRYING to get more diverse characters into comics.

#18 Posted by danhimself (22498 posts) - - Show Bio

I look forward to Scott's books more than any of the other new 52 titles so I'm sure that the book is going to continue to be good....who cares if a character is gay or not

#19 Edited by kiss_lamia (1247 posts) - - Show Bio

i don't get what the problem is with some flamboyant characters are, its suddenly become very ok to just put the stereotype marker on it, but people don't realise its not a stereotype sometimes some people are flamoyant in character, as others are not and others fall inbetween, and all types were important in the battle for gay rights so i don't know where this sudden oh fems vs masc attitude has come from since both sides were vital to obtaining the first steps in the community. Its so annoying get over it different types  exists some are fems and some are not but that doesn't mean a fem or flamboyant character if written properly that they can't be successful,.

#20 Posted by buttersdaman000 (9654 posts) - - Show Bio

If they didnt want controversy then why did they have to announce it like its a big deal? 
It wouldve been much better if they just threw it in the issue in a normal manner instead of introducing the character as "The Gay Teen Titans member"

#21 Posted by Lonestar88 (170 posts) - - Show Bio

It's 2011, a gay comic character should no longer be "controversial." Seriously some people need to get a grip.

I don't know how this character is going to turn out, but if you are already hating on him when you haven't even read anything, that speaks poorly on you.

#22 Posted by WonderBoy1132 (276 posts) - - Show Bio

Great article! As a gay male its exciting to see a well rounded comic book universe. Kudos to DC.

#23 Posted by danhimself (22498 posts) - - Show Bio

@buttersdaman000 said:

If they didnt want controversy then why did they have to announce it like its a big deal? It wouldve been much better if they just threw it in the issue in a normal manner instead of introducing the character as "The Gay Teen Titans member"

because they do want that controversy....the controversy gets the news out and makes people curious....people will buy the issue just to see what the controversy is all about

#24 Posted by BatBen9135 (63 posts) - - Show Bio

@CaptainCockblock: Agree with what you said, it seems the character's personality revolved around him being gay, but we won't know for sure yet. Wish he'd gone the route of Wiccan and Hulking and not made such a big deal about it. Those two are great characters and people I can cheer for even if I don't agree with everything they believe in.

#25 Posted by AMP - Seeker of Lost Knowledge (1221 posts) - - Show Bio

Seeing Bunker in civilian clothing reminds me of Marco from Degrassi - The Next Generation/

#26 Posted by Planewalker (326 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm not a fan of gay characters, I love Authority but hated the in your face relationship between Midnighter and Apollo hope the retcon that hopefully... Anyway it's not like I'm homophobic or anything like that it just gets under my skin even bisexual characters like the one on Torchwood Captain Jack Harkness is well done as it not a in your face thing! I think to write this type of thing it can't be just for controversy.

#27 Posted by AwesomeAquaman (153 posts) - - Show Bio

Diversity...!!!

#28 Posted by Izaiah (5188 posts) - - Show Bio
@The Dark Huntress said:

I love how people automatically make the assumption that just because he's a "controversial" character, it's not going to be a good one. A bit presumptuous, no?
People need to wait until at least..y'know actually reading the issue before they start complaining about how it's not a good character, seeing as he hasn't even appeared in anything yet.

Seconded.
#29 Posted by Afro_Warrior (1120 posts) - - Show Bio

@buttersdaman000:

To be fair to DC. It's not as if they've created a press release saying. LOOK AT OUR NEW GAY character. In all the interviews with Lobdell, he only talks about Bnker when he's asked a question that relates to him. He doesn't try and shoe-horn him into every response. Even on the DC website, where they have their three things to know about...., for Bunker they didn't even mention the fact that he's gay.

Most of the talk and hype about Bunker, is fan created and people like Lobdell are simply reacting to that.

#30 Posted by wowylied (238 posts) - - Show Bio

Having a gay character ? I don't care. Having a character who is constantly showing that he is straight, gay, bi or anything else can only become boring.

Wiccan is gay but his character is use in a good way, i hope this one will be too.

#31 Posted by Joe Venom (1275 posts) - - Show Bio

Great article! although I will never be 100% into the concept gays in comics, it feels like he's just being forced into this book, but whatever this won't stop me buying this book... well as long as he is no too flamboyant. Honestly I just want to see how Superboy will join the not some guy (gay or straight) with psychic brick powers?!

#32 Posted by Dedpool (328 posts) - - Show Bio

@wowylied- Good call. Though let's be honest not very gay person lives up to stereotype, but there are some who embrace it. Have you seen "America's Next top Model"? LOL So if they're gonna go that route I can deal. And the name Bunker is much better than Wall. Hoping charcoal girl gets a good name, as "The Bug" is named Skitter now.

