Hi. You know what's strange? Slow motion death scenes. Wanted to do a blog after seeing a few threads and comments talking about Shatterstar that seemed to be playing off faulty information and misconceptions.
Who is Shatterstar?A verified badass from the future, Mojoworld specifically, genetically engineered, who swings about the X-Corner of Marvel, with those merry mutants. He is mainly associated with X-Force and X-Factor. He has a fairly convoluted past, probably because he was created in the 90's, but he usually carries around a bladed weapon or two and has a healthy appreciation in the thrill of honourable combat. He's a good guy too. Great fighter.
So what's the big fuss?Well, Shatterstar started to kiss boys, and he liked it (take that Kate Perry) and cue the guy who created him and hundreds possibly billions of people not really liking that at all, since he use to definitely not kiss boys way back in the day.
Wait, wait, wait what? They made him a Gay? Who? That liberal fool Peter David otherwise known as PAD? This angers me. I don't like this. I don't like the character anymore, and I have lost the will to live. What kind of politically correct, utter BS, propaganda, gay agenda, jibber jabber is this funk? Its my opinion and understanding that Shatterstar is an Asexual Gladiator and not supposed to engage in sort of sexual relationship with any other character, male or female. Well maybe female, see that's normal. Its better for Shatterstar the character, fans, creators, and is true to the creators vision of the character? AmIrite?
I guess it depends as far fan preferences, I sympathize to a degree. Its can suck when a character you have a certain vision, and view of, turns out being a character that doesn't fit or sustain that image. Its like you lose a favorite character. The reasons you like a character change or are portrayed differently. Its annoying. Especially if its unexpected, especially if you have been a fan of that character for a long time. If tomorrow they made Thor drop his Hammer and move to Canada to pursue becoming a career as a high end hair stylist, I would like the character less, and be very annoyed at his new direction... probably... unless Gillen, JMS, Carey or PAD were writing... anyway, sure I can see legitimate reasons why you could want this undone. That being said you seem a bit paranoid... moving on, your more objective, points, well lets delve in to through out this thread. Oh, like Shatterstar being in a homosexual relationship isn't new, or something brought about by PAD in X-Factor, there are actually a lot of hints, prior references and implications in much older issues, back in the 90's 90's 90's. Pre PAD, pre X-Factor. Shatterstar is probably the most popular he has ever been right now as well, and with a lot of depth, and story focus.
Hey hold up... that line "Hints, prior references and implications" look buddy, I own all of X-Force, I even got the foil variants, 3D variants, Scratch and Sniff Variants and multiple copies of X-Force #1, some I got wrapped tighter than Kingpin poured into a Black Cat suit, so one day I can sell them all, my variants and be mega rich, like Flynt Flossy... wha... why are you laughing at me? Anyway I got all comics... ever... not just the ones Shatty appeared in, all of them, I don't know how that helps, all I know is there are no "Hints, prior references and implications" of Shatterstars or Rictors sexuality being how it is now, or them seeing each other that way. So what cha talking about man?
Hmm, well I have most of Shatterstar and Rictors appearances too, I saw and I see, lots of "Hints, prior references and implications" to those two characters being romantically linked, and you know as well I am not the only one. Since I admit, I am a bit freaky and I see how Psylocke looks Spiral and Shuma Gorath and uhm... anyway. Prior to their kiss in X-Factor #45 there has been tons of discussion around these two being together by heaps of their fans, there's a good reason for that, which I will discuss later, but since critical reasoning died in 2007 and kids today are all about scans and references - many fans cite instances that demonstrate Rictor and Shatterstar are less like Bert and Ernie and more like Ross and Joey... or uh the other way around?
Things like Shatterstar deciding to learn Spanish to communicate on an extra level with Rictor, because I am sure he learnt German for Nightcrawler and English for Emma. In #49 of the original X-Force series, Shatterstar reminisces outside a bar, thinking of his friend Rictor ""I miss Julio" "Why hasn't Rictor called me" "Rictor brought me to this bar before" and then a woman tries to get freaky with him inside the club, with some rad dance moves, before Star denies her advances goes out side the bar and stops a gang beating up a gay guy. This was the 90's so you know subtlety was huge, like the biceps.
In X-Force #56 Shatterstar and Siryn are trick or treating, or.. something. After some dramatic moment, we get narrative - ""She has lost Warpath. He has lost Rictor. Both see these missing teammates as ‘friends’. Both too stubborn to admit that they may mean more than that" maybe they mean super friends? Its like friendship only more super?
