Should a character be retconned to a different gender/race/sexual orientation/etc.?
Yes, let's make it representative.
28.3% (26)
28.3% (26)
No, leave those characters as originally created and make new ones.
57.6% (53)
57.6% (53)
No, don't change a thing.
12% (11)
12% (11)
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Poll: Retconned to be Gay

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Overhead:

Desert Punk:

Overhead:

Also Nick Fury isn't black, he's as white as ever. However his son Nick Fury Jnr is black due to his mother being black. Likewise the movies are a completely separate continuity from the comics. Jenny Olsen is simply a different take on the character, it doesn't effect the comic books. The same way in the Daredevil movie the Kingpin was black but has remained white in the comics.

Nick Fury in the Ultimate Avengers series IS black, the Ultimate versions of the characters are what the movies are based on.

The Ultimate Universe is an alternate universe. Is wolverine dead because he's dead in the Ultimate Universe even though in the main universe he's completely fine? Is Superman actually Amish because that was how he was shown in one Elseworld reality? Or Communist? Or is Batman an evil Dracula-a-like?

'Here is an alternate reality where stuff is different' is pretty standard in comics. It doesn't effect the main version of the character.

The Xmen dont even exist in the Avengers movie version, as they are owned by Fox for movie rights.

I was just pointing out that they didn't change Nick Fury's race, they are just basing the whole movie series on one of the existing alternate universes, where in fact Nick Fury is black already.

What isn't retconned?

There's a certain mindset amongst fandom that likes what you might call "worldbuilding" - the idea that there's a cohesive narrative and logically consistent fictional world from start to finish. In reality, it rarely exists, particularly when countless writers work on a project. Writers rarely can know the entire corpus of work preceding that which they work on from different minds. Nor do they even always maintain internal consistency when there's only one writer - because many writers see a book or whatever as a standalone project, and if something needs to be tweaked from previous in the series to make the new one work, do it.

Name any (very) long-running book / TV / comic / film franchise, and you'll see that they are filled with inconsistencies. Something got created, and this proved sufficiently inconvenient to later writers that they simply changed it or pretended it didn't exist. Fans often in such situation start talking about what's "canon" it usually being one half of a discrepancy that seems to become more established.

It's not just that, but much literature and media of this sort exists to be redefined and retold in different ways. How many film/TV versions are there of Superman? How many versions of plays like Electra? How many versions of the story of King Arthur and Robin Hood are there? How many different TV visions of Sherlock Holmes? Great stories and characters are constantly rebooted, retold to look at them differently, redesigned for new audiences with new sensibilities.

Stuff like this is tough if you're the sort of purist who thinks from episode 1 to episode 400 everything should create an entirely self-consistent fictional world. But it's the way it works and it's just as well. If it didn't, you wouldn't have new Batman, Green Lantern, Doctor Who, Star Trek, James Bond etc. because they'd long since have collapsed under the burden of their own obsolescent baggage. Doctor Who in fact did in the 1980s. Fans from the 1960s were by then the writers, and the show became increasingly incomprehensible to new viewers who weren't aware of the constant back-references the storylines depended on and archaic mindset. It's success upon resurrection depended on writers prepared to start again with its history as a guiding inspiration rather than a cast-iron shackle.

I don't think you know what a retcon is. Prodigy came out. That's character development.

it might turn out to be a change that results in crap stories equally it might result in some really inventive new and diverse plots we havent seen before. hell just look at batman. hes gone from campy to nipples to the dark knight. there is room for people to envision the character as gay and see where it goes.

things change otherwise you end up with stagnant stories

Agema:
Stuff like this is tough if you're the sort of purist who thinks from episode 1 to episode 400 everything should create an entirely self-consistent fictional world. But it's the way it works and it's just as well. If it didn't, you wouldn't have new Batman, Green Lantern, Doctor Who, Star Trek, James Bond etc. because they'd long since have collapsed under the burden of their own obsolescent baggage. Doctor Who in fact did in the 1980s. Fans from the 1960s were by then the writers, and the show became increasingly incomprehensible to new viewers who weren't aware of the constant back-references the storylines depended on and archaic mindset. It's success upon resurrection depended on writers prepared to start again with its history as a guiding inspiration rather than a cast-iron shackle.

To be fair, modern DC does have quite the problem with this. The readers who grew up reading Silver Age comics grew up into the writers of today, and so have systematically resurrected or repowered many of the Silver Age versions of those characters that they see as the "true" iterations. Hal Jordan is Green Lantern Again, Ollie Queen is Green Arrow, Barry Allen is the Flash. Not sure how much of it has carried over into the New 52, because much of what I've read has been garbage and I pretty much stopped, but prior to the reboot it was getting pretty bad. The callbacks became to stories the younger readers of today, assuming there are any, would not remember; look at the (otherwise good) Identity Crisis which harks back to the Justice League of old and has massive knock-on effects to the entire DC universe.

