Reign of the Supermen #424: The Gay Superman

Source: Supergirl vol.4 #79 (2003)
Type: Alternate Earth/Kryptonite transformationIt's probably not news that DC recently announced a key character would come out of the closet. There was a lot of speculation, and I won't tell you who it is in case the DC Spoiler Machine hasn't yet done its work on you, but the all-too-brief period of mystery did inspire fellow blogger Paul Cornish to make a plea to make Superman the new gay hero. You can his argument at Last of the International Fanboys.

Alas, it wasn't meant to be (nor did Paul expect it to), but did you know Superman WAS gay for all of one panel in the dying days of Supergirl volume 4? (And if you DIDN'T know, it's the panel posted above. Geez, pay attention.)

In that comic, the Linda Danvers version of Supergirl has been shunted off to an alternate Earth based on Silver Age Superman comics. The story lines are ludicrous, Lois Lane keeps trying to uncover Superman's secret identity, and Linda ends up spending years there playing with super-pets defeating non-homicidal villains (while only hours pass on our own dreary world). It's on this Earth that Superman is exposed to pink kryptonite and soon shows interest in Jimmy Olsen instead of Lois, and for interior decoration it seems. And then he's cured, because he discovers Linda isn't his real cousin and falls in love with her. They end up married and with a little girl until reality collapses around them in a mirror Crisis event.

So we're left with one panel of "what might have been". Can you judge the merits of making a major superhero gay on that one panel alone (and a cheeky one at that)? Let me know.


Paul C said...

Thanks for the plug dude. I've got the first trade of PAD's Supergirl run but I've always wanted to read the rest, it sounds brilliant.

What happened to Linda Danvers before the reboot? Didn't she get sent to Hell or something?

Siskoid said...

Something like that. I'm not entirely sure, to tell you the truth.

Siskoid said...

Here are some wiki-tastic facts about the end of Linda Danvers:

-Linda defeated Xenon, and had to send frightened young Kara back to her universe, knowing Kara, as an adult, would eventually die in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Linda's daughter was spared from being erased from the timeline by the Spectre (Linda informed the Spectre if he didn't save Ariella, she would let the universe die), but Linda was heartbroken over her actions. She learned that her parents had just had a second child, ironically named "Wally". Linda reunited with her parents for one last time before leaving everyone and hanging up her cape. She left a note for Clark and Lois explaining her decision, saying she felt she had let her loved ones down and so she was no longer worthy of wearing the S.

-According to Peter David, if his run on Supergirl hadn't ended, he would have had the series being a sort of Birds of Prey type comic, featuring the trio of Linda Danvers as Superwoman, Pre-Crisis Kara Zor-El as the current Supergirl, and Power Girl.

-According to an interview with Newsarama, following the events of Infinite Crisis, Dan Didio stated that the Matrix Supergirl was wiped from existence. However, Geoff Johns later stated, "As for this...huh? Linda Danvers hasn't been retconned out at all."

-In Reign in Hell #1, July 2008, the team of Shadowpact attacks Linda Danvers in her Gotham City apartment, which makes Linda fight back. She manifests the flaming wings she had while merged with Matrix, but still loses to the collective powers of Blue Devil and Enchantress. However she is teleported to Hell, as Hell is recalling all of its "debts".

-In Reign in Hell #6, Linda reappears in the Doctor Occult backstory. She appears as a fallen angel summoned by Lilith but mysteriously released. In Reign in Hell #7, Linda uses her flame vision to kill some injured demons who were huddled around a tiny campfire, Dr. Occult is horrified by her willingness to kill innocents. Linda believes that no one in Hell is innocent, and then accuses Dr. Occult of being a damned soul. Linda says she does not deserve to be trapped in Hell, and that she would see everybody burned to char before she accepted being kept in there. Dr. Occult casts a spell to show Linda who she really is, and she flies away in horror.

And that was her last appearance.

snell said...

Given the complete lack of any romantic life for Clark Kent in the nu52 (whatever happened to all those vast storytelling possibilities of a single Clark?), they might as well have made Superman gay...

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

The storyline mentioned is collected in trade, MANY HAPPY RETURNS. I really enjoyed David's run, and it was great that he was able to do that story rc, as I'd read that the book was ready to be cancelled. The daughter is the little kid from Supergirl One Million, The Morrison tie-in.

David gave her a decent cast of friends and family, including a most unique version of Comet, the Super-Horse.

Paul C said...

Wow! I wonder why they chose that to be Linda's fate? Seems odd. Thanks for looking though Siskoid.

@Wayne, 'Many Happy Returns' thanks I'll keep an eye out for it on ebay.


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