The fact that Shatterstar told Rictor about Windsong in person (Windsong was also genetically engineered and was to be Shatterstar's future bride though arranged marriage). Rictors extreme reaction to Shatterstars "death" during X-Cutioner’s Song. Examples in Cable, when Rictor left, when Rictor returned - so there are a lot of hints, implications, innuendo, analogies and allegories drawn. Me as well, I ain't trying to look or stuff that ain't there, it kind of seemed obvious to me reading it (I am too young to have read the issues as they were released, I read a lot of them one after the other but still prior to "hearing" about in on the internet. Still its one thing to recognize and realize and acknowledge that there are hints and etc with these two characters, and still disagree that the relationship they have now, is what it should be. True. Is there any one out there that thinks that all the above references are just coincidences though?
Blah blah blah, fooey, fooey, jibber jabba, jibber jabba, Well fans can draw that sort of stuff from anywhere, just because fans say that some of those things above equates to more than just friendship, I mean hell, I have been to some sites on the internet... let me tell you, I don't see Marvel releasing a comic with Wolverine, Galactus and Spiral doing the things to Kitty, Ego and Eye Scream I have seen on various fan sites, let me tell you. L.O.L.... *awkward silence* So yeah, fans don't dictate a characters sexuality or relationships with other characters, the writers and creators do.
"As the guy that created, designed and wrote his first dozen appearances, Shatterstar is not gay. Sorry. Can't wait to someday undo this... Shatterstar is akin to Maximus in Gladiator. He's a warrior, a Spartan, and not a gay one"
Shatterstar was, for all intents and purposes, raised asexual. There were no notions of sexuality in Shatterstar's upbringing, so Shatterstar was going to have to learn as he went along on Earth. Nicieza's position was that Shatterstar did not, as of yet, have feelings, heterosexual OR homosexual
Certain words spring out at me, and this is remembering this was for the characters intent/introduction. Not the character full stop, end/] period. These words "Learn" "as of yet" and "have feelings" particularly. A piece by CBR's great Comic Book Urban Legends reveals more. "Nicieza was planning on exploring that more if he stayed on X-Force, and it might very well have resulted in Shatterstar being gay, but it was not necessarily Nicieza’s intent (you know, like he had not already determined, “He is unsure, but when he figures it out, it’ll definitely be that he’s gay), and it was not why he left the title"
What I get from this, is that was Nicieza planning on making Shatterstar homosexual? No, not necessarily, Nicieza was planning on developing and changing the character from the one introduced in his first issue, meaning he was going to be different, he was never going to be the warrior with no emotions or feelings for the rest of his publication history, he was going to pick up new traits and learning experiences and develop new aspects. As intended. Shock horror, almost like the character was going to grow and develop. Further more, Liefeld was only on X-Force for 12 or so issues. So he only wrote Shatterstar for 12 or so issues. Nicieza was on the title for 40 plus issues. Beyond that? It was actually planned that Rictor and Shatterstar were going to be made into a relationship. This is confirmed by the X-Force editor Mark Powers of that time, it just got post phoned and became a dangling plot. Loeb the writer at the time, wanted to explore Shatterstars origin more, eventually the characters were put in limbo... until guess who started writing them? PAD, one of the best writers when it comes to continuity and knowledge of Marvel characters.
Uh.. but Shatterstar is ASEXUAL! Dammit. He can't kiss or have a relationship!Well first, whether or not Shatterstar is asexual or not, people who are asexual as he was intended to be originally, can still have relationships, and still have sex. They are simply not sexually attracted to either gender, but they can be attracted to other aspects of either gender. You don't have to engage in sex because you are physically attracted to someone. Lots of people have lots of reasons they sleep with each other. Lets have a basic stroll though the term.
Wait, lets go back to all that Sex stuff that sounded kinky... i mean uhm... Sin, Impure! Damnation and Dalmatians. So Shatterstar is a what now? Asexual? Homosexual? Gay? Lesbian? Communist? Feminist? Mutant? Vegan? Gladiator? Dubstep? Maths is hard.
