There was something of a media frenzy recently when 2000AD announced an upcoming Judge Dredd short in which the eponymous badass shares a gay kiss. It was widely reported on and discussed. There was a major amount of furore.
People instantly said that sharing a gay kiss made him gay. Which is absolute tosh. Having one gay kiss no more makes you gay then having one straight kiss makes you straight. But people still went mental over this.
Which all looks a bit silly if you actually read Closet. It opens with the image which caused such a controversy but turns out to be a story about a gay young man who is caught in an underground club where men dress up as Judge Dredd; the kiss is a young man’s sexual fantasy and nothing more.
But if the story had been about Judge Dredd having a gay fling, it wouldn’t matter. Even if the story was 12 pages of Dredd sucking cock, it wouldn’t make a difference (besides making you question the quality of storytelling involved.) Not in the slightest. Some fans said that they were going to buy the magazine in order to burn it, furious that their hero wasn’t heterosexual. But, frankly, I hope that anyone who said that feels really bleeding silly.
Because it truly, really doesn’t matter. Judge Dredd, whether he has sex with men or women, is still a brutal and awesome character. He is still the guy who faced down the Dark Judges. Nothing changes from his sexuality. Not a thing.
People shouldn’t equate power with heterosexuality. Gareth Thomas could absolutely destroy 99% of people reading this article. Hell, Ruth Davidson probably could as well. Whereas Woody Allen probably couldn’t fight his way out of a paper bag. Being big, strong and powerful has absolutely no correlation with preferring one set of genitals over another.
The world is moving on. People are realising that one’s sexuality does not reflect on their personality. Comics, as one of the great art forms, should move with current thinking and we should embrace said change. Let’s make Batman gay. And black. And a woman. What does it matter as long as Batman kicks ass, is well-written and never picks up a damn gun? As long as the story is good, the character is positively held to and the art is excellent.
I get the feeling that people think that changes and so on reflect on them somehow; ‘if Judge Dredd is gay, how does that make me look? I have all these comics!’. Well, I hope they get over themselves. Or, if not, that they sell their collection for far less than its worth…