The rumours turned out to be true. The long-standing DC Comics character who is set to come out as gay is the Green Lantern. Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, is an important player of the DC superhero stable in the new series Earth Two.
The Green Lantern debuted in All-American Comics #16 (July 1940). A railway engineer, Alan Scott, discovers a magic lantern that turns into a ring, and with the superpowers it bestows he becomes a crime fighter. It was later established that Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern, lived in the parallel Earth, Earth-Two. This parallel universe was first introduced in The Flash #123 back in 1961. The Earth-One Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, was introduced in the Silver Age of comics, in 1959, and in Green Lantern #40 (1965), Alan Scott and Hal Jordan meet. In other words, no, we shall not get to see Ryan Reynolds tapping into his metrosexual side if the film Green Lantern 2 ever makes it beyond the development stage. (The first film had a buget of $200 million and made $222,001,172, so it’s not that likely.)
The signs are that DC Comics will be treating Scott’s sexuality as a fact rather than using it to make a point. The Earth Two artist Nicola Scott, has said, “Alan strikes me as an incredibly open, honest and warm man, a natural leader and absolutely the right choice to be Guardian of the Earth. His sexuality is incidental.” In an interview with USA Today, the writer, James Robinson, confirmed, “Alan’s sexuality is just one facet of him, along with his innate goodness, valour, charisma and skill at leadership.” He added that “presenting that kind of a heroic role model hopefully will be a good thing and help to show gays in a positive light for people who might be a little more small-minded”.
In an interview with The Advocate, Robinson said that he wanted Earth Two “to be as diverse as possible, and so I thought, ‘Why don’t we make Alan Scott gay? Why don’t we make the leader of the Justice Society a gay man?’ I suggested this to DC’s co-publisher Dan Didio, and to his credit there was never a moment of hesitation. He said, ‘That sounds like a great idea.’ There wasn’t a lot of soul-searching about it. It really was a simple and logical decision.” He also added that there will be another gay character, beyond Scott’s love-interest, that is. “There is another character down the line, but that character won’t be appearing for some time, so it’s probably a bit too early to talk about that, but this book will definitely have a diverse cast. Alan Scott won’t be the only gay character in Earth Two, I promise you that.”
There will be much said about role models, and about how the portrayal of homosexuality in comic books affects children, in the wake of this revelation. And you can guarantee that most of it will be hot air. What matters is that it looks to be a step forward in the representation of homosexuality, not as an ‘issue’ or the basis for a scandalous storyline, but as a fact of life. Which it is.