(CNSNews.com) – Marvel comics has introduced “gay marriage” into its storyline for two characters in its popular “Astonishing X-Men” series, a move that was announced first on ABC’s The View and then on the Marvel Web site, and which has been criticized by pro-family groups as an attempt to promote same-sex marriage.
“Marvel is making history with a comic hitting the newsstands tomorrow. In ‘Astonishing X-Men’ #50, openly gay X-Man, Northstar, will propose to his boyfriend, Kyle, with a gay wedding to follow in an upcoming issue. That’s kind of fantastic,” said The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg on May 23. (The fictional marriage will take place in the upcoming June 20 issue, ‘Astonishing X-Men” #51.)
But in a May 25 statement, One Million Moms, a project of the American Family Association said, “Children desire to be just like superheroes. Children mimic superhero actions and even dress up in costumes to resemble these characters as much as possible. Can you imagine little boys saying, ‘I want a boyfriend or husband like X-Men”?
“These companies are heavily influencing our youth by using children's superheroes to desensitize and brainwash them in thinking that a gay lifestyle choice is normal and desirable,” the association said.
Marvel Senior Vice President and Executive Director Tom Brevoort said the story had been in the works for several months but was more inspired by New York’s legalization of gay marriage in June 2011.
“It was natural to wonder how this change in legislation would affect him,” Brevoort said.
Northstar became the first openly gay superhero character in 1992’s “Alpha Flight” #106 during his antagonistic rise to popular superhero status as a French-Canadian gold medal Olympian and successful businessman. The characters Northstar and Kyle first became a couple in June 2009.
“Marvel has a long and storied history of diversity among our heroes. Because our tales, for all their fantastical elements, take place against the backdrop of the real world, the world our readers live in, we strive to be as inclusive as possible in reflecting the full spectrum of human beings that inhabit our world,” Brevoort said.
“And because we try to set our stories in the real world and to have the issues of the day affect our characters,” he said, “it’s an inevitable byproduct that not every reader is going to love every story we do.”
Brevoort said the core of what has made the Marvel characters successful for more than 50 years is that readers relate to them, they face similar emotional and intellectual challenges.
As first reported by Rolling Stone, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso said not everyone will agree with Marvel’s decision for two of its same-sex characters to marry. However, Alonso also said the debate itself will be reflected in the comic book story.
“Let me make it clear -- this story begins with a marriage, but it ain’t over with the marriage,” Alonso told the magazine.
“We’d be doing the story a disservice not to reflect the controversy around it,” he said. “While a lot of Marvel Universe characters will be attending Northstar’s wedding, not everyone is going to accept the invitation and not everyone is going to accept the validity of Northstar’s vows. At least one of Northstar’s team members is going to turn down the invitation, and that’s going to make for an interesting dynamic.”
Nonetheless, pro-family groups were critical of Marvel’s introduction of the controversial moral issue into comic books that are read by many young people.
In a telephone interview with CNSNews.com, Don Feder, communications director for the World Congress of Families, said he thinks the issue is less a reflection of [society] and more an attempt of elites in the communications/media world “shaping” the culture.
“If Marvel is interested in reflecting the culture, they’d reflect the opposition [to gay marriage] and the 50 million Americans who have voted directly against it in 31 states,” Feder said.
Family Research Council Senior Fellow Peter Sprigg told CNSNews.com, “It's unfortunate that this comic book series would be used to advance the sexual revolution and, implicitly, the homosexual political agenda.”
“I think whatever boost in sales might come from the novelty or curiosity factors will be more than offset by the number of both kids and parents who will be turned off by its obvious social and political agenda,” Sprigg said.”
When asked whether he thinks Marvel will lose any readers by its decision to introduce homosexual marriage into a superhero comic book, Brevoort said, “Honestly, we might lose a few -- that’s always a risk whenever you deal with anything that’s a sensitive subject -- but they’ll likely be offset by the number of readers who’ll be attracted by the storyline to pick up the comic. So it’s a zero-sum game.”