The characters I grew up reading have been sidelined or disposed of in the name of the writers' nostalgia. I imagine that when my generation becomes dominant at DC, the same thing will happen again with the 90/00's versions of the characters.

So this happens today http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/09/05/jh-williams-iii-walks-off-batwoman-over-dc-not-allowing-her-marriage-to-maggie-sawyer/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

But instead the gay issue everyone wants to rant about is that a character came out as bi. And that's terrible because characters shouldn't come out, they should just be gay all the time or never at all.

Stay classy, Escapist.

TekMoney:
So this happens today http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/09/05/jh-williams-iii-walks-off-batwoman-over-dc-not-allowing-her-marriage-to-maggie-sawyer/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

But instead the gay issue everyone wants to rant about is that a character came out as bi. And that's terrible because characters shouldn't come out, they should just be gay all the time or never at all.

Stay classy, Escapist.

I'm not sure I understand the problem. The Escapist is reporting on that story: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/127492-Lesbian-Marriage-Too-Tough-For-Batwoman-Authors-Leave

Skeleon:

TekMoney:
So this happens today http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/09/05/jh-williams-iii-walks-off-batwoman-over-dc-not-allowing-her-marriage-to-maggie-sawyer/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

But instead the gay issue everyone wants to rant about is that a character came out as bi. And that's terrible because characters shouldn't come out, they should just be gay all the time or never at all.

Stay classy, Escapist.

I'm not sure I understand the problem. The Escapist is reporting on that story: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/127492-Lesbian-Marriage-Too-Tough-For-Batwoman-Authors-Leave

Yeah that's my bad, I didn't see that before I wrote the message. However there we have an honest to god issue of gay rights in comics. But people are in a huff because an incredibly minor character who most people couldn't tel you anything about came out as bisexual. And apparently that's bad because we have to protect the rich lineage of this character who debuted in 2003. Who appeared in Academy X, a book nobody bought. He's too precious to develop.

Relish in Chaos:
I don't really care either way, since comics always alter their characters over time and in different universes. To be honest, I'm surprised we haven't seen a confirmed-to-be-gay Batman yet.

He dresses his pubescent sidekick in briefs and tights. Was Batman ever in the closet?

Batou667:

Relish in Chaos:
I don't really care either way, since comics always alter their characters over time and in different universes. To be honest, I'm surprised we haven't seen a confirmed-to-be-gay Batman yet.

He dresses his pubescent sidekick in briefs and tights. Was Batman ever in the closet?

Does he ever even keep his sidekicks once they're out of adolescence? Because that is indicative of a completely different, and much creepier, closet.

LifeCharacter:

Batou667:

Relish in Chaos:
I don't really care either way, since comics always alter their characters over time and in different universes. To be honest, I'm surprised we haven't seen a confirmed-to-be-gay Batman yet.

He dresses his pubescent sidekick in briefs and tights. Was Batman ever in the closet?

Does he ever even keep his sidekicks once they're out of adolescence? Because that is indicative of a completely different, and much creepier, closet.

Well, they usually leave... or get shot... sometimes both...

LifeCharacter:
Does he ever even keep his sidekicks once they're out of adolescence? Because that is indicative of a completely different, and much creepier, closet.

Well, he hangs around with Nightwing sometimes, Jason Todd got dead and then got not-dead and angsty, Drake he used to, but I think he was retconned.

Cain, I don't think so, Brown, no (and she got retconned away), Gordon yes.

So I've been thinking on this.

If something is changed to include a homosexual/transgender/hot button issue/opressed minority because it's 'In' to do so, and because it might sell more copies, isn't that bad?

If its done because it can be explored in an interesting manner, that's good right?

Basically, isn't the idea of changing a character or something to be gay 'because gay issues are huge right now and it will generate PR' kind of super cynical and kind of insulting? That's not the same as 'because gay issues are huge right now and I have an opinion I would like to express through fictional writing'. Which is also not the same as 'Everyone else has gay characters we need one too', which to me is also bad.

My favorite book series contains only heterosexual monogamous relationships among the main characters, with one exception of an asexual. That's the story the author wanted to tell, though their sexuality is way less important then their relationships with each other. It's a good story, it tells the story it wants to. Isn't that what all stories should do, at the end of the day/

You may disagree with the story but hey, it's their story to tell.

