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CSBG Archive

The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – Who’s That Element Lad’s Dating?

Every week, we will be examining comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Today, we examine Element Lad’s odd relationship with Shvaughn Erin…


Ever since 1964’s Adventure Comics #326 (written by Jerry Siegel) had Element Lad say he was “out of his element” when it comes to girls, fans have speculated that Element Lad was gay.

The idea was picked up and developed by fans of the Legion, and it became a common topic for discussion at the Legion fan magazine, Interlac (which began life as LEAPA, LEgion Amateur Press Association).

In the second issue of the fanzine, there was a piece of fan fiction involving Element Lad’s homosexuality, and in the third issue, longtime Legion writer Jim Shooter gave his thoughts about different members of the Legion and for Element Lad, Shooter mentioned that he had always assumed that he was gay, partially for the aforementioned line from Adventure Comics #326, partially because he did not seem all that interested in repopulating his race (Element Lad was the lone survivor of a planet) and yes, partially because of the outfit Dave Cockrum gave him, where he had a giant arrow on his chest….

However, later writer Paul Levitz introduced a female love interest for Element Lad, the Science Officer Shvaughn Erin.

Well, Keith Giffen and longtime Interlac members Tom and Mary Bierbaum (who became the scripters for Giffen on Giffen’s “Five Years Later” Legion of Super-Heroes) did not agree with that idea, and in 1992’s Legion of Super-Heroes #32, they revealed that Shvaughn Erin was actually SEAN Erin, and he had taken a drug that changes you into a woman, as he was under the impression that Element Lad was heterosexual.

Element Lad pretty plainly said that such a ruse was an unnecessary one…

So, through a pretty convoluted plot, the end result that Legion fans had been expecting for decades was finally the case!

This particular change went out the window with the end of this run of Legion. When she has appeared since this time, Shvaughn has been a woman.


“Five Years Later” Legion of Super-Heroes maybe was convoluted, but it was adult and intelligent. Best. Legion. Ever.

Were giant arrows the rainbow triangles of the ’70s?

The triangle wasn’t pink so can someone explain the gay symbolism there?

The “five years later” Legion started out as the best Legion ever, but was ruined by the Bierbaum’s insistence on turning fan-fic into canon. This isn’t the only example of them overturning decades of continuity to make the LSH fall into line with what they wanted it to be in 1965. Fortunately for the rest of us, it was all “abondoned an’ forsaked”.

“Shooter mentioned that he had always assumed that he was gay, partially for the aforementioned line from Adventure Comics #326, partially because he did not seem all that interested in repopulating his race (Element Lad was the lone survivor of a planet)”

Which shows that Jim Shooter fails biology. One person cannot repopulate their race. There would need to be a female of the same race for any children to be born.

If the Trommites were a separate species from Humans then the race is effectively dead. If on the other hand Trom was populated by Humans then all that’s needed is for an influx of new colonists to Trom.

On the other hand isn’t it a little weird to tell a teenage boy, “Look, you have to knock up as many women as you can to repopulate the planet!”

I assume they are saying the arrow represents a “p” going into his “m”.

I always thought Green Arrow was trying too hard.

A “piano” going into his “mullet”?

Or a “parrot” going into his “mollusk”?

Doesn’t this retcon actually make him bisexual rather than gay (as he was happy to have a relationship with someone he thought was a women)?

My biggest problem with the Shvaughn/Sean bit was that it didn’t really jibe with Shvaughn’s character. A more interesting – and mature – approach if the writers wanted Element Lad to be gay would have been for Element Lad to realize he was so and admit it to her. Having her deal with the fact that her boyfriend was gay and trying to work out what sort of relationship – if any – she still wanted to have with him (given that the old relationship, knowingly or not was a lie) could have made for some nice scenes without drastically altering her character.

