A new "X-Factor" comic by Peter David recently revealed that Shatterstar, a previously rat-tailed warrior from a gladiatorial alternate dimension, was gay or bisexual after he shared a surprise kiss with male teammate Rictor.

Rob Liefeld -- Shatterstar's creator who used to draw him as the pouch-adorned anatomical curiosity depicted left -- was very upset about this development, and had an announcement to make on his forums:

"As the guy that created, designed and wrote his first dozen appearances, Shatterstar is not gay. Sorry. Can't wait to someday undo this... Shatterstar is akin to Maximus in Gladiator. He's a warrior, a Spartan, and not a gay one." When another commenter added that numerous writers that followed him had developed the character in very different ways, Liefeld responded, "Your opinion doesn't change the fact that it sucks."

Oh Rob Liefeld, don't let anyone tell you that you aren't a treasure.

Peter David subsequently replied in the comments at Robot 6 with one of my new all-time favorite SNAP moments:

"I understand that some parents have the same reaction. They were responsible for their children's first appearances and, when informed of their sexual persuasion, firmly declare it's impossible, they can't be gay.

I find particularly distressing Rob's contention that Shatterstar can't possibly be gay because he's a warrior. That might come as a bit of a shock to Alexander the Great. For that matter, among his assortment of gay friends, I suppose Rob has none in the military since of course gays aren't allowed to serve unless they keep their mouths shut. Perhaps Rob would like to see "don't ask, don't tell" implemented in the Marvel universe."

I had hoped to learn more about the context and discussion surrounding Liefeld's comments by perusing his forums, so I registered -- only to have my IP banned 30 minutes later while halfway through reading the thread, despite having posted exactly nothing. I know that I am very, very scary, so perhaps my banning was simply a wise exercise of the Bush Doctrine.

By the by, the user agreement for signing up for the forums of the oft-mocked Liefeld includes the stipulation that "you will not post any material which is false, defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, [or] invasive." Apparently in the Rob Liefeld forums, you can be false AND inaccurate, harassing AND threatening, obscene AND profane.

As an addendum, Aaron at Awesomed by Comics has put together a delightful fanfic imagining how a Liefeldian "de-gaying" of Shatterstar and Rictor might go down.

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