We have gays in the military, gays wanting to get married . . . do we really need gays in comics? Of course, we do!
June is national Gay Pride Month, so happy pride, EVERYONE. And, let's take a look at the GLBTQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Queer, phew!) situation in comic books. Comic books have historically reflected current trends, politics, and issues. Sometimes to serve the story, sometimes to serve a purpose, and a lot of times simply for the fanfare. It makes sense that there is a large faction of GLBTQ comic fans. An outsider form of entertainment for an outsider subculture? The plight of the mutants in The X-Men forced to painfully co-exist in a society that shuns, if not fears and hates, them is an all too identifiable situation. When John Byrne introduced Northstar of Alpha Flight, he always intended him to be gay. Of course, things were different back then, and they had to pussyfoot around the issue. It wasn't until Issue #107 of Alpha Flight under a different writer that Northstar would scream and shout and let it all out that not only was he a mutant, he was homosexual (AND Canadian!). To Marvel Comics' discredit, Northstar was quickly ushered back into the closet after much negative feedback. It wasn't until years later, when gay rights become white hot and super trendy, that Marvel would reintroduce Northstar into their best-selling X-Men comic, give him a boyfriend, and a publicity-filled wedding. Too little, too late? Nah, it's better than nothing.
DC seems to be a little more gay friendly over the years. They made quite a stink when they introduced the publicity-driven lipstick lesbian Batwoman to the DCU. Nothing sings to the plight of the lesbian more than a smoking-hot babe in tights that is Batman's second banana. They did break new ground by introducing a transgendered character in Batgirl. (Sorry, guys. Bluewater Comics already did that in Judo Girl in 1994.) All in all, it's better to be included than not, and comics have come along way. At least there are African American characters that don't yell, "Sweet Christmas!" anymore.
But, who needs Marvel and DC? There are plenty of good gay comics by good gay creators if you look for them. ( Like me!) As I say in my forthcoming Stonewall Riots comic book, Rome wasn't built in a day. Comics are diverse and should be. We're here! We're queer! We're comic geeks!
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