Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  This week, Bennett looks at the recent spate of gay storylines in comics.

Having always self identified as being “Other” there's a school of thought these days which says I should automatically recuse myself from commenting on the whole "gay comic book marriage" thing (see "A Gay Wedding for Marvel in 'Astonishing X-Men' #51").  And full disclosure compels me to confess that, yes, I am prejudiced in favor of those who have been prejudiced against, but truthfully other than a profound appreciation for the fact it has nothing to do with me I really don't have a strong opinion regarding gay marriage.  And when it comes to the actual announcement, well, I must admit I certainly didn't see this one coming, and that getting Whoopi Goldberg to reveal the news during the "Hot Topics" segment of The View did what Marvel was a stroke of promotional genius.  It accomplished everything Marvel wanted it to; it got people talking about Marvel Comics... I know, I Binged "A Gay Wedding For Marvel" and got back 11,200,000 results.

But, ultimately the whole event seems designed chiefly to steal back a little bit of the thunder Marvel lost when Archie Comics did it first (see "Gay Marriage in 'Life With Archie'")--and isn't that more than a little strange and sad?

Then there's the whole "Which DC Character is Now Gay" thing (see "DC Character to Come Out" which is once again a nicely orchestrated bit of free publicity that also has the Internet abuzz; as of this writing it has garnered 321,000,000 results on Bing.  It seems like every possible comic book pundit is handicapping which formerly straight hero it might be but I've disqualified myself from participating.  Because I'm a notoriously bad guesser, sure, but... while I know it's all perfectly innocent it still uncomfortably reminds me of all of the endless, ignorant speculating we used to do back in less enlightened times over which celebrities were "secretly gay."  Now of course we're much more sophisticated; we just wonder openly, "You think they're gay?"

But of all the pieces I read concerning all of the above the most memorable was undoubtedly the one written by Vaneta Rogers which appeared on the Newsarama site titled "Gay Superheroes & Same-sex Marriages: Why Comics?  Why Now?"  Mostly because of the title.  Why now?  Because we've undoubtedly reached the tipping point where homosexuality has become so ubiquitous in American life if it's absent in popular culture its noticeable.  And as to why comics?  Because comics are, hopefully, still a part of mainstream American popular culture, and to be that it was to reflect reality... even if there are people who reject it (see "New 'Moms' Attack").

And to anyone who is seriously worried that comics like Astonishing X-Men #51 proselytize a lifestyle or are trying to indoctrinate an agenda, don't worry; it's really all about freedom... to make money.  Okay, it's a little about making comics more modern, diverse and inclusive, but mostly it's about making comics more people might want to read then promoting them so we can all sell more comics.  And isn't that something we can all get behind?

Well, it's always nice when someone takes the time to comment on these things so thanks to Michael Breakfield for doing just that (see "Michael Breakfield of Lone Star Comics on Bennett's 'Avengers' Observations").  Recently online I came across an article called "15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy" and, surprise, #1 was "Give Up Your Need To Always Be Right."  Clearly this is something I gave up on a long time ago.

But to answer your question; yes, yes I did actually watch the movie.  Twice, as a matter of fact, because last Saturday night I saw it again in a packed house and of course you were right; Agent Romanov is identified as "the famous Black Widow" in her first scene, something I clearly forget--but not the woman in my life.  She called me on that before you could.  And I can't swear to it but I believe Romanov actually calls Agent Barton "Hawkeye" once during the final battle, something I missed the first time.  And as to your second point, i.e. "what exactly is this guy (Hawkeye) doing here?"  I was in no way suggesting Clint Barton is not (in your words) "a super bad-ass."  Just that a guy who shoots arrows wouldn't automatically be my first pick if I was choosing people for a superhero team.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of