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Travis Ian

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Avenger

Subj: Re: Transcript of a Jim Shooter interview-plus follow-up question
Posted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 07:14:12 pm EST (Viewed 2 times)
Reply Subj: Transcript of a Jim Shooter interview-plus follow-up question
Posted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 05:14:20 pm EST (Viewed 2 times)

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Here is a transcript from the fanzine "One Thin Dime an' Two Thick Pennies" regarding a touchy topic:

VB: Some people are getting some varied opinions of Ken. Considering that John Byrne claims that you told him, to his face, "There are no homosexuals in the Marvel Universe", there are people surprised that you created this character at all.

JS I never Told John that. I don't know what he's talking about.,

Okay, it's like this. As far as gay characters in the Marvel Universe, I was once interviewed by one of the local gay newspapers. The story the guy was intending to write was, "Marvel discriminates against gays". He sat down and started asking me about my anti-gay stance. And I said that's ridiculous, we don't have an anti-gay stance. We don't show a lot of heterosexual sex in the comics, why would we show any homosexual sexuality? And he said, "Why aren't there any Marvel Superheroes who are gay?" I said there were lots of them. He asked which ones, and I said, "You can't tell, can you?" And it was like a trial, he said "no further questions," and he left.
The point was, we weren't out to do gay comics. And whether or not a character was gay or not was incidental to the action that it was not what we were focusing on. I imagine that there's some evidence that some of the heroes aren't gay. Or at least aren't public about it. It wasn't that there were no gay characters, not that the subject was taboo, the thing was that I didn't want to do morality plays. I didn't want to do propaganda. I used to just tell guys, if you do a good story, and inherent in that story is any point about the human condition, that's good. That's called "Content", I like it. But if you set out to do a story that's really about your political point of view, I don't want it. Bill Mantlo did a story that was totally propaganda. Anti-NRA, pro-gun control story, that's what the story was about. It wasn't about the hero, it wasn't about what was happening to the character, it was him moving characters around like chess pieces to prove his point about gun control. Now, my position on gun control is nobody's business, and was completely irrelevant to that comic book. And I would have had the same opinion if Larry Hama (who happens to have an opposite opinion on gun control as Bill) had done an "everyone oughta have a handgun" morality play. And in truth, I found that more offensive, to do propaganda for any cause, whether you think it's right or not. Now if he had done a story where one character, or a hundred characters, was pro gun-control, fine. If he decided that Robbie Robertson was anti-handgun, fine; Batman is anti-handgun. But there's a difference between a character having a belief that comes up in the natural course of events and structuring events into a little morality play to proselytizing your political point of view.
If I said anything to John, it was probably along those lines. I don't want you to do a comic about gay issues. If you want to do a comic about Alpha Flight, and somebody in there is gay, I don't care. If you want to do a story where someone being gay is a factor, I don't care. But don't do me a morality play. I also remember objecting to the idea that you have ONE gay character, in all your books, the only one you declare is gay...and you have him get AIDS. I found that to look like we were sending a message. And we're not. The position of Marvel Comics...is no position, on the topic. The position is to tell good stories, and in them to have whatever comments about the human position that arise. Not to set up a gay character and then knock him off in a way that looks like you're trying to send a message.
In short, I strongly object to dreck, I strenuously object to assholery, to things that are against or irrelevant to what we're trying to do. And what we're trying to do is entertain. And to me the best entertainment is the kind that has content. So I'm all in favor of touching every issue you want to touch, but not in favor of this trash propaganda. I'll stand by all the things I've ever written, I've ever said. And if I'm misunderstood, and lied about, well, that's not news to me. That happens a lot.


OK, so we can probably take Shooter at his word that his accounting is true, but my question is how many Marvel characters are gay, lesbian, or bi-sexual? Northstar, Moondragon, Deadpool (supposedly) are some that come to mind, as well as Flatman from the GLA.

For some reason I suspect Beast had homosexual urges, but that might just be from the Wonder Man kiss during the Busiek run on Avengers.

