DC reveals gay superhero: James Robinson discusses the new (old) Green Lantern

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Earlier this month, DC co-publisher Dan DiDio revealed to a convention audience in England a heretofore heterosexual DC superhero would be coming out of the closet. DiDio kept mum about the hero’s identity, although he did note that it would be “one of the major iconic DC characters.” Today, DC has confirmed Internet rumors that the character in question is Alan Scott, a.k.a. the original Green Lantern, currently appearing as a lead character in DC’s Earth 2. EW spoke to Earth 2 writer James Robinson (Starman, The Golden Age) about the rebooted version of one of DC’s original heroes.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you always know that you wanted a gay character at the forefront of the Earth 2 series?
JAMES ROBINSON: The original version of Alan Scott was an older man, and he had a superpowered son, Obsidian, who was gay. The fact that Scott was young now [thanks to a universe-wide reboot] meant Obsidian no longer existed. I thought it was a shame that DC was losing such a positive gay character. I said, “Why not make Alan Scott gay?” To Dan DiDio’s credit, when I suggested it to him, there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation.

Can you talk about the new Alan Scott?
He’s a giant of the media industry. By getting involved in communication, the news, and the Internet, he’s become a billionaire. He’s kind of a cross between Mark Zuckerberg and David Geffen. The original Alan Scott owned a radio station in the ’40s and ’50s, so he was a media giant then. He was this bold, heroic, brave man who took control, who would risk his life for you and be this emerald knight that was always there to protect the world. The Alan Scott I’m doing now is that same dynamic, brave, honorable man. A man that you’d want guarding your welfare, your children, your life, your home. He’s willing to give his life for the world. He’s everything you want in a hero. And he happens to be gay. So really, apart from his sexuality, there isn’t that much of a difference.

Last week, when news about Earth 2‘s Alan Scott being homosexual hit the Internet, I saw a few complaints which mostly came back to one fact: That we’re talking about a character in an alternate universe who’s a rebooted version of a character that has been outside of the mainstream comic book world for awhile now. How do you respond to charges that this story is opportunistic?
That was never the intention. When I was first putting together this version of the team eight months ago, and was making the team diverse and interesting, adding in a gay character seemed like the natural thing to do. Quite honestly, it was an offhand comment that Dan made at a panel in England that got everybody suddenly aware and excited. I’m as surprised by it as you are. This was not ever meant to be sensational. It’s meant to be about a team that’s well-rounded, that shows the diversity of the world around us.

What can we expect coming up in the comic book?
One of the good things about the book being called Earth 2 — as opposed to The Justice Society — is that I’m really setting up the world and the characters. Yes, they will be the Justice Society. But this first arc is going to introduce a few of them. Then I have a couple of single issues. Then we have the second arc. By the end of that arc, we’ll get the whole team. I can have the characters come in organically and gradually. You’re going to see this whole team come together. They’re going to meet their first villain.

Who is it?
I don’t know if I should say! The only clue I’ll drop is that he’s a classic Justice Society villain, but he’s also a classic Alan Scott/Green Lantern villain.

Starman featured what has been referred to one of the first gay-male kisses in mainstream comics. Since that time, has it become easier to introduce a homosexual character into a superhero comic book?
I think so. It’s very gratifying to see the interest in this character and what we’re doing. But I at least hope society is moving forward sanely and rationally, where people’s diversity is accepted, not feared.

I want to stress that Alan Scott is a gay man, but that’s just a part of who he is. He’s a businessman. He’s a hero. He’s a lot of different things. His sexuality is a part of him, but it isn’t his defining trait. He’s an interesting, complex character that I think people will respond to on many levels. He’s the epitome of heroism. And I hope that he’s a positive representation of a gay man.

Intrigued? Check out a first look at Earth 2 #2 now! Click to the next page.

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