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The Comic Book Culture Battle That Wasn't

12:09 PM, Sep 12, 2013 • By KEVIN J. BINVERSIE
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They have a point. As part of an effort to rebrand and reboot their books in 2011, DC scrapped most of the existing marriages of their characters. Gone were the marriages of Clark Kent and Lois Lane (1996), Barry “The Flash” Allen and Iris West (1966), Mister Miracle and Big Barda (1974), Aquaman and Mera (1964)—even the marriages within the Justice Society of America, a superhero team which predates World War II, were tossed overboard.

Because in comic books, the idea of marriage is complicated.

It’s one thing to have Stan Lee and Jack Kirby marry Reed Richards to Sue Storm as part of an iconic 100-issue run which began the Fantastic Four’s adventures. It’s another to set up “the Elongated Man” Ralph Dibny and his wife Sue as comic book’s “Nick and Nora.” You’re dealing with something entirely different when you’re editorially mandated to maintain Warner Bros. synergy to coincide with Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher exchanging vows on an episode of “Lois and Clark.”

The decision to marry a superhero often leads to a fatal prognosis for the new spouse. The list of lost fiancés and widowed brides or bridegrooms is so long it has its own internet meme, “Women in Refrigerators.”

It’s not like DC comics is against gay characters. In 2012, DC turned the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott, from a straight man who was married with two adult children, to a single, gay man-about-town. (Immediately after the new Green Lantern was outed and his gay lover introduced, the pairing suffered tragedy in the very next issue. Scott’s partner Sam was killed in a train explosion.)

DC’s editorial stance against superhero marriage was reiterated this past weekend at the Baltimore Comic-Con, when co-publisher Dan DiDio told a packed audience that superheroes ‘shouldn’t have happy personal lives’ and that by putting on their costumes they are ‘committed to being that person, they’re committed to defending others—at the sacrifice of all their own personal instincts.’

The irony in all of this is that the comic book industry in general, and DC comics in particular, has been dominated by well-meaning liberalism for decades. So much so that at DC, “diversity” has often seemed to be the driving force behind storytelling.

As for Batwoman, the book will now be written by openly gay writer Marc Andreyko starting with issue #25.

Unfortunately, these sorts of details tend to get in the way of a good anti-homophobia crusade.

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