Raj: Stewart, settle an argument for us: Who would win, Billy the Kid or the White Wizard?
Stewart: If I tell you that I’m robbing you of the hours of fun you can have from the magical rootin-tootin low price of $24.95.
Raj: I’ll take one.
Howard: Hmmm make it 2
Leonard: I hate all of you and myself, 3.
Stewart: Ok I’ll ring it up…(under his breath) like shooting Nerds in a barrel.
The Big Bang Theory “The Flaming Spittoon Acquisition” 2012
It’s not personal , it’s strictly business
Michael Corleone The Godfather
Because of the large penetration of the comic book market into the film industry these days (the Avengers movie was pardon my language, a comic collectors wet dream) people forget just how small the niche comic book market is.
The idea normally is to try to find either a character or an artist that gives a reason for people to buy the comic, Me I was always a story guy myself, it was rare that story guys moved books. If you can’t find a character, artist or a story plot, there was always the backup plan: Find a gimmick.
That’s why when I heard about the decision to make a “major DC character” gay I snickered when people asked: “Will it be Batman? Will it be Superman?” Maybe Americans don’t know how few Gay people there actually are in the US but the sales crew at DC does and there was no way they were tampering with the franchise.
Then I heard the choice was Alan Scott the Golden age Green Lantern. I laughed out loud NOT because his weakness is wood, but because of my years as the owner of a comic book store allowed me to see this for what it is.
Earth to the general public: There is not a vast comic book customer base for a “gay” character. The single guys who are the vast majority of comic collectors aren’t without a women by choice…
Stuart: Need help finding anything you like?
Amy Farrah Fowler: Yeah, a comic book without a woman whose bosom could be used as a flotation device.
Stuart: Sorry, people who come here like big boobs. Some of them have big boobs.
…but if you make a comic a “gay icon” there will be a large chunk of the gay community that will buy the comic simply because it is the IN thing to do.
In terms of sales as a guy who once owned a comic store let me tell you a comic featuring Alan Scott had as much chance generating the sales needed to be cost-effective as an X rated movie starring the overweight Michael Moore and the 95-year-old Zsa Zsa Gabor.
But suddenly you re-launch Alan Scott as gay and presto, your minor character introduced in 1940 isn’t just a comic, it’s a cause celebre . Suddenly buying the comic is making a statement. If you purchase the new Green Lantern featuring Alan Scott you are an obviously enlightened and not some racist bigot homophobe.
And now that Jim Parsons who plays the most famous comic book geek in TV fiction, has come out he can buy 100,000 copies of each of the various alternate covers of the first issues (each with a different color corresponding to the rainbow flag) and distribute them to schools nationwide as part of the anti-bullying campaign.
While on the other hand consider Alan Scott’s Green Lantern was launched in 1940 and cancelled in 1949 that means just about everyone who would care about making him gay is either long dead or hasn’t opened a comic since the troops came home from Korea.
Bottom line is this comic will sell a bunch of extra copies to people who would never buy a comic book in their lives. They won’t actually READ the comic, it will sit on the shelf somewhere next to their copies of The Satanic Verses and Dreams of my father and DC will keep it up as long as they can.
As long as they don’t fall for their own propaganda thinking “Hey there is a huge market for gay superheroes” they will be able to play this out for quite a while until the next mandatory “buy this to prove you aren’t a bigot” crusade comes out and will laugh all the way to the bank.
Oh and to the few people who will look at the title of this post and have a “Sarah Palin target” conniption fit, get a life.