Marvel plans same-sex marriage while DC comics says established character is to come out
Comic book crime-fighters the X-Men are taking a break from saving the day in order to attend the first same-sex marriage in the superhero world, set for June.
Publishers Marvel said on Tuesday that Jean-Paul Beaubier, aka Northstar, a Canadian with piercing blue eyes and silver-streaked black hair who can move and fly at superhuman speeds, will propose to his longtime boyfriend Kyle Jinadu in the issue, Astonishing X-Men #50, due on sale this week in the US.
Also on Tuesday, the spotlight on homosexual heroes was turned up a further notch after a publisher at Marvel's rival, DC comics, let slip at the Kapow comic convention in London that one of its established characters would be revealed as gay.
The comments by Dan DiDio sparked speculation that a character previously thought to be straight would reveal themselves to be gay, with Batman and Wonder Woman among those under scrutiny.
Openly gay superheroes already exist in the form of the lesbian, flame-haired crime fighter Batwoman and the gay male couple Apollo and Midnighter.
More than a year ago, DiDio was interviewed in the Advocate talking about gay characters and the need to reflect society as it is. Then, the intention was to introduce new characters, who were gay. He said: "One of the things we're very focused on doing for these types of stories is rather than [change an existing] character, we want to make sure that this is the basis of who that character is right from the start."
Marvel's editor-in-chief, Axel Alonso said in a statement on Tuesday: "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.
"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."
The pair will marry in the next issue of Astonishing X-Men #51, on sale in the US on 20 June, and some comic book retailers will be hosting wedding parties on that day, Marvel said.
Northstar and Kyle have been a couple since 2009, but Marvel is not promising the pair will live happily ever after. In fact, Marvel asks in its wedding announcement: "Will their path to wedded matrimony in New York City be smooth or are there hidden dangers around the corner?"