Dark X-Men: The Beginning #1, Paul Cornell & Leonard Kirk
Sexuality in comic books is an often debated, conversional subject. Not because it has to be, or that it should be, but because since comic books are ink on paper, it’s often assumed sexuality within them is also one-dimensional; there are no other sides to it beyond what we see drawn on the page. Well, that is true and isn’t. Comics are a medium that combines writing with art, so the emphasis is on show, not tell, and it’s easy to say one thing and not follow through when it hits the page itself. Felicia Hardy can say she is bisexual but until we see her with another woman in a comic, it is just telling — there is no show to back up the point. (Of course, those of us who have read Spider-Girl have seen her with another woman, but that remains outside of normal continuity.)
But, again, that’s simplifying things. If we look to comic books as they’re meant to be viewed — reflections of reality, though of course distorted ones — we have to remember that in reality, sexuality is not a one-dimensional construct that we can look at and see every side of. There’s nuances like bisexuality, “coming out”, repression, an entire spectrum of ways to portray a character who may not be gay, but may not be straight, either. The hard part is that anything between Gay and Straight is usually hinted at, not told but shown, but only barely shown, and the burden comes to the readers to read between the lines to see what isn’t there, what is there, and what might be there.
Anyway, the intention of this post is not to harp on comic book politics. It’s really not. That’s simply a preface to explain what I’ll be getting at this post. This is an exploration of Norman Osborn’s sexuality and all that it includes.