> Here is a transcript from the fanzine "One Thin Dime an' Two Thick Pennies" regarding a touchy topic:
>
> VB: Some people are getting some varied opinions of Ken. Considering that John Byrne claims that you told him, to his face, "There are no homosexuals in the Marvel Universe", there are people surprised that you created this character at all.
>
> JS I never Told John that. I don't know what he's talking about.,
>
> Okay, it's like this. As far as gay characters in the Marvel Universe, I was once interviewed by one of the local gay newspapers. The story the guy was intending to write was, "Marvel discriminates against gays". He sat down and started asking me about my anti-gay stance. And I said that's ridiculous, we don't have an anti-gay stance. We don't show a lot of heterosexual sex in the comics, why would we show any homosexual sexuality? And he said, "Why aren't there any Marvel Superheroes who are gay?" I said there were lots of them. He asked which ones, and I said, "You can't tell, can you?" And it was like a trial, he said "no further questions," and he left.
> The point was, we weren't out to do gay comics. And whether or not a character was gay or not was incidental to the action that it was not what we were focusing on. I imagine that there's some evidence that some of the heroes aren't gay. Or at least aren't public about it. It wasn't that there were no gay characters, not that the subject was taboo, the thing was that I didn't want to do morality plays. I didn't want to do propaganda. I used to just tell guys, if you do a good story, and inherent in that story is any point about the human condition, that's good. That's called "Content", I like it. But if you set out to do a story that's really about your political point of view, I don't want it. Bill Mantlo did a story that was totally propaganda. Anti-NRA, pro-gun control story, that's what the story was about. It wasn't about the hero, it wasn't about what was happening to the character, it was him moving characters around like chess pieces to prove his point about gun control. Now, my position on gun control is nobody's business, and was completely irrelevant to that comic book. And I would have had the same opinion if Larry Hama (who happens to have an opposite opinion on gun control as Bill) had done an "everyone oughta have a handgun" morality play. And in truth, I found that more offensive, to do propaganda for any cause, whether you think it's right or not. Now if he had done a story where one character, or a hundred characters, was pro gun-control, fine. If he decided that Robbie Robertson was anti-handgun, fine; Batman is anti-handgun. But there's a difference between a character having a belief that comes up in the natural course of events and structuring events into a little morality play to proselytizing your political point of view.
> If I said anything to John, it was probably along those lines. I don't want you to do a comic about gay issues. If you want to do a comic about Alpha Flight, and somebody in there is gay, I don't care. If you want to do a story where someone being gay is a factor, I don't care. But don't do me a morality play. I also remember objecting to the idea that you have ONE gay character, in all your books, the only one you declare is gay...and you have him get AIDS. I found that to look like we were sending a message. And we're not. The position of Marvel Comics...is no position, on the topic. The position is to tell good stories, and in them to have whatever comments about the human position that arise. Not to set up a gay character and then knock him off in a way that looks like you're trying to send a message.
> In short, I strongly object to dreck, I strenuously object to assholery, to things that are against or irrelevant to what we're trying to do. And what we're trying to do is entertain. And to me the best entertainment is the kind that has content. So I'm all in favor of touching every issue you want to touch, but not in favor of this trash propaganda. I'll stand by all the things I've ever written, I've ever said. And if I'm misunderstood, and lied about, well, that's not news to me. That happens a lot.
>
>
> OK, so we can probably take Shooter at his word that his accounting is true, but my question is how many Marvel characters are gay, lesbian, or bi-sexual? Northstar, Moondragon, Deadpool (supposedly) are some that come to mind, as well as Flatman from the GLA.
>
> For some reason I suspect Beast had homosexual urges, but that might just be from the Wonder Man kiss during the Busiek run on Avengers.


In addition to (and including) those already mentioned, we have:

- Arnold Astrovik (Vance's dad)
- Bloke (from X-Force/X-Statix)
- Union Jack II
- Flatman
- Freedom Ring
- Living Lightning
- Wiccan
- Hulkling
- Machinesmith (although, he's a machine soooo...)
- Northstar (duh)
- Rawhide Kid
- Vivisector (from X-Statix)
- Phat (from X-Statix)

With the ladies...:

- Amazon
- Phyla-Vell
- Karolina Dean
- Moondragon

Bisexual...:
- Destiny
- Mystique
- Black Cat (in the MC2 universe and thanks to a side comment in the 616)
- Marlo Jones
- Mephisto
- Jennifer Kale
- Electro
- Skein

I picked most of these off of http://www.gayleague.com/gay/characters/index.php. They have a ton of bios, including more from Marvel (and including Ultimate characters like Colossus and other characters who may not be gay or bi in the 616 but are in other timelines) and all of the comics companies. But these are the most easily recognizable, I suppose.

---Travis


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