As expected, Northstar, the canadian speedster mutant and member of Marvel's X-Men (specifically the Astonishing X-Men line-up), is getting married... to a man.
That was Marvel's "major announcement" the publisher teased for months and announced on ABC's daytime talk show The View Tuesday morning. The talk show, which features women discussing the hot topics in politics and other issues, premiered the details on June's Astonishing X-Men #51 from writer Marjorie Liu and artist Mike Perkins. The creative team debuts on the title with this week's Astonishing X-Men #50.
Whoopi Goldberg introduced the news to co-hosts Joy Behar, Barbara Walters and Elizabeth Hasselbeck in the midst of the "Hot Topics" segment that included stories like a caucasian child wearing blackface for a Martin Luther King Jr. report at school, Mark Zuckerberg's wedding photo, and the latest on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."
"In Astonishing X-Men #50, gay X-Man Northstar will propose to his boyfriend Kyle, with a marriage in an upcoming issue," said Goldberg. Behar said "X-Men is cutting edge" about the issue, and Hasselbeck, an outspoken conservative on the show, said "It's good!" Walters echoed the statement, appreciative of the move.
The wedding front-and-back cover spread for Astonishing X-Men #51 was debuted on the show as well, showing Jean-Paul (Northstar's real name) and Kyle at the altar with the huge and varried cast of mutants assembled to view the happy event.
The timing of the announcement is precipitous for Marvel Comics (a sister company of ABC under the Disney umbrella). On May 8, 2012, gay marriage was officially banned in the constitution of the state of North Carolina. Two days before that, on NBC's Meet the Press, Vice President Joe Biden expressed his "comfort" with the idea of equal rights for gay couples. Finally, on May 9, 2012, President Obama officially endorsed gay marriage in the United States in an interview on ABC News, though he did maintain that States should handle any laws supporting it, not the federal government. The NAACP followed suit, issuing an official same-sex marriage endorsement, calling it a civil right.
Marvel first teased the coming wedding with a "Save the Date" announcement in March 2012. Speculation went straight to Northstar and his boyfriend Kyle, who are well-established in the comics as a couple. Archie Comics, however, beat Marvel to the punch with a same-sex marriage, having their newly introduced character Kevin Keller marry his boyfriend in January 2012.
Northstar came out in 1992, becoming the first openly gay superhero at Marvel Comics. He started on the Canadian Superhero team Alpha Flight before becoming an on again off again member of various X-Men teams for the last two decades. Marvel would later introduce Hulkling and Wiccan, a gay teenage superhero couple in the pages of Young Avengers, as well as having gay characters in X-Factor, Runaways, and even one of the members of Power Pack.
Astonishing X-Men is the comic that brought Joss Whedon into the Marvel Universe as a writer. Launching the series with artist John Cassaday, Whedon brought the mutants out of sleek black uniforms and back into the super hero spotlight. Whedon continued his love for the Marvel Universe co-writing and directing Marvel's The Avengers, the film that has set numerous records and grossed more than a billion dollars worldwide in just three weeks of release.
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