The new Spider-Man in the Ultimate Spider-Man series is bi-racial Black and Hispanic Miles Morales. In an interview with Mark Bagley, the long-time artist for Ultimate Spider-Man who finished the Death of Spider-Man story arc with issue 162, told me, “It was a gutsy move.” He does not believe the new ethnically diverse Spider-Man storyline was politically motivated. What? You didn’t know that Peter Parker, the original Spider-Man, was killed off? Check out issue 160. While you’re at it, take a look at issue 159, story page 20. My wife modeled for Aunt May’s shooting scene. No, Aunt May did not kill Spiderman.
The most troubling part of the new Spider-Man story is that “The creators also said that there is a possibility that Morales may be gay.” Bagley told me that this is not true. He should know. He and writer Brian Bendis are very good friends. I hope he’s right. If it happens that the new Spider-Man reveals that he’s “gay,” it will be the death of the franchise. There will be another death of Spider-Man story arc. Of course, if a new bi-racial homosexual Spiderman needs to die in order to revive the franchise, don’t be surprised that the murderer will be a right-wing nut job who goes to church. Am I exaggerating? Thor #330 had the “God of Thunder” fighting the “Crusader,” a not-so-subtle slam at Christian conservatives in the early 1980s.
When comic books first appeared, children were the market. Most comics stressed traditional moral themes. While there was a dark side to Batman (he was called the “Dark Night”), who made his first appearance in Detective Comics #27 in May 1939, he was not a moral iconoclast. “Orphaned by a thug who shot both his parents,” a ten-year-old “Bruce Wayne swore ‘to avenge their deaths by spending the rest of [his] life warring on all criminals.’”1 Superman was noted as an advocate of “truth, justice, and the American way.”
How Times and Comics Have Changed
Today, comics are being used to make social statements, especially in the area of homosexuality. I’ve seen this trend develop since the early 1990s. In the March 1992 issue of Marvel’s Alpha Flight comic book series, Northstar, a former (fictional) Canadian Olympic athlete, decides to come out of the closet after seeing the ravaging effect that AIDS has had on an abandoned baby. He decides to adopt the infant AIDS victim. At one point in the story, he cries out, “I am gay.” Here’s the full panel:
“For while I am not inclined to discuss my sexuality with people for whom it is none of their business – – I am gay.”
Now it seems that it’s all homosexuals want to discuss, and they want children to know about their sexuality in government schools. California now requires that homosexuality be portrayed in public schools in a positive manner. History textbooks will be rewritten to include the agenda. Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, a leading statewide pro-family organization promoting moral virtues for the common good, says, “Children will be taught to support the political activism of ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning’ (LGBTIQ) political groups, as the bill requires ‘particular emphasis on portraying the role of these groups in contemporary society.’” Comic books and popular media have softened up young people to be accepting of the homosexual lifestyle.
It’s no surprise that the editors at The New York Times celebrated the favorable treatment of homosexuality in comic books: “[T]he new story lines suggest that gay Americans are gradually being accepted in mainstream popular culture. . . . Mainstream culture will one day make its peace with gay Americans. When that time comes, Northstar’s revelation will be seen for that it is: a welcome indicator of social change.”2
So what happened to the Alpha Flight series? It went through three incarnations. The third series lasted 12 issues. After the cancellation of Alpha Flight, Northstar appeared in his own miniseries, which ignored his sexuality. He pops up in other comics as Marvel works his homosexuality in story lines when it can. In 2005, he was killed by a brainwashed Wolverine. Like so many superheroes — remember “The Death of Superman” issue? — Northstar came back to life without any mention of his homosexual lifestyle. Openly homosexual film producer and novelist Perry Moore3 (1971–2011) was so upset about Marvel’s betrayal in killing off Northstar that he wrote the novel Hero, a novel about a homosexual teenage superhero.
The New York Times, in order to justify its support of homosexuality, compared discrimination of homosexuals with the discrimination of blacks, women, and the handicapped. “Marvel, beginning in the early 1960’s, was the pioneer in comic book diversity. Marvel published ‘Daredevil,’ a dynamic crime fighter who was also blind. Then came ‘The X‑Men,’ a band of heroes led by a scientist whose mental powers more than compensated for his confinement to a wheelchair. And with ‘Powerman,’ ‘The Black Panther,’ and ‘Sgt. Fury,’ Marvel offered black heroes when blacks in the movies were playing pimps and prostitutes.”4 We should not forget Wonder Woman who brought equality to superhero women sixty years ago in All Star Comics #8 (December 1941). Of course, none of these fictional characters were identified by a perverse sexual addiction.
The second‑largest comic company, DC comics, publisher of Batman and Superman, introduced a homosexual character — the Pied Piper — and AIDS‑related themes in their Flash series (August 1991). “Future issues [of Flash] will have the Pied Piper bring a male date to a wedding, and discuss the importance of protecting yourself from exposure to AIDS.”5 I don’t know if this ever happened. If anyone knows, please get in touch with me.
