Monday, June 13, 2005

Saved By A Cut-Off Sentence - Keeping Maggie Vague in Byrne's Superman

Let me just say upfront that, like all things on the Snark Free Waters blog, I am not saying this to be snarky.

I understand completely that John Byrne, in December 1987/January 1988, did not feel like he had the leeway to have frank and outright discussion about homosexuality.

I think everyone appreciates his efforts in giving the comic world such a cool supporting character in Maggie Sawyer (as I mentioned here) who just happened to also be a lesbian.

Good job by Byrne

However, it doesn't mean that, almost twenty years later, we can't look back at the issues and joke about how the whole "lesbian" angle had to be alluded to and not said outright.

It's all in good fun.

So let me begin!

In previous issues, Lex Luthor is shown trying to blackmail Maggie with some photos he has of her in an apparently compromising position.

She doesn't care.

In Superman #15, we see a woman call Maggie "babe" and the two of them hug as Maggie is very concerned about her daughter (who ran away from her father, who lived back in Star City, where Maggie was from).

Then we have Maggie explain to Superman her life story, including such choice lines as "I was...confused in those days. There were things happening in my head that I'd been denying for a long time. Things a proper Catholic girl didn't even want to consider. When Jim popped the question, I thought maybe that was what I'd been looking for."

and "With him gone almost all the time I was adrift. My carefully fabricated life was coming apart in my hands. That was when I finally started to come face to face with myself...with reality (this last panel showed Maggie in a bar standing next to, but apart, from a woman, with a male bartender as well).

Finally, as Superman is flying looking for her daughter, his thought balloon says "It certainly seems ridiculous in this day and age that someone as upright as Maggie Sawyer should have to give up her child because she's"

And then, a flying creature flies by!

Saved by the bell!

"Hold it!" he thinks as he then flies after the creature.

Readers were left wondering..."Because she's WHAT, Superman?!?! POLISH?!? An alien?!?!? A witch?!?!"

Hehe...funny stuff.