Friday, June 10, 2011

The DC Relaunch and...DADT?

It's no great secret to those who read my work that I'm very pro gay rights...nor is it a great secret why.

It's likely because of that that I've always been a huge fan of the WildStorm characters Apollo and The Midnighter. They were perhaps originally created as a Superman/Batman slash joke...and became far, far more than that.

Here are two incredibly tough guys...if I needed a comic book character to get me through a war zone on the ground it would be a tough call between The Midnighter and Wolverine...and I wouldn't want to bet on a fight between the two, either. The StormWatch relaunch blurb calls them two of the most dangerous metahumans on Earth. These are two men who will do whatever is necessary for the sake of humanity.

These are two men who in the early 2000s (I have the issue somewhere in my mess of comics, but not sure where) became the first same sex couple in second tier or mainstream comics...to get married. A deeply loving, serious, monogamous relationship between two men. Something sadly lacking in ALL media. (I suppose that's why everyone loved Brokeback Mountain, but I never saw it...a bit too much of a pure romance for me). Their relationship defines them as much as the marriage between Reed and Sue Richards defines *those* two characters. It's something unseen.

Which made it immediately heartening the second I heard that a StormWatch book was forthcoming from the post-relaunch DC with the preliminary lineup given as those two plus Jack Hawksmoor and J'onn J'onzz (I hope for his sake they're not making him Weatherman...that's always a good career move).

The released cover art shows Apollo flanked by the Midnighter and J'onn J'onzz. Sporting a brand new...buzz cut? In WildStorm art, Apollo has always been a pretty boy with golden locks. Relaunch Apollo looks like...

...a soldier. Like every mother's son we're sending out there (yes, I realize, there are a lot of mother's daughters too, which the old Apollo more closely resembled). He *looks like a marine*. A jarhead.

My first thought was that DC was moving away from the stereotypical femme-gay. Then I put it all together with their comment about dealing with modern themes.

Is DC comics showing the courage to step out there and make a statement about Don't Ask Don't Tell and gays in combat? Are they using two characters who's sexuality can threaten no one because they are so deeply in love to make this point?

I don't know, of course, until I see what Paul Carroll is actually going to do with it. But I can hope. I can hope that they will keep the relationship intact and give us a comic book role model for all of the gay soldiers...and for everyone struggling with dealing with the changes that will soon (please soon) lead to gay men and women serving openly in the military. Perhaps this book can show people that gay men need not be a threat. And help remind gay men that as hard as it often is for them, a true, committed relationship is possible. Even for a pair of tough, hard soldiers. Or perhaps especially.

Let's hope. I'm watching you, DC Comics and Paul Carroll. Don't mess this one up.