Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

October 14, 2004

HIV-Positive Superhero Kerfluffle

MTV gives us this story, also picked up by wire services and comics news sites galore, about how writer Judd Winnick plans bringing to mainstream comic books the second HIV-positive superhero after the early 1990s Image character Shadowhawk, this time a kid partner to the character Green Arrow to go by the codename "Speedy".

Beyond another in a series of social issues that comics publications have explored since at least the last time Green Arrow received press attention for a sidekick, the move reflects a general area of personal concern to the writer (he created a non-fiction work about close friend Pedro Zamora and examined issues of sexual orientation-related bigotry through a supporting character in a previous assignment) and provides Winnick a chance to work with an issue that holds different implications since similar stories were told in comics and TV a decade and more ago.

Although comics readers, critics and cultural historians have long debated the utility of working real-world social concerns through superhero stories, the "Speedy" news kicked off a greater than expected wave of bizarre rhetoric in fan circles, culminating in some questioning the writer's motives in taking the character in this direction. If you're really, really interested -- and shame on you -- you can probably find some of this material rooting around here and here.
posted 11:04 am PST | Permalink

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