DC Comics has finally unveiled its new gay character. No, it’s not Batman or Superman or any other of the first rank of DC heroes, but Alan Scott, the original Golden Age Green Lantern.
Considering Alan Scott’s appalling luck with women in the past (he ended up marrying not one but two of his archenemies), it’s certainly understandable why he’d look for happiness elsewhere. Though I guess this eliminates Alan Scott’s children Jade and Obsidian from the DC Comics continuity for good, which is a pity, because I always liked the characters. Infinity Inc., the team comprised of the children of Golden Age DC heroes, was the only mainstream DC comic I ever read regularly (I also read several Vertigo and Wildstorm comics).
At iO9, writer James Robinson explains a bit more about the reasoning behind the decision to rewrite Alan Scott as a gay man and his son Obsidian figures into it. I still don’t see why they couldn’t have kept established gay DC characters like Obsidian or the version of Starman who was gay, but then I’ve never understood DC’s decision to reboot their whole universe every fifteen years or so either.
At Tor.com, Emily Asher-Perrin wonders why speculative YA fiction has all of those great female heroes, while adult speculative fiction doesn’t. She also wonders whether that’s the reason why so many adult women are reading YA.
I guess it’s probably due to the subgenres I read, but I haven’t really noticed a dearth of female heroes in SFF, at least not lately. Urban fantasy is full of female heroes and even epic fantasy has its share. They are a bit thinner on the ground in SF (outside dystopian YA SF that is), but there’s still Honor Harrington and Cordelia Vorkosigan and the various heroines of Linnea Sinclair’s novels and Eve Dallas of course, even though the SFF community does not view the In Death books as part of the genre. Steampunk has its share of women heroes, too. True, there are books and subgenres which are full of manly men doing manly things, but I don’t read a whole lot of that these days.
I also find it interesting that Emily Asher-Perrin usually envisioned herself as a male hero, when fantasizing herself into somebody else’s story. Because this isn’t what I did at all. Instead, I mentally rewrote those stories, so the women were the central characters. To this day, Star Wars is more Leia’s story than Luke’s, as far as I am concerned. Never mind that Leia got a much better deal than her brother. Leia got gorgeous hairstyles and clothes and she got to grow up a princess, she got to liberate the galaxy and she got Han Solo, too. Meanwhile, Luke got a lightsabre, got to meet his Dad and lost his hand. I know who I’d rather be. And if a narrative steadfastly refused to provide female character for me to identify with, I simply made up my own. Most of them probably were horrible Mary Sues – and the lack of good female characters in many popular franchises may well explain the widespread Mary Sue phenomenon – but they were mine.