Past, Present and Future of LGBTQ Characters in Comics (Part 1)

When it comes to representation in comics we have come a long way. Especially independent publishers like Image, Boom, Black Mask and Aftershock release more and more books with a diverse cast of characters. Not to mention the countless number of WebComics you can choose from. It gets easier to find your uniqueness represented respectfully.

I am aware that we still have a long way to go, mainly the big two publishers could up their ante when it comes to representation and diversification. But, if you have read my article about my favorite LGBTQ+ themed TV shows, you know that I don’t want to hate on someone because of what they have done wrong. Or in this case: not done.

Instead, I want to focus on the good things. Think positive and look at what has been done so far. By reflecting on what has been accomplished, we can make demands on the future – without hate. It is crucial to give various people proper role models they can look up to. Everyone deserves to be heard, a superhero they can identify with, a character that goes through similar experiences and struggles as they have. To do just that, I want to present to you my view on LGBTQ+ characters in comics.

The Plan

At first, we are going to reflect, looking for characters that already came out or did the first steps in that direction. There are a lot of comics coming out each week, so this is a condensed, subjective, personal, and by any means not complete list/discussion of LGBTQ+ themed characters in comics.

After that, we can look into the future. Some characters might have a realistic chance of having their big moment one day. Parading out and proud on the rainbow bridge. Others might be just wishful thinking, inspired by my fantasies and hopes of seeing them, someday, involved in some man-on-man-action. A boy can dream, right?

Reflection

Before we get to the actual stories and comics, please take a second and think about the people in your life. In fact, let us make a Venn-Diagram: First, take those people you see on a regular basis, and/or with whom you have deep, meaningful conversations. Now, consider the people who are part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Who are those people in the middle? How do they behave, act, react, talk, walk, dress, gesture, etc.? Are they legion – doing everything in unison? Announcing their arrival when they enter a room or meet new people?

Why do I ask this? Because everyone is different. A unique diamond, shaped by our past experiences, our present moments, and our hopes for the future. Sometimes we blend in, sometimes we seem to have a bright spotlight on our heads. We talk about our desires, hopes, beliefs, and dreams. Everyone has different goals in life. Though what unites us is the goal of a meaningful, happy life. Sounds a bit like everybody on this planet, doesn’t it?

And that is something I want from a story with LGBTQ+ elements and characters as well. I don’t want a marketing campaign focusing on the one gay part. I don’t want every comic to be a world full of gay people – though they can be fun reads. Surprise me. Like the movie Deadpool 2 did. I didn’t know NTW was a lesbian with a girlfriend when I walked into the film. I was pleasantly surprised by it.

With that in mind, take a look at the following list of characters and the comic book series’s. Do you know some, or maybe even all of them? Think about who they are and how they are presented in the stories. What makes them special and unique as a person? How does their world look like? Who are their friends, who their enemies?

Specific Characters:

  • Daisy (Giant Days)
  • Mac (Paper Girls)
  • Bunker (Teen Titans 2011)
  • Iceman (X-Men)
  • Kate Kain (Batwoman)
  • Deadpool (X-Men)
  • Shatterstar (X-Men)
  • Northstar and Kyle Jinadu (X-Men)
  • William (Invincible)
  • Lando (Star Wars)
  • Renee Montoya (DC Universe)
  • Apollo and Midnighter (DC Universe)
  • Betty (Rat Queens)
  • Harley Quinn (DC Universe)

I am bad with names, so here are some more comics for you to check out:

  • Trees
  • Morning Glories
  • The Bunker
  • The Woods
  • Breaks
  • Fence
  • Isola
  • Saga
  • The Wicked + The Divine
  • The Pride
  • ODY-C
  • Chimera
  • Dream Daddy
  • Kim&Kim
  • Fearful Hunter
  • Frat House Troopers
  • The Mark of Aeacus
  • Nimona
  • Where We Live
  • The less than epic adventures of TJ and Amal

That concludes the first part of this article. If you did not recognize some of the names, I want to give you a little homework: google them. Expand your horizon.

Next time, we are going to take a look at the future and make a little wish-list.

Thanks for reading!

Featured Image by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

Leave a Reply