Sometimes this stuff just feels like cynical 'We're hip too!' stuff more then 'This is an interesting story i want to tell' is my rambling point.

TekMoney:

Skeleon:

TekMoney:
So this happens today http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/09/05/jh-williams-iii-walks-off-batwoman-over-dc-not-allowing-her-marriage-to-maggie-sawyer/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

But instead the gay issue everyone wants to rant about is that a character came out as bi. And that's terrible because characters shouldn't come out, they should just be gay all the time or never at all.

Stay classy, Escapist.

I'm not sure I understand the problem. The Escapist is reporting on that story: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/127492-Lesbian-Marriage-Too-Tough-For-Batwoman-Authors-Leave

Yeah that's my bad, I didn't see that before I wrote the message. However there we have an honest to god issue of gay rights in comics. But people are in a huff because an incredibly minor character who most people couldn't tel you anything about came out as bisexual. And apparently that's bad because we have to protect the rich lineage of this character who debuted in 2003. Who appeared in Academy X, a book nobody bought. He's too precious to develop.

I've edited the original post, but I think you might be missing the forest for the knowledge-absorbing tree. I admit that Prodigy was a poor choice, and I'd be happy to put in someone else if you can recommend one, but the idea behind changing characters to suit current audiences still stands.
P.S. This thread was started the day before that Batwoman article was published.

Bentusi16:
So I've been thinking on this.

If something is changed to include a homosexual/transgender/hot button issue/opressed minority because it's 'In' to do so, and because it might sell more copies, isn't that bad?

Considering how often I see people justify it mostly being non-minorities with 'marketing' I'm not seeing that this supposed 'in' logic is really any worse. And I'd consider complaining about it to be much less needed. But then again I'm not particularly convinced that people would put them into games just because they're 'in' anyway.

Basically, isn't the idea of changing a character or something to be gay 'because gay issues are huge right now and it will generate PR' kind of super cynical and kind of insulting? That's not the same as 'because gay issues are huge right now and I have an opinion I would like to express through fictional writing'. Which is also not the same as 'Everyone else has gay characters we need one too', which to me is also bad.

I don't think it's worse than just not having many gay characters that are well known.

Overhead:

Desert Punk:

Overhead:

Also Nick Fury isn't black, he's as white as ever. However his son Nick Fury Jnr is black due to his mother being black. Likewise the movies are a completely separate continuity from the comics. Jenny Olsen is simply a different take on the character, it doesn't effect the comic books. The same way in the Daredevil movie the Kingpin was black but has remained white in the comics.

Nick Fury in the Ultimate Avengers series IS black, the Ultimate versions of the characters are what the movies are based on.

The Ultimate Universe is an alternate universe. Is wolverine dead because he's dead in the Ultimate Universe even though in the main universe he's completely fine? Is Superman actually Amish because that was how he was shown in one Elseworld reality? Or Communist? Or is Batman an evil Dracula-a-like?

'Here is an alternate reality where stuff is different' is pretty standard in comics. It doesn't effect the main version of the character.

I tried phrasing the Nick Fury sentence a couple of different ways, but I couldn't think of a way to describe the situation briefly. Nick Fury Jr. may technically be a different character, but he's pretty much a replacement for his dad, down to the Infinity Formula and eyepatch. Also, the Ultimates universe is a bit larger than a one-off Elseworld book.

As for Jenny Olsen, the "different take" is exactly what I wanted to talk about. There are a lot of people who are upset because they turned Superman's male friend into a woman, and others celebrating a prominent female character besides Lois Lane. Whether it effects the comics or not is irrelevant; it's still switching a character from one gender to another without (seeminglt) much motivation behind it other than to have another notable female character.

TekMoney:
So this happens today http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/09/05/jh-williams-iii-walks-off-batwoman-over-dc-not-allowing-her-marriage-to-maggie-sawyer/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

But instead the gay issue everyone wants to rant about is that a character came out as bi. And that's terrible because characters shouldn't come out, they should just be gay all the time or never at all.

Stay classy, Escapist.

Make a character straight and someone later change their sexual orientation, that tends to piss people off. I always find it funny that if the same would have been done towards a character that was gay/bi, and turn straight the same people that was okay would then be pissed. DC not wanting gay characters to be married is nothing new, seeing how they manage to break off the biggest married couple in DC history being Superman and Lois Lane, then killing them off in another Universe, while killing Alan Scott boyfriend after he was engaged. Or having Animal Man wife leave him after their son died. DC wasn't going to make that shit last at all, and we know what's going to happen to Batwoman fiance.

Master of the Skies:

Bentusi16:
So I've been thinking on this.

