It was officially announced today on ABC’s The View that Marvel’s comic book character Northstar would become their first LGBT super-hero to walk down the aisle when he marries his boyfriend Kyle in the pages of Astonishing X-Men next month.
When he came out as gay in a 1992 issue of Alpha Flight, Northstar effectively became the world’s first major gay superhero, but it was unfortunately a distinction he would largely be alone in keeping for quite some time. In more recent years he’s been joined by notable gay and lesbian characters like Batwoman and the Question, and Wiccan and Hulking, but none of Marvel or DC’s same-sex super couples have made it to the alter until now (Apollo and Midnighter’s Wildstorm wedding notwithstanding).
In the June issue of Astonishing X-Men, Northstar (real name Jean-Paul Beaubier) and Kyle Jinadu will join the ranks of Superman and Lois Lane, Spiderman and Mary Jane, and other notable comics couples whose weddings their publishers turned into a major media event (and sales booster). Marvel Editor-in-Chief told The Huffington Post that he sees it a natural reflection of real world events, saying “Gay marriage is legal in New York State, most of our characters live in New York State, and a percentage of them are gay, so we'd be remiss not to consider how it would affect them, their friends, families, and teammates.”
Writer Marjorie Liu said she was excited by the storytelling opportunities that Northstar’s relationship afforded her, and offered a very nuanced take on how she defines his character:
Northstar's sexuality doesn't define him, but it is an important part of him (who we love being the most important defining relationship of all), and it's a critical fragment of his story that influences his outlook, his life, in the same way that his skin color does, and his gender, and his mutant powers… Going deeper, I think about love and friendship, and how our relationships alter and define the progression of our lives. For all his vanity and ego, Northstar's heart is dedicated to helping people. He's loyal to his friends. Kyle is now the center of his world.
More than just advancing Northstar’s story in a new and interesting direction, the fact that Marvel has turned the wedding into a major media event is a definite sign of our country’s continued evolution on the subject. "When a major comic publisher like Marvel not only includes, but publicly celebrates the legal wedding of two of its gay characters, it is a reflection of how supporting same-sex couples has become the new normal," said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. "Readers expect to see their realities portrayed in these fictional worlds and today that includes married gay and lesbian couples."
June should be great month for LGBT comic fans as not only will Marvel feature the Northstar wedding, but rival DC will also be re-introducing one of its “major iconic” male characters as gay in its recently revamped universe, DC’s senior VP of Publicity told ABC News. In fact it's shaping up to be a great year, given that gay character Kevin Keller’s wedding was recently featured in the January issue of Life With Archie, which sold out across the country.
GLAAD would like to thank Marvel Comics for taking this fantastic step with one of their longest standing gay characters and sending such a strong, positive message to their millions of fans.