6 Forgotten LGBTQ+ Superheroes Who Still Have Potential
Happy Pride Month, everyone! I am a big supporter of LGBTQ+ fiction and wanted to make sure I did at least one List of Six this month to honor Pride. I’ve done my favorite queer couples in comics. I’ve done LGBTQ+ characters who should get their own movies. And this week, we’re going to explore queer comic book characters who have sadly disappeared into comic book limbo!
It happens to a lot of good comic book characters. Not everybody is going to be a Wolverine or a Batman right out of the gate. A writer comes along and creates a cool new superhero, but they don’t catch on and fade into obscurity when the writer moves along. It happens. Over the past decade or two, we’ve seen the major comic book companies try to introduce more LGBTQ+ characters…and then they fade away as well! That’s just how comics work sometimes.
So I’m here to pick some of these characters out of limbo, dust them off and present them as superheroese with potential going forward!
I talk about the queer Quasar a lot on lists like this because I think the character has a lot of potential! Quasar as a concept has been around for decades, but I’m specifically talking about the latest hero to wear the mantle: Avril Kincaid. She became Quasar for, like, two storylines before they killed her in dramatic fashion. Since then, classic Quasar took over the mantle again and has done jack all with it. There were hints that Avril was still alive somewhere, but that was a year ago. It’s not like classic Quasar is the star of his own comic book or anything. Queer Quasar could have done so much more with her time in the role! She could do more still!
I don’t know how much traction Telekinian could actually get in comics, but I loved the Patsy Walker a.k.a. Hellcat comic and I think all of the Kate Leth-created characters should be used again somewhere! Telekinian was a dude with mild telekinesis who because one of Hellcat’s pals in crime-fighting. He was a nice guy, and ended the series as an active superhero. Give him a cameo appearance somewhere!
Coagula is a trans woman who was one of the first transgender characters in comics, all the way back in 1993. Granted, that probably wasn’t a great time period for transgender representation, but she was created by a transgender science fiction writer who knew what she was talking about. Coagula was a member of the Doom Patrol and had the power to turn solids into liquids and vice versa. Guess who has a pretty popular live action TV show that’s coming back for a second season soon? It’s Doom Patrol! It’s 2020. How are the showrunners of Doom Patrol not tripping over themselves to include this legitimately historic, legitimate Doom Patrol comics character on their show?
3. Freedom Ring
Freedom Ring is the character who inspired this list, because I’ve been looking for a reason to write something about him. He’s a fascinating look at the comic book industry’s handling of LGBTQ+ characters circa the mid-2000s. Freedom Ring was created by Robert Kirkman, the hugely popular creator of such comics as The Walking Dead and Invincible. The gist of the character is that he found a magic ring that gave him super-powers. Simple enough. Kirkman’s idea behind the character was to tell a story where an inexperienced person stumbles into super-powers and then realistically remains very inexperienced, to the point that he gets beaten up and killed when he tries to fight major bad guys. That’s a fine story for a throwaway character created in 2006.
And wanting to give Freedom Ring some added depth and diversity, Kirkman decided to make Freedom Ring gay. The idea being that his queerness did not define his character. He was a character in this story, and he just happened to be gay. Also a fine story element. Except for what happened next…Marvel got some good press by touting Freedom Ring as a new standout gay character and then they killed him a month later, as the story intended. This led to a lot of backlash against Marvel for hyping themselves up over this gay character and then killing him; so much so that Kirkman later realized the harm of killing off 20% of Marvel’s gay characters and he regretted going through with it.
So I’m saying, there’s no reason another gay person can’t happen upon this magic ring thing and become a superhero! Or bring the original back from the dead. That happens all the time in comics!
2. Scandal Savage
Whatever happened to Scandal Savage, you guys?! She was one of the standout stars of the Secret Six comic back when it was the best comic on the stands. Daughter of Vandal Savage. A total badass in her own right. One of the only comic book characters involved in an active throuple. And then the New 52 came along at DC and she disappeared. Scandal Savage has stayed gone even as the New 52 itself went away. I think the Secret Six title has been revived a couple times, but still she’s a no show. She hasn’t even been used as a supporting character in any of those CW TV shows!
Though she did show up in one of those animated movies that DC keeps cranking out. So at least that’s something.
Speaking of the New 52, how does DC create a hip, young, new queer superhero and then immediately forget he exists? Bunker was a brand new character brought into the Teen Titans in the New 52, and he lasted for almost the entirety of that series before disappearing. All of the other characters went on to do something else, and there have been a couple different iterations of the Teen Titans since, but Bunker was left by the wayside. He did make a couple of appearances last year in the Red Hood comic, but only because the Teen Titans writer who created him was also writing Red Hood. Is he the only guy allowed to use Bunker? When putting together a random assortment of teen superheros for the latest Teen Titans, do you really just ignore this fun new gay hero you created for this exact purpose? At the very least, Bunker should show up in the next season of the Young Justice cartoon. Or any of the ongoing Teen Titans cartoons. Apparently he’s a background character in DC Superhero Girls, but Bunker deserves more!