Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Astonishing X-Men 50 & 51: Marvel gives us Mainstream comics’ first Gay marriage...

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Astonishing X-Men will have the first 'mainstream' Gay wedding. Northstar, who came out in 1992 (after a long period in the 80s) , proposes in tomorrow's issue (50); with the wedding taking place in issue 51. Whilst this really shouldn't be a big deal in 2012, but the fact is it is...So are we saying well done Marvel for following through with something they started back in 1992? Or is there another reaction? More below...
Here’s the Marvel statement...
“Astonishing X-Men #50 art by Mike Perkins
The X-Men, one of the world’s most popular super hero teams, have always been at the forefront of the biggest stories in comic history, and today is no different as Marvel is proud to announce the wedding that has everyone talking! Today, fans worldwide learned on ABC’s "The View" that Jean-Paul Beaubier, aka Northstar, proposes to his boyfriend Kyle Jinadu in ASTONISHING X-MEN #50, on-sale May 23 in comic stores, on the Marvel Comics app and at the Marvel Digital Comics Shop. The creative team of New York Times best-sellers Marjorie Liu and Mike Perkins have put Northstar and Kyle’s relationship to the test—and now they’re about to take their biggest step yet. But will their path to wedded matrimony in New York City be smooth or are there hidden dangers around the corner?

“The Marvel Universe has always reflected the world outside your window, so we strive to make sure our characters, relationships and stories are grounded in that reality,” said Axel Alonso, Marvel Editor in Chief. “We’ve been working on this story for over a year to ensure Northstar and Kyle's wedding reflects Marvel's 'world outside your window' tradition."
Then, on June 20, don’t miss the wedding of Northstar and Kyle in the pages of ASTONISHING X-MEN #51! This unforgettable issue features covers by Dustin Weaver and Marko Djurdjevic, along with a special “Create Your Own Wedding” blank variant cover! Select comic book retailers nationwide will host wedding parties at their stores to celebrate this joyous occasion, with special items exclusively available at participating stores!

“The story of Northstar and Kyle is universal, and at the core of everything I write: a powerful love between two people who have to fight for it against all odds,” said Liu. “This is the quintessential Marvel story, one that blends the modern world with the fantasy of super heroes in order to tell an exciting story that begins with a wedding—and continues in ways you can’t imagine.”

Astonishing X-Men #50 art by Mike Perkins
Northstar was first introduced to comic fans in the pages of 1979’s UNCANNY X-MEN #120, a member of the super hero team Alpha Flight and antagonist to the popular super heroes. A gold medal winning Olympian and successful businessman, the French-Canadian super hero quickly became one of the most popular members of Alpha Flight when its ongoing series launched in 1983. In 1992’s historic ALPHA FLIGHT #106, Northstar became the first openly gay super hero when he announced his sexual identity through national media. Since then, Northstar has not only joined the X-Men but become one of their most popular new members. Northstar and Kyle have been a couple since 2009, garnering a large fan following since their first appearance together.

“As a long-time fan of the X-Men, it’s not only a true honour to be part of such a historically significant story but also a complete joy,” explained Perkins.”

Here’s how I see it. I KNOW there are plenty of people out there who are opposed to gay marriage. I’d like to think that anyone who ever truly READ these books would be of the persuasion that believes that gay couples should be afforded all of the same legal rights and responsibilities that ‘straight’ couples have, just that MARRIAGE, for religious reason etc. Is something ‘you’ feel is not appropriate? That’s an understandable view, I totally get it. However, the fact remains that Marvel have always dealt with social and political issues, often ahead of the game. Captain America went off to war and punched Hitler in the face, BEFORE The United States entered WWII. The Black Panther was the first mainstream, black Super hero; Gabriel Jones was part of Nic Fury’s WWII squad even though the American Military was segregated in WWII. Racism and prejudice of all kinds have been dealt with, often skilfully, throughout Marvel’s history. So, now that Gay couples can get married, like it or not, surely they have to reflect that in their comics’ right? More to the “this is not a publicity stunt” point, Northstar has been openly gay since 1992! This is no quick fix to get a gay marriage storyline out there. His relationship with Kyle has been ongoing for a few years now.
From Skinheads harassing black characters in Spider-Man comics, to The Black Panther losing is powers because he wasn’t taking direct action against neighbouring country that practiced Apartheid, the “world outside your window” has always been a major part of the Marvel Universe. It’s why their characters tended to live in New York and California, not Gotham City or Metropolis. It genuinely is something to be applauded, even if they don’t always get it right, at the worst they try to reflect the world we actually live in, all colours, all shapes and sizes; at best they try to shape it for the better.
The less fortunate 'Ultimate Comics Northstar' and his boyfriend, Colossus.

 In the Ultimate Marvel comics Northstar s the boyfriend of Colossus, one of the “major” X-Men characters, for those cynics who feel that perhaps Northstar isn’t a ‘big deal’. It is also worth noting that he is a big deal in the comic book world, and has been an important character for some time. It has also been reported that at the Kapow comic convention. In London, DC publisher Dan DiDio, said that a character that had been assumed to be straight was soon to come out as gay. We shall find out who soon enough, but I’m betting it is not Batman, Superman, Green Lantern (any of the 15 that matter) any of the Flashes, except maybe one of the Kids, Wonder Woman or Green Arrow. As

Here’s Whoopi...

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