If something is changed to include a homosexual/transgender/hot button issue/opressed minority because it's 'In' to do so, and because it might sell more copies, isn't that bad?

Considering how often I see people justify it mostly being non-minorities with 'marketing' I'm not seeing that this supposed 'in' logic is really any worse. And I'd consider complaining about it to be much less needed. But then again I'm not particularly convinced that people would put them into games just because they're 'in' anyway.

Basically, isn't the idea of changing a character or something to be gay 'because gay issues are huge right now and it will generate PR' kind of super cynical and kind of insulting? That's not the same as 'because gay issues are huge right now and I have an opinion I would like to express through fictional writing'. Which is also not the same as 'Everyone else has gay characters we need one too', which to me is also bad.

I don't think it's worse than just not having many gay characters that are well known.

My point is, isn't doing anything for the sake of PR/to be in artistically dishonest? Shouldn't art solely be based on the wants of the person creating it?

If anyone feels compelled to make a character gay or straight or white or black or male or female for any other reason then 'thats what they want to do' isn't that inherently bad and a form of soft censorship?

I have a question, who will be writing these retconned stories of the gay characters?

Also, since it seems most people misunderstood my original post I'll break it down to simplest terms.

Don't retconn, create a new vibrant, enthralling gay character
Retconned Gay + Pandering = Bad, BS
Retconning in general = Lame

Bentusi16:

Master of the Skies:

Bentusi16:
So I've been thinking on this.

If something is changed to include a homosexual/transgender/hot button issue/opressed minority because it's 'In' to do so, and because it might sell more copies, isn't that bad?

Considering how often I see people justify it mostly being non-minorities with 'marketing' I'm not seeing that this supposed 'in' logic is really any worse. And I'd consider complaining about it to be much less needed. But then again I'm not particularly convinced that people would put them into games just because they're 'in' anyway.

Basically, isn't the idea of changing a character or something to be gay 'because gay issues are huge right now and it will generate PR' kind of super cynical and kind of insulting? That's not the same as 'because gay issues are huge right now and I have an opinion I would like to express through fictional writing'. Which is also not the same as 'Everyone else has gay characters we need one too', which to me is also bad.

I don't think it's worse than just not having many gay characters that are well known.

My point is, isn't doing anything for the sake of PR/to be in artistically dishonest? Shouldn't art solely be based on the wants of the person creating it?

If anyone feels compelled to make a character gay or straight or white or black or male or female for any other reason then 'thats what they want to do' isn't that inherently bad and a form of soft censorship?

Is there particular evidence them feeling forced to do so is an actual thing?

And I'm not sure how your point isn't affected by what I said.

Nor do I see how that would be inherently bad. How would it be? How would it be censorship of any stripe? "I don't want to come off as racist/sexist/whatever" isn't exactly someone being censored.

And I'm really wondering where you're coming to this idea that they really don't want to do this or that making these things never have any consideration of demographics they may reach. Because if you want to complain about them trying to get to certain demographics as an incentive to have certain characters there's plenty of times I hear marketing being used as a justification for not having many minority characters, much more often than I see gay characters.

Master of the Skies:

Bentusi16:

Master of the Skies:

Considering how often I see people justify it mostly being non-minorities with 'marketing' I'm not seeing that this supposed 'in' logic is really any worse. And I'd consider complaining about it to be much less needed. But then again I'm not particularly convinced that people would put them into games just because they're 'in' anyway.

I don't think it's worse than just not having many gay characters that are well known.

My point is, isn't doing anything for the sake of PR/to be in artistically dishonest? Shouldn't art solely be based on the wants of the person creating it?

If anyone feels compelled to make a character gay or straight or white or black or male or female for any other reason then 'thats what they want to do' isn't that inherently bad and a form of soft censorship?

Is there particular evidence them feeling forced to do so is an actual thing?

And I'm not sure how your point isn't affected by what I said.

Nor do I see how that would be inherently bad. How would it be? How would it be censorship of any stripe? "I don't want to come off as racist/sexist/whatever" isn't exactly someone being censored.

And I'm really wondering where you're coming to this idea that they really don't want to do this or that making these things never have any consideration of demographics they may reach. Because if you want to complain about them trying to get to certain demographics as an incentive to have certain characters there's plenty of times I hear marketing being used as a justification for not having many minority characters, much more often than I see gay characters.

Do I have evidence of the millions of artist currently working in the world that not a single one of them feels forced to conform to social pressures and norms? No, I don't. Sorry. Is this the part where you start spamming 'citation needed' because I'm unable to prove that people feel social pressure? I really don't like you as an individual so ya know, last reply and all.

