I just watched the pilot for Doom Patrol, loved it, and immediately moved into the community chat to see what others thought. I was disappointed to see a few people upset about Negative Man’s sexuality, and thought I’d give my two cents as a longtime fan of the Doom Patrol for anyone who’s looking for explanation of that change.
I can actually understand the frustration with the changing of established characters, but it’s worth keeping in mind that Negative Man and the rest of the DP’s main cast were created in the 1960s, when being gay was never talked about and any comic book character that wasn’t white, straight, and male tended to be written lazily and uninterestingly. Plus, the Doom Patrol’s characters are hardly “established;” they’ve been around for a long time, true, but they’ve only ever been cared about by a very small population of comic book fans. Niche characters like that, in my opinion, are fully capable of being shaped in different interpretations in order to make them more interesting for a larger fanbase. Furthermore, it was never technically confirmed that Larry was straight. He’s never had a love interest in any of his iterations and was even fused with a married woman when he was Rebis in Morrison’s run in the 80’s, and was technically married to that woman’s husband. No one’s arguing about the sexuality of characters like Rita and Cliff who’ve had confirmed straight relationships, but artists are allowed to reinterpret and reinvent characters based on what they’ve been given about that character, and Larry’s always had a quality of being “vaguely straight” at most. Basically, my position is that the change in Larry’s sexuality isn’t an unreasonable one and actually makes sense based on his canonical comic history.
I’d love to hear what you all think, and if you have any questions for me, I’m basically an encyclopedia for Doom Patrol trivia, so ask away!