The New York Times recently ran a piece about gay. lesbian, and transgender superheroes.
The article, by George Gene Gustines, opens with an overview of the increasing number of LGBT comic book characters:
When the mutant superhero Iceman came out last month — thanks to a one-two punch of his prying telepathic teammate and a time-travel visit from his younger self — he immediately became the most prominent gay comic book character. But his revelation was far from the only story line involving gay, lesbian and transgender characters in the fast-evolving world of comic-book narratives.
In October, Alysia Yeoh, a transgender friend of Batgirl, and her girlfriend Jo were married in a simple ceremony unmarred by super-villainy; Peter Parker, perhaps better known as Spider-Man, attended the wedding of Max Modell, his scientific mentor and gay colleague; and Wiccan and Hulkling, a superpowered gay couple, joined a division of the Avengers along with Hawkeye and Songbird. In August, Wonder Woman officiated a lesbian wedding, and since June, fans have been treated to the monthly adventures of Midnighter, who is out about his heroic identity and his sexual orientation. That month also saw the first issue of “Stripling Warrior,” which features superheroes that are gay and lesbian — and Mormon.
Gustines goes on to profile independent comics with homosexual and transgender themes, and highlights Geeks Out, a group of gay comic book fans.
It hasn’t all been without controversy, however:
Last December, the creative team of Batgirl apologized for how it revealed that a villain impersonating the heroine was male. Some readers found the depiction, and Batgirl’s reaction, transphobic. Reprints of the story have softened her dialogue.
In July, there was a dust-up concerning the sexuality of the Marvel hero Hercules. Some fans believe he is bisexual and were put off when it was not confirmed. (Hercules had a relationship with Wolverine in an alternate-reality story; there was also some innuendo about a dalliance with Northstar, the mutant hero who came out in 1992.)
The Times piece ends with a quote from Andrew Wheeler, the editor in chief of Comics Alliance, a website that covers the comic book industry: “We need to get from some to enough. And really, we’ll know we’ve achieved success when Captain America can have a boyfriend, and Wonder Woman can have a girlfriend. For queer representation in superhero comics, that’s what success looks like.”