Thanks for answering my question Chuck Dixon ! I gotta agree....the chase to me is what makes it worth while. Do you feel that this hurt the Lois & Clark series in the 90's as well ? For the 1st 3 years Lois and Clark did a dance of love and getting enganged.
Once they married the show went into a nosedive and died....because gone was the whole "chase" of Superman wanting Lois Lane.
Its a shame ya don't have a sway over Dan Didio...because thats whats missing in these Judd Winick/Brad Meltzer books. Theres no romance storyline...long term. Its THRUST EM into a couple and thats it.
"Heads up-- If Havok's position in UA #5 really upset you, it's time to drown yourself hobo piss. Seriously, do it. It's the only solution." - Rick Remender
Sucks 200 character limit.
Iíve never seen a message board hold its breath before.
Some posters here will probably continue to disagree with me on the subject in question. Iím sure I will continue to provide plenty of gems for out-of-context quotes to haunt me until the end of time.
A few of you seem willing to give me the shadow of a doubt. It might be a very narrow quarter to noon shadow but Iíll take it. No mea culpas. No apologies.
Ever since this subject came up I have resisted the ďsome of my best friends are (fill in Jews, negroes, whatever)Ē argument. I wanted to keep this on an intellectual level and not about me no matter how many slings and arrows I had to endure.
But now enough folks seem willing to put aside their pre-conceived notions or raw-nerve reactions to a view different from their own long enough to have a discussion.
The one thing that gripes my wife and I is being forced by the media to push the boundary markers further by exposing the kids to things we didnít think they were ready for. A single episode of Two and a Half Men caused that show to be pulled from the family viewing schedule. We really donít need Charlie Sheenís version of heterosexuality on display, thank you. I mean, itís a funny show but the ďair forceĒ jokes started landing when our oldest hit twelve.
So I maintain that inappropriate material featuring homosexuals in mainstream superhero comics is problematic. I object to a lot of what I see in mainstream superhero comics (sorry to keep using this term but I need to be specific). Thereís far too much sexual material and particularly violent sexual material in these books. Iím a guy who avoids that stuff as much as possible when writing the iconic superheroes. I think you can count on one hand the times I ever showed Dick and Babs in even an innocent romantic clinch during their big romance. Not like another writer who made it clear that Dick Grayson was sleeping around even to the point of showing open condom packages by his bed.
And, Iím sorry if this offends, but the depiction of homosexual material presents complications of its own. Mainstream superhero comics are meant to reach the broadest base of readers. That includes kids. I know that most of you will use the argument that kids donít read comics any more. I concede that. But the whole industry acts like itís a good thing the kids have gone to bed so we can be more adult at our big superhero comic book party.
Itís not. Chasing the kids away and keeping them away with material featuring promiscuity, rape, torture and other ďmatureĒ subjects is suicidal for a medium that relies on kids finding and enjoying comics as they come to reading age. Every time a story appears on TV saying that ďcomics arenít for kids anymoreĒ the medium waves away a new generation of readers.
The media bombards kids with lots of stuff theyíre not really ready to hear about (thank you, Bill Clinton!) and comics, mainstream comics, used to be a place where you knew the kids were safe. I donít mean ďsafe from them gay folks!Ē I mean safe from stuff they just arenít ready for. And, always keep in mind, there are folks out there more conservative than you (or even me!) who might not want their kids reading about this stuff at an age before they think their kids are ready for it. They arenít homophobes. Theyíre not bigots. They just wanted a few more years before they had to explore whatever subject it is that a supposedly innocent little comic book dropped on their heads without warning.
There are a number of pros in this business that agree with me. In some cases itís the only thing we agree on; we need to keep comics a family-friendly place. Thatís why Marvel has their Marvel Adventures line. As sad as it is that we need two-tiers (and in some cases three or four tiers) of books featuring the same super folks, at least someone is considering the need to reach out with all-ages comics.
Anyone else hear old enough to remember the brouhaha when Eclipse Comics ran an issue of Miracleman featuring an extremely graphic depiction of childbirth? Now, no oneís against childbirth. Itís how we all got here. But some folks were very upset as this was not the kind of stuff you expected to find in a comic book featuring a flying guy in blue tights. The hipper-than-thou called these complainers philistines and reactionaries. But no one thought to call them mommaphobes. It was understood by both sides of the argument that the debate was over material inappropriate for the kiddies
So, as hip and Right Now as youíd like comics to be, I think itís wrong that comics so often push past the generally accepted level of adult material available in other media readily available to kids.
And that includes lots of other kinds of material just so no one thinks Iím lumping homosexuals in with rapists or torturers. Someone above brought up the excellent example of the Holocaust. Iíve used the example of pushing one religious view (or any religious view) over another in a comic story to be wrongheaded.
Like I said above, my wife and I have talked often with the kids about homosexuality. The gradual talks that impart just as much as they need to know at the time. As posted above the Big Talk is a fantasy. Itís way more like hundreds of little talks. We talk with our kids a lot about a variety of subjects.
