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Overwatch Comic Highlights Holiday Spirit; Oh, And Tracer is Gay

The latest Overwatch comic shows off a previously-unmentioned side of its flagship character.

News by Mike Williams, .

Today, Blizzard Entertainment released Reflections, the latest comic set in the Overwatch universe.

Bullshit. She won this fair and square.

The comic is a split story about Tracer and Winston during the holidays. Winston is waiting for Tracer for holiday dinner, since she's his only family at this point. Tracer is pulling off her best Flash, racing through King's Row to buy a last-minute gift for an unnamed recipient. Tracer loses precious time stopping a crime and even gives up the perfect gift, even though she won it through the rite of holiday shopping spoils.

In the end, the family she saved in the beginning of the comic gives her a gift, which she then re-gifts to her intended recipient: her girlfriend Emily. Tracer and Emily join Winston for holiday dinner and we check in on the rest of the Overwatch crew during the holidays. Soldier 76 and Ana are sad, old people, officially becoming the Dad and Mom fandom wanted. Reaper and Widowmaker look to the lives that they've lost, while Sombra and McCree get drunk. Roadhog and Junkrat are sunny theme park bros and they look to be enjoying themselves. And Torjborn is apparently a sex machine, because he has like ten kids, all of whom are taken care of by Reinhardt.

Of course, most people aren't paying attention to the rest, because Tracer is gay.

There's been a lot of elation about the reveal of this hidden facet of the character. I've written before about why I feel representation is important in entertainment and a lot of that sentiment can be mirrored here. Many are excited that there is a gay character in Overwatch at all, in the same way some may be happy there's a Mexican or Korean character. Seeing yourself in your entertainment can have a tangible effect.

Fans had mined similar ground already. Following the opening cinematic and Alive animated shorts featuring Tracer and Widowmaker, some fans already started shipping the pairing. Following a change in a Tracer pose showing off her own posterior, a bunch of fan art showed Tracer as a connoisseur of Overwatch lady butts.

Of course, some fans are unhappy that Tracer is gay. This unhappiness stretches from mild annoyance, to anger, and really odd takes on the matter. Note, the change in Tracer's in-universe sexuality doesn't really affect the character in the game. And in the past, people have argued vehemently for Blizzard's artistic freedom in relation to Tracer, but when it's aimed in a different direction it becomes an issue?

Either way, it's done. Tracer is gay. Just like the various fan works, if that's a problem, you can envision another Tracer. Hell, there are people out there who are happy Tracer is gay, but unhappy that she's not all about Widowmaker or Mercy. Part of the art resides in the minds of those consuming it.

Still, it's an impressive move for Blizzard, given that Tracer is their flagship character. The webcomic has already been blocked in Russia over Tracer's homosexuality, so it's possible that Blizzard may have to rejigger the game's marketing in that region. Regardless, I need to know more about Torbjorn and his apparent need to have a child every year.

Seriously, all those kids.

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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #1 SatelliteOfLove A year ago
    It's OW, It's a surprise by this point if a characters isn't. :P

    Speaking of which...

    "The webcomic has already been blocked in Russia over Tracer's homosexuality, so it's possible that Blizzard may have to rejigger the game's marketing in that region."

    ...it'll default the .ru domain to tumblr fanart. UP YOURS YOU SNEAKY KGBASTARD!
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  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene #2 UnskippableCutscene A year ago
    So, I'm a gay guy who is Tracer-obsessed. (Weird start to that: her shonen protagonist hairstyle on the cover made me think she was a dude.) I want to get the statue and the cosplay goggles and I guess in some otaku circles people would be drawing parallels to life partners. So, what do I think? She's already fictional, so really what's one more layer of unattainable? :)

    In all seriousness though, this just shows how much the audience has crept past the industry in acceptance of this stuff. We were already making Source FilmMaker images of Tracer grabbing Widow's butt, Tracer surrounded by the whole femme cast's butts, and people drawing fanart of the girls show them hanging out with each other more than the guys. DVa kissing Tracer, Tracer coming onto DVa, Tracer hugging Widow, etc. Who will she be flirting with next, and can I please request it be Sombra? I digress.

