In this week’s “Joe Fridays” Q&A at Newsarama, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada makes an announcement that will likely surprise, well, everyone: The publisher has reversed its controversial policy that would require a “MAX” rating on any solo series starring a gay or lesbian character.
Newsarama: … It’s one thing to cite a policy saying “this would happen if”, but what is the true likelihood given the circumstances of any project actually being approved if this sensibility exists?
Quesada: I’m glad you asked me this, fortunately this question has been raised again and it’s given us the opportunity to spark some internal discussions and revisit this issue especially in light of the fact that we have characters like Freedom Ring (who is the current star of Marvel Team Up without much fanfare mind you) and that we’ve had more gay and lesbian characters appearing in Marvel comics than ever before. In many ways, the old policy over the last few years has just sort of faded away, so let me just say that there is no longer any policy.
Newsarama: Okay, just so we’re clear about this – a character’s sexual orientation is no longer a factor in determining the rating of a potential title starring that character? So Freedom Ring — to use your example — could star in a non-MAX/Marvel Universe title — even if the character’s sexual orientation was a factor in the story?
Quesada: Yes and Freedom Ring is already the star of Marvel Team Up.
Newsarama: And this is a new policy, or more accurately, the policy that may have prevented that the last few years is newly no longer in effect?
Newsarama: Can you give interested parties any insight into the circumstances of this change?
Quesada: It’s pretty simple, the topic really hasn’t come up in quite some time, we discussed it and decided it was no longer necessary.
At the link, Quesada also addresses the issue of Marvel’s “social responsibility.”