Does Gay Marriage Have a Place in Comic Books?
I have to admit that if it wasn’t for the organisation One Million Moms boycott I probably wouldn’t have picked up Astonishing X-Men #51. It’s not a title I normally read, but I wanted to help go against the boycott since I disagree with the organisation. Marvel claims that they are trying represent real life and gay marriage is becoming more common in recent years, but have they given a realistic representation or is it just a publicity stunt?
The comic starts with Northstar on his wedding day, but quickly leads into a flashback that continues the battle from the previous issue. At this point, in the flashback, Kyle has not even agreed to marry Northstar, Jean-Paul. This means that within one issue the two get engaged and married, which feels extremely rushed. Stereotypically, gay couples aren’t exactly known for moving at a slow pace, but still this seems too fast. Even characters in the comic comment on how fast JP and Kyle are moving, by not avoiding this issue a lot of the damage is fixed and it feels more real. After all Northstar is the faster man in the Marvel universe.
One of my favourite parts of the comic is when Warbird refuses to attend the wedding because she doesn’t ‘recognise the validity of the ceremony vows’. Even though they’re friends and she respects Northstar she won’t go to his wedding and that’s a really interesting scene. I’m glad that they put it in because it means that they’re acknowledging that the world is not filled with open and accepting people and even the ones closest to us may not always be that way either. Another interesting part was Havok and Puck sitting at the bar talking about the wedding and how Havok’s grandmother would feel about it. Having gone into this thinking that it would have been a cheery story full of non-judgemental people I was glad to see that some of the good guys were actually pretty close minded, which is strange considering a lot of them are mutants who would have been judged by other people their whole life.
A fun point made near the start had me expecting a huge disaster during the wedding, but what actually happens is much more interesting and may even convince me to pick up the next issue. It was interesting to see how they fit in so many how the wedding guests, giving a number of them a panel or two to shine. Even more intriguing was seeing which characters didn’t show up for the wedding. There was also a nod to the Avengers vs X-Men crossover event, which was funny and sort of adds a whole new nightmare to the ‘where do I seat people’ dilemma.
All things considered, the issue did a pretty good job at portraying a real relationship and the stigma that surrounds same sex marriage. The story would have suffered if they’d left out the bad and just focused on JP and Northstar getting hitched. The whole mutant thing has always worked as a metaphor for being in a minority group, which means that X-Men were tackling issues like oppression long before they had any gay characters. Northstar is essentially a double minority. The comic represented the issue well highlighting both the loving, sometimes cheesy, relationship and the negative viewpoints some people have. Plus, it was entertaining and how often do you get that with political commentary.
What do you think? Did you buy Astonishing X-Men #51? Do you think it was a good representation of a real life issue? Will you be picking up the next issue? Let me know by voting and leaving a comment below. Also, if you liked this post, don’t forget to click the like button and please subscribe.