Homosexuality in comics isn’t by any means new (and, no, I’m not talking about the implied homosexuality between Batman and Robin in the early years). For some time now, characters have been coming out. I think Marvel might’ve been first, but DC has done a lot with them over the years. I first really became aware of it during the series “52,” which featured at times Renee Montoya (who later became the new Question, a hero that is almost entirely overlooked) and Kate Kane (Batwoman). In the universe reset, which DC called the New 52, a new character was created for the young hero group, the Teen Titans.
Miguel Jose Barragan, also known as Bunker, was outed by his writers early on, and for a few issues of the Titans series now, we’ve known about his boyfriend for a while. Bunker was born into a Mexican family, is gay, and can create purple-bricked psionic constructs with his mind (possibly a rip-off of Green Lantern, but DC owns them both so okay). His family accepts him for who he is and loves him dearly. It’s heartwarming.
And, I knew all of this going into the most recent issue of the series. The series started out pretty good, got really good the last few months, and then Wednesday’s issue happened. Bunker’s character has been an absolute joy to read. Despite everything he goes through, including a big fight against a multi-planar demon that wants to rule the Earth, he remains positive and seems to have a good faith in (given the way he speaks on the subject and knowing he’s Hispanic, I assume he’s Catholic).
His boyfriend, in the comic, has just woken up and asked for him. In an emotional moment, Miguel decides to leave the Teen Titans and that decision has bothered me since I read it.
I’m not saying homosexuality in comic books bothers me. In general, comics on some level mirror the real world (I believe in Batman, for example) and homosexuality is a human condition. So, why not feature it sometimes?
No, friends, my problem is that the writers suddenly made this great character’s personality revolve around his homosexuality. He gives up everything he’s worked for in the past couple dozen issues to go see his love. He is written off in such a way that we are left to believe that Miguel thinks doing real good in the world is not as important as the relationship he’s in.
And it is not something I’d be okay with if he were straight or if he were a she and a lesbian. Look at Batwoman, for example. The woman is getting married to the love of her life and is still out there every night kicking serious ass. Crime-fighting comes first and foremost for her, and her relationships in the comics have always been secondary. It was the same for Renee Montoya after 52 and before she was suddenly wiped from existence in the New 52 (curse you DC for getting rid of her and ruining The Question’s backstory).
If Bunker is gone permanently, then he was sent out in the most horrible way possible. He is suddenly defined by his relationship and not by his accomplishments, which we know a lot more about and are frankly awesome. If DC had written off a female hero like this, feminists everywhere would be livid and cursing DC for their horrible treatment of women. But Bunker is gay, and this is a big win for the LGBT community.
…Except it’s not.