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Brutally Honest: Darwyn Cooke On How DC and Marvel Must Change

A simple question becomes the center of controversy

You can ask any creator that has been to a comic book convention- and they would probably agree with me- attending a three day convention can be both mentally and physically draining.  For a creator,  having to be "on" for three days, completing commissions for fans, answering questions (some of which catch you by surprise on camera), is not always easy. The occasional slip-up when answering a question on camera you have not been prepped for in advance is something to be expected. Particularly if it is a subject you are passionate about; and if you work in comics, you damn well better be passionate about them.

Writer/artist Darwyn Cooke ( Parker) has been taking a lot of heat since some of what he stated in an interview this past weekend at the Toronto Fan Expo was scrutinized and gone viral. And while I am not defending Darwyn, I can't say I was personally offended by his statement, but I'll let you come to your own conclusion. You can watch the video and read the transcript below.

 == TEASER ==

Interviewer: "I know you said you wouldn't be going back to Superhero's, right?"
Darwyn: "Yeah, well not in any big way."
Interviewer: "Is there anything you would like to see DC or Marvel change about the way they do business?"
Darwyn: "Yeah I want them to stop catering to the perverted needs of 45 year old men, I want to stop seeing Batman F***king Black Canary, I don't want to hear Batman swearing, I don't want to see him feeding a boy rats. I don't want to see characters getting raped in the a**, I don't want to see characters who have been straight for 60 years become lesbians overnight because the writer's too stupid or uncreative to come up with something decent. I want to see new characters for a new time, and when the industry of superhero comics realizes it's sights to the young people it was meant for, I'll be there with both arms and feet outside."

The comments about Batman are clearly aimed at All-Star Batman and Robin, which, if you read, then you know what I am talking about. However, that isn't the comment that ruffled so many feathers, but the bit at the end about lesbian characters. As The Beat points out, some have considered Darwyn's commentary offensive. But the thing is, Darwyn isn't homophobic- at least I don't think he is. In fact, as pointed out by the gayleague, Darwyn created Argo Bones and Kimball Richards, a gay couple that appeared in his run of The Spirit. If he had a problem with homosexuality in comics, I certainly don't think he would have included a gay couple in his book.

It's clear from the commentary that Darwyn loves comic books and has a real, clear passion for them and for the superhero genre- but that he perhaps longs for the superhero stories he grew up with. While he doesn't come out and state that the lesbian character in question is Kate Kane, we can assume it is she considering the most recent Batwoman title. Darwyn has since responded to the scrutiny at 4th Letter in which he stated:

"I think gay characters are an important and welcome part of any contemporary expression. What I want is to see creators and publishers creating new characters that are gay and lesbian, and spend the decades needed creating and supporting stories about these characters. It strikes me as opportunistic and somewhat wrongheaded to take someone else’s creation and after decades of established character action make that drastic a change."

So now I pose the same question to all of you. As a fan of the comic book genre, how do you think DC and Marvel should change? If so, how? What did you think of Darwyn's commentary?