Welcome to the five hundred and twentieth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the first five hundred (I actually haven't been able to update it in a while). This week, what Silver Age Marvel hero did Stan Lee say he created as a gay character? How did Eddie Murphy indirectly lead to the creation of Harbinger? Which comic was the surprising debut of the Post-Crisis Superman?
NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There's a little "next" button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).
COMIC LEGEND: Percival "Pinky" Pinkerton was created by Stan Lee as a gay man.
STATUS: I'm Going With False
With the news this week that Iceman of the X-Men was coming out, I thought back to the hubbub over Marvel having the Rawhide Kid come out in 2002.
Stan Lee went on CNN's Crossfire with Tucker Carlson to defend Marvel.
Now here's the thing about Stan Lee. The guy is all about wanting to do the right thing. If someone asks him about gay rights, he's going to stand up for gay rights. He's a good guy.
At the same time, he's also not above making stuff up to support a position. Like his "I intended Professor X and Magneto to be like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X" statements (note that my issue there is not Lee's early support for the rights of blacks in America, as he actually WAS at the forefront of that movement, much to his credit. My issue there is simply that he clearly did not view Magneto as a civil rights figure. No one did until Chris Claremont introduced the idea twenty years into Magneto's history).
In the interview (which you can read here), it ends with:
CARLSON: Mr. Lee, tell us now, you've obviously been in comics longer than almost anybody in America, are there any other super heroes we ought to wonder about? And can you tell us about Robin?
LEE: Well, I'm not going to get into that. But the book I mentioned years ago that I did, "Sergeant Fury," ... had a gay character. One member of the platoon was called, I think, Percy Pinkerton. He was gay. We didn't make a big issue of it. In this comic book that I read, the word gay wasn't even used. He's just a colorful character who follows his own different drummer. He follows a different beat. But we're not proselytizing for gayness.
Lee got Percy Pinkerton's name exactly right.
However, he's either misrembering or misstating what happened back when he introduced Pinkerton into the Howling Commandoes.
Here's Pinky's intro in Sgt. Fury #8...
And after their first mission...
The very next issue, he flirts with Fury's girlfriend.
But most importantly, here is Pinky's origin (written by Lee himself) in Sgt. Fury #23...
To paraphrase Legally Blonde, he is not gay, he's just European.
Clearly, just like how Dino in the Commandos was meant to be Dean Martin, Pinky was meant to be David Niven (Dick Ayers later confirmed as much).
There is no doubt in my mind that Lee did not intend for Pinky Pinkerton to be gay at the time. Similarly, there's absolutely zero chance that he had the situation of gay people in mind when he created the X-Men in 1963, and yet when Bryan Singer asked him if the gay allegory ever entered his mind at the time, Lee told him "Absolutely." Singer notes that he wasn't sure if Lee was just being polite. I don't think it's something like politeness, per se, but more just he's a nice guy who WANTS to support civil rights, so he'll pretty much agree to any interpretation of his work that goes that direction, whether it was intended at the time or not. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed at Spinoff Online: Was Judy Garland seriously paid less during the filming of The Wizard of Oz than the dog that played Toto?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________