Sunday, July 29, 2012

Gay old time

On 6/29/12, I had the privilege of being a guest for the second time on The Frank DeCaro Show on Sirius satellite radio.

The first time, in 2008, was in-studio; this time was by phone. And unlike the first time, this time I knew going in that Frank’s show is aimed at the gay community.

The first time, Frank posed a riddle: which superhero is secretly gay, Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) or Oliver Queen (Green Arrow)? I played along and guessed Hal because he accessorizes with a shiny green ring. But Frank zinged me: obviously the correct answer is Oliver Queen.

I was ready for him this time!

Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman has three gay connections, all of which we touched on:

1. Bill’s son Fred was gay and for 10 years (1992 to 2002) Fred’s partner was getting Batman money instead of Fred’s only child, Athena (Bill’s granddaughter)

2. Bill actually weighed in on whether or not Batman and Robin were gay

3. Bill’s other big hero creation was the original Green Lantern, who was reinvented as gay in 2012

Thanks for having me again, Frank.


tco said...

Mr. Nobleman, I take no pleasure in writing this, but having read what you said about the retcon of Alan Scott, I'm very disappointed in how you see things here, because you seem very lenient on DC's editors for turning a childhood favorite of mine gay. Even if what you say about Finger's wife and son is true, that's no excuse or justification for turning Alan Scott gay, and you even give strong hints that he wasn't happy with his son's homosexuality, even if he still maintained a respectable relationship with him (If Fred had a daughter named Athena, I don't see how he could be exclusively homosexual either). Put another way, it doesn't prove Finger would be completely fine with it either, at least not in private.

And for someone who's trying to get Finger the credit he deserves for co-creating Batman, I find it very surprising that you have no problem with the editors and writers tampering with one of his creations. If I'd led a career like his, I can assure you I wouldn't like having my creations being taken apart and rebuilt into something I never intended. If James Robinson did that to Bruce Wayne, would you have stood for that? Finger definitely does deserve credit for Batman, but likewise, we should also respect the characterization and consistency behind the original creation. You aren't exactly doing that, and even if Alan Scott's a minor player by today's standards, that's no justification for turning him gay either. I say this because I care about the characters, far more than today's apologists do. Did you ever stop to think that your positions there clash in some way with your standings on Finger's credit as Batman's co-creator?

When I first heard of your book, I really wanted to give it a try. But seeing just how disappointing your personal politics do I put this lightly? I'm sorry, but I just can't do it. If you're going to delegitimize fans of Green Lantern by condoning a direction that sure hasn't done any favors for Earth 2's sales, and not call for respecting how the characters were first created as much as you do for respecting the creator's credit Finger deserves, then I'm not sure you're qualified to make the case on Finger's behalf.

As I said before, I'm not happy to tell you this, but if I don't say something, I've let down a whole generation of people, including Bill Finger himself. I'm very sorry if I embarrassed you. Please, just go on about your business.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

tco - Thanks for writing. For me, sexual orientation is not "personal politics." It is simply personal - and biological. But this is an issue that I suspect you cannot be persuaded otherwise about, and I certainly can't either.

What is indisputable: we will never know what Bill would think of a gay Alan Scott, but EVERY character with longevity evolves over time. Today's Batman retains core elements that Bill gave him, but is also different in ways big and small. From millionaire to billionaire, from loner to team leader, from low-tech to high-tech, from gun-toting to gun-shunning...the examples go on and on.

I respect your intention to "boycott" my book because you disagree with me, but my position on Alan Scott's sexuality in no way "delegitimizes" fans or negates my qualification to go to bat for Bill's legacy. If you are a true fan of Bill's work, that alone is reason to be glad there is a book about him.

I am not the one who should be embarrassed here.