I still miss the 5YG Legion. In this fan of 30+ years’ estimation it was the best ever run on the title.

randypan the goatboy

February 26, 2012 at 10:37 am

the thing that i always find funny is that when the fans get this idea in their head that someone should be gay they write some masterbatory fantasy involving robin and superboy and then they stomp their feet in a collective hissy fit when the writer won’t pull the trigger on robin taking conner to ” the Batpole” or otherwise spelunking in robins batcave. What I want to know is this…why does a close friendship between two young men have to be sexualised? Why is it homophobic for someone to take a character that has long since been outed and make them a heterosexual [which as far as i know has never happened] ? Why is it blasphemy from a vocal minority of readers to change a character into a heterosexual and not to take a heterosexual and make him a homosexual?…i had a long drawn out discussion that started out friendly a few months ago about a character that someone wanted to be in a book named “wonderboy”. When we got to the topic of one vs the other we went around the block with circular logic and then it turned negative…Why does it have to be the one way? If up can be down depending on your point of view why cant down be up?…Someone who isn’t afraid to answer please do so

“Doesn’t this retcon actually make him bisexual rather than gay (as he was happy to have a relationship with someone he thought was a women)?”

I would argue no, if a person says “I love you so I stuck with you even though you were a woman,” there’s a pretty strong implication that he isn’t bisexual. However, I see where you’re coming from,

I was in high school when that issue of v4 was released and always got the impression that Jan’s sexuality was more fluid and that Shvaughn’s assumptions about him created the need to masquerade as a woman. Of course, I started reading the Legion with v4 and was not privy to the on-going debate about Jan or the history stemming back to that issue of Adventure Comics.

I just assumed that in the 30th Century pansexuality was more of a norm.

you 21st century people and your labels…

I just assumed that in the 30th Century pansexuality was more of a norm.

Now THAT would be an interesting take on the LoSH! A future in which science had resolved all issues pertaining to contraception and STDs, in which there was little to no social stigma to alternative sexualities (there ARE inter-species relationships at this point, so what’s so bad about homosexuality?) and in which society accepts and even expects that young people will “experiment” freely in order to decide for themselves who and what they like. Naturally, we’ll never get to see anything like that.

Quick question. was the science police officer in the zero hour legion named Shvaughn based on this character? I dont think she was anywhere as interesting as this tho!

a little unique way to once and for all answer if element lad was gay all over him saying he is out of his elements with the opposite sex by having who had to be comics first transgender charcter in shvaughn using a pill to change from sean to shvaughn then later dc deciding that shvaughn is now a female again.

Daniel O' Dreams

February 26, 2012 at 2:36 pm

@Randypan: It’s not that changing an established gay character to straight would be inherently homophobic, if there was a good in story reason for it, it probably wouldn’t be. It just calls into question the motivation of the writer or editor who would take a character from such a small minority and make them just like every other character. Basically why would you do that?
Sort of like making Firestorm look white again. What did that accomplish besides getting rid of yet another powerful person of color?
As for why writers make established characters gay (on admittedly little to flimsy evidence that they “were all along”) that reasoning should be obvious, they don’t want to create a new gay character that can be quickly forgotten about (Extrano? Terry Berg?). How many new characters created in the past twenty years are still around, especially at the big two? Deadpool, Cable and Kyle Raynor (kinda) are. Keep in mind those characters are; a riff on Spider-man, The son of a character that’s been around since the Silver Age and the FIFTH Green lantern from Earth respectively.
As for why there needs to be gay characters at all. (You didn’t ask that but i know how these conversations go) They need to exist for the same reason characters who are female, or male, or black, or white, or Christian, or Atheist, or Jewish, or red-haired, or brown eyed need to: because they exist in the real world and creating a world with hundreds of thousands of characters purportedly based on the real world and leaving out one minority sends a bad message to and about that minority.

End of lecture ;-)

To Mike T:

Yes, that was a brand new Shvaughn, just to piss off whoever liked the more mature version of LSH.

To Eric:

I was under that impression too, especially because V4 was so far ahead in terms of maturity, but the reaction of fanboys at that time showed people had still a 20th century mentality. Mostly. And v4 was so charged with sexuality and politics that you can wonder if ever there will be anything like that at DCU. I seriously doubt it.

To Ed Buskirk Jr.

I think the book went downhill BECAUSE it tried to go back to a more traditional structure rather than sticking to the lore. I mean, Legion on the Run and the idea they would go back to spandex after all was totally out of character by then. Legionnaires was the book to fulfill that void but alas editorial by then hated Giffen to the guts, apparently.

The arrow resembles the “male” symbol of a circle with an arrow.