The fact is that doing it EITHER WAY to me is soft censorship, whether its changing a character from black to white, from female to male, or gay to straight because you as an artist are concerned that not doing so is going to have people yelling at you and you don't want to deal with it.

And yes, I am obviously arguing from a subjective viewpoitn about censorship andw hen it's good and when it's bad. Since censorship is a purely subjective discussion in those cases. Hell even arguing what censorship IS is a subjective discussion a lot of times.

Bentusi16:

Master of the Skies:

Bentusi16:

My point is, isn't doing anything for the sake of PR/to be in artistically dishonest? Shouldn't art solely be based on the wants of the person creating it?

If anyone feels compelled to make a character gay or straight or white or black or male or female for any other reason then 'thats what they want to do' isn't that inherently bad and a form of soft censorship?

Is there particular evidence them feeling forced to do so is an actual thing?

And I'm not sure how your point isn't affected by what I said.

Nor do I see how that would be inherently bad. How would it be? How would it be censorship of any stripe? "I don't want to come off as racist/sexist/whatever" isn't exactly someone being censored.

And I'm really wondering where you're coming to this idea that they really don't want to do this or that making these things never have any consideration of demographics they may reach. Because if you want to complain about them trying to get to certain demographics as an incentive to have certain characters there's plenty of times I hear marketing being used as a justification for not having many minority characters, much more often than I see gay characters.

Do I have evidence of the millions of artist currently working in the world that not a single one of them feels forced to conform to social pressures and norms? No, I don't. Sorry. Is this the part where you start spamming 'citation needed' because I'm unable to prove that people feel social pressure? I really don't like you as an individual so ya know, last reply and all.

Or you don't like that I'm pointing out that you're yelling that the sky is falling without much reason to think so. I mean here I'm just asking if you have a good reason to think this supposed phenomenon is a real thing and you just get upset that someone would question that. It seems that you're immovably set in believing it whether you have evidence or not.

And guess what? Just saying "Well social pressures affect artists!" doesn't actually show that any feel socially pressured into showing gay characters.

The fact is that doing it EITHER WAY to me is soft censorship, whether its changing a character from black to white, from female to male, or gay to straight because you as an artist are concerned that not doing so is going to have people yelling at you and you don't want to deal with it.

Well suffice it to say, that's not censorship. People are really starting to abuse that word, like they abuse the phrase freedom of speech. Where apparently any negative reaction is against freedom of speech, and NOW apparently daring to do anything but bow down is 'censorship' because an artist might feel pressure. By your definition apparently doing anything but showing support for an artist is censorship since they might think that a lack of it will change their minds. Hell, according to that definition any critic is a professional censor since they might make an artist worry about criticism and not do what they initially wanted to.

Master of the Skies:

Bentusi16:

Master of the Skies:

Is there particular evidence them feeling forced to do so is an actual thing?

And I'm not sure how your point isn't affected by what I said.

Nor do I see how that would be inherently bad. How would it be? How would it be censorship of any stripe? "I don't want to come off as racist/sexist/whatever" isn't exactly someone being censored.

And I'm really wondering where you're coming to this idea that they really don't want to do this or that making these things never have any consideration of demographics they may reach. Because if you want to complain about them trying to get to certain demographics as an incentive to have certain characters there's plenty of times I hear marketing being used as a justification for not having many minority characters, much more often than I see gay characters.

Do I have evidence of the millions of artist currently working in the world that not a single one of them feels forced to conform to social pressures and norms? No, I don't. Sorry. Is this the part where you start spamming 'citation needed' because I'm unable to prove that people feel social pressure? I really don't like you as an individual so ya know, last reply and all.

Or you don't like that I'm pointing out that you're yelling that the sky is falling without much reason to think so. I mean here I'm just asking if you have a good reason to think this supposed phenomenon is a real thing and you just get upset that someone would question that. It seems that you're immovably set in believing it whether you have evidence or not.

And guess what? Just saying "Well social pressures affect artists!" doesn't actually show that any feel socially pressured into showing gay characters.

The fact is that doing it EITHER WAY to me is soft censorship, whether its changing a character from black to white, from female to male, or gay to straight because you as an artist are concerned that not doing so is going to have people yelling at you and you don't want to deal with it.

Well suffice it to say, that's not censorship. People are really starting to abuse that word, like they abuse the phrase freedom of speech. Where apparently any negative reaction is against freedom of speech, and NOW apparently daring to do anything but bow down is 'censorship' because an artist might feel pressure.

No one should be forced to change their artistic vision due to social pressure with a few obvious caveats, mostly involving actual physical harm to other people or presenting an extremely graphic image in such a public manner as to cause serious discomfort.

