As the world becomes more diverse and welcoming towards anyone regardless of gender, age, race, nationality, ethnicity, and social status, people also demand that it be translated on screen, given that the things we see on television or in the media mirror the reality that we live in. DC Studios has recently released its slate of upcoming projects, and as always, some fans will see it as a way to compare it with Marvel’s offerings. One project in James Gunn’s DCU will feature legitimate LGBTQ+ representation, something that the MCU is still grappling with.
One of the films included in DC’s Chapter 1, "Gods and Monsters," is The Authority, a movie about the fan-favorite superhero team from DC’s now-defunct Wildstorm imprint. The team made their comic debut in The Authority #1 in May 1999 and successfully presented a fresh perspective on the superhero format. The narrative features a group of heroes who aim to present crimes by shaping world events in any way that they deem necessary. This mechanism leads the group to fight governments and other shady situations for society to progress as they want it.
The DC universe officially welcomed The Authority in 2011, followed by the Superman and the Authority series in 2021, which led to The Authority being linked in DC's canon and in the knowledge of a new generation of fans. This team had many interesting characters, but Midnighter and Apollo stood out for being not just parodies of Batman and Superman but also an openly gay couple.
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One of the core storylines of the original comics was the buildup to Apollo and Midnighter’s marriage, which was reflected in 2002’s The Authority #29, making Apollo and Midnighter the first same-sex superhero couple to get married. However, during the New 52, the marriage was revoked, but not the relationship, giving it more spotlight in the Midnighter and Apollo miniseries (2016). It’s common knowledge that LGBTQ+ representation was not widely presented and celebrated in the 1990s. But given the changing times, DCU fans hope that the upcoming The Authority film in the new era of DC will be more progressive.
Given that DC will be undergoing a full revamp, fans’ vision for a reformist, diversified approach is impossible, as compared to Marvel’s current and poor LGBTQ+ representation. MCU’s Valkyrie was not given a proper outing as a bisexual in the movie because the scenes that reveal her true identity were cut, and she was only confirmed as an LGBTQ+ character via interviews with the actress. Additionally, the first on-screen LGBTQ+ kiss didn’t happen until the franchise’s 26th movie, Eternals (2021). Marvel's supposedly first lesbian kiss was also axed in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Hopefully, Gunn’s version of The Authority will showcase powerful and accurate LGBTQ+ representation. Fans can also hope that Marvel will become better with their LGBTQ+ representation, making it more visible because LGBTQ+ stories should not be taboo because they are real and valid.
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