Tag Archives: gay marriage

Oni Press Stands Up for Marriage Equality

In an open letter posted to their Twitter account, comic publisher Oni Press “fired” their office and shipping supply company ULine over the issue of marriage equality. ULine’s CEO has been helping fund Family-PAC, an organization that describes itself as “pro-family, anti-tax political action committee in Illinois.”

The organization has been campaigning against SB10, which legalizes same sex marriage in Illinois. The legislation has passed and the hatemongers PAC have vowed to continue to fight for “Christian values” and against marriage equality as it says on their site, much like the fight against abortion has continued even after the Supreme Court’s decision (their comparison).

Sigh…

Congrats to Oni for doing the right thing and speaking with their dollars. Hopefully comic fans will reword them by speaking with theirs and purchasing a few more of their comics.

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Graphic Policy Radio Returns Tonight, Live at 10pm!

GP Radio pic MondayWe’ve taken a few weeks off, but Graphic Policy Radio is back for a brand new episode tonight crammed with news, reviews and more. You can listen to the show live, starting at 10pm ET.

In this episode:

  • We’ll discuss DC Comics’ war on marriage as they have denied the marriage of Batwoman and her love Maggie leading to two creators resigning.
  • DC Comics also released a tone deaf open call having budding artists submit a comic stip featuring Harley Quinn attempting suicide.
  • We’ll discuss new releases such as Marvel’s Battle of the Atom, DC’s Forever Evil and Villain’s Month, The Massive, Red Sonja, Lazarus and more!

So join us this Monday night as we talk about that and more and we want to hear from you! So call in at (619) 768-2952 with your thoughts or chat with us on Twitter, @graphicpolicy.

Baltimore Comic Con 2013: Dan DiDio Talks Batwoman/Kate Kane and Marriage (Video)

Before the DC Comics panel at Baltimore Comic Con, Co-Publisher Dan DiDio spoke about the recent controversy concerning marriage and Batwoman.

He also announced Marc Andreyko as the new writer for Batwoman starting with issue 25.

Holy Matrimony, Batman!

Guest commentary post from Emma Houxbois. Emma is a queer blogger for hire out of Vancouver, BC most recently attached to Girls Read Comics. You can follow her on Twitter @emmahouxbois.

batwomanIn the wake of J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman stepping down from writing duties on Batwoman, a common thread among the title’s fanbase is the despondent proclamation that Macklemore didn’t free the gays for this. Only Macklemore himself can answer the question of why he freed us and likewise, only Dan Didio can speak for why he chose to uphold the veto on Kate Kane and Maggie Sawyer’s relationship progressing beyond an engagement (which he has done on Facebook of all places) so allow me to speak as a queer woman on why I’m glad Kate Kane won’t be getting married anytime soon.

Since, for better or worse, the situation has become a referendum on letting fictional homosexuals marry, there really does have to be a more considered and nuanced evaluation of whether or not marriage is something that actually needs to be pushed for. The irony of the current debate, and the point at which I begin to depart from what seems to be the fandom consensus, is that feminist literary criticism was born to challenge the reality that women’s stories end in either death or marriage. Decades of informed criticism and measured responses to the portrayal of marriage in popular fiction seem to have somehow sailed out the window as soon as the concept of same sex marriage (which has since oozed itself into the highly suspect terminology “marriage equality”) gained traction within the mainstream. While there certainly is significant merit to awarding same sex couples the same rights as their heterosexual peers and the broken institution of marriage is the most expedient vehicle to accomplish that in reality, the same does not necessarily hold true in fiction. Northstar’s wedding was valuable and important because it extended a long Marvel tradition of event weddings to a character whose publication history has embodied the full scope of the growing pains that the company underwent in becoming comfortable with portraying a gay character. Marvel was creating a new covenant with it’s readership just as much as Jean-Paul was with his boyfriend. By contrast, the wedding between Luke Cage and Jessica Jones could and should have been subjected to far more criticism than it did as it didn’t seem to accomplish much more than further the notion that matrimony is the necessary culmination of a romance and ostensibly the only context in which to raise a child. At the end of the day, the more progressive and meaningful approach to Luke and Jessica’s relationship would have been a recognition that a couple could- as many do in real life- remain unmarried and raise their daughter in a perfectly healthy environment.

