| 14.2°C Dublin

Green Lantern is first openly gay superhero

Green Lantern, one of DC Comics' oldest heroes, is serving as a beacon for the publisher again, this time as a proud, mighty and openly gay hero.

The change is revealed in the pages of the second issue of Earth 2 out next week, and comes on the heels of what has been an expansive year for gay and lesbian characters in the pages of comic books.

But purists and fans note: this Green Lantern is not the emerald galactic space cop who was part of the Justice League.

Instead, said James Robinson, who writes the new series, Alan Scott is the retooled version of the classic Lantern whose first appearance came in the pages of All-American Comics No. 16 in July 1940.

And his being gay is not part of some wider story line.

"This was my idea," Robinson explained this week, noting that, before DC relaunched all its titles last summer, Alan Scott had a son who was gay.

But given that Earth 2 features retooled and rebooted characters, Scott is not old enough to have a grown son.

"By making him younger, that son was not going to exist any more," Robinson said.

"He doesn't come out. He's gay when we see him in issue two. He's fearless and he's honest to the point where he realised he was gay and he said, 'I'm gay'."

In May, Marvel Entertainment said super speedster Northstar will marry his longtime boyfriend in the pages of Astonishing X-Men. DC comics has other gay characters, including Kate Kane, the current Batwoman.

Some groups have protested at the inclusion of gay characters, but Robinson isn't discouraged, noting that being gay is just one aspect to Scott.

"This guy, he's a media mogul, a hero, a dynamic type-A personality and he's gay," Robinson said. "He's complex."