Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bill Finger and a potentially gay Green Lantern

Recently DC Comics announced that one of their top-tier male properties, previously heterosexual, would be reintroduced as gay. Comics press speculation points heavily toward Alan Scott, AKA the original Green Lantern, whose original writer was Bill Finger.

1941 Alan Scott debut

2012 Alan Scott re-debut

Just because it’s proving to be an effective PR hook doesn’t mean there wasn’t an organic reason for going this route. As always, what matters most is the story: it must be good.

What would Bill Finger think of one of his creations coming out? Because he died in 1974, we will never know.

However, I suspect he would have been more at peace with it than many of his generation (born 1914) at least in part because Bill’s only child, Fred, was gay, and his first wife Portia had a strong connection to the gay community.

I have been told that Bill did struggle with Fred’s homosexuality to some degree, but I don’t know if it was ongoing or only for a period immediately after Bill found out. Despite some indications of semi-estrangement, I do believe that ultimately, the relationship between Bill and Fred was one of mutual respect.

If the character in question does prove to be Alan Scott, it will mean that two of Bill Finger’s sons were gay. Of course Bill didn’t choose the sexual orientation for either, but somehow it still makes him seem progressive, like so much else about his work.


hobbyfan said...


Count me among those who don't believe it'll be Alan Scott. It would, in truth, be a disservice not only to Bill Finger, but also to a lot of long-time fans and other creators who've worked on Scott over the years.

It's a case of DC putting themselves in a catch 22, thanks to Dan DiDio being put on the spot at a recent convention, where the rumors started. I've already written a piece on one of my blogs, The Land of Whatever, where I bestowed the dreaded Weasel of the Week award upon DiDio.

There's an old expression that applies here. If it isn't broken, you don't fix it, and yet, some of this generation's creators, opting against researching the characters they've been given, would rather wipe the slate clean, at the risk of alienating older readers. It's a fine line and, aesthetically, it doesn't need to be crossed.

Looking forward to reading Bill The Boy Wonder, BTW.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thanks hobbyfan. I believe characters and storytelling in general must evolve with the times, but not to pander. Simply to be relevant to the current culture.

Don't forget - no matter when you were born, the Superman you were first exposed to was radically different from Jerry and Joe's version, and likely one or two iterations after that.

hobbyfan said...

Well, I read the newspapers this morning before going to work, and, yes, DC is going with Alan Scott here. I still don't like it, but we'll see how far they can go with this.

Unsurprisingly, a conservative watchdog group, One Million Moms, is whining and demanding a boycott. They need to get over themselves. It's just a story.