E.g. if your art is a snuff film, you broke the law so fuck off. If you show a decapitated corpse in grahpic detail on a public viewing area, you've broken the law so fuck off.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Bentusi16:

Master of the Skies:

Bentusi16:

Do I have evidence of the millions of artist currently working in the world that not a single one of them feels forced to conform to social pressures and norms? No, I don't. Sorry. Is this the part where you start spamming 'citation needed' because I'm unable to prove that people feel social pressure? I really don't like you as an individual so ya know, last reply and all.

Or you don't like that I'm pointing out that you're yelling that the sky is falling without much reason to think so. I mean here I'm just asking if you have a good reason to think this supposed phenomenon is a real thing and you just get upset that someone would question that. It seems that you're immovably set in believing it whether you have evidence or not.

And guess what? Just saying "Well social pressures affect artists!" doesn't actually show that any feel socially pressured into showing gay characters.

The fact is that doing it EITHER WAY to me is soft censorship, whether its changing a character from black to white, from female to male, or gay to straight because you as an artist are concerned that not doing so is going to have people yelling at you and you don't want to deal with it.

Well suffice it to say, that's not censorship. People are really starting to abuse that word, like they abuse the phrase freedom of speech. Where apparently any negative reaction is against freedom of speech, and NOW apparently daring to do anything but bow down is 'censorship' because an artist might feel pressure.

No one should be forced to change their artistic vision due to social pressure with a few obvious caveats, mostly involving actual physical harm to other people or presenting an extremely graphic image in such a public manner as to cause serious discomfort.

E.g. if your art is a snuff film, you broke the law so fuck off. If you show a decapitated corpse in grahpic detail on a public viewing area, you've broken the law so fuck off.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Except of course it's not being forced and you're trying to brand people's freedom to dislike or criticize something as 'censorship'. By including social pressure as censorship you've broadened it to about anything that can make someone feel bad.

Thunderous Cacophony:

Overhead:

Desert Punk:

Nick Fury in the Ultimate Avengers series IS black, the Ultimate versions of the characters are what the movies are based on.

The Ultimate Universe is an alternate universe. Is wolverine dead because he's dead in the Ultimate Universe even though in the main universe he's completely fine? Is Superman actually Amish because that was how he was shown in one Elseworld reality? Or Communist? Or is Batman an evil Dracula-a-like?

'Here is an alternate reality where stuff is different' is pretty standard in comics. It doesn't effect the main version of the character.

I tried phrasing the Nick Fury sentence a couple of different ways, but I couldn't think of a way to describe the situation briefly. Nick Fury Jr. may technically be a different character, but he's pretty much a replacement for his dad, down to the Infinity Formula and eyepatch. Also, the Ultimates universe is a bit larger than a one-off Elseworld book.

As for Jenny Olsen, the "different take" is exactly what I wanted to talk about. There are a lot of people who are upset because they turned Superman's male friend into a woman, and others celebrating a prominent female character besides Lois Lane. Whether it effects the comics or not is irrelevant; it's still switching a character from one gender to another without (seeminglt) much motivation behind it other than to have another notable female character.

The Age of Apocalyse is larger than an Elseworlds, but that doesn't mean that the Marvel Universe has been turned into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Earth 3 is larger than an Elseworld, but it doesn't mean that every DC hero has been turned into a villain.

These are alternate realities. It's nothing special.

As for Nick Fury Jnr, that's pretty much just your basic "We have a movie coming out, better make the comics as much like it as possible to try and draw in new readers" that you always get with basically every Marvel movie. The original Nick Fury is still about and was featured in the last big event, Age of Ultron, while Jnr was nowhere to be seen.

As for Jenny Olsen, they changed masses of stuff about Superman with Man of Steel. The character and his history presented in the movie are very dissimilar to the comics book. Changing the gender of a side-character with only a small supporting role in the movie doesn't really mean much, especially considering the changes they made to Superman himself.

Thunderous Cacophony:
(for instance, Alan Scott had two children, one of whom was already gay).

Gay people often have kids, if that's the point you're trying to make. My lesbian aunt has kids, as did the gay head of my graduate school. If you're just saying that it's redundant, well, nothing to see here.

Bentusi16:
So I've been thinking on this.

If something is changed to include a homosexual/transgender/hot button issue/opressed minority because it's 'In' to do so, and because it might sell more copies, isn't that bad?

If its done because it can be explored in an interesting manner, that's good right?

What's really going on in here is conservative hypersensitivity to "political correctness".

