Yes, Alan Scott is the one DC is sadly turning gay
Newsarama: James, we've been told that DC has been making an effort to bring diversity into the DCU. Was this something you were asked to do by editors? Or was it something you came up with as you were creating the comic?First off, Obsidian didn't begin as a gay character when Roy Thomas intro'd him in 1983; it was only in 2006 that they officially turned him that way. Second, I doubt DiDio was surprised when this made headlines. More likely he was delighted as can be that he's succeeded in irritating everyone and anyone with common sense. And third, Robinson's claim he "just wanted to do this" is surely the weakest, most laughable reply I've ever read, and goes to show how bankrupt he already is.
James Robinson: It was the latter. It was something I came up with when I was first putting this modern version of Justice Society together about eight months ago.
I really believe in this idea of relaunching the Justice Society and making them younger. But I thought it was a shame that we lost Jade and Obsidian, who are Alan Scott's children. Obsidian has been in the comics for years and was a positive gay character.
And then, in the way that one idea can spring forward to the next, I thought, well, let's make Alan Scott gay. And to DC and to Dan DiDio's credit, when I ran the idea past him, there wasn't a moment's hesitation. He was like, "Yeah, that's great. Let's do it."
I can't speak for him, honestly, but if he's anything like me, he's a little bit surprised that the media and people have been so interested in it. Although I guess it's really great that the book's getting attention because of it.
Nrama: So the reason you decided to change Alan Scott this way was because he was Obsidian's father? Because you could have added a new character to make up for that loss of diversity, but you specifically chose to change one that already existed, and you're getting a lot of attention as a result. This wasn't for the attention? Are you saying it was all linked to Obsidian?
Robinson: Well, it isn't linked in any way that you're going to see. It was just my thought process at the time. I just thought, "Oh, well, there's no Obsidian in the DC Universe anymore. So we lost a gay character. That's a shame." And then from there I landed upon Alan Scott.
As for why not just create a new gay character, I just wanted to do this. I mean, it's one thing if you're creating a new team with new characters, but that isn't what the Justice Society is. It's me rebooting existing characters.
I think you have to remember that this is a reboot. It isn't like I'm taking an old character and suddenly making this character gay. This is a brand new interpretation of this character.Sorry, I don't buy that. He's not so protective of Scott as he is abusive of him, not to mention the memory of Bill Finger and Martin Nodell, the hero's original creators in the Golden Age. If I were either of those two, I'd be spinning in my grave if I knew DiDio, Robinson and company had exploited their creation all for the sake of political correctness.
Alan Scott is my favorite Golden Age character. So I'm very protective of him, and I'm very reverent of him. And you'll see the character that he is, in terms of his heroism, his goodness, his leadership, his dynamic, his Type A personality.
And change has to be consistent with what came before, so it makes no difference whether this is a reboot, it's still very dismal, and exploiting a de facto minor character for what they couldn't accomplish with Superman.
Robinson then goes on to say:
As is implied by the cover, which features Jay Garrick, the meat of issue #2 is Jay's origin and him becoming the Flash. But we will see more of Alan Scott and then set up the events that lead to him becoming a Green Lantern in issue #3. That's how it's going to play out.Yes, I get it, that's meant to imply he's "flaming gay", and look how far that got Marvel's MAX rendition of the Rawhide Kid a decade ago. This also sounds like Robinson borrowed an idea or two from Alan's former daughter Jade, who did acquire built-in powers of her own, meaning he's just taking certain aspects of characters they apparently don't care about anymore and are stuffing them back onto the former father.
And I should also stress that, he had no ring, but the green flame, which is the energy of the earth, he is the receptacle and the conduit for that energy. He is literally a living Green Lantern. He's the Green Lantern.
Nrama: Will we see more diversity in Earth 2, and changes like this from the way these characters were before the reboot?Umm, no, as mentioned before, Obsidian wasn't when he began, and his characterization under Roy Thomas was far from like that. Maybe because there aren't any official trades collecting Infinity Inc. he doesn't realize that.
Robinson: Yeah, racially and everything like that. Absolutely we will. I would have done that if the Justice Society was set on [the main DCU Earth]. That's just the kind of characters I like to come up with.
Nrama: I know it's mostly dealing with reinterpretations of the old JSA. And that was, in general, a white, straight, male team, right?
Robinson: Yes, but obviously you move with the times. Obsidian in Infinity Inc. and the Justice Society proper has been gay for a long time. So it's been going on for a long time. And it made sense for this character.
The claim that the JSA was generally a "white, straight, male" teaming is also inaccurate, since during the Golden Age, Wonder Woman was one of the first women on the team, ditto Hawkgirl. And when the JSA reformed during the late 70s, there were more women brought on board like Power Girl and Huntress. And during Robinson's own 5 years on the recent JSA with Geoff Johns there were women, and Michael Holt, the second Mr. Terrific was a leading black team member. But if this reboot is only going to be about changing superheroes' race, sex and gender backgrounds (and I get the feeling none of those changes will be based on different nationalities), and not about introducing supporting casts with whom they could do a far better job accomplishing those parts, then that just goes to show why this'll have very little long-term impact.
As I said before, Robinson's retcons are an insult to Bill Finger and Martin Nodell, not to mention plenty of fans of the Green Lantern's world. One can only wonder if they'd being doing all this had the failed Green Lantern movie from last year been a success. The answer might be no, or they at least wouldn't have been so vocal about it. Either way, this isn't going to help Alan's counterpart Hal Jordan's reputation with the wider public very well, since it could even rub off on and embarrass his titles. As for Robinson's, it's already hopeless.
Update: predictably, the AP Wire is gushing over this, and they even try to say:
But purists and fans note: This Green Lantern is not the emerald galactic space cop who was, and is, part of the Justice League and has had a history rich in triumph and tragedy.If that's supposed to imply this isn't worth taking offense over because it's not Hal Jordan who's been tinkered with, forget it. Purists and fans also like Alan Scott just as much as Hal Jordan, and to say it's not a big deal because it's not the one who's in the main spotlight now is insulting. It's because they're exploiting such a classic figure that anybody who's offended happens to be, just as much as they would be if Hal had been victim of Robinson's tampering. Similarly, if the original Star-Spangled Kid, Sylvester Pemberton, had been turned gay, that too would be exploitive and insulting to fans and creators alike (and Pemberton's creator was Jerry Siegel, one half of the duo who created Superman).
Instead, said James Robinson, who writes the new series, Alan Scott is the retooled version of the classic Lantern whose first appearance came in the pages of "All-American Comics" No. 16 in July 1940.