Likewise, I just do not see the value in insisting that the only queer superhero with their own solo title get married. It reeks of marriage’s forceful domination of the discourse around LBGT rights and ignores the fundamental reality that the central dispute over whether or not these women should marry in a comic book is controlled on both sides by men because such is the poor state of superhero comics that the only creators with the clout and drive to push the genre’s only queer female protagonist into publication are men. That’s fucked up, and it’s infinitely more fucked up than the actual question of whether or not these two characters should get married. Williams is a phenomenal talent- the best living artist in comics- who has participated in two of the biggest victories for queer female representation in superhero fiction (Promethea and his Batwoman work dating back to Greg Rucka’s Detective Comics run) and Blackman deserves a great deal of respect for stepping up to the plate and lasting a whole two years under the strain of what seems to have been a deeply troubled book from it’s inception, but there is still something truly and fundamentally wrong with the situation, especially when the only female creator to participate on the title to date was only able to contribute a horrifyingly rushed product that only conveyed a quarter of her true talent. This is of course a pattern repeated across most of comics where female lead/majority titles like X-Men, FF, Fearless Defenders, and Wonder Woman have entirely male creative teams with Kelly Sue Deconnick’s Captain Marvel and Gail Simone’s Batgirl essentially being the lone prancing rainbow maned unicorns of major female characters actually being written by women.

I don’t believe that marriage is the compulsory or even necessarily the best culmination of any romance, and that is a position deeply informed by my identity as a queer woman. Furthermore, I don’t see where marriage has any real place in Kate Kane’s narrative. A look back at Maggie Sawyer’s pre-Flashpoint publication history shows that she was one of the earliest lesbian characters in superhero comics, first appearing in Metropolis under Dan Turpin. Maggie was definitely a direct precursor to both Renee Montoya and Kate Kane, who was first brought from Metropolis to Gotham by Ed Brubacker and Greg Rucka to appear alongside Renee Montoya in Gotham Central and then threaded into Kate’s narrative through her stint leading Detective Comics so it’s quite possible that this marriage was part of Rucka’s long game that Williams and Blackman committed themselves to following through in Batwoman, but it still seems directly contradictory to Kate’s story up to this point and Rucka’s wider body of work. Seen from Maggie’s perspective, it follows a very similar trajectory to Northstar barring the facts that until her first encounter with Kate she’d been most recently seen in a stable relationship of her own and that the comic is called Batwoman, not Gotham Central.

As I put forward in my last appearance on the podcast, the strongest common thread that links Greg Rucka’s most significant comic work is the central theme of women navigating the institutions responsible for meting out state sanctioned violence. The responses crafted for Renee Montoya and Kate Kane in the pages of 52 were that the institutions they represented- the police and military respectively- would ultimately reject and destroy them, necessitating that they move outside those institutions to achieve their higher callings (ultimately manifesting in the Question and Batwoman personas). What made Rucka’s Gotham based work so successful was his recognition that institutional failure and identification with The Other are the cornerstones of that fictional space created in the image of Bruce Wayne and his ability to push those sensibilities forward into contemporary concerns. To that end, it seems bizarre and wrongheaded that Kate Kane, who literally gave up a ring because she was unwilling to lie about who she was would turn around and put her faith in another ring whose backing institution has the very same history of marginalizing her identity. She found a way to serve outside of the mainstream, so it only really follows that she would find and embrace a way to love that also sits outside of the mainstream. Finding empowerment and self expression outside the normative is what made Kate a truly different, truly queer character and dictating that she express love and intimacy in the most banal, normative way possible is a fundamental violation of the Kate Kane that gave me the strength to assert my own queer identity. The Kate Kane whose nautical star I had tattooed between my shoulder blades.

Dan DiDio Addresses “The Batwoman Issue” on Facebook & I Agree with Him

Today, the team behind Batwoman quit the book in a public blog post that caused the internet to meltdown. Though most blogs, and many commentators, focused on the creator’s wanting to “gay marry” two characters and DC Comic‘s nixing of the plan, it was greater editorial issues that caused the departure, not this one thing. JH Williams III and WH Blackman in a joint blog post clearly stated:

Unfortunately, in recent months, DC has asked us to alter or completely discard many long-standing storylines in ways that we feel compromise the character and the series. We were told to ditch plans for Killer Croc’s origins; forced to drastically alter the original ending of our current arc, which would have defined Batwoman’s heroic future in bold new ways; and, most crushingly, prohibited from ever showing Kate and Maggie actually getting married. All of these editorial decisions came at the last minute, and always after a year or more of planning and plotting on our end.

That isn’t one issue, that’s many things leading up to this and causing a public, ugly meltdown.

