I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Partly because – this being Thanksgiving week in the United States – my schedule is full of activities with friends and family that do not involve reading comics or writing about comics. And partly because there’s only so much breath I’ll waste on this particular scandal.
You all likely still remember last week’s Batman and The Outsiders #1 and these two pages, which inspired more than a fair amount of annoyance in the comics community this past week.
The GLBT fans were insulted by Batman referring to the lesbian relationship between superheroines Thunder and Grace in such a derogatory manner. Bat-fans took umbrage at the idea that a master detective like Batman would be unable to tell the difference between close friends and lovers. And the continuity cops took offense over the idea that Batman didn’t know about the Grace/Thunder relationship despite having clearly been in the room when Thunder and Grace made their relationship pretty plain (the words “girlfriend” and “baby” were used) in Outsiders: Five of a Kind – Wonder Woman/Grace #1. But all of this offense paled in comparison to the annoyance that came later, when Chuck Dixon tried to justify himself on The Comic Book Resources board.
I’ll avoid quoting the whole speech here. You can read it for yourself at the link above. However, I would like to make three points regarding Mister Dixon’s comments.
1. Deliberately writing a story and then having the preview cut in such a manner as to inspire complaints from people who think you’re homophobic doesn’t prove that people are out to get you, Mister Dixon. All it proves is that you are out to get your critics. This kind of behavior on a message board would be considered trolling. This kind of behavior in a criminal case would be considered entrapment. This kind of behavior should be beneath an alleged professional writer like yourself.
2. You contradict yourself by saying that “the man doesn’t care” regarding Batman’s view upon same-sex relationships and then saying two sentences later, saying that you believe “Batman shares my personal views here.” Your own personal views, Mister Dixon, being on record as being one who is firmly anti-homosexual. It is one or the other, Mister Dixon. You cannot have it both ways.
3. I have always thought you an intelligent man based on your writing, Mister Dixon. That being said, freely insulting your potential readers after releasing a new title is not an intelligent thing.
In the past, I have always respected you as a writer, Mister Dixon. You have always been a reliable scribe when it came to writing a good action yarn. Your Nightwing series was one of the books that got me into collecting-comics as a serious hobby. And you will always deserve high-praise for having come up with the concept for Birds of Prey.
I find it ironic then, Mister Dixon, that as the man who created Birds of Prey – a book which did so much to bring more female readers into the hobby – that you are now responsible for alienating so many of those same readers with your current behavior.
Are there people who jumped to conclusions following the preview of this book without reading the whole story? Yes.
Are their conclusions born out by the whole story itself? I have to say yes, yes they are. As you say, Mister Dixon – you believe that Batman shares your views on homosexuality. But I believe that Batman – whether he approves of girls dating girls or not – should be smart enough to tell the difference between “close friends” and “lesbian lovers”. And I am hard pressed to think of any way – in the context of the story – for the phrase “special relationship” not to be a slam of homosexual unions.
By your actions, Mister Dixon, you may have caused your critics to jump the gun in calling you a homophobe. But by your actions, you have also proven them right and proven yourself a complete jackass in the process. As such, Mister Dixon, I still respect you greatly as a writer. But I don’t respect you at all as a human being. And I won’t be purchasing any book with your name on it ever again.