#33 Posted by Lady_Deathgasm (91 posts) - - Show Bio

I have just one question.... does Lobdell own stock in whiskey media or something? With the amount of facetime he gets on this site you'd think he was something special.

#34 Posted by Neverpraying (1465 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm personally glad that gay is getting more out there in the world. Mostly because I'm tired of all the hate crimes, and hate towards gay people.

#35 Posted by The Stegman (24053 posts) - - Show Bio
@moywar700:  
 
 

a latino gay dude? This is interesting enough, I wonder how this is gonna turn out

 
 
 
probably like this dude 
 
#36 Posted by jordama (4225 posts) - - Show Bio

Ever teen group in marvel has some gay characters.

Young Avengers: Wiccan and Hulkling

New X-Men: Anole, Graymalkin, Bling!

Runaways: Karolina, Xavin.

A lot of people just like to get bothered by sexuality when it is brought up. Teen books have always seemed to bring in the very diverse group of kids.

#37 Posted by Duo_forbidden (1161 posts) - - Show Bio

It's funny how this character is a bigger problem than Red Robin's costume. Honestly, I for this new guy. I'm just worried about the overall story right now.

#38 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6885 posts) - - Show Bio

Have absolutely no problem with this new character. Diversity is needed I suppose so why not have a character such as this? It was done for Spider-Man Ultimates and should be done here as well. Be interesting to see how Bunker develops as a character I say.

#39 Posted by moywar700 (2775 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Stegman: miles morales >.<

#40 Posted by sora_thekey (8162 posts) - - Show Bio

A lot of latino characters are popping up in comic book lately! That's pretty cool!

Moderator
#41 Posted by vraiment (2 posts) - - Show Bio

Damn, who cares if he's gay, black, mexican, legless, catholic or bald? The character has something to offer? nice, let it come... sucks much? throw it to comic-hell until some writer decides to do something cool with it!

'jez, this story it's pretty homophobic...

#42 Posted by Thunderscream (1809 posts) - - Show Bio

I just wish it didn't seem so gimmicky. I'm all for some gay characters but everything needs to fit organically in the story.

and seriously, you introduce a gay character and his costume is purple and pink? gimme a break.

#43 Posted by Tempest55 (77 posts) - - Show Bio

Excuse me for being sick here but...he has a giant fist. That is all.

#44 Edited by notarandomguy (316 posts) - - Show Bio

@G-Man said:

Hate for the character already? The issue isn't even out yet...

please, can anyone else think like him? ^ u.u

@buttersdaman000: one word; Publicity

#45 Posted by Inverno (13202 posts) - - Show Bio

@Thunderscream said:

I just wish it didn't seem so gimmicky. I'm all for some gay characters but everything needs to fit organically in the story.

and seriously, you introduce a gay character and his costume is purple and pink? gimme a break.

Is it impossible for some writers to have a gay superhero with other traits besides being gay.

#46 Posted by RedOwl_1 (1664 posts) - - Show Bio

Something new for me (I never have know someone openly gay) but why not? I like it because we are tired of gays "in the closet". Being open is good

Just hoping no exaggerate stereotypes please. If u are going to be realistic in something, please do it in the culture

#47 Posted by The Impersonator (5411 posts) - - Show Bio

@Outside_85 said:

Miguels mom: "Miguel! I will not have you making a bunker out of that closet! Come out!" :)

Is that how he got his codename from? :P

#48 Posted by redwingx (763 posts) - - Show Bio

@Thunderscream said:

I just wish it didn't seem so gimmicky. I'm all for some gay characters but everything needs to fit organically in the story.

and seriously, you introduce a gay character and his costume is purple and pink? gimme a break.

We wanted to show an interesting character who's homosexuality is part of him, not something that's hidden. Sure they are gay people who you wouldn't know are gay right off the bat, but there are others who are a more flamboyant, and we thought it would be nice to actually see them portrayed in comics. Did we go over the top, I don't think so. I wanted you to know he might be gay as soon as you see him. Our TT is partly about diversity of ANY kind, its about all kinds of teens getting together to help each other. It is a very difficult line to walk, will he be as I've read in some of the comments 'fruity'? Not that I'm aware of. Will he be more effeminate than what we've seen before, the 'typical' gay male comic character, yes. Does it scare the shit out of me that I might inadvertently piss off the group I want to reflect in a positive way, you're damn straight (pun intended!)

With Bunker's background, Lobdell wanted to make his history "angst-free" thus allowing Bunker to be very open, comfortable, and positive about who he is, and his sexuality.

#49 Posted by Darthmat (83 posts) - - Show Bio

If you start from page one and read all of these comments, it leaves a pretty sinking feeling, as half of them are "I have no problem with gay people... but having said that... "

#50 Posted by ninjacommando (104 posts) - - Show Bio

Stirring the pot.

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