All long-running series are constantly updated to the modern era. 60s Superman lived in a 60s tech world with 60s society and 60s politics (with SF elements), and modern Superman lives in a 2010s-tech world (with SF elements) with 2010s society and 2010s politics. Furthermore, these sorts of long-running serials are always liberally altered with their gazillion reboots, different "universes", replacement of originals with their sons, daughters or other designated heirs, or vast personality changes of the characters under the thinnest of crazy excuses.

So why on earth would anyone pass over these drastic changes and fiddles as basically okay, and then suddenly get their knickers in a twist when a big change involves homosexuality?

It's purely because real-world homosexuality is still something a lot of people feel uncomfortable with, and a divisive, hot-potato socio-political issue high on the public agenda mired in the usual wrath and anxieties over assumed "political correctness". Most other vast alterations to comic-book characters and worlds aren't, so people shrug and get on with it. If homosexuality were considered natural, normal and unexceptional by society, this thread wouldn't even exist, because everyone would have shrugged and got on with that as well.

Agema:

Bentusi16:
So I've been thinking on this.

If something is changed to include a homosexual/transgender/hot button issue/opressed minority because it's 'In' to do so, and because it might sell more copies, isn't that bad?

If its done because it can be explored in an interesting manner, that's good right?

What's really going on in here is conservative hypersensitivity to "political correctness".

All long-running series are constantly updated to the modern era. 60s Superman lived in a 60s tech world with 60s society and 60s politics (with SF elements), and modern Superman lives in a 2010s-tech world (with SF elements) with 2010s society and 2010s politics. Furthermore, these sorts of long-running serials are always liberally altered with their gazillion reboots, different "universes", replacement of originals with their sons, daughters or other designated heirs, or vast personality changes of the characters under the thinnest of crazy excuses.

So why on earth would anyone pass over these drastic changes and fiddles as basically okay, and then suddenly get their knickers in a twist when a big change involves homosexuality?

It's purely because real-world homosexuality is still something a lot of people feel uncomfortable with, and a divisive, hot-potato socio-political issue high on the public agenda mired in the usual wrath and anxieties over assumed "political correctness". Most other vast alterations to comic-book characters and worlds aren't, so people shrug and get on with it. If homosexuality were considered natural, normal and unexceptional by society, this thread wouldn't even exist, because everyone would have shrugged and got on with that as well.

I understand that...to a point. My issue is the claim that it can ONLY exist as conservative hypersensitivity. As I've made abundantly clear throughout my time here, I have no issue with 'the gays'. I'm pro-gay marriage because I'm libertarian.

MY fear stems from the fact that as someone who writes fiction that at some point I am going to have an idea I really like, write it down, submit it, and then be told that I need to throw in a gay character/straight character/white character/black character/male character/female character that I don't feel needs to be there. The larger fear is that if I don't people are going to start protesting my shit because i'm 'homophobic' or 'racist' or 'misogynist' or whatever.

I've stated in other threads that I am a person who believes art should be judged upon its own merits. This applies to comic books as well. Me, I've got no dog in this particular fight because I don't READ comics, but you know the concept of 'throwing in a gay character' because it's trendy really does sort of offend me. If they were doing it because it makes an interesting narrative, that's one thing.

Bentusi16:
I understand that...to a point. My issue is the claim that it can ONLY exist as conservative hypersensitivity.

It's not only conservative; social debates require two or more sides. But in this particular case, it's very much the greater part of the angst.

MY fear stems from the fact that as someone who writes fiction that at some point I am going to have an idea I really like, write it down, submit it, and then be told that I need to throw in a gay character/straight character/white character/black character/male character/female character that I don't feel needs to be there. The larger fear is that if I don't people are going to start protesting my shit because i'm 'homophobic' or 'racist' or 'misogynist' or whatever.

Well, I just read a Tom Clancy novel, and if you want to know what writing that's misogynistic, homophobic, racist and filled with many other prejudices looks like, Tom Clancy is a good place to start. Mind you, he still shifts a lot of copies.

I read "Gone Girl" not that long ago, substantially gay-free (if there were any, so minor I've forgotten them or only mentioned in passing). Mostly I read a lot of SF&F, generally also gay-free. I watch a lot of TV shows where gays are also absent or virtually absent. I've watched whole seasons of stuff like Breaking Bad, Castle, The Mentalist and so on where I can't recall any gays - again there probably have been some, but minor characters. I really don't think anyone's going to ask you to stuff token gays into your work.

It might look very odd if you set a plot where you'd expect there to be gays and there weren't any. And if you've built up a substantial body of work with hundreds of characters where you'd expect statistically at least a few would be gay, people might wonder at their total absence (although equally, they might not even notice). And if there very few of whatever minority, try to make sure they aren't mostly stereotypes, unsympathetic, villainous, etc.

