In the wake of DC comics announcing that one of its established comic characters will be coming out of the closet, more LGBT news is taking the comic universe by storm with the announcement of the first gay wedding taking place in the X-Men universe.
Marvel has a well-known reputation for its history of writing in LGBT characters, many of whom have often been in committed relationships, and now Marvel is taking one couple to the next level by leading them down the aisle.
Often reflecting America’s cultural and political developments, with Obama recently voicing his support on same-sex marriage, this announcement couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.
X-Men character Northstar was Marvels’ first gay superhero. The character was introduced to the world in 1979, however his sexuality was only revealed in 1992, when in Alpha Flight issue 106 his outing caused an unsuspecting media and fan frenzy.
Since then the character has evolved through story lines that saw him adopting a baby with AIDS, mentoring a gay mutant, and releasing a tell-all book about being a gay mutant. Now the most recent progression in the character’s story arc sees him now tying the knot with his long-time civilian partner Kyle.
Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso told the Huffington Post how the writers decided that Northstar deserved his Marvel milestone.
“When gay marriage became legal in New York State, it raised a question, since most of our heroes reside in that state: How would Northstar, the first openly gay character in comics, respond to this new development?” he said. “Would it change his long-term relationship with his partner, Kyle?
“Marvel Comics are best when they respond to developments in the real world, and this is just the latest expression of that.”
What also makes this development interesting is the fact that Northstar is a superhero and Kyle is a mere civilian. In the comic universe this will make way for some juicy storytelling.
Astonishing X-Men writer Marjorie Liu sheds more light on the matter. “There are so many ways to explore their relationship,” she says. “For example, think about police officers and their families, in which one partner regularly deals with dangerous situations, has a ‘team’ that is an important part of his or her life, and has a spouse who can’t be part of that, who is always left behind. That’s Kyle. And it doesn’t matter that he’s got a great life, a wonderful job; he’s still a human man who has to watch his super-powered partner risk his life against crazy odds. A lot.
“The storytelling opportunities are endless, but how we approach that will remain, as it has up to now, an organic process informed entirely by character.”
But it won’t be all fun when the wedding bells ring according to the Editor-in-Chief. “Recent events in North Carolina and President Obama’s statement of support for gay marriage underscore that this is a topical – and controversial – issue. And we’d be doing the story a disservice not to reflect this. While lots of Marvel Universe characters will attend Northstar’s wedding, not everyone will accept the invitation or the validity of Northstar’s vows.
“At least one of Northstar’s team members will turn down the invitation, which should make for a very interesting dynamic down the road.”
LGBT representation in comics have come a long way since the dark days when Bruce Banner AKA The Hulk was nearly sexually assaulted by a group of gay men.