Heroic rebirth for gay Green Lantern

AFTER 72 years of tackling supervillains as a straight man, DC Comics' original Green Lantern, one of the publisher's oldest characters, is to be reintroduced as gay.

After DC's publisher, Dan DiDio, let slip at a comics convention last month that one of DC's superheroes was to come out as gay, the comics world has been speculating wildly about which character it would be. Some thought it might be Wonder Woman; others pointed at caped crusader Batman. But it is Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern who made his debut in 1940, who will be reintroduced as gay.

The move follows the wedding of X-Man Northstar to his boyfriend, courtesy of Marvel Comics, and the marriage of Archie Comics' first gay character, Kevin Keller, to his boyfriend. Although DC's Batwoman was reintroduced as gay in 2006, the Green Lantern will be the publisher's most prominent homosexual superhero.

The artist Nicola Scott said: ''Alan strikes me as an incredibly open, honest and warm man, a natural leader and absolutely the right choice to be Guardian of the Earth. His sexuality is incidental.''

Alan Scott was a railway engineer who finds a magic lantern, turns it into a ring with superpowers and fights crime. He marries twice and fathers children. The character was rebooted as Hal Jordan - played in a recent film by Ryan Reynolds - in the 1960s.

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