The bells are chiming across the country as America’s first gay superhero wedding has made national headlines.The wedding of Northstar and longtime partner Kyle in Marvel Comics’ Astonishing X-Men #51 marks a change in climate for this age-old social issue, just as President Obama became the first president to support marriage equality. DC Comics also recently revealed that their own classic character, the original Green Lantern, is gay. But, despite all the hype in the media surrounding these brave announcements, you may not know that LGBT characters have been around in comics for quite a while. Today we’re taking a look through comics history to explore the lesser-known, but equally as relevant characters.
The Ultimate Marvel Universe differs from the original canon in a myriad of ways, ranging from small differences to very drastic. In the case of Colossus, writer Mark Millar began injecting hints of Peter Rasputin’s sexuality into stories years ago, and it was expanded upon over the years, often as a way to portray Colossus being an outsider amongst outsiders. The steel-skinned mutant even left the team once because he couldn’t reconcile his feelings for a fellow X-Man.
Wolverine’s son is a bit of a mystery, as he has been shown kissing and even sleeping with men in order to gain strategic advantage, and in some cases has killed his partner afterward. It is heavily implied that the Dark Avenger/Dark X-Man “plays for both teams” in more ways than one.Daken has even made not-so-subtle suggestions as to his own bi-sexuality on several occasions.
In 2006 DC Comics unveiled their new Batwoman, and she was more than just visually different from previous incarnations. Kate Kane is a lesbian, and DC has not shied away from portraying her private life. Though the original Batwoman was romantically attracted to Batman, the newer version is not, and has been involved with Gotham City police officer Renee Montoya, now known as The Question.
SHATTERSTAR & RICTOR
X-Factor scribe Peter David is known for his out-of-left-field plot developments as well as his deeply emotional stories. Those two elements came together nicely in X-Factor #45 in 2009, when the two longtime friends finally admitted their feelings for one another and shared a dramatic kiss. David said on his blog days later that the two are indeed bisexual and would be exploring their relationship further in the comic.
HULKLING & WICCAN
Young Avengers Hulkling and Wiccan(formerly Asgardian) have also been together for a few years in the comics. Like Shatterstar and Rictor, their true relationship was hinted to be beyond merely friends in early issues, but later were revealed to be gay and in love. In Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, they are engaged and share their first on-panel kiss.
Comic books have long been at the forefront of social issues, from civil rights to drug abuse, and everything in between. The latest trend of LGBT characters is just the most prolific wave of gay-friendly heroes(and villains). Expect LGBT characters to pop up more frequently and in higher-profile roles and titles, because historically, where goes comics culture, so goes society. These extraordinary heroes are even more so because they not only fight for the fate of the world on a daily basis, they also fight to be treated as equals and respected for their actions, not their sexuality.
Imagine your life is on the line, the world is about to break, and just when you think there is no hope, a superhuman comes to the rescue, setting right the world and restoring order and justice. Now ask yourself if it truly matters whether he goes home to a boyfriend or husband?
After all, they may be superhuman, but they are still human.
For a list of over 300 LGBT comics characters, go to QueerSupe.