Nov 25, 2016

It's an Alternate Version

It’s an Alternate Version: How We Keep Forgetting Alternate Means Something
Travis Hedge Coke

DC did not “turn Alan Scott gay.” An alternate reality Alan Scott is gay. An alternate version.

You know what alternate realities are. You know what alternate versions are. You are an adult (or a smart kid). You know the score. There are alternate versions of Batman where he looks like Michael Keaton in a rubber suit the neck of which cannot turn. There are versions where he’s a cartoon. Where he’s Christian Bale and the bat-theme is increasingly muted on his costume and equipment. You know this stuff. Quit pretending you don’t.

I’m of the opinion that Wonder Woman was never confirmed in any real sense as not bisexual or potentially so. That the subtext, such as it is, of the oldest Wonder Woman comics isn’t even subtext, it’s not even particularly quiet, it just didn’t use certain words or explicit gestures. That said, the one we have right now? She’s an alternate reality from that. This isn’t the same Wonder Woman from her first appearances. We know that. In story, even, we have explanations for this. Cosmic machinations to alter reality.

If you can wrap your head around three or four different continuities of Batman movies, if you can accept that an alternate reality makes this character evil or this one have a different hairstyle or they can be a cartoon animal, then when it comes to race or sexuality, you’re drawing a line. You.

Ty Templeton explains why gayness matters better than I could.


If a story has a reality-changer, a magic person or a special tool that alters reality, and suddenly a character is different than their established take… I don’t care if the story did not tell you explicitly that the change came from that reality-changer. Connect those dots yourself. If you can’t, I don’t believe that you actually can not. You don’t want to.

If reality gets changed in story, and there are elements changed and the only thing that bugs you is that a tertiary character who hasn’t supported any solo comics of note in possibly seventy years being gay on an alternate universe, that’s about you. That’s revelatory about you.

If you can handle a Batman who is blonde, like Val Kilmer played him, or balding, a Batman who is tall or medium height, but it’s race that holds you up, it’s because you feel race is a bigger deal.

Spider-Man was a humanoid pig for an entire ongoing series. Spider-Man has been impregnated by a World War Two villain and gave birth to himself. He’s grown four extra arms. I’m sorry, but in my world, four extra arms is slightly more absurd or gimmicky than a completely different kid with similar powers dressing up like his hero to continue a legacy as a new Spider-Man. That kid’s not white?

If you survived all of these, but draw the line at one being black or a girl, you're saying that
evil, clone, from the future are lesser changes and more acceptable for Spider-Man
than being black or female.


Well, fuck me. Some kids aren’t white. Who fucking knew?

If you know enough to complain, then you know enough to realize that corporate-owned characters, characters adapted to tv or movies or toys often are cast differently or have changes wrought. You know enough to understand that this or that story may exist in a different reality than another and that this will mean there are differences. If you didn’t know, right away, then by now someone has explained it to you. You’ve seen it mentioned in a comments section, or you read the comic in question, watched the movie, or just had the basic gist run by you. And, even if you hadn’t, you could probably put it together if you wanted to.


Normal Spock and Evil Spock are Normal and Evil Spidey. Tuvok is a black guy
from the same species. Miles Morales as Spider-Man is a black guy of the same species.

You don’t want to. You want to foist a bowdlerize version of appropriate and right onto all of us, as if it is reality. You’re offended by certain kinds of existence, ethnicities, genders, sexualities being less deniable, less erased or pigeonholed. Captain America is literally a costume, name, and set of tools and special drugs developed by the US Government for application to a wide range of soldiers. That’s every version. This or that version may give you more details, differing details, but at its core, Captain America as an identity, was designed to be able to dress up anyone appropriate, arm them, and send them out to fight. It’s not a sacred, inviolate name for only one man. It’s the alias of a kind of soldier. If you can handle more than one actor playing the role, and so far that has not destroyed the fabric of our society, but you get hung up if in a comic, a black man temporarily uses the name because it was given to him through appropriate channels, do us all a favor and admit to yourself and to the world that this is the line you are drawing. This is a thing you cannot countenance. Because, clearly, reality is just fine with the change.

And, if you can’t do that, then at least do us the favor of ceasing to spread misinformation fueled only by your insecurities, or potentially, your actual dumbness.

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