Given the LSH’s 30+ membership at the time that Shvaughn was introduced, it would be almost mathetically impossible for all of the LSH members to be exclusively heterosexual. I think Levitz stumbled by making Jan straight, and the Bierbaum/Giffen retcon above, while heavy-handed, helped “fix” that misstep without invalidating anything prior. Plus they made the Lightning Lass/Shrinking Violet relationship official in a way that Levitz never did and I believe they were responsible for a back-story that intimated that dead member Chemical King had been in love with Invisible Kid I. In fact, that plot was almost resurrected at the end of the 2nd “Zero Hour” Legion run, wherein Invis Kid had a lover with the initial “C.”, and Condo Arlik (Chem King’s alter ego) had been introduced and was the intended boyfriend — although this plot was dropped with the change in creators at the time of the first Legion Lost series.

But to answer the larger question, such a large group of humans and humanity-descended aliens isn’t realistic or terribly interesting if they’re all straight. I’m glad to see that Levitz is moving ahead full-force with the LLass/Violet relationship in unequivocal terms, and he crafted a male couple by creating Gravity Kid as the husband of previously existing minor character Power Boy. I hope that his Element Lad is gay (righting the supposed “wrong” of a generation ago) but if he is straight, I think Levitz has otherwise earned enough goodwill in his recent run to be let off the hook for “in-ing” Jan.

@Axel M. Gruner
SO TRUE! Best Legion volume ever. I remember going all the way down to St. Marks Comics in NY to get that book every month. That and Legion 89. Those were great books. Love
Giffen & the Bierbaums.

I have a good question, the latest Levitz Legion…which old volume are they following as far as continuity? He seemed to borrowed elements from the Five Years Later storyline, but I am confused.

You refer to Interlac as a fan magazine, but like its predecessor LEAPA it was only ever a thing called an Amateur Press Association. Here’s a quick precis on the concept:


It’s very important to me that you understand this is very different from a fan magazine or a fanzine. Mailings of Interlac were only ever seen by the members of Interlac — at the time I was Central Mailer, there were fifty members. Everyone printed fifty copies of their own contributions and sent all fifty to the Central Mailer, who’d send out a bundle consisting of one copy of each contribution to each member. We did this every other month for years! But unlike magazines or fanzines, mailings were never sold to an audience. It was only circulated among ourselves.

The closest thing online would be a private electronic mailing list…provided the mailing list had a set number of members, newcomers had to wait until someone else on the list dropped off before they could join, and you were obliged to post regularly and couldn’t just read other people’s work while doing none of your own. The costs of paper and printing and postage forced such restrictions on APAs. I always knew fandom would end up moving to computers for all the advantages they offered, and here we are…

It didn’t make much sense to me that people want Element Lad to be either gay or straight: his transmutation powers, last survivor of his species, and the whole sedate spirituality of his various incarnations makes me think his idea of intimacy and relationships isn’t driven by his attraction to one human gender over another. I can’t remember — are Trommites based off of humans like the Winath, Cargg, and Braal?

Y’know, it probably turned out to be an interesting storyline, but to start speculating based on “I’m out of my element when it comes to romancing girls” is a bit…iffy, isn’t it? It seems like it’s just a groaner of a pun added to the typical awkward interactions with women that male superheroes often had. Also, if he’s the lone survivor of his race, he wouldn’t have had much experience romancing ANYONE, right?

Ah, whatever. No big deal.

Is the costume bit like what kentonindy said, the male symbol thingee?

One thing about this — that’s Colleen Doran art on the last images we see (the Shvaughn/Sean reveal), and I know she said something about that issue. It was regarding how this and at least one other book she did around that time involved a gender switch, and how she was a bit disheartened at feeling like she was sort of “typecast” to do stories like that. Ah, man, it’s gonna bug me all day trying to figure out what I’m thinking of…!

It’s kind of ironic that people think it’s the green costume with the arrow that looked gay, when his original pink and white outfit along with that weird hairstyle seemed about 1000 times more stereotypically gay.

It is an old and ugly stereotype that, because a guy is shy around girls, he must be gay. That’s how I read that initial scene. I don’t believe a writer of a 1960s mainstream comic book for kids would have inserted (no pun intended) a secretly gay character into a story. I think he was just playing to the fact that a lot of young men and boys are painfully awkward around girls.