There there Barbie, maths is hard, but so is social labeling. Much like office labels are handy so you don't end up eating blue tack or using a staple gun to shoot the gums of a fellow member of the human race species, other labels dealing with race, gender, sexual orientation, etc can be as useful as far as people go too. Ever since mankind discovered that some berries are poisonous and some berries tasty freaking awesome, we have liked putting things into groupings, sub categories, adding labels and definitions to things. Makes comprehending them way easier. Helps with self identity. Nothing really inherently wrong with that, just people also tend to naturally disagree with each other about everything, especially defining what certain labels mean categorically. Sexual orientation can be especially rife with confusion. Much like the backstory of any character created in the nineties. So Shatterstar? He kisses guys and is in a relationship with Rictor, he must be gay then right? Eh, maybe, from what I have read there is a lot of ambiguity there. Shatterstar is still trying to find his footing in this arena and has expressed interest and curiosity in woman as well as men. He still might be able to be considered asexual. He might be pansexual, he might be bisexual. It can get pretty complex depending on how accurate or thorough you want to be, he might be a very curious heterosexual, he might just be Shatterstar. Just because labels exist doesn't mean they always need be applied - or can even be applied cleanly or neatly. After all this is a guy is a inter dimensional warrior artificially created in the future of an alternate dimension. Based on his current writers (Peter David) views towards writing the character
"It is his (Shatterstar) first relationship, it’s his first major emotional relationship but my attitude and the way I’m approaching the character is that it’s his first relationship but it’s coming as a result of certain feelings being unleashed within him that he did not know were there before.To a certain degree, finding the full measure and attraction of human relationships, to go with the cliche, it’s almost like he’s a kid in the candy store. He’s got this relationship going with Rictor and he’s fulfilled and isn’t it great and – but, boy, there’s a lot of people out there and there’s a lot of different ways that relationships can be approached. Now he’s suddenly finding himself going from zero to sixty in a very short period of time. Even though he has tremendous feelings for Rictor, because of everything that’s been stirred within him, to me it seemed natural for him by the same token to say ‘What else is out there?’ as well.His attitude could very well be, “Rictor, there’s so much out there, explore it with me.” Which will have Rictor going “But I’ve done that, I’ve explored other relationships. I want to explore this one with you.” So you’ve got two different guys who are in two different places in their lives"
Also his portrayal in the comics as well and various interactions the character has had with other characters throughout X-Factor would probably lead one to say he probably isn't strictly homosexual, although of course in a close homosexual relationship with a homosexual man (Rictor) if you really insisted on applying a label, pansexual, or asexual might be the best bets.
He isn't gay enough though? Isn't straight enough? Isn't asexual enough, isn't Communist enough, isn't Duran Duran enough, isn't man enough, isn't effeminate enough, isn't hairy enough, isn't tall enough, isn't liberal enough, isn't pro sword enough, and most certainly but not least, isn't Warrior like Gladiator, Badass enough?
Ooh your going to get letters of complaints now you realize? Well that's always the problem with labels. Definitions again, people tend to disagree and or have different understandings of what terms, titles, labels mean. Lets not forget generalizations that invariably get tagged on for both reasonable and unreasonable reasons. Like tall people? Tall people tend to be harder to jump over than short people. Men? Facial hair tends to be more prominent than female facial hair. Feminists tend to castrate men and bath in blood. Europeans tend to eat babies. Black people tend to be, robots. Gay people tend to be wimpy. I'll let you decide which examples are reasonable or not. This can work in reverse as well and applying labels to generalized actions, attitudes so on. Hence why Shatterstar kissing a guy to some automatically makes him gay. That's not so bad though really. I can see how that happens, plus he might be. Try seeing a guy kiss another and concluding he must be wimpy, soft, effeminate so on. Not that there aren't any guys who kiss others that aren't wimpy, soft, effeminate and so on. Just one would hope those qualities aren't inherent, nor mutually exclusive to guys who kiss other guys. Wimpiness, softness, effeminate are for everyone!! Woohoo.
Fiction adds a new context. Since how people identify with characters and enjoy reading about characters that share attributes and characteristics that reflect them. Generally, and specifically. Or they just like to recognize what they understand? Can add and detract to the story for them, subjectively. People like, expect and can appreciate accuracy as they perceive it ah but there is the crux. Perceptions with people tend to vary quiet diversely. How this is relevant to Shatterstar, is bizarrely much criticism has been aimed at his "sudden, decade long switch to kissing guys" means they have changed this badass warrior character to a guy kissing guy... right... despite that probably being the most prominent feature of the character as written by PAD, literally how badass he is and warrior like (plenty of depth though, some humor and great interactions with any members of his team) so thankfully the GAAAAY did not force Shatterstar to hand in his warrior badass card, certificate, license and rubber wristband.
So what are you really trying to say....Eh basically that Shatterstar started off asexual which actually means strictly speaking he can still kiss and date people, Rob Liefeld co created Shatterstar with Fabian Nicieza, Liefeld wrote Shatterstar for a dozen issues, Nicieza for 40, Nicieza is okay with Shatterstar developing emotionally/sexually. Liefeld is very very against PAD's X-Factor Shatterstar developments (but he has gay friends) and Shatterstar and Rictor were going to be put into a relationship like over a decade ago and there are very strong hints in canon alluding to this. Shatterstar is probably more bisexual/pansexual than gay and and... all this is kind of silly really? You should go read X-Factor its great! Don't worry, PAD didn't suddenly decide to turn a long standing heterosexual gay gay gay gay gay because he is a liberal, cheap comic writer who wants to corrupt your grand children and disrespect the continuity or the canon.
"ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED" - Maximus Decimus Meridius/Shatterstar.