… I decided to post this note, or most of it. I have removed the names so that the writer is anonymous. This was sent to me on an account where I am no longer a moderator, so I can’t respond directly, so it seemed fair to post a short response here.
I actually got a lot of letters like this for a long time.
It was with the heading…
PLEASE BE CAREFUL WITH THE SECRET SIX
Dear Ms. Simone,
First off I would like to say that i am a huge fan. Your work on Deadpool, Agent X, and Secret Six is both a tremendous amount of fun to read and inspiring. The story on how you went from a hair dresser to a famous writer has given me the courage to attempt it myself, and I am now writing a novel and hope to someday write comics as well. I would like to point out before i begin that it is important to me that I am not taken out of context or misunderstood. I have no problem with the LGBT community. I respect them as people and also have no problem with the presence of Lesbian, Gay, or Bi-Sexual super heroes/ villians in comics. In fact i like and follow some, as an example Midnighter, Shatterstar, Bunker, Hulkling, Wiccan, Carolina Dean, and your very own Scandal Savage. I know that you always include Gay and Lesbian relationships in essentially every book and I’m okay with it, however I recently read that you intend to make Catman Bi-sexual and I am BEGGING you not too do it.
The reason being you took that character from comic Limbo and made him a beloved anti-hero. As for the Secret Six you already have a lesbian in Scandal Savage, a bi-sexual in Jeanette and another probable assumed bi-sexual in Ragdoll.
By turning Catman Bi, you are doing a few things here, first and foremost you’re essentially making the majority of your team gay and creating a “gay comic” traditionally those don’t do well and I’ll be very upset if they cancel that series right after they relaunch it due to poor sales.
2) As sad as it is, you’re going to undo alot of the progress you have made with Catman and i would hate to see that happen as you pulled off a minor miracle with that character. I have cruised enough forums to know that fans have a hard enough time accepting gay or lesbian lead characters. You have already broken ground with three characters in your book, anymore and it starts to seem like either exploitation or like your forcing a point down your readers throats either way it’s not good.
3) You said “it’s a medium about heroes. Being inclusive and loving is heroic”. There comes a time when it stops being a medium and becomes a vehicle for sociopolitical agendas. I hope you take what i have said into careful consideration.
I am a huge fan of your work and will keep on reading.
Okay, I think this person is probably a ‘nice’ person. They don’t want to offend, they clearly want to get the message across that they like my work, and they also want to appear open-minded.
But holy shit, what is HAPPENING?
I don’t even know what to say. I hate how, when people are uncomfortable with a gay character, they try to make it about how OTHER, LESS ENLIGHTENED people are the ones who are actually uncomfortable. It’s not THEM, you see.
It’s those OTHER PEOPLE.
Also, I know automatically I am going to eye roll at any letter that starts with someone’s social justice credentials, it’s like the email version of, “I can’t be racist, I have friends that are black!”
And of course, man, I am sick of that ‘shoving it down readers’ throats,’ thing whenever having an lgbtq or poc or pwd character shows up. First, 99% of the characters in comics are white and straight and able-bodied and cis-gendered. Isn’t THAT shoving those standards down OUR throats?
And second, what if it IS shoving it down the reader’s throats? Not all change for the better is polite and ultra-palatable to the status quo. GOOD.
Third, Secret Six is already canceled. (I just got this letter last week). I hadn’t revealed Catman as bi in canon when that happened, so what good, exactly, did the presumption of heterosexuality do for the book’s sales?
So, sorry, but letters like this make me grumpy. If you honestly loved Catman up until the moment I said he was bi, that really says a lot, but not about Catman.