Openly Gay Superhero To Join DC’s Relaunched ‘Teen Titans’
Miguel Jose Barragan, an openly gay superpowered teen from Mexico is joining DC Comics' flagship team of teenage heroes. As announced online by artist Brett Booth, the hero known as Bunker will debut in November's Teen Titans #3. Bunker will apparently come from an accepting background that's contributed to a slightly more flamboyant attitude than fans might have seen from other gay and lesbian characters in the DCU so far, including Batwoman, Apollo, Midnighter and more. According to writer Scott Lobdell, "He was born out of the closet and so he has a very refreshing outlook on life."Bunker's powers, as described by Booth, include the ability to create small force fields that look like bricks. His costume is notably purple, though according to Booth that wasn't his first color choice given how that connotation might be perceived.
Working to positively portray a population that's as diverse as any in the world through just one character -- or even the growing, but still proportionately small number DC has -- is nearly impossible, but both Lobdell and Booth seem to be working to address issues of tokenism months before the character's reveal in comics. Fans might also note that Bunker's character reveal came from his creators rather than a corporate press release, which can sometimes come across as impersonal propaganda rather than a genuine outreach to readers.
From Booth's blog:
We wanted to show an interesting character whose homosexuality is part of him, not something that's hidden. Sure they are gay people who you wouldn't know are gay right off the bat, but there are others who are a more flamboyant, and we thought it would be nice to actually see them portrayed in comics. Did we go over the top, I don't think so. I wanted you to know he might be gay as soon as you see him. Our TT is partly about diversity of ANY kind, its about all kinds of teens getting together to help each other. It is a very difficult line to walk, will he be as I've read in some of the comments 'fruity'? Not that I'm aware of. Will he be more effeminate than what we've seen before, the 'typical' gay male comic character, yes. Does it scare the sh*t out of me that I might inadvertently piss off the group I want to reflect in a positive way, you're damn straight (pun intended!)
Booth also mentions that Bunker's currently pink shirt has since been changed to blue. He also caps his full blog post by writing "Seriously, I really wish [Bunker's sexuality] wasn't a big deal. It shouldn't be, but that would be in a perfect world."
By communicating a real desire to deliver a positively portrayed gay character, Lobdell and Booth have ensured that a lot of eyes will be on Bunker when he makes his debut in Teen Titans #3 on November 23. Under the already elevated scrutiny placed on DC's line-wide relaunch as a whole, the creative team has plenty to live up to.