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  1. #1
    Mild-Mannered Reporter
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    Default CCI: Figuring Out the Rules of Gay Characters in Comics

    Gail Simone, James Robinson, Ivan Velez, Oliver Nome, Nicola Scott and Charles Christensen discuss the rules of writing and drawing LGBTQ characters in modern mainstream comics at Comic-Con.


    Full article here.

  2. #2
    The Dark Knight Returns DonC's Avatar
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    There are rules? They can't just be normal people who happen to be gay?
    Free your soul and let it fly....

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    Veteran Member SJNeal's Avatar
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    I love that Nicola drew Scandal with male body language...

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    Quote Originally Posted by DonC View Post
    There are rules? They can't just be normal people who happen to be gay?
    Yes, there are rules. Same as there are rules about any minority. This is comics, a medium with a narrow audience, not movies or novels where there are millions of people to appeal to.

    And one correction, YET again. The first gay wedding was in Authority over a decade ago in Authority #29 (2002).

  5. #5
    X-Gene Positive cookepuss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonC View Post
    There are rules? They can't just be normal people who happen to be gay?
    THANK YOU!!! I was just going to write the same exact thing. LGBT or staight, people are people. Apart from who they sleep with, gay & lesbian people are the same as everybody else. I've known straight people who are jerks. I've known gay people who are jerks. I've known some really nice/cool gay people. I've known some really nice/cool straight people. Why not just write good, smart stories about people and let the relationship stuff work itself out organically? Are we suddenly supposed to treat non-straight characters like aliens?

    Sometimes, I get the feeling that this is how DC & Marvel treat minority characters too.

    WRITER: "Hey, Bill. Here's my script."
    EDITOR: "Great! Is this the one with that new character you were telling me about"
    WRITER: "Sure is. Mike Gonzalez aka. Superstar. He's got these cool powers and this great look. You'll love `im."
    EDITOR: "Awesome! You're the man, Jack. ... ... ... Gonzalez. That's like Spanish or something, right?
    WRITER: "He's Puerto Rican. Why?"
    EDITOR: "Mike. Mike. That's not very...."
    WRITER: "What? Very what?"
    EDITOR: "I don't know. Can we call him Miguel or something more... Puerto Rican-y?"
    WRITER: "Puerto Rican-y? REALLY!?! Is that even a word?"
    EDITOR: "Well, y'know. Something more ethnic. Something so that readers automatically know that he's a minority."
    WRITER: "Whatever. Miguel it is. I'll just have his friends call him Mike."
    EDITOR: "Hmmmmmm......"
    WRITER: "What NOW?"
    EDITOR: "No. No. No. I'm not criticizing. It's just this script."
    WRITER: "What about it, BILL?"
    EDITOR: "I was thinking. Maybe he can toss a few Spanish words here and there. Y'know. Something urban sounding."
    WRITER: "Like Spanglish?
    EDITOR: "Well... sort of. But we don't want to call it that. We wouldn't want to offend our readers."
    WRITER: "I don't know. Mike's a...."
    EDITOR: "Miguel."
    WRITER: "MIGUEL is a college professor by day. He's never been to Puerto Rico. He never learned Spanish."
    EDITOR: "Yeah, but think of our readers. Wait. Did you say he was a college professor?"
    WRITER: "Why? Is that a problem?"
    EDITOR: "No it's just that.... Can you give him a troubled past? Like maybe he hung out with the wrong crowd as a kid and was in gang or something?"
    WRITER: "Isn't that offensive? It's 2012."
    EDITOR: "No. No. It's great. It's a real rags to riches story. Triumph of the spirit. All that shit. The fans will eat it up."
    WRITER: "I don't know."
    EDITOR: "Trust me."
    WRITER: "I guess. You're the boss."
    EDITOR: "About that code name. How does El Fuego sound to you. Hip. Cool. Am I right? Am I right?"
    WRITER: "Screw you, Bill. I quit."

    And that, my friends, is how bad minority characters are born. Imagine if The Thing introduced himself like, "Hey! I'm Ben Grimm, the team Jew." Not so sure it'd sound so great then. Casual bigotry is the worst type of bigotry, especially in comics.
    Last edited by cookepuss; 07-22-2012 at 01:54 PM.

  6. #6
    Elder Member Charles RB's Avatar
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    From the sound of it, the rule is apparently "don't suck".

    And Ivan Velez doesn't sound like he gives a monkey's about what any rules would be, and he almost certainly doesn't.
    "We must fight on!"
    "We'll die. We fight and we die, that's how it goes."
    "Then we die gloriously!"
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  7. #7
    More human than human. Johnny P. Sartre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles RB View Post
    From the sound of it, the rule is apparently "don't suck".

    And Ivan Velez doesn't sound like he gives a monkey's about what any rules would be, and he almost certainly doesn't.
    Even in the picture he looks like he's giving no fucks.

    I find this whole, "What's dem rules" thing ridiculous and the only guild line or "rule" I can see is not make a character that is wholly encompassing of said minority group.
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  8. #8
    X-Gene Positive cookepuss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Otchofriend View Post
    I can see is not make a character that is wholly encompassing of said minority group.
    I agree. Except that comics, because of how few pages there are, like to paint in broad strokes. They, editorial, like their characters to be the poster child. They don't realize that this isn't the same thing as inclusion and integration.