The goal of parading homosexual “heroes” is to get young people — who will one day be decision makers — accustomed to seeing homosexual characters in positions of leadership and authority. Gary Stewart, then president of Marvel Entertainment Group, had this to say about the introduction of their homosexual “superhero”: “And at the time that . . . the team was created, Northstar . . . was considered to be gay by the creator. [In earlier issues] there were hints that he was. There was no direct admission at that time. We believe that the only message here, per se, is the fact that we do preach tolerance. Just as you have in every day society, you have gay individuals and straight individuals. We happen to have one character in the Marvel universe, which exceeds two thousand characters, that happens to be gay.”6
The New York Times, being a bit more honest than the people at Marvel, took an advocacy position. The editors wrote that it was “welcome news.” Since the comic book audience is made up mostly of teenagers, that group “will benefit most from discussions about sexuality and disease prevention.”7 According to the Times, Northstar’s homosexuality should be treated like race, physical handicaps, and gender differences. There is a problem with the analogy: homosexuality is a behavioral choice. No one chooses blindness, racial makeup, physical handicaps, or gender. And given a choice, people with physical handicaps, genetic or not, would like their disabilities reversed.
Consider Ben Grimm’s character “Thing” of The Fantastic Four, introduced by Marvel in November 1961. The other three members of the superhero quartet can turn their acquired powers on and off at will. Most of the time they are normal‑looking human beings. This is not the case for Ben Grimm. He is always the rock‑like “Thing.” Reed Richards, “Mr. Fantastic,” is forever working on ways to make Ben normal, or at least to give him the ability to change into the “Thing” at will. Abnormalities should be corrected, and homosexuality is a deviation from the heterosexual norm.
The homosexual community’s strategy is evident: To soften public opinion to adopt the homosexual lifestyle as morally acceptable. One of the latest comic character to normalize homosexuality is the reintroduction of DC’s “Batwoman” as “a ‘lipstick lesbian’8 who moonlights as a crime fighter. . . . The new-look Batwoman is just one of a wave of ethnically and sexually diverse characters entering the DC Comics universe.”9 DC had already appeased the homosexual lobby by created a number of openly lesbian characters such as Gotham City police officer Renee Montoya, police captain Maggie Sawyer, and Holly Robinson, the best friend and protégée of Catwoman.
The media controversy over Batwoman’s “sexuality before the hero even graced the page of a comic book went a long way towards nullifying any positive effect Batwoman might have had on the industry.”10 As often happens when unpopular lifestyles like homosexuality are pushed on the public, the characters are relegated to playing minor roles if any at all. They do more harm than good for a franchise.
Retro-homosexual history has pronounced that the Caped Crusader (Batman) and the Boy Wonder (Robin) had a “special relationship.”
Frederic Wertham Saw it Coming
Controversy over what children read is nothing new. In the late 1940s and early 1950s the content of comic books was brought to the attention of parents and government officials. Comic books were described by Psychiatrist and part-time comic critic Frederic Wertham as “blueprints for delinquency.” At the time, some comic books were gruesome, and crime comics seemed to extol criminal behavior. Wertham believed that reading comics led to violent criminal behavior in young people. His book Seduction of the Innocent (1954) and his testimony before Congress nearly put an end to the comic book industry until the publishers took matters into their own hands and implemented the “Comics Code Authority.”
Marvel Comics, publishers of such popular titles as X-Men, Spiderman, The Fantastic Four, and The Incredible Hulk, officially dropped the code May 16, 2001. Independent publishers like Image and the now defunct Valiant never adopted the code. But even before the code’s recent official demise, some comic lines pushed the envelope of good taste and morality by becoming sex-obsessed, anti-Christian, blasphemous, and occultic, points made by John Fulce’s Seduction of the Innocent Revisited. But even before the code’s end, Marvel and DC had consistency ignored it.
Marvel announced in December 2002 that it was reviving the 1950s character “The Rawhide Kid” as an openly homosexual character.11) Brokeback Mountain was a Johnny-come-lately homosexual cowboy story. Marvel was there first. This will be the first openly homosexual title character in a comic book published as part of its Marvel Max imprint “alternative Marvel universe” series. I predicted in 2003 that the title, like the original Alpha Flight, would fail. It did. The comic book industry has been in trouble for some time. Its Ultimate Marvel series, which began with Ultimate Spider-Man in 2000, has revived the market as have the movies Spider-Man, X-Men, The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and Captain America. In each case, the successful books and movies have followed more traditional story telling.
The comic book genre was seen, like all fiction, as “morality tales.” People actually believed in “Truth and justice” as if they were objective realities worth defending. We now live in a morally ambiguous universe. Truth and justice are slippery concepts in a post-modernist world. They’re still here, but they mean different things to so many different people, and it seems that most of us are content to leave it that way, and that’s what’s so troubling.
- James Steranko, History of Comics, 2 vols. (Reading, PA: A Supergraphics Publication, 1970), 1:43. Emphasis in original. Co-creator Bill Finger writes: “Bruce Wayne’s first name came from Robert Bruce, the Scottish patriot. [↩]
- “The Comics Break New Ground, Again,” The New York Times (January 24, 1992), A12. [↩]
- He was an executive producer of The Chronicles of Narnia film series. [↩]
- “The Comics Break New Ground, Again,” A12. [↩]
- “Comic Book Hero Says He’s Gay,” The Gwinnett Daily News (January 17, 1992), 4A. [↩]
- Interview from “Point of View,” #2274 (January 17, 1992), P.O. Box 30, Dallas, Texas 75221. [↩]
- “The Comics Break New Ground, Again,” The New York Times (January 24, 1992), A12. [↩]
- A non-stereotypical feminine lesbian. [↩]
- “Batwoman hero returns as lesbian” (May 30, 2006). [↩]
- Emmett Furey, “Homosexuality in Comics,” Part IV, Comic Book Resources, July 16–19, 2007. [↩]
- “Marvel Comics to unveil gay gunslinger” (December 22, 2002. [↩]