In his "Starman" series, James Robinson made it his business to somehow include every single DC character who had that name -- even this guy right here. And up 'til then, this was the only comic book appearance he'd ever made! ("First Issue Special" #12, March 1976.) He's an alien, with the isn't-that-convenient name of "Mikaal Tomas" and he's the rebel outcast of a warmongering culture that's established a secret base on Earth's moon. I wonder if they brought a covered dish to the Inhumans when they moved next door. Oops! Wrong universe! Annnyway, over in Robinson's "Starman" it turned out Mikaal was gay or at least bi or something, and he even got himself a boyfriend. Good for him! Mind you, I'm always a bit wary when a comic book character suddenly turns out to be gay, because it can feel phony and tacked-on if it's not done right. With Mikaal, he'd only had one appearance that was written by somebody else before Robinson decided to use him, so it wasn't nearly as jarring. And if I remember right, Robinson had Mikaal explain to his boyfriend that his people don't have strict definitions of sexuality. Although Robinson's actual dialog was undoubtedly more florid and pretentious. (Like I should talk--!) But to get to the matter at hand, having just perused "First Issue Special" I now understand that the gay subtext was there in Mikaal's world all along. Observe!
Here's the standard guard uniform on the alien moonbase:
Our model, An'twon, is wearing the latest see-through chapeau from the Space Ranger line of haberdashery for whisper-thin young space rangers. The sleeves of his pistachio blouse are fetchingly puffed, while his coordinating cigarette pants hug every contour of his spindly legs. A hand-tooled skull belt completes the ensemble. I'm pretty sure he's not holding that gun right, but oh well.
Now, let's take a look at what the elite guardsmen get to wear:
I'd like to dedicate this panel to everyone who complains I draw my superheroes with "packages" that are too big. 'Cause I think Mike Vosburg and Mike Royer here have me beat in that competition by a country mile. Jeebus. What's Turran Kha got stashed away in that thing? Two of 'em? Y'know, if my stuff was that prodigious, I sure as hell wouldn't have a skull mounted over it. A "happy face" maybe, but not a skull. Now, if you can be bothered to tear your eyes away from Turran Kha's manhood for a few moments, get a load of the boots. This must be the earliest example of superfluous straps in a superhero comic, predating Rob Liefeld's fashion grotesqueries by at least twelve years. Are the boots going to fall off if Turran Kha doesn't strap them to his knees? And get a load of the dainty little spikes on his jogging shoes. Simply adorable.
How gay is Mikaal Tomas' culture? Well, as soon as "First Guardsman of the Worldstone, Turran Kha" shows up, his boss orders him to... redecorate.
Turran Kha's thinking, "I'm pretty sure this is a table but whatever floats your boat..."
Also, I had no idea that wood was so flexible. I think I'll mold Jeremy's buffet table into a sculpture of an elk.
Near the end of the comic, Mikaal Tomas is sentenced to death by a tribunal that features a sexy lady (why couldn't Ruth Bader Ginsburg dress like that?), the Ming the Merciless rip-off bad guy, and... I'm not exactly sure who or what the third person is.
Death to the man who made this hat! I don't know what "Uncle May's" problem is, but he/she/it looks pissed. I bet they're the "Janice Dickinson" of the panel. And they look like a cross between Christopher Lee and my gramma. Kinda disturbing, to be honest.
So in light of all this, I'd say writing Mikaal Tomas as gay or bi or whatever makes total sense to me now!