    I'm curious if fandom will change at all, in regards to the amount of art and, yes, the smut. I honestly wouldn't expect anything to change, even the Tracer/Male stuff. Gays are kind of different than a lot of minorities, nobody would ever rate their ethnicity on a 1 to 10 scale but gays mostly accept the Kinsey Scale wholeheartedly. And yes, we often do it to ourselves; the whole idea of a gay who has never had sex with a woman being nicknamed a "Gold Star Gay" is obvious enough proof of that. Dating another girl only means that Tracer is at least a 5, and in many ways it only validates much of the illusion that fandom was dreaming up for themselves.

    If anything, Blizzard just went with the crowd pleasing option. Now then, make Reaper gay for 76, which is the 'bara' fandom's seemingly preferred interpretation, and we'll really watch the fur fly.Edited 2 times. Last edited December 2016 by UnskippableCutscene
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #3 VotesForCows A year ago
    @UnskippableCutscene Your last point is interesting - I think it definitely feels easier for media companies to have a gay woman than a man.

    Would be great to see more strong gay men in mainstream games. But don't get me wrong, any progress is good progress!
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  • Avatar for Megamoppy #4 Megamoppy A year ago
    @UnskippableCutscene oh God just imagine the fans reaction if the edgiest character with a skull motif was gay, it would be delicious.
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  • Avatar for pdubb #5 pdubb A year ago
    So all the complaints about Tracer's booty pose being the subject for male gaze were all moot because Tracer really was doing it for the female gaze?

    M Night Shamalan stop messing with my internet.
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  • Avatar for yuberus #6 yuberus A year ago
    My favorite awful Tracer reaction was seeing someone go through mental gymnastics to argue that she can't REALLY be gay because she's a fictional character with no wants or needs. Like... yes, I suppose in the most literal sense that is true, but that would also mean every fictional character ever is irrelevant and doesn't matter, and that's certainly untrue. Humans have been using fiction for millennia as a way to represent themselves and their ideals. Nothing wrong with Blizzard deciding to make a point of "yes, she's gay, and it's not weird or transgressive or unusual - it's just how she is."
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  • Avatar for nadiaoxford #7 nadiaoxford A year ago
    @yuberus I enjoyed the legendary suggestion that maybe British women kiss each other full on the lips, passionately, as an expression of platonic friendship. Dude, you reach any harder and your limbs are going to go full-on Stretch Armstrong.
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  • Avatar for docexe #8 docexe A year ago
    @UnskippableCutscene @VotesForCows
    I have some complicated opinions about this.

    On one hand, I’m not particularly fan of “slash shipping” in general (that is, the tendency among fans of pairing up characters of the same gender, regardless of whether or not said characters actually have a romantic or sexual relationship in the official materials). Mind you, I’m not against it either (for that matter, my personal philosophy is “ship whatever you want to ship, just don’t be a jerk about it”). It’s just not something that I particularly like to do barring a few occasional exceptions.

    On the other hand, considering how LGTB people have been unfairly misrepresented and persecuted for centuries in so many parts of the world, I understand the need for more and better representation of them in media. In that sense, I welcome this kind of moves on the part of companies like Blizzard, especially considering Tracer is a fan favorite and, essentially, the face of the game.

    Now, that being said, the fact that companies seem to be more comfortable depicting gay women in mainstream media lately, but still don’t depict that many gay men it’s... well, troubling. Given that such thing is very likely done to avoid alienating male audiences (which is a different can of worms that probably merits a different discussion... ¬_¬), I can’t help it but think it sends some mixed messages (essentially something along the lines of “this kind of gay people are fine, but this kind of gay people aren’t”). I think that goes to show this is an area on which media companies still need to improve.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #9 VotesForCows A year ago
    @docexe I'm with you on that. There seems to be a bit of reluctance to portray gay men in certain roles - especially action-oriented roles. As you say, a large element of this is probably the fact that most games (and the sorts of movies I watch) are marketed and designed to suit straight men.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #10 VotesForCows A year ago
    @nadiaoxford I live in the UK! I'll carry out an observational study to verify this when I go for a walk later.
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