Bentusi16:
No one should be forced to change their artistic vision due to social pressure with a few obvious caveats, mostly involving actual physical harm to other people or presenting an extremely graphic image in such a public manner as to cause serious discomfort.

The funny thing is this goes both ways, because only very recently has any comic book artist had the freedom to do just this. Do you honestly think Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Spider Man were made white and straight ONLY because that was the artist's desires for them? Or every other comic book hero before the 60s and 70s? Because until very recently, any other color or sexuality would have been vehemently prohibited by society at large. Even if they had another vision for the character, there's no way it would have ever been brought to light. Until very recently, the only non-white comic book characters they bothered to make were either characterized villains or racist stereotypes.

And as Agema said, all things must change for these characters to continue to be relevant, they always have. There's a reason superheroes are no longer fighting Hitler, or the USSR, or characterized Asians.

It's not a bad thing to like a story that happens to be absent of gay people. However, we must bear in mind that there have always been gay people, and more than one of them have been artists or writers. And just because media in the past is absent of gay people doesn't mean they didn't exist, and doesn't mean a certain amount of censorship didn't occur to keep them from coming to light. The standards set by the past aren't holy and pure, they're also tainted in racism, sexism, and censorship because of these things. And we must be mindful of this if we're approaching a work that followed this standard.

What's kind of weird is that no-one has mentioned Perry White being black in Man of Steel, despite the fact it's a clear example of what's being talked about from the very same movie.

Does anyone feel that changing race is fine but gender is taking it too far, or something?

Batou667:

Relish in Chaos:
I don't really care either way, since comics always alter their characters over time and in different universes. To be honest, I'm surprised we haven't seen a confirmed-to-be-gay Batman yet.

He dresses his pubescent sidekick in briefs and tights. Was Batman ever in the closet?

Well, to be fair, Dark Victory, which I believe is canon now, has Dick pick his own "Robin" costume. There's a funny lampshading scene where Dick debuts as Robin, and Batman just says something like, "What are you wearing?"

But Catwoman is pretty much Batman's "official" love interest. In Earth-2 - albeit, an alternate universe - they even got married and had a daughter, who became the Huntress.

Skeleon:
Let's also not forget that a ton of comics are about protecting the downtrodden. I may not know comics with heroes well, but wasn't for example Spiderman a nerdy kid who got bullied in school? And who then became superstrong plus the spiderstuff? Just saying: It wouldn't be that strange for the focus to shift to groups that are typically victimized even today. So an LGBT superhero makes a lot of sense from that angle. Not to mention that groups like the X-Men are to my understanding already an allegory for homosexuals and their persecution, what with the focus on acceptance, on coexistence, on prejudice etc.. Dispensing with the allegory and making it more literal would just be another step then, right?

I get what you're generally saying, but then how do you explain comic book characters as popular as Superman? The guy hardly fits the idea of a member of a persecuted minority given the fact that practically physically and morally perfect.
As for x-men, while they have included allegories to homosexuality before, the writers have created characters that represent other minority groups. I mean just look at X-men: First Class and Magneto clearly alluding to "Befhel ist Befhel".

OP: I oppose it on the grounds that it not only changes the characters identity, but it comes off as intellectually lazy and cowardice to not even bother to try to create new comic characters that are what's considered "diverse". Instead of taking the time to think up a new character, story, setting, ect. and draw them, the writers/artist choose the "safe choice" be just taking an already established and relatively popular character and making them "fashionably different". The only exception I can think of to this subject is in the case of John Stewart on the Justice League cartoon, because the difference is that the writers didn't magically make Guy Gardner Black. Instead they featured John Stewart, a man with his own identity, background and personality.

Now for those who say that creating a new character is too risky or won't work, as a Spawn fan I would tell you that you are severely mistaken. Al Simmons is a Black man, who loved a Black women, and was best friends with another Black man. The only mentionable white character's in his background story were the two people that betrayed and murdered him-his boss and the assassin that actually killed Simmons. That's not even mentioning characters like Cyborg from the Teen Titans, and Static Shock.

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but don't comic book writers have different universes already in place to do these kinds of things? I remember Ultimate Spiderman being one of them.

If they have alternate universes, then just change the way they are in that one rather than retconning them in an already existing and fleshed out character.

Helmholtz Watson:
I get what you're generally saying, but then how do you explain comic book characters as popular as Superman? The guy hardly fits the idea of a member of a persecuted minority given the fact that practically physically and morally perfect.

You kidding? Superman is quite literally in the closet about the fact that he is Superman. He has to hide something about who he is.

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