Up, Up and Out of the Closet

BY Jase Peeples

July 18 2011 8:10 AM ET

 DC Comics grabbed headlines last June when the company announced its entire line of comic books would be overhauled with 52 all-new #1 issues in September. Not only would iconic characters such as Superman and Wonder Woman restart with a fresh number, but costumes and origins for the entire universe of characters would be updated as well.

The company has also taken advantage of the relaunch to establish a wider range of diversity, introducing several LGBT characters in their own titles. Apollo and Midnighter, a gay superhero couple who previously existed in DC’s alternate Wildstorm line of comics, have been incorporated into the company’s main cast of characters. They will join lesbians Batwoman, The Question, and the bisexual African-American superhero Voodoo in DC’s new universe.

DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan Didio provided The Advocate with some insight into the new DC Universe and what we can expect to see from its expanding cast of LGBT characters.

The Advocate: What can you tell us about the new Batwoman and the thought process behind introducing a high-profile lesbian character into the DC Universe?
Dan Didio: We did a big push for Batwoman. We introduced her quite a while ago and we really wanted to push her as one of the mainstay characters in Batman’s world. It was important for us to introduce a gay character in that series. It was important for us to have [that character] featured with a bat symbol on its chest because we knew that would draw the attention and show how much we were behind setting a standard of diversity in the line [and] also making her a strong character in her own right.

Why did you choose to attach such a high-profile gay character to Batman as apposed to other characters like Superman or Wonder Woman?
There’s a lot more characters that inhabit Batman’s world. We knew we were interested in reintroducing the Batwoman character to his mythology and we also wanted to show a [different] point of view…because some of those characters without superpowers come from the same sense of grief in their past. Establishing [Batwoman] as a lesbian early on it givers her a different sensibility, a different point of view, and it also allows us to tell stories from a different angle that sets her apart from the other characters in Batman’s world.

One of you new 52 titles in September, Stormwatch, will feature two gay male superheroes that were already established as a couple in your line of Wildstorm comics. What was the driving force behind incorporating them into the main DC Universe?
When we looked at trying to incorporate some of the characters that inhabited the Wildstorm universe Apollo and Midnighter are two characters that have always popped out. Not because of what they represent, but they’re just strong characters in their own right and [they] were able to represent a story, a style of character that wasn’t represented in the DC Universe. There’s more of an aggressive nature with those characters that will interact interestingly with other characters and allows us to tell more and better stories.

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