Yes, the pink costume didn’t help butch him up, that’s for sure. But also remember that at the time of Shvaughn’s introduction, he was virtually the only member who wasn’t firmly established to be straight — which was due in no small part to the desire of several writers to not contradict the deeply held fan interpretation that Jan was gay while also being unable due to editorial pressure to actually confirm that he was gay. People give credit for LLass/Violet’s relationship to Giffen & the Bierbaums, but Levitz laid the groundwork for it, and I don’t think he was allowed to be more upfront about it at the time, since there was a distinct evolution at DC & Marvel between the late 80’s and early 90’s to allow them to be more gay-inclusive. Before that, such representations were forbidden and later allowed only if completely implied, to avoid the stigma of trying to promote a “gay agenda” in “children’s” books. In the 80’s John Byrne implied that Northstar in Alpha Flight and Maggie Sawyer in the Superman books were both gay in subtle ways that were up to the interpretation of the reader.

In the 80?s John Byrne implied that Northstar in Alpha Flight and Maggie Sawyer in the Superman books were both gay in subtle ways that were up to the interpretation of the reader.

The work Byrne did with those two gay characters during the 1980s was amazing. The amount of detail he was able to put into their life while still technically fitting under the auspices of “keeping it vague whether they are gay” was so far ahead of any other writer of the time.

Frankly, the whole thing disgusted me, because of its narrow-mindedness (specifically, ignoring just what wonders we’d already seen possible prior to the 5YL setting, when the parts of the plot being presented would have been firmly grounded before the collapse seen in 5YL). It was truly crappy writing. In fact, that entire era was awful, including things such as the already-discussed Garth/Proty BS.

By the 30th century, if anyone was transgendered, they probably would have access to 1000 years of villainous “sex-change rays” (and heroic means to reverse them), adapted to therapeutic use to permanently affect the change they desired, not using a drug regimen to do it on a temporary basis, that took months to set up and then wear off. with such sufficiently advanced technology, there’s no need for the “T” in LGBT to be more than a temporary condition, prior to the body being converted to the desired sex at the earliest opportunity.
Even if the sex-changer tech were tightly controlled, permanent medical solutions should have existed given the medical tech we see in LSH, and for that matter, “Sean” as a SP officer would probably have had access to the vaults where the seized equipment was (get a medical sex reassignment, then sneak into the vault and zap yourself to make it a true sex change on the genetic level – who would be the wiser?).

The way the whole thing with “Sean” was unrealistic even in comics terms and unnecessary. If Sean wasn’t transgendered, and was just changing to be with Jan, it would have been better just for Shvaughn to admit she was once “Sean” (without the silly drugs subplot), and then the two just go find a properly-equipped medical facility (or even a Science Police museum with one of the old villainous sex-changers) to reverse the process.

My biggest problem with this story has never been the sexuality, but the tragic mis-epelling of “Siobhan”.

My biggest problem with this story has never been the sexuality, but the tragic mis-epelling of “Siobhan”.

Yeah, it is a bafflingly weird way to spell it, but Levitz should get all the credit for that.

Geez, the name “Shvaughn” SHOULD be spelled Siobhán (same pronunciation, sh-vaughn), especially if the comic is supposedly a bit more mature, it’s actually a common enough name that readers could cope with it.

Yeah, the funny thing is that I was familiar with the name Siobhan at the time, but the LSH spelling was so weird and not-even-a-name that I didn’t even get that Siobhan was what they were going for.

Between this revelation and the whole “Lightning Lad-was-really-Protty-all-this-time” one, the 5 Years Later Legion always struck me as glorified fan fiction. Too much of “Oh, wouldn’t it be neat if this was what REALLY happened all those years ago!!!” for my tastes.

I’d just explain it as a 1000 years of linguistic drift and “Shvaughn” being written in Interlac, which I am assuming is more similar to the current day International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), like “Gim Allon” instead of “Jim Allen/Alan/Allan” and then transliterated back for 20th Century readers. (perhaps the double “ll” in Allon is representative of something like a voiceless liquid similar to the Welsh pronunciation of Lloyd and the “G” is either really pronounced as the hard “g” sound or the “j” symbol is reserved for the more european “y” sound… )

There’s got to be a 31st-century No-Prize for that explanation, Matty. Well done.

