Reports came from Bleeding Cool yesterday that Brett Booth and Scott Lobdell will be introducing an outwardly gay character in their upcoming re-launch of Teen Titans, as a member of the team. Seen in solicitations under the moniker of the Wall, the character’s name has since been changed to Bunker. His powers are as yet unknown, but given his names and the cover of Teen Titans #3, it appears that they are defensive in nature, with the hero being able to create barriers and other constructs.
This seems to run right along Dan Didio’s statements in an interview with the Advocate back in July.
One of the things we’re very focused on doing… is rather than [change an existing] character, we want to make sure that this is the basis of who that character is right from the start. So if we’re going to introduce a gay character in Teen Titans, we want to make it a new character and make sure that is an integral part of who he is, or who she is, right from the start so we can really learn and grow with her or him.
As for Bunker, Bleeding Cool cited Brett Booth’s blog, which said:
“His real name is Miguel Jose Barragan. He was raised in a very small Mexican village called El Chilar. He was very loved by his family and the village as well — and they were as accepting of his homosexuality as they were to his super powers when they first manifested. To that end he grew up in an angst-free environment. He was born out of the closet and so he has a very refreshing outlook on life.”
“We wanted to show an interesting character [whose] homosexuality is part of him, not something that’s hidden. Sure they are gay people who you wouldn’t know are gay right off the bat, but there are others who are a more flamboyant, and we thought it would be nice to actually see them portrayed in comics. Did we go over the top, I don’t think so. I wanted you to know he might be gay as soon as you see him. Our TT is partly about diversity of ANY kind, [it's] about all kinds of teens getting together to help each other. It is a very difficult line to walk, will he be as I’ve read in some of the comments ‘fruity’? Not that I’m aware of. Will he be more effeminate than what we’ve seen before, the ‘typical’ gay male comic character, yes. Does it scare the shit out of me that I might inadvertently piss off the group I want to reflect in a positive way, you’re damn straight (pun intended!)”
The pursuit of diversity and progress are important and lofty ambitions in any medium. However, Booth’s seemingly honorable intentions appear to indicate that Bunker may end up as more of a caricature than an accurate portrayal of the gay community. However, the fact that Booth seems aware of the ball of very intricate gender, sexual orientation expressing, and promoting stereotype issues that he is playing with. After all, if Glee can do it…
On the other hand, Booth starts out his quote by implying that out “gay people who you wouldn’t know are gay right off the bat” are “hiding” their sexuality, without acknowledging that we live in a society that assumes straight until proven gay, where the attempts of gay men and women to only bring up their sexuality when it is actually relevant to a conversation, as when talking about significant others, and not when it isn’t, as when buying a shirt (a luxury enjoyed by all straight people), is interpreted as “hiding” by those they interact with. Perhaps Booth is self-consciously as worried as he needs to be.
Hopefully Miguel/Bunker will be treated in a respectful manner and become a relatable, three dimensional character, and not simply a token character.
(via Bleeding Cool)