There was a time when having a gay character in comics was practically unheard of. We've been seeing more and more and it's about time they start getting the spotlight. In this week's TEEN TITANS #3, we will be introduced to the newest member of the team, an openly gay and flamboyant teen going by the name Bunker.
We asked writer Scott Lobdell a few questions on this new character.
Comic Vine: Where did the decision come from for a gay Teen Titan on this team?
Scott Lobdell: It just came about because when Brett [Booth] and I were asked to create some new characters, he and I agreed that the comics industry is filled to overflowing with straight white male characters... and it was time (well, past time) to bring an openly gay teenager to the series.
It may or may not surprise people to know that while the character was already agreed upon, we had a lot of back and forth about what his powers would be. The next time someone interviews Brett they should ask him if he has any pre-Wall sketches.
Actually, it wasn't until I had a sit down with DC Maestro Geoff Johns and I was talking to him about how Miguel's powers were really giving me trouble... and he suggested he always tries to create powers from character. Now, certainly I've done that before with Marrow and Cecilia Reyes and others... but hearing it from Geoff really drove the point home.
So I was thinking "What is it this character is about?" Pretty much Miguel doesn't have a lot of walls between what he thinks and what he says or does. He's not "angsty"... he says what he's feeling, he'll hug you if you surprise him or make him happy! So in that way he's also about tearing walls down as well -- he strips away the pretense. Walls, hmm. Then I thought it was kind of subversive, if a gay character had the "wall" powers because here in the States the gay rights movement started with Stonewall in NYC's Greenwich Village.
That night it was settled: Wall it was! I wrote to Brett at about a hundred words a minute and, like Brett almost always does, he threw himself into it (even when we don't necessarily see eye to eye, it never keeps us from creating awesome stories and characters together). And to be clear, I don't mean we're on different pages about having a gay character, only that you can imagine anyone's trepidation to get an excited email about how the brand new super hero we're creating is going to be able to mentally control a 3 x 3 square foot of bricks. "It was like, Um..."
CV: It's already been said that he's an openly gay character, how much of that will we see in the issues? Will it be a focus for the character or just a fact everyone on the team will know about?
SL: Well for the first six months the book is so on the run, it is unlikely Miggs is going to find anyone with to share some down time with, romantically speaking. But there are certainly plans in the future for him to date if not exclusively. As far as being "a focus for the character" I'm not really sure what that means. It will be part of his character, but the focus?
CV: Will anyone on the team have difficulty adjusting/accepting who he is?
SL: I can't imagine, can you? I think for the most part super heroes are the most open minded people in the first place, but also (and everyone can rail against this theory if they chose) but I just don't think being gay is much of an issue for today's more enlightened youth. Now, certainly there is bullying and coming out to one's family and all the myriad problems and obstacles that come with coming out... but we're living in a time where there are more gay celebrities and television and movie stars and talk show hosts and rock stars and reality show contestants and even other super heroes... but as far as this new generations acceptance of gays it just feels like it would be false note on our part if we decided that one of the Teen Titans would have any difficulty accepting Miggs because he's gay.
Even Superboy, who has been in his share of VR simulations, we can see in his very first issue that two of his classmates were gay. To that end I don't think he'd find anything out of the norm about Miguel.
CV: You also wrote the issue where Northstar revealed he was gay (ALPHA FLIGHT #106), is your approach to handling Bunker different?
SL: Night and day! Northstar spent his entire life, up until that point, publicly in the closet -- and I believe he was angry with a lot of the world because of it. Miguel on the other was all but born out of the closet. There was never a time in his life that his parents or family tried to shoehorn him into a straight lifestyle... he's just always been Miguel, which as someone who has always been Scott I can tell you it is very liberating to not try to be someone you're not!
CV: Will we see him in a relationship anytime soon?
SL: At least one! But again, honestly, not until around issue eight or nine.
CV: Do you plan on taking on the prejudice and hate some feel towards the gay community or is his sexual orientation not going to be a major issue?
SL: Who plans on confronting homophobia? So, no, I don't plan out it... but I'm sure it is out there and relatively sure Miguel or other members of the team are going to have to deal with it in some capacity or the other.... but, no, I don't have any "plans". (Sigh. Wouldn't it be awesome if I -- and Miggs -- didn't ever have to?)
Yes, it would. Be sure to pick up TEEN TITANS #3 tomorrow, November 23.