My 6 Favorite LGBTQ+ Comic Book Characters
Last Friday was a great day for America and for equality everywhere! I’m a big fan of the stuff. The Supreme Court in the U.S. struck down bans on gay marriage across the country! It’s a pretty great time for freedom. So I’ve decided to use my List of Six to celebrate gay, lesbian and all LGBTQ+ characters in comics!
It’s hard to believe that, only 10 or 20 years ago, this kind of open sexuality would have been verboten. Northstar, the first openly gay comic book character (I think), came out of the closet within my lifetime. But now there are a lot of characters like this, openly gay and openly beloved by comic book fans. So I’ve decided to run down the list of my six favorite LGBTQ+ characters in comics! Join me after the jump!
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, the Guardians of the Galaxy weren’t the raccoon-happy team we know today. In the build up to the cinematic team, Marvel was putting out a lot of great outer space comics starring a wide variety of cosmic characters, and all of that eventually coalesced into the Guardians we know and love. But I loved them before they were cool, and one of the coolest team members was Phyla-Vell. Inheritor of both the Captain Marvel and Quasar mantles at different times, Phyla was a mighty warrior with a good heart, struggling to be a hero in a crazy universe. And her love for her partner Moondragon was one of the best parts of the comics. If only she was still around…and didn’t have so complicated an origin story…
Northstar is, I believe, the first openly gay superhero in comics, and a rather well-rounded X-Man to boot. He started off as a member of Alpha Flight, Cananda’s premiere superhero team, with super speed and flight among his mutant powers. He’s a bit of a cocky prick, but that’s what makes him so lovable. Northstar joined the X-Men in a small 2001 storyline called Eve of Destruction, when Jean Grey put together a ragtag team of new mutants to take on Magneto. I happened to pick up those issues when they came out and rather enjoyed the little team (so it’s a shame that the squad was immediately dispersed). But Northstar stuck around and has been a popular X-Man ever since, even tying the knot in the first gay marriage in Marvel Comics.
4. Scandal Savage
Daughter of the villainous Vandal Savage and leader of the Secret Six, Scandal Savage is a badass warrior who has sadly been missing from DC’s New 52. Introduced as sort-of the team’s secretary, Scandal quickly unveiled her deadly Lamentation Blades and revealed herself to be an expert in hand-to-hand combat. When the Secret Six went rogue, she stayed on as one of the cornerstone members, building a deep-rooted familial bond with her teammates. And Scandal’s love life was often the focus of stories. Whether she was knocking heads with her longtime girlfriend Knockout, hooking up with a stripper who her friends hired to dress as Knockout, or proposing a polyamorous relationship between the three of them, Scandal was always a lot of fun to read.
When DC decided to add a ‘Batwoman’ to their already growing Bat-family, they made sure to make her awesome! Not content with just throwing a random new character into their stable, DC turned Kate Kane into a true modern hero, embracing the growing acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. Kate has had her ups and downs in publishing, but she’s almost always portrayed as a badass crimefighter and soldier, capable of great love and great ass kickings. Her costume is also fantastic, a stunning mix of black and red that makes her standout in ways Batman wishes he could pull off.
Hopefully DC is currently planning a Batwoman comeback that will knock all of our socks off!
It was only after Secret Six had stopped publishing that write Gail Simone revealed that Catman was bisexual, but isn’t that the point? That his sexuality isn’t that big of a deal? Simone transformed Catman from a laughing stock into an amazing character in the pages of Secret Six. He used to be one of those Z-list villains deserving of mockery, which had to be what attracted Simone to his rehabilitation. She turned Catman into a lion-befriending, pseudo-noble anti-hero who is just as soon to stab you in the back as lend you a hand. He recently returned to DC Comics after a long hiatus, but hopefully Simone will make him really stand out, especially now that he’s out.
1. Renee Montoya
The story of Renee Montoya’s forced coming out is one of the best stories in one of DC Comics’ best comics ever, Gotham Central. Renee debuted on Batman: The Animated Series, and was then slowly integrated into the comics as a hard-hitting police officer. Gotham Central is a series about those officers, the ones who work in the hellhole that is Gotham City. Renee became the target of Two-Face, and while I don’t want to spoil everything, basically the villain exposed Renee as a lesbian to the entire office, and back in the mid-00s, that was still a thing of some ridicule. But ever since, Renee has only gotten cooler. She helped defeat Two-Face and she took over as the superhero The Question. Renee is a spectacular character, no matter what hat she wears.
And wouldn’t you know it, today also marks her return to DC Comics in the pages of Detective Comics #42! Today is definitely a day to celebrate!