    As somebody of Hispanic descent, I can most certainly tell you that we don't all fit within those small boxes. That's why I wrote that little writer/editor thing. I'm 4th generation American of Puerto Rican descent. I'm well adjusted, am of prep school and college education, and don't speak a lick of Spanish.

    That's why the broad stroke portrayal of minorities annoys me to no end. It'd be like going, "We'd like to introduce you to our newest sensations, Captain H*m* and his sidekick, Lady Lesbian." No publisher would ever do that. It's offensive. So why, in this day and age, are rules for the broad stroke depiction of underepresented minorities still in effect?

    Publishers, editors, and writers need to get a clue. Some of them. Guys like PAD mostly seem to have the right idea. Write well. That's it. Tell good stories. Don't tell me a story about a gay guy. Tell me a story about a guy who just so happens to also be gay. The priority should be the person, not the trait - unless the trait is at the heart of the story being told.
    Last edited by cookepuss; 07-22-2012 at 02:33 PM.

  9. #9
    More human than human. Johnny P. Sartre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookepuss View Post
    I agree. Except that comics, because of how few pages there are, like to paint in broad strokes. They, editorial, like their characters to be the poster child. They don't realize that this isn't the same thing as inclusion and integration.

    As somebody of Hispanic descent, I can most certainly tell you that we don't all fit within those small boxes. That's why I wrote that little writer/editor thing. I'm 4th generation American of Puerto Rican descent. I'm well adjusted, am of prep school and college education, and don't speak a lick of Spanish.

    That's why the broad stroke portrayal of minorities annoys me to no end. It'd be like going, "We'd like to introduce you to our newest sensations, Captain H*m* and his sidekick, Lady Lesbian." No publisher would ever do that. It's offensive. So why, in this day and age, are rules for the broad stroke depiction of underepresented minorities still in effect?

    Publishers, editors, and writers need to get a clue. Some of them. Guys like PAD mostly seem to have the right idea. Write well. That's it. Tell good stories. Don't tell me a story about a gay guy. Tell me a story about a guy who just so happens to also be gay. The priority should be the person, not the trait - unless the trait is at the heart of the story being told.
    I agree and for the bold, I see that being true for mostly for the big two (their are indie titles who are guilty of this too) and wanting to show, "Hey, we're all inclusive!" It's great to see those big two moving towards more diversity in their comics but the way they publicize and over sell their characters as gay, latin, or transgender or any minority is heavily annoying.

    I feel you about the latin thing. I'm from Mexico (didn't used to speak Spanish but I'm learning) and the cultural, ethnic, and social "norms" are so widely different and complex it's hard to put into words. Then you have heavy racism between Mexicans and some Mexicans not wanting to be called Mexican but "Spanish", it's a pain. Hell, all Latin American countries are complex with their own nuances, that's it's impossible to have some one all encompassing.
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  10. #10
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    If they want rules, follow Velez. He never made a hype about it. Fade was a great character yet never was it shoved in our faces. In Static we faced it through Virgil's own fears and I accepted it easily and it was great seeing him decide that it was something he was not going let be the deciding factor in his relationship with his friend.
    Both instances added gay characters without being sensationalistic.
    Simone is another to follow, she never shoves it in your face. The fact that Batwoman is gay is just that, a part of her whole and not the sole defining factor about her.

  11. #11
    The Dark Knight Returns DonC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles RB View Post
    From the sound of it, the rule is apparently "don't suck".
    Well, graphic sex is discouraged by the major publishers. Most of the time.

    Free your soul and let it fly....

  12. #12
    Elder Member Charles RB's Avatar
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    oh god, not that page

    Quote Originally Posted by Otchofriend View Post
    some Mexicans not wanting to be called Mexican but "Spanish"

    What? Is there a reason for that?
    "We must fight on!"
    "We'll die. We fight and we die, that's how it goes."
    "Then we die gloriously!"
    "There's an important word there, and it's not gloriously."
    - Only You Can Save Mankind

  13. #13
    More human than human. Johnny P. Sartre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles RB View Post
    oh god, not that page




    What? Is there a reason for that?
    In a nutshell, don't want to be associated with the Mexican natives, with dark skinned Mexicans and see them more "purer" or not wanting to be associated with the lower of dark skinned class. Most people who say this are pale skinned Mexicans and they look down on darker skinned and the natives. But to put it as that is barely one aspect to the social structure of Mexico, it's a very complex thing and I have hard time putting it to words.

    Shit, I've gotten looks (I'm brownish) from pale skin Mexicans.

    I HIGHLY recommend checking out this book
    http://www.amazon.com/Mexico-Biograp...eywords=Mexico
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  14. #14
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    I know it's a reboot and all and that Alan Scott isn't a major character but I'd like a rule in which they can't change the sexual orientation of an established character. It bothers me what they did. Northstar had always had a gay background (which made me wonder what the big deal was in AF 104. We knew he was gay.) Alien Starman didn't have that many appearences. If you really need a gay person in the JSA just create someone new.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by DonC View Post
    There are rules? They can't just be normal people who happen to be gay?
    This. I think having "rules" for writing LGBT characters is kind of condescending. All that's important is that a character be believable (in the context of the setting) and that fans want to read about them. The same rules that apply to all characters.

    Granted, one should want to avoid stereotypes, but again, that's true of all characters.
    Who knows? Not me. We never lost control. You're face to face. With the Man who Sold the World

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