Lets see- Jerry Seigel makes a pun/joke out of Elements Lad inexperience with women, and so people assume he was gay?

randypan the goatboy

February 27, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Thank you daniel… I have no problems with a character being gay. I see it as a representative of our cultural landscape. My issue is with the people who go batshit crazy wanting to make characters who are established into homosexual heroes. and then freaK out when someone disagrees with them. thank you for responding with integrity and a sense of decorum that a lot of message boards just dont have.

Between this revelation and the whole “Lightning Lad-was-really-Protty-all-this-time” one, the 5 Years Later Legion always struck me as glorified fan fiction. Too much of “Oh, wouldn’t it be neat if this was what REALLY happened all those years ago!!!” for my tastes.

While this is true and I usually hate franchises being turned into glorified fanfiction, I make a bit of an exception for Legion of Superheroes, because that book has traditionally almost always felt like fanfiction from the very start. It’s one of the reasons why I could never get into the series. I mean this is a book where one of its earliest, landmark most acclaimed foundation runs was by a 13 year old fan.

Even at it’s best the book usually read like good or even great fan fiction. At its worst it read like bad fan fiction. But it never felt like other comic books to me. It always felt a little off to me in that way fan fiction always does.

Lets see- Jerry Seigel makes a pun/joke out of Elements Lad inexperience with women, and so people assume he was gay?

The thing that makes that even more odd is that the following panel appears in the very same book:


I featured that issue in an edition of I Love Ya But You’re Strange. I actually have a follow-up piece to that edition that I have been meaning to feature ever since that installment. Maybe I’ll do it tonight!

Hey Guys. I was the co-plotter on all those issues from that Volume (I wrote Issues 21 – 24 on my own). In terms of the Shvaughn storyline… I was keeper of that particular flame. But the story I had in mind was a bit crazier than the printed one. There were so much crap in terms of Politics with the Superman people… I could tell you folks stories that would curl your hair… or at least make you giggle.

We should get you guys and Tom and Mary and me, all in the fame figurative Room and chat about all this. It’d be fun.

I’ve also never gotten the whole “Out of my ELEMENT” line being perceived as gay, but the whole Shvaughn/Sean thing is fine as far as I’m concerned. It was an interesting enough story, and the Legion has always seemed to be a very fan-driven comic.

I do take offense to the insane assumption that close male relationships must be gay (as mentioned by, scrolling up, uh… randypan), especially the super-offensive jump that some people take that essentially boils down to gay = pedophile (Batman and Robin live together, so Batman must be molesting him; Dumbledore is gay, so he must be molesting Harry Potter; etc.).

Thankfully, it seems like we’re very close to the point where gay characters in comics are the norm. Not a sensationalist “shocking” storyline, not a ridiculous token, not a martyr to change homophobic character’s minds, just the same as any other hero/villain. Some studies have shown that up to 10% of modern society is LGBT or questioning, and it looks like our pop-culture is finally moving in the same direction. I can’t wait for the day when a character like Batwoman or Hulkling comes out (no pun intended), and is neither held up as a daring step forward, or demonized as a perverted sales tactic. They’re just another character, and that’s a part of their story like any other.

I was thinking something similar to what Matty said about the Shvaughn spelling, except I wouldn’t have said it so smart.

I would point out too that as English becomes something of a “default” language through much of the world, and as we can see online, “proper” spelling of such is becoming…let’s say lax, spellings like that would happen more and more. (That is, the “english” spellings, and the…celtic?…spelling would fall by the wayside.)

Although given the “gh”, you’d think that might go by the wayside. See, Matty WAS so much smarter!

Hey, back in the day, I thought the name “Siobhan” was pronounced something like “cee-o-bon”. So what do I know?

I’m game for Al Gordon’s proposal. Get the team back together, for heaven’s sake! In fact, I miss Al’s work on Giffen’s art. He was his best inker, bar none.

Hey Ricardo:

I’d love to do some work with all those folks… but what I meant was to get T & M and Big K together, maybe on a conference call to discuss all this… and maybe someone could transcribe it.

Not sure if this has been mentioned, but I figure that the reason one throwaway line about being out of his element was translated as making him gay is because as there were probably LGBT comics fans desperately looking for someone they could relate to in a medium they enjoyed. Sad that it was so lacking, I think.