Much of the internet’s backlash was directed at DC Comics’ Co-publisher Dan DiDio. Many seem to have focused on him, blaming him for recent issues with high-profile creator departures. Those creators often point to editors as to the cause of the creative issues at the company that lead to those departures.

While the comic publisher has been having issues dealing with the public when it comes to these public changes, DiDio took to Facebook directly addressing the issue in a way that not only defended the company well, but explains the company’s position.

Many took this announcement as a sign that DC does not support gay marriage or gay characters. But DiDio defended the company, as an example in this exchange from Facebook.

2013-09-05_2133

You could make an argument that Marvel has had more gay characters, and shown more progressive relationships, that publisher doesn’t have a gay character headlining a comic series or one for so long. While Kate Kane/Batwoman might be the highest profile gay character in the DC universe, the company has had a long history of inclusion of gay characters including Renee Montoya, a fan favorite character, who was also the Question in pre-52 continuity. Recently the company introduced a transgender character in the pages of Batgirl and that’s after their high-profile push of Alan Scott as the first gay Green Lantern. The company also shelved, after an online outcry, a Superman story that was to be written by Orson Scott Card who has voiced anti-gay sentiment in the past.

It’s not gays or gay marriage that seems to be the issue at DC Comics, but marriage in general. DiDio in another post on Facebook:

2013-09-05_2135There is the possibility that the planned marriage storyline for Batwoman just didn’t jive with DC’s long-term plans. The company in its New-52 reboot broke up Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane, not only ending their marriage, but ending their relationship. A reason given was the ability to explore other storylines and relationships with the characters by doing so. Superman/Clark is now dating Wonder Woman.

In the new-DCU it’s been five years or so, these are new heroes still settling into their roles. The engagement between Batwoman/Kate Kane and her love Maggie Sawyer has only been for a few issues. To have them marry so quickly just doesn’t make sense and also destroys the possibility of exploring their relationship as a couple while dating. As a whole, the engagement feels rushed to me. It’s not so rushed when you see the series as a continuation of the 2006 beginning, which Williams was a part of. But, all that came before the new-52 is no longer relevant (I think, it’s all so confusing really).

Here, I agree with DiDio. In this particular case it looks like the creative team was rushing things when it comes to the characters and moving things along. As an editor I would have stepped in too, in an attempt to stop it. When it comes to plot and story, I agree with DC.

The bigger issue is how this was handled by the DC Comics team internally as well as other previous changes. Were decisions and changes last-minute? Were decisions made only then to be changed? That, none of us know, we weren’t there, we didn’t have those conversations. Before people blow this situation up more, it seems the only thing DC is guilty of is poor communication.

 

Updated: Williams and Blackman Walk Off Batwoman Citing Editorial Interference & Gay Marriage Flap

3175940-batwoman+01I woke up to rather shocking news, but the team of JH Williams III and WH Blackman have walked off DC ComicsBatwoman citing editorial interference. This past year numerous similar stories have come forth of upset creators clashing with editors, but this is the highest profile team yet to quit their book.

Williams explains on his blog:

Dear Batwoman readers -From the moment DC asked us to write Batwoman — a dream project for both of us — we were committed to the unofficial tagline “No Status Quo.” We felt that the series and characters should always be moving forward, to keep changing and evolving. In order to live up to our mantra and ensure that each arc took Batwoman in new directions, we carefully planned plotlines and story beats for at least the first five arcs well before we ever wrote a single issue. We’ve been executing on that plan ever since, making changes whenever we’ve come up with a better idea, but in general remaining consistent to our core vision.

Unfortunately, in recent months, DC has asked us to alter or completely discard many long-standing storylines in ways that we feel compromise the character and the series. We were told to ditch plans for Killer Croc’s origins; forced to drastically alter the original ending of our current arc, which would have defined Batwoman’s heroic future in bold new ways; and, most crushingly, prohibited from ever showing Kate and Maggie actually getting married. All of these editorial decisions came at the last minute, and always after a year or more of planning and plotting on our end.

We’ve always understood that, as much as we love the character, Batwoman ultimately belongs to DC. However, the eleventh-hour nature of these changes left us frustrated and angry — because they prevent us from telling the best stories we can. So, after a lot of soul-searching, we’ve decided to leave the book after Issue 26.

We’re both heartbroken over leaving, but we feel strongly that you all deserve stories that push the character and the series forward. We can’t reliably do our best work if our plans are scrapped at the last minute, so we’re stepping aside. We are committed to bringing our run to a satisfying conclusion and we think that Issue 26 will leave a lasting impression.