One that weíve covered often is homosexuality. Ironically enough, these talks are always prompted by media portrayals of homosexuals either in fictional programs or news coverage. And the discussions are mostly to counter the negative images presented. Our kids are cautioned not to view anyone stereotypically based on what theyíve seen on TV or in a movie. Not by race or nationality or sexuality. And this isnít done in the name of fairness or political correctness. Itís just the simple Golden Rule. You just donít judge people on assumptions.
To reinforce this point, my wife and I often turn to the example of my Aunt Rose. My wife might use her cousin as an example but, to be perfectly frank, the guy is a stereotype. He has a piano lounge act, for Godís sake!
My Aunt Rose was my momís sister. She lived openly as a lesbian her entire adult life. Or, as openly as you could in the 60s and 70s in Southwest Philadelphia, which, flying in the face of conventional wisdom about our nationís past, was pretty damned open. She wasnít a militant and did not define her entire life through her choices. In fact, she was as untypical a gay person (by blinkered media lights) as you could find. She worked in a major food center, was politically conservative and pro-union (back when you could be both at the same time) and was a US Navy vet. She lived until she died in a long-term monogamous relationship that had its ups and downs like any marriage.
She was the most popular aunt in our family. My sisters and I looked forward to weekends at Aunt Roseís the way other kids looked forward to Disneyland. Sheíd spoil us rotten and acted like a big kid herself. Weíd go the Jersey Shore. Or bowling. Or to the movies or just shopping. She made it all fun with her silly sense of humor that would embarrass her partner to death.
Aunt Rose was also beloved in her neighborhood. Southwest Philly at the time was a blue-collar, Catholic neighborhood of Italians and Irish living in modest homes. A place that Frank Rizzo could count on for votes. Not an artsy gentrified place at all. But Rose was known by everyone and accepted. And all the kids knew a soft touch when they saw one when the ice cream truck came around. She had the biggest heart of anyone Iíve ever known.
Now, in todayís more enlightened environment (and I mean no sarcasm there) my sisters and I would have been sat down and told our aunt was a lesbian and what that meant. But back then, the subject was skirted. But kids arenít dumb. The first time I saw my aunt and her partner fighting (like moms and dads fight) I knew there was something up. I knew they were closer than just ďfriends who lived together.Ē I had no idea what that relationship was or what it meant beyond the fact that they didnít have husbands. But it didnít matter to me and no one made it matter.
By the time it was ďrevealedĒ to me after my auntís death, it was old news. It has never shaped how I felt about her and is, in truth, an aspect of her that I never think about in my fond memories of time spent with my aunt.
And itís my Aunt Rose who is brought up so often when the discussion of homosexuality is introduced. My wife or I (mostly my wife as I find that most relationships have a ďtalkerĒ and thatís her) will remind the boys that they have several gay relatives and to remember that when leaping to assumptions about gay people. Itís not an affliction. Itís not something ďwrongĒ with them. Itís also not the only way to look at that person.
My wife and I are Christians. And weíre astonishingly right wing. But weíre not the ďhate the sin, love the sinnerĒ types. We find that viewpoint a tad pompous and way too pat. Kind of like ďIím against the war but support the troops.Ē (that oneís for you, Gail!) We figure that these kinds of things are for God to judge and not us.
And, I also still strongly feel, that I should have every expectation that mainstream superhero comics should be free of explicit material featuring gay people. Not any material. Not the exclusion of gay characters. Letís just stay away from the agenda-driven ďshockĒ material. It can be done. Iím currently doing it in Batman and the Outsiders.
Now you know not only my viewpoints but where Iím coming from. Some of you may still feel the hate and I can understand that. But it aggravates anyone to be called something theyíre not and that includes hard-hearted olí me.
Thank you for the detailed response.
If I might ask, what complications does homosexual materials present?
And how do you feel that your handling of Grace and Thunder is ok for kids?
Whatever. This shit is so tired.
Perhaps I'm just misreading it, but I'm having a bit of a problem reconciling your statement of "we don't want our kids exposed to something until we, the parents, are ready to talk to them about it" with your story about your Aunt Rose, where you say you knew there was something more than just friends going on there even though your parents didn't say anything about it.
Or in other words, you say as a kid that you learned about things even though your parents didn't tell you about them.
And now, as a adult, you say that you can control or delay what your own children learn (though that's contrary to your own experiences).
To answer T.C. and Alex,
Any kind of material that presents questions in greater detail then your kids are prepared for. Like anything beyond what Michael P.'s post presents. My Grace and Thunder scenes stay within the parameters of that post.
Halo will return at some point. I have Looker coming back very soon.
Mr. Dixon, thank you for the response.
I'd just like a little clarification on one issue:
Would you object to the depiction of homosexual relationships in kid-oriented books at the same level as heterosexual relationships are currently depicted?
To give a concrete example, suppose a homosexual couple were to appear in Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four, with the relationship no more or less explicit than the heterosexual one shown between Reed and Sue. How would you feel about this?
Passion is nice wherever you find it. Character is what matters, not gender or race.