I never thought that making out that Jan was gay was an issue, but I really disliked the way it was done. Shvaughn was a skilled, competent police office of many years standing. Head of the Earthgov Science Police at one point I think.

Sean was a dependent whiner. Someone who was prepared to lie and lie and lie for decades just to get his way. He didn’t deserve a boyfriend like Jan, the Shvaughn that Levitz had established did.

Now OK, the Legion has for quite a long time been a place were you expect to find strong female characters, but it’s always a shame to see one destroyed just to try and tie in with something someone wrote in a twenty year old fanzine.

This is my all-time favorite Legion panel, the kissing machine:

Tons of implications and future storyline embedded in this one panel! Every active Legionnaire at the time who would later have or could be anticipated to have non-strict-hetero sexuality! Plus Star Boy, the poster child for uber-straight, connecting up with Nura later on.

* Element Lad is working the controls rather than kissing
* Chameleon Boy was Lightning Lass’ secret admirer in the postboot Legion, and god only knows what Durlan sexuality is actually like (but for shapechangers, probably not male/female as we know it!)
* Shrinking Violet is waiting in line, apparently to kiss Light Lass next
* Invisible Kid was also later implied as gay
* How many teen fantasies involved a three-way with Duo Damsel?

“How many teen fantasies involved a three-way with Duo Damsel?”
Wouldn’t Carrgian masturbation be a three-way by definition?
I was one of those who assumed Jan was gay, but had no actual proof. Maybe because until Levitz no one had ‘inned’ him? This story seemed rather nice initially, but then I realized that anatomically it just doesn’t work well. You CAN convince yourself to love any gender, but convincing certain body parts is more difficult than one might think. Perhaps Jan was taking a drug as well?
As far as it being wrong to make the assumption that Jan might be gay based upon stereotypical clues, for one thing, there’s a reason why stereotypes become such, and for another I never see complaints about Ayla being gay when she was first introduced disguised as a boy,, one of the major lesbian stereotypes.

I’ve been told the writers’ assumptions were that Durlans are open to pretty much anything.
As a shy teen, I find the idea “I’m out of my element” is evidence of anything but shyness mind-boggling, but not unique. In Titans, when Jericho didn’t put moves on Kole, there was a letter or two suggesting “He didn’t jump her, he must be gay!” (plus, of course, he’s sensitive and artistic so that proves it).
I think it may reflect the fan tendency one TV writer noted, to assume that there’s no such thing as a throwaway remark: Anything, however off-hand, can be taken as fraught with meaning (the fact Holmes quotes Twelfth Night in two different stories has led to the argument that perhaps he liked the play because Jan. 6–Twelfth Night–is his brithday).
I think the best coming out was Pied Piper to Wally back in the eighties (nineties?).

There are two types of bisexual people — those who are attracted to both sets of “plumbing” and those who are not attracted to plumbing at all and just fall in love “with the person”. I interpreted Jan’s reaction to Shvaughn/Sean to indicate that he was more of the latter, with a leaning towards the male parts.

To be fair, Wolfman and Perez considered making Jericho of the New Teen Titans gay when they created him, but they felt that the character that they’d created, a fair sensitive artist who rebels against the violence of his family, was too on-the-nose and would feed into stereotypes, so they went with straight after the fact. So picking up on the idea that he could be gay wasn’t really a stretch of the imagination, since he very nearly was.

I picked up this series and then gave it away after reading it. It started interesting but I found it hard to keep everyone apart and the plotting began to bore me. But I never have much luck with the Legion books.

The next panel in Adventure #323 is Jan kissing Light Lass and is totally thrilled about it. Everyone forgets that.

“It is an old and ugly stereotype that, because a guy is shy around girls, he must be gay.”

Amen. So some vocal readers assumed he must be gay, therefore it is cannon? And the writers didn’t want to offend them? I never understood the logic of how and if readers make assumptions about characters, therefore, it must be true. Really, it isn’t like there was any real evidence for Jan to be gay, what we’ve seen here is hardly conclusive.

I don’t mind if Jan is gay, or Shvaughn is transgendered, but it was just not executed well. Had the story been built up with subtle hints, like Levitz did with LL and SV (granted, it had to be subtle at the time), it might have worked out better.

And I’ve never understood the argument that mature equals better. Or intelligent. Discussing mature issues and themes isn’t a guaranteed sign of quality.

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