So which beloved DC character almost died of AIDS in the 1980s?
The guy who created Thanos for Marvel, Jim Starlin, has been chatting about his time with DC back in the 1980s, and has revealed that the writers nearly killed a beloved Superman character with AIDS at one point.
So who almost bit it back in the 1980s, before the DC writers pulled the plug on the plan? Superman’s little pal Jimmy Olsen, who would’ve featured into a storyline that had the young photographer contracting the disease and dying in a mid-1980s arc.
Here’s how Starlin explains the episode, and why the company ultimately decided not to go forward with the plan:
"When the AIDS epidemic first came to light, DC had this idea to do a book where one of their characters contracted AIDS and died from it. And so, being the nice sensitive subject that it is, they put out a suggestion box that you were supposed to drop in the name of the character that you thought should die from AIDS ...
In the end, the character that they voted most wanted to see have AIDS was Jimmy Olsen. I don't know why. But that idea got scuttled when somebody told them that the actor who played Jimmy Olsen in the Christopher Reeve Superman movies was actually gay in real life. And so they got scared, and they dropped the whole project at that point."
It’s not uncommon to have comics tackle topical issues, and the AIDS epidemic was one of the biggest stories of the 1980s. It’d have been interesting to see how this one would’ve played out.
Do you think this could’ve been a good storyline?