When DC Comics relaunched its entire line of superheroes in 2011, big changes were made to their biggest characters: Superman was no longer married to Lois Lane, a secret criminal organization was running Gotham City completely under Batman's radar, and Aquaman finally got some respect. But perhaps the biggest of all the alterations to a DC hero's origin was just announced Friday (June 1): Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, is gay.

First appearing in a 1940 issue of "All-American Comics," Scott was originally introduced as a mystically driven hero who shared little in common with the intergalactic peace-keeping Green Lantern Corps, aside from his superhero name of choice. Now, he'll be reintroduced in the pages of "Earth 2" — which takes place in a parallel world from the rest of the DC Universe — not only as a member of the Corps, but as a gay man as well.

"He's going to be the leader of the team, this dynamic hero, he'll do anything to save people, the bravest man on the planet. Why not just make him gay as well?" explained "Earth 2" writer James Robinson in an interview with USA Today. "What I really want to do with this character is make the fact that he's gay to be a part of who he is and not to be the one identifying aspect of him ... and have his humor and his bravery be as much or more a part of him as his sexuality."

Robinson added that Scott will one day meet Hal Jordan, the hero played by Ryan Reynolds in 2011's "Green Lantern" movie, and they'll have very different personalities and power sets. "When they're firing their rings at the same time, you'll be able to tell which energy is which," said the writer. "That's a very important thing so that it sets them apart."

DC's announcement of Alan Scott's new sexuality follows last month's news that rival publisher Marvel would be featuring a gay wedding in the pages of "Astonishing X-Men." The character at the heart of that story — Northstar, a former member of the Canadian superhero team Alpha Flight — isn't exactly a household name. Scott isn't the most widely known character either, but as a Green Lantern, he's about to become one of the most iconic gay heroes in mainstream comics.

"He's someone you would want to watch over your children," Robinson said of Scott. "Presenting that kind of a heroic role model hopefully will be a good thing and help to show gays in a positive light for people who might be a little more small-minded."

Scott's full story will be told in "Earth 2" #2, on sale Wednesday.

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