By Alex Temblador
Comic books have a long history. The first comic book came out in 1933 and the comic book industry began in 1938. However, today comic books made history with DC Comics’ release of Midnighter. It’s the first time that a comic book will headline a gay superhero, a stunning move forward for the LGBT community.
Gay superheroes are not uncommon in the comic book industry. Unfortunately, with the Comic Book Code of 1954, a code that suppressed comics from featuring certain content such as the LGBT community, it took many years for comics to explicitly state that their superheroes were gay and writers were forced to give subtle hints within the series. For example, Northstar, a Canadian superhero from the pages of Alpha Fight had always been intended to be a gay superhero by its creator John Byrne. From 1979 to 1992, Northstar had to be closeted due to pressure on Byrne from his superiors. It wasn’t until 1992 that Northstar finally came out as a gay superhero. He’s commonly referred to as the first openly gay superhero.
Even though Northstar and a few other comic superheroes, like Batwoman, are members of the LGBT community, Midnighter is significant because the main character, Midnighter, is openly gay and his experiences as a superhero and a gay man will both be featured. Steve Orlando, the writer of the Midnighter series, stated that Midnighter’s personal and romantic life will be focused on. For instance, he said, “To me, the ultimate equality in gay representation is that even the narrative itself shouldn’t treat the character differently because he’s gay.”
Orlando also mentioned that there will be other LGBT characters featured in the series. “What I want to make sure I do is create a world around him that is filled with other queer people as well, and have those be telling examples of 3D people and give them the layers and struggles that real LGBT people face,” and we couldn’t agree more. By including other LGBT characters in the Midnighter series, not only will Orlando be writing an all-inclusive comic series for the LGBT community, but it could also show our society the struggles or experiences that LGBT persons face, of course, in a kick-ass-superhero-adventure kind of way.
However, Orlando is clear that Midnighter is not a spokesperson or a complete representation of the gay community or gay men. Speaking about Midnighter, Orlando says, “This is a book that is engaged with him being gay but isn’t about him being gay. I think we’ve moved past the idea that gay people have to be portrayed in only one way.” Midnighter will be a fully developed character, and Orlando has expressed that he will focus on developing the true story of this gay character’s life rather than focusing on a generalized gay man’s experience.
Probably the most exceptional thing about this series is that Midnighter is a confident gay man, something that will provide positive influence to its readers and LGBT youth and show the world that LGBT persons are proud of who they are.
Orlando summed it up perfectly: “The idea that [Midnighter] has no shame, is so proud and so confident in who he is, I think that is widely applicable. And I hope it’s that message that translates across the LGBT community.”
(Cover Photo by: Aco)
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