We are extremely thankful for the opportunity to work on Batwoman. It’s been one of the most challenging and rewarding projects of our careers. We’ll always be grateful to everyone who helped us realize 26 issues: Mike Siglain, who brought us onto the project originally; Greg Rucka for inspirationally setting the stage; our amazing artists Amy Reeder, Trevor McCarthy, Pere Perez, Rob Hunter, Walden Wong, Sandu Florea, Richard Friend, Francesco Francavilla, Guy Major, Dave Stewart, and Todd Klein; Larry Ganem, for listening in tough times; and editors Mike Marts, Harvey Richards, Rickey Purdin, and Darren Shan.

And most of all, a huge thank you to everyone who read the book. Hearing your voices, your reactions, your enthusiasm every month was such a joy, so humbling, so rewarding. You guys rock! Because so many of you embraced the series, we were able to complete four arcs, and your passion for Batwoman encouraged us to push ourselves to do our best work with each and every issue.

Thank you for loving Batwoman as much as we do.

Goodbye for now,

Haden & J H

Batwoman has been a nationally recognized book for its portrayal of the main protagonist, a gay woman. It’s won two GLAAD Awards for its portrayal of gay characters. Recently two characters of the same-sex got engaged with little promotion or fanfare by DC Comics.

We’ve spoken to numerous former and current DC creators and editors and all paint a picture of a chaotic scene with issues on every side. Senior decisions impacting editors impacting creators, creators whose egos have gotten to them and editors run amok. It’ll take a long time to set this train straight.

Williams has gone to Twitter to further clarify on the gay marriage issue:

https://twitter.com/JHWilliamsIII/statuses/375495392592293888

I’m guessing there won’t be a third GLAAD Award in the future….

Update: DC has Tweeted a response:

https://twitter.com/DCComics/statuses/375698869935677441

https://twitter.com/DCComics/statuses/375698753757650944

Around the Tubes

New York Comic Con is over, the third season of The Walking Dead has premiered and Comic Book Men is back! So much to go over and get up on the site. Expect a packed week of stuff!

Around the Blogs

Bonner County Daily Bee – Linked website offends parentsYay free speech!, Ugh.

Comics Alliance – Guardians Of The Galaxy And Nova Make A Cosmic Comeback At Cup O’ JoeCould be cool.

TowleRoad – Gay Marriage In Comic Books Mixes Business And PressureAn entire panel covered this at NYCC. Great to see adult discussion about the topic.

VentureBeat – Former AdMob team launches an iPad app store for self-published comic books Interesting.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Harvest #3

Talking Comics – Popeye #6

Talking Comics – Think Tank #3

Talking Comics – Valentine, Vol. 1: The Ice Death

Hobby Lobby Releases Statement About Chik-Fil-A

This has to be one of the strangest press releases I’ve gotten in a while. Hobby Lobby International has decided to make a statement regarding Chik-Fil-A‘s stance on gay marriage. Hobby Lobby was founded in 1964 and is another company that’s identified as being founded on “Christian values.” Here’s their statement that comes from Debra Love, the President of Hobby Lobby International:

After numerous calls asking for comment, we believe that we need to clarify our position, especially since we are known as a Christian-based company. Our core values call for respect for each other, our customers and our suppliers and for us to treat others as we would best like to be treated ourselves. We believe that we must demonstrate love for our fellow man as we are called upon to do as Christians. We respect our employees by offering a workplace that is free of judgment and bias, and one that gives everyone an opportunity to succeed and grow.

The press release ended with

Hobby Lobby does not discriminate with regard to race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, sexual preference or any other basis protected by state or federal law.

Well, glad that’s cleared up….

Graphic Policy Radio – The One Where We Talk Astonishing X-Men #51

Yesterday say the latest episode of Graphic Policy Radio.  We chatted about Astonishing X-Men #51, where Northstar and his boyfriend Kyle get married.  We chat about the importance of the issue, some history of Northstar and how comic book companies are treating gay characters compared to real world gay entertainers.

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Graphic Policy Radio This Sunday!

Graphic Policy Radio is back this Sunday, catching up on the latest comic book news and reviews.  There’s a lot going on with comic books that are getting media attention.

This episode we’ll be talking about the recent same-sex marriage in Astonishing X-Men and the reaction as well as the reviews and news.

So join us Sunday and join in on the conversation by calling or chatting with us on Twitter.

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