(NEW YORK) — Marvel Comics made a splash in 1992 when one of its beloved charters declared “I am gay.”
Twenty years later — in Astonishing X-Men, issue 50 set to hit stores on Wednesday — Northstar will propose to longtime boyfriend Kyle. The two are set to marry in June.
Marvel and rival DC Entertainment have focused on bringing a more realistic flavor to its characters. DC recently announced that it would relaunch one of its major characters as gay in June. Marvel introduced Miles Morales, the first half-black, half-Hispanic Spider-Man last year.
Marvel made the announcement Tuesday morning on The View on ABC, but it has been the subject of fan speculation for some time.
Axel Alonso, the editor-in-chief of Marvel Entertainment, said the story line was developed around the time New York state legalized gay marriage in June 2011.
“The Marvel Universe has always reflected the world outside your window, so we strive to make sure our characters, relationships and stories are grounded in reality,” Alonso said.
In the issue, Northstar makes his intentions known to Kyle in New York’s Bryant Park, a very public place for these very private people.
“Well, private enough for a mutant celebrity — having such a public, life-changing discussion,” said Marjorie Liu, who wrote the issue.
The scene shows Northstar out of costume and down on one knee with a ring in hand discussing some of what they’ve gone through as a superhero couple.
The cover of next month’s Astonishing X-Men issue 51 includes an all-star cast for Northstar’s and Kyle’s ceremony.
“Yes, there will be some fun guests at the wedding, but not everyone will accept the invitation,” Liu said.
“DC and Marvel are recognizing that there is an LGBT audience that has been reading their comics for years,” said Matt Kane, associate director of entertainment and media for GLAAD.
DC’s most prominent gay characters include Batwoman, who has her own series; Apollo and Midnighter, who appear in Stormwatch; and Bunker, a member of Teen Titans.
Aside from its being socially relevant — the addition of gay characters makes good business sense.
Archie Comics introduced a gay character in 2010, which turned out to be a hit for the company. There was even a gay wedding in Riverdale in 2011.
“They are recognizing how the world is evolving,” said Kane.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Lisa Respers France and Brian Stelter, CNN
Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com