The news is out that as part of its reboot, DC Comics is going to make one of its existing characters as homosexual.  It looks like it will be the latest incarnation of  The Green Lantern. In the Comic book companies battle to fall all over each other to appease the gay community while not ruining its motion picture business, this makes sense.

The Green Lantern, unlike Superman, Batman, or Spider-man has been the secret identity of several different characters. The current Green Lantern is not the same character as appeared in the 2011 movie or the 2011 animated series, or still yet from the Justice League episodes of the previous decade. If the new Green Lantern sexuality poses a challenge for DC Commercially, they can quietly kill the character off, and replace them with a commercially feasible.

The Christian Group One Million Moms is up in arms about the decision:

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?”

The truth is, however, that long before 2011,  Comic books have had many unhealthy characters and role models.  For example, there are at least two demonic possessed Superheroes: Kid Devil and since 1972, DC has been publishing The Demon. Beyond pagan and occult aspects, the comic book characters have become increasingly sexually immoral and crude.

The reason for this is that mainstream comic books long ago ceased being targeted to kids. They’ve become the province of moody 30 and 40 something males who like high dose of violence,  cleavage, gore, and post-modern cynicism.

Marvel and DC play a clever game with consumers and families. They offer this version of the superhero world to their adult clientèle.  To kids, they offer more superhero role models with far less offensive material  in Saturday Morning Cartoons and Comics.

In Superhero movies, they offer mostly admirable heroes or heroes who find their way to being admirable by the end of the film. The recent Spider-man series won acclaim from many Christians.  Even Iron Man II earned a bit of a nod from Plugged In for its redemptive qualities:

But it also gives us a prism through which we can examine evil, ponder good and see someone who’s willing to face down the former to hold up the latter. Tony Stark should not be a role model. But he does suggest that furiously flawed folks—jerks like us—can be heroes.

The formula for successful superhero films is pretty simple: 1) Feature a battle between good and evil and 2) keep sexual content, gore, and foul language to a minimum, and 3) use awesome special effects. Then you pass go and collect three quarters of a billion dollars at the the worldwide box office.

If you decide to give viewers  a bunch of R-rated anti-heroes like run around your comic books like in the Punisher (2004) and Watchmen (2009), you’ll need the foreign box office to bail your investors out. If you decide to give us a Superman with a child born out of wedlock in Superman Returns (2006), expect to collect about 1/2 to 2/3 of what a Spider-man movie makes.

Thus, the reward for virtue is ever present for big media and the reward is in hundreds of millions of dollars.

However, these far more wholesome properties create confusion with parents and kids who reasonably think Superman, Batman, Spider-man, Iron Man, etc. are all the same. If Spider-man is okay in a movie, why not in an adult comic book? If you study comic books before kids read them, regardless of homosexuality and other contemporary issues, the One Millions ought to have several million kids who don’t read the adult DC and Marvel titles.

Of course, some might suggest that the right course is to completely ignore the world of superheroes and discourage kid’s interest.  This may be the right decision for some families, but will be very problematic in a wider Christian culture. Consider the debates we’ve had over Harry Potter. If you can’t convince Christian parents that a series of books lionizing a warlock and full of occult content, good luck getting them to stay away from The Avengers based on stuff they’ll never see on the screen.

What we really need are more Christians writing and creating within the framework of a biblical worldview. C.S. Lewis showed how it was possible to create wonderful messages that communicated the Christian message within the worlds of science fiction and fantasy. If we could get Christians to do the same thing with heavy duty explosions and superpowers, we’d have something far more powerful than any protest.

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