DC Comics is playing things close to the vest when it comes to the upcoming reveal of its yet-to-be-introduced gay character. The only details fans have managed to glean comes from DC Entertainment senior vice president of publicity Courtney Simmons, who revealed the character is “major,” “iconic” and male, following the weekend revelation by DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio that a character who was heterosexual prior the New 52 relaunch will become “one of our most prominent gay characters.” While “Batman” writer Scott Snyder — who clarified on Twitter that it’s not Bruce Wayne — emphasized the quote “a character not seen since the relaunch will come out as gay,” many of the statements made by DC so far seem purposefully ambiguous, begging the question, what do words like “major,” “iconic” and “not seen since the relaunch” actually mean? With speculation running rampant, here are some of CBR’s thoughts on which character may out himself in June.
The Flash (Wally West)
A fan-favorite character who took on the mantle of The Flash between Barry Allen and Bart Allen’s reigns as the scarlet speedster, Wally West died in “Flashpoint” has not been seen since before the New 52 launched in 2011. As the Flash, Wally would count as a major and iconic character who also has a sizable and loyal fanbase. DC has been incredibly evasive whenever the question of Wally’s involvement in the New 52 comes up, and a reboot like this would certainly be an opportunity to introduce and redefine the character in a big way. However, the publisher has repeatedly denied that Wally will show up in the New 52 anytime soon, there are no story points to support his appearing in books a mere month from now and dissolving Wally’s relationship with Linda Park would make die-hard Wally/Linda fans go ballistic faster than The Flash can tap into the Speed Force.
DC never said the character was a hero. While The Joker was seen in “Detective Comics” #1, one of the first titles to hit during the New 52 relaunch, this could very well be a case of DC using ambiguous language to misdirect. “Not seen since the relaunch” would technically be accurate, since the Clown Prince of Crime technically hasn’t been seen since the start of the relaunch. As for the rest of the criteria, you would be hard-pressed to find a character, good or evil, who is more iconic or major than The Joker. He would certainly be the one of the most prominent gay characters in comics, period. Here’s the thing: DC might have some trepidation about a villain as maliciously twisted as the Joker being at the center of such a high profile outing — especially during Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Trangender Pride Month.
Sure, he hasn’t really been utilized in a large capacity since Grant Morrison’s run on “JLA,” but nobody can deny that Plastic Man is as iconic a character as DC has once you step outside the Trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. The star of numerous comic series over the decades, as well as several Saturday morning cartoons, the pliable hero has recently starred in several animated shorts on DC Nation, placing himself firmly in the public’s eye once again. Although the character is known for not being serious, this would be an excellent chance for DC to delve into the inner workings of Patrick “Eel” O’Brian and give readers a better look into the man behind the comic relief.
Someone from Earth 2
It may be a painfully obvious choice for DC to create a homosexual Earth 2 version of one of the many iconic, major characters not seen since the New 52 relaunch, but it would also totally fit the publisher’s criteria to introduce, for example, a gay Batman in Earth 2 Dick Grayson. However, fans seem to be expecting Alan Scott (Green Lantern) to be revealed as gay, and since the “Second Wave” of the New 52 launched with “Earth 2,” the title has had some serious fan interest, making a gay Earth 2 character a high-profile deal. It helps that “Earth 2” is currently written by James Robinson, who has a history of writing strong, well-received gay characters in “Starman.”
Someone from Jim Lee’s Free Comic Book Day 4-page spread
Sure, the characters from Jim Lee’s incredible 4-page spread in DC’s Free Comic Book Day issue have absolutely been seen since the relaunch, but does a Free Comic Book Day issue giving readers a glimpse of the DCU’s future really count? Maybe not. There are certainly a plethora of choices in this spread, but three characters really stand out. Vibe hasn’t been given a proper New 52 background yet, and while we’ve met Ray Palmer in the pages of “Frankenstein,” neither has the Atom (Ryan Choi, anyone?). The third possible character in the spread is the Green Lantern. Certainly, Hal Jordan is the best-known Green Lantern, but it’s a uniform that people recognize. It’s entirely possible the publisher may add a gay Green Lantern to the ranks of the Corps. Admittedly, though, only the Atom seems to fit the “iconic” portion of the bill.
Yes, this is a million to one shot. There’s absolutely no denying the character has absolutely already been established in the New 52, but the latest iteration of Superman’s young clone is most definitely major and iconic. Even better, he’s set to be stuck on a mysterious island with Wonder Girl in June’s “Superboy” #10, which would provide the perfect opportunity for the cloned hero to come out during a quiet moment of downtime. Since the reboot, readers have learned very little about Superboy as the character is still on a journey of self-discovery. Who’s to say that journey wouldn’t include a frank exploration of sexual orientation? And Bunker over in “Teen Titans” would give Superboy somebody to talk to about discovering his sexual identity. Again, Superboy is a million to one shot –in addition to him being established in the DCU, Warner Bros. might be nervous about the comic counterpart of a member of “Young Justice” gay — but one thing we’ve learned in the New 52 is to never rule anything out.
What are your guesses for who DC’s newest gay character could be post-relaunch? Sound off in the forums and stay tuned to CBR News for more.
Senior editor Stephen Gerding contributed to this article.