In fact, one of the most underrated comic books of all time, Mike W. Barr’s and Brian Bolland’s Camelot 3000, a story where King Arthur and his reincarnated knights return in the distant future to battle aliens, was one of the very first comics that I saw tackle transgender subject matter of sorts, as the Sir Tristan was reincarnated as a female....and found himself a male inside a female body. This was 1982! DC somehow got away with it without any fuss...even with a racy same sex (sort of) lovescene with Tristan and his lover, the reincarnated (as a woman), Isolde. Perhaps because the book was targeted to older readers, and not CCA approved. Which was really rare at that time.
Comics continue to be on the forefront of social issues and have in many ways set the standard creating visible members of almost every community. It’s something we can be proud of as fans.
Speaking of pride...
In celebration for not just LGBT pride, but EVERYONE being proud of who they are and however they want to live and love their life, I have comprised a small list of the top 6 LGBT couples in comics!
6. Mystique & Destiny
The reason it is a Top 6 list is because I just couldn’t go without speaking about Mystique and Destiny. At first, I’m not quite sure if Chris Claremont and Marvel really thought of them as a lesbian couple, or the CCA kept him from doing so. But as things went on, and society changed...it was undeniable that these two weren't “just friends”.
As a youngster reading X-Men, it never really occurred to me...I just assumed it was more of a mother-daughter dynamic, maybe because of their age difference. But as we soon found out that Mystique is a lot older than she looks...it all made sense.
Sure, she’s been with her share of men, and had kids...but nobody can argue that Mystique only found true love in her black heart for Destiny. And who knows? Maybe because she’s a shape shifter, Raven just doesn’t see gender the same way we do.
5. Julie Power & Karolina Dean
Julie Power, the oldest girl in the kid superteam Power Pack is all grown up! And in the comic Avengers Academy, a now teenage Julie reveals that she is bisexual.
Along comes Karolina Dean, the prism powered member of Runaways and an already established gay character. Sparks fly...they fly...and soon as you know it, Marvel has themselves an adorable and beautiful teenage LGBT couple!
Some people would say this is just another pervy male fantasy since both characters are attractive young girls, but the truth is...and we have to get used to it, there ARE teenage same-sex couples out there and comics are just presenting them to us in a positive way. It’s about being inclusive and If you have a problem with that...you certainly don’t have to read the comic.
4. Kevin Keller & Clay Walker
Kevin Keller, in case you haven’t heard, is the first openly gay character in the Archie comics. He’s received more than enough media exposure and recently in the (continuity free) Life With Archie series, Keller married a character named Clay Walker.
However, tragedy struck when Clay was killed in a robbery. Keller eventually went on to become a U.S. Senator and fought for stricter gun laws. This eventually resulted in Archie Andrews himself getting killed, taking the bullet for his friend, Kevin. Keep in mind this is all a “What If” story and Archie is still alive and well (and sometimes a zombie) in various comics.
The most important thing is one of the oldest and respected comic book franchises tastefully tackled so many subjects all at the same time. And writer and artist (and my fellow Montrealer) Dan Parent even won a G.L.A.A.D. award for doing so.
However you feel about Archie comics, they are totally down to touch on ANY subject matter, and gave the LGBT community an awesome couple to call their own.
3. Northstar & Kyle Jinadu
Northstar was a mutant member of Alpha Flight, created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne in 1979 in X-Men #120. When Byrne branched off and took over the Alpha Flight spinoff series, he actually intended on revealing Northstar to be gay. Sadly it was a totally different era and the then Marvel Editor-In-Chief as well as the Comics Code Authority had a STRICT no homosexual characters policy. How absurd is that?!
Eventually the CCA and media in general became more lenient and later creators were able to reveal Northstar’s sexual orientation. Now Jean-Paul Beaubier is one of the most recognizable LGBT characters in comics and in 2012, he married his partner, Kyle Jinadu in the highly publicized Astonishing X-Men #51.
At the time, I had been working in store at eXpertComics and Marvel had sent us a lot of promo material for the monumental issue...it was pretty shocking the different reactions (both positive and negative), it had received from customers. It donned at me that as progressive as comic books have become, there was still quite a lot of work to be done to bring tolerance among the readers.
And I guess...that’s the whole point. That has ALWAYS been the point of X-Men comics, right? It just sort of irks me when people “just don’t get it”.
2. Hulkling & Wiccan
There’s a gay Hulk! Sort of. Not really. Hulkling actually doesn’t have much to do with Hulk or Hulk continuity. He’s actually a Kree-Skrull crossbreed, and actually the lovechild of Captain Mar-Vell and the Skrull princess! Because of his green skin, HUGE form and super strong powers, he patterned his superhero persona after Hulk.
Wiccan on the other hand is the reincarnated son of Vision and Scarlet Witch (created by Wanda’s reality warping powers), and is the soul brother of Speed. He has very similar mystic abilities as Scarlet Witch, and possibly the future Sorcerer Supreme. Billy (his real name) faced a lot of bullying in high school for being openly gay.
Word is Hulkling was supposed to be a female Skrull that disguised herself as a human male and she would have a romantic relationship with Wiccan, but when the character’s gender changed, writer Allan Heinberg decided to keep the romantic link to Wiccan and make it a gay relationship. It turned out to be a great idea, as Hulking and Wiccan have become one of the most popular LGBT couples in comics, with tons of fan sites dedicated to them.
It’s probably because these two break barriers all over the place. They are a same-sex couple, Inter-species couple, and not to mention they prove that a mystic and a brute can fall in love! That kills like, 3 birds with one stone, right there! As different as Hulkling and Wiccan are, they dig eachother...and that's all that matters.
1. Batwoman/Kate Kane & Maggie Sawyer
Maggie Sawyer is a character that has been openly gay for quite some time, and like many people in real life, came to realize it/accept it later in her adult life. She has been romantically linked to quite a few different characters, first reporter Toby Raines in the Superman comics and later on after moving to Gotham, Detective Renee Montoya and now she is romantically involved with Kate Kane, The Batwoman.
Kate is probably one of my favorite LGBT characters because it’s always been portrayed so amazingly. The writers of Batwoman have always handled the characters’ sexuality so well, and in a way where it’s not just a book aimed at lesbian or LGBT fans (even though it does touch on many pressing topics like “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”), it’s not a huge deal that the main character is gay...it just is. It’s just part of life. As it should be.
Sure, Kate’s relationship has had it’s ups and downs (Kate’s pretty screwed up), but the moment when Kate as Batwoman saved Maggie and proposed to her in costume with a kiss was beautiful. This was actually one of the most romantic panels in a long time...and I would put it right up there with Clark proposing to Lois or Peter proposing to MJ. If you haven’t yet, everyone should pick up J.H. Williams’ pre and post runs on Batwoman. Art and story fans both won’t regret it.
Hope everyone enjoyed this special look at LGBT couples in comics! This column was in no way an attempt to spark a political or religious conversation, but my views are simple and my own. What other people do in their lives, as long as it doesn’t harm others, shouldn’t be an issue to anyone...and most importantly equal rights is important FOR EVERYONE, and should be celebrated. I congratulate my U.S. neighbors for taking this VERY important leap ahead. And VERY proud that my favorite medium in the world, comic books has fully embraced this topic along with so many others.
I know there have been a few couples that didn't make the list (Rictor and Shatterstar, and Pied Piper and David Singh come to mind), so I apoligize if I left out your favorites!
That’s all for this time, kiddos! Take care.