When DC relaunched its line with the New 52, they made several changes to many long standing characters; costumes changed, history changed– but at the time it was announced that no character would suddenly change their sexuality.
DC’s position on the issue has since “evolved.”
Dan DiDio made this announcement at the Kapow Comic Convention in London this week. While no specifics have been given, one of DC’s established characters will be “coming out” in the near future. Certainly there is likely to be some speculation on who it may be, and despite what Grant Morrison says, I doubt it will be Batman.
If I had to guess, I would think it would probably be one of the Earth 2 characters, maybe even big gun Alan Scott, a/k/a Green Lantern. This is based off the fact that he is about to debut in the new DCU, and the fact that James Robinson, the Earth 2 writer, has a history of changing character’s sexuality (remember Mikaal Tomas. the blue Starman?).
Since the late 80’s, gay characters have sporadically appeared in both DC and Marvel Comics. Early attempts to add diversity to the comic book worlds were not always successful. (Extraño, from the 1988 DC series, New Guardians, anyone?) Of course, the first openly gay hero was Marvel’s Northstar of Alpha Flight. Created in 1979 by John Byrne, the character finally was revealed to be gay in 1992, although Byrne has always said he had intended the character to be gay. Marvel is expected to announce Northstar’s engagement on ABC’s The View.
Gay characters have recently become more prevalent in mainstream comics, Batwoman, Renee Montoya (formally of the GCPD and the Question) Flash supporting character, The Pied Piper have all been identified as homosexual. Scott Lobdell has recently introduced the first gay Titan, Bunker in Teen Titans #3, earlier this year. Marvel characters Wiccan and Hulkling of the Young Avengers have been in a relationship since the series inception in 2005.
Of course the biggest gay character in comics is neither in DC or Marvel, rather it’s Kevin Keller, who is the first openly gay character in Archie Comics.