Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #168


Grant Morrison's handling of Beast in New X-Men was cause for a bit of controversy/confusion regarding a line in New X-Men #125.

In New X-Men #125, Beast is leading a tour of the X-Men mansion to a group of reporters, including his ex-girlfriend, Trish Tilby, who broke up with Hank after his latest transformation (into more of, well, a Beast).

The tour is interrupted as the mansion comes under attack by Cassandra Nova's forces.

Beast takes the reporters to safety, and Tilby realizes what a fool she was, and tries to get back together with Hank, to which he replies:

"We had some fun together didn't we? When you think back, I have some GREAT photographs. I played Chopin by moonlight, you danced NAKED and fell in the shrubbery. But the truth is that I'm not interested in a relationship with a human being right now. In fact, I think I might be gay."

And then rushes off to battle.

Morrison brings it up a little later, when Emma Frost calls out Hank on the joke.

And then Morrison gets even more explicit in New X-Men #134 (thanks to Pink Kryptonite for the transcription)

Beast: What? The gay stuff? Come on, Scott! I'm challenging all kinds of stereotypes here!

Cyclops: But you're not gay. I know you're not gay, Hank.

Beast: So? I might as well be! I've been taunted all my life for my individualistic looks and style of dress... I've been hounded and called names in the street and I've risen above it.

Cyclops: Oh, for crying out loud, Hank. I love you, but you're officially on the road to apocalyptic mind loss. No one but you is going to find this funny.

Beast: Come on, I'm as gay as the next mutant! I make a great role model for alienated young men and women. Why not?

Of course, though, now that Morrison actually took the time to explain the joke further, the reaction went from, "OMG! Morrison made Beast gay!" to "OMG! Morrison made Beast gay and then Marvel made him un-gay him!"

Rich Johnston cleared this up in an interview with Morrison back in 2003:

RICHARD: There has been speculation about certain Marvel concerns making their way into your work of late. A recent scene where Henry McCoy reiterated that he wasn't gay to Cyclops seemed over-elaborated, especially when he had done so, slightly less obliquely to Emma Frost an issue or two before. Editorial concerns pushing aside storytelling concerns, or too many fans with too much time on their hands? Both?

GRANT: It's always fans with too much time. The Beast thing was my mocking, ironic take on the whole 'Let's have a Gay on the team' current I was seeing elsewhere. I thought it would be more fun and more sophisticated to explore the very concept of 'gayness' and people's strange need to define themselves using such off-the-peg labels. It was also to point out that, like the Beast, it's possible to be flamboyant, stylish, witty and 'gay', without being homosexual...so I wanted to have a character stand up for the people who are neither gay nor straight nor anything other than just plain ODD - the people who don't have shops to shop in and helplines to phone, but who feel as alienated and persecuted as any 'Gay'. The scenes with Beast were presented exactly as I'd intended and the whole thing will play out and make its little point as intended.

The only things I've had imposed on me at Marvel are those stupid 'PREVIOUSLY' pages which nobody reads anyway. Everything anyone needs to know is there in the story so I really don't understand the fascination for these ugly text pages - they look like '60s DC's.

There ya go!

Thanks to Rich and Grant for the information! And thanks to Boogie and Dennis for the scans of the panels in question!!

Okay, that's it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comic Book Database for this week's covers!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com.

See you next week!

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