For some people, wedding bells can be synonymous with Hell’s bells.
That’s the impression I got after reading the recent “BleedingCool” article about Archie Comics’ Kevin Keller character’s recent marriage. (In case you haven’t heard, he’s their first gay character and he’s shown on the cover of Life With Archie #16 alongside his groom under a “Just Married” banner–see below. Full story is here.)
To make sure the issue generated as much buzz–and upset as many “conservatives”–as possible, Kevin’s wearing a military uniform and his better half is black. Right there is a trifecta of controversy: Gay marriage, gays in the military and mixed marriage all in one! Brilliant idea for media coverage from a marketing standpoint.
Want to send Rush Limbaugh rushing to the bathroom? Want to make Sarah Palin pale? Want to give Mitt a fit? Wanna see pointed white hoods turn red after the heads underneath them explode? Give ‘em this comic.
Though I’ve often wondered: are there racist gays against same-sex mixed marriages? People are still people and everyone has their prejudices; so realistically there must be, but it just seems rather ironic to me. Like Jewish slave owners before the Civil War. Or one religion going to war against another.
Whatever your opinions on the subjects raised, you have to give it to Archie for having some creative cojones. You wouldn’t see Marvel or DC doing this on a mainstream book, at least not yet. (I’d bet they’d have no problem showing two gay guys beating the bloody crap out of each other or shooting themselves to bits with giant guns.) In a delicious bit of irony, the former head of Archie was also head of the Comics Code Authority decades ago. Can you imagine what his and the CCA’s reaction would have been then?
What’s funny (and silly) is that the American Family Association’s (also called “Uptight Unco Guids Who Get Upset At Everything Popular”) off-shoot group, “One Million Moms” (which according to their Facebook page only has an embarrassingly small 40,000 members), organized an email campaign against Toys R Us to have the comics removed from the stores. Their form letter read:
“As a mother and a member of OneMillionMoms.com, I am extremely disappointed to learn that select Toys ‘R’ Us stores are now selling ‘Archie’ comic books with a same-sex wedding displayed on the front cover. I am referring to the ones where the front cover reads “Just Married” with two men marrying, one wearing a service uniform. I am aware that Toys ‘R’ Us employees do not actually set up the displays; they leave this up to the vendor. Your company should be aware of the merchandise being sold in your stores nonetheless. These comic books are displayed at the front checkout counters so they are highly visible to employees, managers, customers and children. Unfortunately, children are now being exposed to same-sex marriage in your toy store. This is the last place a parent would expect to be confronted with questions from their children on topics that are too complicated for them to understand. Issues of this nature are being introduced too early and too soon, which is becoming extremely common and unnecessary. A trip to the toy store turns into a premature discussion on sexual orientation and is completely uncalled for. Toys ‘R’ Us should be more responsible in the products they carry. Please remove all the same-sex “Just Married – Archie” comic books immediately from your shelves. My decision to shop in your stores depends on it. I look forward to hearing from you regarding my concern.”
Hard to imagine 40,000 “One Million Moms” not wanting their little darlings to see this innocent-looking fellow on a comic book. But the cover on the right? No prob.
So let’s take the major concern expressed here: “This is the last place a parent would expect to be confronted with questions from their children on topics that are too complicated for them to understand.”
Judging from the clumsy sentence structure (and the mentality of the people who wrote it), apparently the “them” being referred to is the parents, not the kids. And there I agree: the topic of gay marriage is definitely too complicated for these small-minded parents to understand.
Interestingly, seeing all the toy soldiers, guns and warfare toys do not raise questions about complicated wars like Viet Nam, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan. (Have you tried explaining the differences between Viet Nam, WW II, Desert Storm, the Civil War and the Serb-Croat conflict to a six-year-old? Or even a ten-year-old?)
Neither, apparently, do seeing all the baby toys raise questions about where babies come from.
Neither do seeing other kids’ parents getting divorced raise questions about that complicated topic.
And neither do seeing another kid in school being dropped off by his two moms or dads raise any questions either. Or hearing about a gay kid’s suicide after being bullied. Yeah, no questions about complicated topics there!
Here’s what “One Million Moms” don’t have a problem exposing their delicate-minded younglings to: Dolls with massive firepower killing one another; blood-stained serial killers; cute toy clocks of “stormtroopers” (same name as Hitler’s goon squad) and mass-child-murderers; and an adorable armed Punisher ready to shoot anyone that gets in his little way! All so much more innocent than a wedding.
The other point is, “Issues of this nature are being introduced too early and too soon, which is becoming extremely common and unnecessary.”
Ignoring the obvious redundancy (“too early”/“too soon”), the Forty Grand Bitchy Bigots are basically lamenting the fact that more and more homosexuals are out of the closet, most of the country doesn’t care, and lazy parents like them are having to deal with reality rather than pretend it doesn’t exist. Which is hardly “unnecessary.” Especially when the aforementioned kids at school with same-sex parents become more common. I’d say it’s a very necessary discussion, regardless of whether you’re for or against the issue. Heavens, one of these intolerant moms might have to actually (gasp!) think about what they object to and (horrors!) articulate it!
Frankly, I’d be more concerned about the fact that everyone in this panel is as white as Wonder Bread rather than anyone’s sexual orientation!
Quick story: When I was seven or eight years old, my folks took my older brother and me to see the film Vanishing Point (a classic of car-chase films; despite a slow middle, the ending is one of the best in the genre. It’s also one of my brother’s top ten movies of all time.) There’s a scene where the lead character, Kowalski, comes upon two (stereotypical) gay hitchhikers holding a “just married” sign, on their way to (where else?) San Francisco. After letting them in his car, they pull a gun and try to hold him up. He fights back, kicks them out of the car and drives on.
I was confused why two men would be holding a “just married” sign. (And why they were talking like women–my Dad chuckled at their over-the-top behavior.) So I quietly asked my Mom what it meant. She whispered back, “You know how your father and I love each other? There are some men who feel that way toward each other.”
And that was it. That was our “forced conversation” about a topic “too complicated for me to understand.” Granted, I may not have fully understood the hows or whys, but I was told enough to answer my question and move on.
And that’s really what anybody, regardless of their views on the topic, should do. Deal with it and move on. There’s way more important things to worry about, like raising your kid to not treat people differently for stupid reasons.
P.S.: If you’d like a custom “killer” commission of ol’ Kev, Arch, Betty or Veronica, or any hunk or hunkette, just ask Craig here. Thanks!