Will gay weddings become a trend in boosting comic book sales and attention?
After the commercial success of Archie Comics' gay wedding issue earlier this year, another comic is rumoured to be gearing up for another landmark ceremony.
The first gay marriage in comic books took place in 2002 between Apollo and Midnighter in WildStorm's The Authority.
Then Archie characters Kevin Keller and his boyfriend Clay Walker got hitched in Life With Archie No. 16. The issue, released on January 4, 2012, sold out despite opposition from the conservative Christian group One Million Moms.
While there hasn't been an official announcement yet, rumours are lighting up the Internet that Marvel Comics' first openly gay superhero, Northstar (and a Canadian, no less), of Alpha Flight and X-Men fame, is going to marry his boyfriend, Kyle Jinadu. (Drawing more parallels with the Archie characters, Northstar is also in a gay and interracial relationship.)
The Canadian superhero team Alpha Flight was created by Canadian-American comic book artist and writer John Byrne, and first appeared in Marvel Comics in 1979 (they were linked to the origins of the X-Men character Wolverine).
Alpha Flight (which first had its own comic book series in 1983) boasted pan-Canadian members, including First Nations, Inuit, Newfoundlander, and Québécois characters. Jean-Paul and Jeanne-Marie Beaubier were twin siblings from Quebec with superhuman speed and flight abilities who became Northstar and Aurora.
Although there were always subtle hints that Northstar was gay (apparently Byrne always intended the character to be gay), the superpowered speedster didn't openly declare his sexual orientation until Alpha Flight No. 106 in 1992.
Some of his storylines included adopting a baby girl with HIV and mentoring a gay mutant student. But his romantic life remained much more limited than his heterosexual counterparts (his twin sister Aurora, for example, was constantly flirting with and bedding guys).
Prior to coming out, Raymonde Belmonde was revealed to be an older man who helped Jean-Paul through his teen years and an intimate relationship was hinted at. Tensions also developed between him and his teammate Walter Langowski (Sasquatch), who his sister was dating. After Langowski's death, Northstar's hidden affections for Langowski were briefly revealed.
After coming out, he was depicting having an unrequited crush on Iceman, was hinted as having had sexual relations with Hercules (apparently, who hasn't?), and even dated the X-Man Colossus in an alternate storyline (in which Colossus was also gay). He has also been shown socializing with the openly gay superhero Pantheon.
However, it wasn't until 2009 (having joined the X-Men in 2002) that Northstar was portrayed in a long-term relationship, with his sports company manager Kyle Jinadu (who isn't a mutant or superhero).
Marvel sent out cryptic Save the Date notices by email, which appeared to be styled like wedding invitations. The date in question is June 20, the release date of Astonishing X-Men No. 51, which also falls within Gay Pride Month. And since the couple is Canadian, and gay marriage is legal in Canada.... 'Nuff said?
Observers are speculating that the marriage proposal will take place in Astonishing X-Men No. 50.
Will One Million Moms oppose this issue too? If they do, as we've seen in the past, it'll just serve to boost sales. And overall, if gay weddings do become a trend in comic books, it'll certainly a positive boost for gay marriage and rights, and overall acceptance of differences.