Every Wednesday, comic book readers flock to their local comic shop to pick up their copies of the week's new releases.
But this Wednesday, comic fans across the country will also be celebrating same-sex weddings.At comic book shops across the country, retailers are holding same-sex marriage ceremonies, vow renewals and receptions for their customers to commemorate the release of Astonishing X-Men #51. In the issue's story, same-sex couple Northstar and Kyle will be getting married.
"We thought it would be a really cool idea to have an actual wedding ceremony in the store the day that Astonishing X-Men comes out," said David Crispino, manager of Collectors Corner in Baltimore, Md. "So one of our long-time subscribing members and his partner will be renewing their vows this Wednesday at noon."
Two same-sex couples will be getting married at 9 a.m. at the downtown Midtown Comics store in New York City. "This came about in the course of conversation with friends at Marvel, in which we offered to host a wedding event to commemorate the landmark wedding," Midtown CMO Gerry Gladston told Newsarama. "We thought it would be great to take this opportunity to promote equality and tolerance, in the spirit of the X-Men themselves."That "spirit" is being echoed in comic shops across the country, with similar events planned to celebrate the comic's same-sex ceremony.
Jay Bosworth, owner of both Maximum Comics locations in Las Vegas, said that because the state of Nevada doesn't recognize same-sex marriage, several of his customers are planning to have same-sex "commitment ceremonies" on the day of the X-Men comic's release.
"I'm gay and I've been with my partner for 15 years," Bosworth told Newsarama. "And we really wanted to show our support for this. We've got 11 same-sex couples who have been in long-term relationships that are going to have commitment ceremonies on that day."
Although the private commitment ceremonies will be held at Red Rock Casino, both Maximum Comics locations will host receptions from 4 to 7 p.m. for the couples. Employees will wear tuxedos, serve cake, and offer prizes in a raffle that benefits Aid for AIDS in Nevada.
Gay comic book characters have been featured in mainstream news over the last month after Marvel Comics announced in May on ABC's The View that the June issue of Astonishing X-Men will feature the superhero team's first gay marriage.Then earlier this month, DC Comics announced it would change an existing character's sexual orientation in June when Green Lantern Alan Scott will be shown in a same-sex relationship.
Gladston said New York customers have been overwhelmingly supportive about the store's decision to host same-sex ceremonies on Wednesday to celebrate the X-Men event. "Fan reaction has been absolutely ecstatic," he said.
But Bosworth said a few customers haven't been supportive in Nevada. "We have had a little negative push-back from customers in the store because we've been promoting it in a big way," he said. "We're hoping we don't get demonstrations or anything, because there are some conservative groups here who are against gay marriage."
Crisino said he thinks most comic fans are supportive of this type of issue because of the type of stories they read. "The world of comic books is a place where differences are welcomed," Crispino told Newsarama. "The stories are future-thinking and imagining, and it's usually an evolution what our species could become. And with that goes social evolution. I think comics and the idea of comic books should go hand in hand with this kind of forward-thinking and social evolution."Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!