This week, Andrew Garfield caused comics fans to literally (LITERALLY) explode when he asked a simple question to EW: What if Spidey was gay?
The actual full quote: “And I was like, ‘What if MJ is a dude?’ Why can’t we discover that Peter is exploring his sexuality? It’s hardly even groundbreaking!…So why can’t he be gay? Why can’t he be into boys?”
Good question, Andrew Garfield. Why can’t Peter Parker be gay? Well, I’ll tell you why.
Because after this article hit EW.com, the comments immediately started crying out against the idea. Because you “don’t change an established character like that,” or something. Because it’s promoting AN AGENDA to make Spider-man gay. Which agenda? I’m guessing the one that insists that gay people are a lot like straight people and don’t deserve the shit they get socially and legally and when it comes to the media.
It’s also because when Marvel ran an innocent image of Hulking and Wiccan from Children’s Crusade, showing the openly gay teens about to share an intimate moment, the Facebook comments blew up claiming Marvel was, once again, promoting an agenda. Or worse, corrupting youth by showing them gay superheroes and encouraging them to emulate them. Or something. Bonus points to all of the people claiming they were only going to buy DC comics in the future because DC wasn’t “shoving gays down their throats.” Here’s a tip for those people: start your new-found devotion to DC by reading Batwoman.
In short, Andrew Garfield, the answer is simple: there is no good reason that Spider-man CAN’T be gay.
Because all of these arguments are bullshit. “Purity” of the character? So, characters who were created in a different generation should never evolve and grow with the times? You want Superman to act and talk and look exactly how he did in Action #1?
No, you don’t. You probably love Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns which took a new look at the character. Or Extremis which changed the status quo for Tony Stark. And if you don’t want a gay Spider-man but are okay with the ending of Man of Steel, I hate you. Your call for “purity” of the character is bullshit.
As for “agendas,” what you mean by that is “doing things for the sake of selling comics.” Because this is a recent thing designed to destroy comics for straight men who love comics, because it’s only because of the feminists and the gays that this could happen. It’s not like Dick Grayson was introduced as Robin in order to sell comics. Or Jean Grey returning from the dead. Again.
Get over yourselves. Here is a fact: COMICS ARE A COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE. THEY ARE A BUSINESS. THE POINT OF THE COMICS INDUSTRY IS TO SELL COMICS. I mean, this doesn’t necessarily apply to indie comics, but we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about DC and Marvel and they want to fucking sell you things to make money off of you. This is not punk rock, this is not about keeping the message in the subculture, this is fucking comics. And here’s a fact you have to deal with as well: gay people buy comics. So do women. And they deserve to see themselves represented not just as minor characters or sidekicks.
So, what if Spider-man was gay? What if, straight male comics fans, you identified with a gay character? What if you could understand him and relate to him just the same as a gay or bi or bicurious character as you can when he’s written as straight?
What if identifying with a gay character means you might be gay?
What if you start thinking that you’re a little further along the Kinsey scale than you previously thought?
What if you realize you’re not totally turned off by the idea of kissing another guy, though maybe you’re not gonna go out looking for a chance to do so?
What if you’re asked to challenge your culturally and socially ingrained sense of masculinity and sexuality and it means you have to re-examine yourself and a lot of beliefs or stereotypes you didn’t even know affected you?
Now, lemme ask you again: Why can’t Spider-man be gay?
Ashly is an IHO Geek staff writer who wants you to keep things civil in the comments but isn’t necessarily holding her breath. She can also be found on Twitter (where she is more than willing to use the “block” function) @newageamazon