LGBT comic book characters are finally coming out
LGBT comic book characters are finally having their day in the sun as comic book publishers are more willing to have diversity in their comic book titles.
Though one can’t expect major superhero names like Spiderman, Superman, or Wonder Woman to come out, a number of supporting characters put out by the top comic book publishers have come out of the closet.
Likewise, independent comic book publishers are more willing take risks with comics that have LGBT characters as the main protagonists– even as LGBT comic book fans are setting up their own communities.
LGBT comic book characters who have come out
Writing for the New York Times, George Gene Gustines noted, “It’s a golden age for queer characters in comic books. Some popular figures, like Iceman, have finally come out of the closet. Others are being brought to life as lesbian or transgender.”
Iceman, in this case, is a member of the mutant superhero team, the X-Men, one of Marvel Comics’ premier titles. On the other hand, DC Comics recently featured a new Batwoman as lesbian.
The Avengers also had a superpowered gay couple named Wiccan and Hulkling join their team. Meanwhile, the Midnighter, a gay version of their Batman, has been drawing its share of fans.
There are also comics like the Stripling Warrior (about superheroes who are gay, lesbian, and Mormon), Virgil (an undercover closeted police officer in Kingston, Jamaica), Flutter (a shape shifter in high school), and The Infinite Loop (a time-travel lesbian love story).
A fan community for LGBT comic book characters
Furthermore, there are queer geek communities like Geeks OUT, which first began as a goal to establish a booth at the 2011 New York Comic-Con. From there, it has built a strong geek community, offering and maintaining “a visible and vivacious queer presence at geek events.”
After a successful convention last June, Geeks OUT will hold its second one– Flame Con 2– this August in New York City.
“The industry is catching on pretty quickly to the fact that diversity can improve sales of comics,” Josh Siegel, founder of Geeks OUT, told Gustines.
“So publishers are evolving their lines of books to showcase queer characters in a number of interesting ways,” Siegel added.
The long journey of LGBT comic book characters
These new LGBT comic books have come a long way from when Marvel first revealed the mutant superhero named Northstar was gay in 1992. (He later married his partner in 2012.)
Before that, the brothers Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez had an indie comic book series they started in 1981 called Love and Rockets that featured a bisexual and a butch lesbian as main characters.
More importantly, these comic books are a good place to start for the younger LGBT members, whether featuring characters as role models or just a good read where they can identify with the characters.
“Every character has to carry the weight of everyone’s expectations, because there just aren’t enough characters to represent a diverse range of desires and experiences,” said Andrew Wheeler, editor-in-chief of the comic book website Comics Alliance.
“We need to get from some to enough. And really, we’ll know we’ve achieved success when Captain America can have a boyfriend, and Wonder Woman can have a girlfriend. For queer representation in superhero comics, that’s what success looks like,” Wheeler added.
With that mind, who’s your favorite among the LGBT comic book character now out of the closet?