Protest group One Million Moms has taken issue with both Marvel and DC Comics over currently publicized storylines involving gay characters.
The organization is requesting that their supporters email the publishers, asking them to "change and cancel all plans of homosexual superhero characters immediately." The statement continues, saying that any amount of openly gay characters at these companies is unacceptable in their view: "Ask them to do the right thing and reverse their decision to have sexual orientation displayed to readers."
Citing religious reasons for their objections, One Million Moms wrote, "These companies are heavily influencing our youth by using children's superheroes to desensitize and brainwash them in thinking that a gay lifestyle choice is normal and desirable. As Christians, we know that homosexuality is a sin (Romans 1:26-27)." They later further clarify their problem with Marvel and DC, saying their comics are "prompting a premature discussion on sexual orientation" between parents and children.
This outcry comes after Marvel's revelation this week that openly gay superhero Northstar will marry his long-time boyfriend, Kyle, in June's Astonishing X-Men #51; and news from last weekend's Kapow convention in London that DC Comics will soon re-introduce a formerly straight male character as gay, also in June.
The campaign has received a mix of anger and derision among the comic book community, with Marvel's current Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott posting on Twitter, "Dear @1milmoms, thank you for the boycotts. They increase sales as people buy extra copies to spite you. PLEASE boycott my book too." Kurt Busiek, who has written extensively for both Marvel and DC, called the group's legitimacy into question: "One Million Moms: There aren't a million of them and their board is mostly men. If they lie about who they are, they'll lie about anything."
One Million Moms targeted the comic book industry earlier this year, in an unsuccessful attempt to get Toys R Us to stop carrying Life with Archie #16, featuring the same-sex marriage of openly gay Archie character Kevin Keller. The organization is a project of the American Family Association, which has been named as a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. They made headlines outside the comic book world this past spring during a failed effort to have Ellen DeGeneres removed as a spokesperson for JC Penney.
DC's offices are closed Friday for the Memorial Day holiday. When asked for comment, Marvel provided this statement from editor-in-chief Axel Alonso:
"For over seventy years, Marvel's comics have reflected the world outside your window and Astonishing X-Men #50 carries on that tradition. We're proud to create stories that are not only relevant to the issues facing a modern audience but that also explore these nuanced subjects in a compelling manner. We've planned the release of this comic for over a year but the recent discussion of gay marriage, spurred by the comments of President Obama, makes the release of Astonishing X-Men #50 even more timely. The passionate discourse between our fans on both sides of this matter shows that we've struck a chord with our millions of fans around the world."
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