Long-running comics publishing house DC Comics will make some shattering pop culture changes to some of the world’s best-known heroes, including some queer characters.
Around three months ago, DC announced it would hit the rewind button on its entire line of comics. Some would be dropped, new titles picked up, old titles resurrected and nearly all altered.
Although DC is home to arguably the three most iconic superheroes in pop culture — Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman — sales have dropped in recent years, due almost entirely to the increased exposure of the Marvel Universe (Spider-Man, X-Men and Avengers) via the continued success of their film franchises.
In an attempt to bolster their current characters and attract a new audience, DC will start from scratch, renumbering all titles from #1. This includes Action Comics and Detective Comics, the birthplaces of Superman and Batman respectively, which have never, in their 70-year history, been renumbered.
DC said this will allow the company to diversify the DC universe and bring into the spotlight characters that may not have been given the opportunity in the past. This includes increasing multiculturalism, with characters like Batwing from Africa and the Hispanic Blue Beetle, as well as giving a handful of LGBT characters time to shine.
J.H. Williams III will head up writing and art duties for the upcoming Batwoman series. A relatively recent addition to the DC pantheon, Batwoman was test-driven in Detective Comics, where her edgy backstory, gruff exterior and Williams’ gorgeous artwork made her a fan favourite.
Batwoman is also known as Kate Kane, a wealthy heiress and ex-soldier who, after being discharged, wages war on the streets of Gotham. She is also a lesbian.
Two other super-homos will be spotlighted. Apollo and Midnighter will join the ranks of Stormwatch. These openly gay characters have enjoyed a long-lasting relationship in the Wildstorm universe, however, with the amalgamation of DC and Wildstorm, they will now meet for the first time in Stormwatch #1.
Whether their relationship will blossom like it did in the past remains to be seen. Will readers get to watch these two strapping superheroes fall in love all over again, or will the boys just be cruising buddies in between saving the world?
There have been calls that while pushing diversity in one form to the forefront, DC is neglecting others. At the most recent Comic-Con, fans were very vocal (as comic fans so often are) in expressing their disappointment at the lack of female characters in their titles.
The biggest shock of all from the DC reboot, aside from the removal of Superman’s iconic red budgie-smugglers, was the change which placed the paralyzed Barbara Gordon, and past Batgirl, suddenly up and fighting crime again. Barbara had served many years behind the scenes as the super-hacker, and leader of the Birds of Prey, Oracle. Many people saw her return as able-bodied Batgirl as a slap in the face to all she accomplished as a disabled character.
DC has said that in the not-too-distant future more characters will join the new DC universe, increasing what they believe to be an already diverse world.
It is possible that one day we will have an LGBT hero as ingrained in pop culture as Superman and Batman.
While the massive changes to classic characters have most of fandom on edge, these bold decisions might bring about change for the better.
By freelance writer DAN GILL