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Hello, James Robinson. I Never Hated You.

Art by Tony Harris

“It’s ironic because in Starman – and I believe this to be true. And I’m willing to be called a liar. I’m not 100 percent sure of this. But I think within mainstream comics, be that Marvel and DC basically – I think in Starman, I had the first main, male gay kiss ever. So for me to be called a gay hater is ridiculous.”

James Robinson in Newsarama’s “2011’s Hot Buttons p.3: ROBINSON on DC’s Gay JLA’ers

Yes, it’s true. Robinson’s statement about presenting the first gay male couple kiss in mainstream comics (Starman #45, cover dated August 1998) is correct, at least to the best of my knowledge. The scene was beautiful, unpretentious, and unexpected. I remember very well reading the comic and crying because of the love and tenderness that was conveyed and also because there in the pages of one of my favorite comics were two gay men – men who were in love with each other. My already high appreciation of your writing jumped to a new level.

To say my appreciation of your writing declined with reading your Cry For Justice mini series is an understatement. I never hated you though.

There was the off panel death of Tony, Mikaal’s boyfriend shown in the image here; both of them unseen for years, as has often happened with LGBT characters in DC and Marvel comics. I recall thinking Mikaal’s reaction to Tony’s death was unrealistic in that there was little grief, only a desire for vengeance.

Then Blue Jay was murdered. Or it seemed that way at the time since now Jay has recently been seen alive and well, and you revealed that he wasn’t dead in the first place. Here was another character, barely seen in years, one that many gay readers have claimed belonging to our tribe though we admittedly have little proof, senselessly contrived as dead.

As if to prove the cliche that death comes in three’s, you write a scene in which yet another shuffled off to limbo gay character is murdered. And not just murdered. You have Prometheus using his flayed skin as a fur rug.

Yes, other characters were murdered too. Straight characters. All killed as plot devices to make Prometheus a super bad ass villain.

Did it work?

For some readers I’d say yes. Not for me though, and not because I consider LGBT characters to be off limits in any way. My criticism of Cry For Justice, Mr. Robinson, was for what I took to be poor writing, plotting, and characterization on your part. At least that’s how I thought I criticized your story when I first wrote about Cry For Justice.

So, no, I was never one of the people who said “James Robinson hates gay people (or characters)”. Whether you included me in your statement is something only you can tell me. In case you didn’t read my comments here (and why should you have?), I’ll say it again just in case: Thanks for the script that kept my interest and gives me cause to anticipate more of the same, Mr. Robinson. And sincere appreciation for undoing Taz’s grisly and pointless death. Plus, advance kudos for creating another relationship for Mikaal. Just don’t tell me that Tas’ last boyfriend was killed!

January 12, 2011
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