A blog dedicated to art, entertainment, language, and culture.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Marvelous Wedding Photo


I want you to take a good, long look at this picture.  What is the strangest thing you see here?  Little, green blob-thing sitting in the front row?  Sasquatch?  The dragon?  People thinking it was appropriate to wear spandex to a wedding?  If you answered "the gay, interracial couple" then you have some serious issues.

When I first saw this new cover to an impending gay marriage edition of Astonishing X-Men, I *god* I couldn't care less.  I just thought, "Good job, Marvel.  You're on the right side of history.  Now when is Spider-Man going to punch someone in the face?"  And odds are in the next few years Northstar's beloved "Kyle" will die some tragic death and he'll turn dark and broody.

...then again... LOOK AT THAT COVER!!!  The image perfectly displays how normal gay marriage is becoming, and that is wonderful.  Two men getting married seems typical when seated next to the utterly ridiculous cavalcade of wacky characters Marvel has established over the years.  Organizations like One Million Moms can throw up their arms and condemn homosexuality in a comic book.  They can say things like:
"This is ridiculous! Why do adult gay men need comic superheroes as role models? They don't but do want to indoctrinate impressionable young minds by placing these gay characters on pedestals in a positive light."  
But, there are adult gay men who read comic books and would like to see themselves represented explicitly, and a marriage is probably the most wholesome thing children will see in these comics (seated next to the exploitation of the female body and oh-so-much ultra-violence).

Look at that cover!  "Imagine a world," the religious conservative might plea.  "Imagine a world where homosexuality is legal and people begin marrying dogs or the Eiffel Tower."  Honestly, I'm not opposed to people marrying animals, provided the animal has super-human intelligence like several of those in the Marvel universe.  How could Sasquatch or Iceman be opposed to gay marriage when their own legitimacy as equals is constantly being called into question...and they're saving the world every other day.  It would be hard to define human rights if humans weren't the only sophisticated species on the planet.  Can that dragon vote?

It's amazing we can look at that picture and only see the gay couple, when so many other things are going on in the background.  Ridiculous characters crowd around, one would never see any of them in reality, but we are drawn to the men in the front.  There is nothing wrong with this picture.  It's perfect!  The comic's writer Marjorie Liu put it:
"Here are two people, trying to live their lives – mutant and gay, black and gay – empowered in their own ways, but also fringe-dwellers. And they're making it happen. They're living life on their own terms. It doesn't matter that it's a superhero comic, the message is: You can do the same thing."
I understand what she means, but I think it matters that it is a superhero comic.  Superheroes allow us to see the margins of society as heroic, despite their abnormalities.  The superhero is meant to be...well...heroic.  S/he goes against the norm in order to do good and save the day.  Even if, like the X-Men, s/he is not appreciated for it.  In a superhero comic, we can see the juxtaposition between normal people (a homosexual couple) and our beloved superheroes (the incredibly strange folks in the back there).  How can we embrace these superheroes, as ridiculous as they are, and be appalled by the normal human, "Kyle."