OK, let’s face it, there seem to be a lot more lesbian characters in mainstream comics than gay male ones. It makes sense, really, as the vast majority of the readership is young heterosexual males, a demographic who loves nothing more than some rockin’ girl-on-girl action. I’m sure a cover featuring Supergirl and Batgirl making out would send sales through the roof, where a similar cover with Superman and Batman might cause the fanboys to burn down their local comic book store, or maybe send them into a corner crying and rocking themselves back to normalcy (or in my case, euphoria). Which publisher has more G.I. Janes? I’ll get into
1. How they met/developed
2. The Gayvidence (evidence that they are gay)
Now, before we blast open some closet doors, let’s get in some quick history before diving in!
(that’s right – we’re tasteful enough not to have taken the obvious cue from the word “diving”! Moving on…)
A Brief History of Lesbians in Marvel vs. DC
DC Comics right now leads the pack with the amount of lesbian heroes in their books. This started back in the 1980′s when the Superman books introduced Maggie Sawyer, a cop in the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit. Sure, these days a cop with a short, dykey haircut is seen as a blatant stereotype, but back then having a regular supporting cast member be a lesbian was a huge deal – especially in DC’s flagship book. Maggie even made it to being a regular on the 90′s Superman animated series, where her girlfriend was shown several times. I’ll bet real money that Bruce Timm and the other producers told the network that was her sister had to sneak her in. Real money. Cash money.
In the years since then, DC has also made characters like Gotham City cop Renee Montoya into a new version of The Question, and they even introduced a lesbian version of Batwoman. What’s funny is that I didn’t find out that the new Batwoman was a lesbian by reading any comic book, or even from a comic book news site. No, I read about it in a press release on CNN.com. DC trumpeted their new heroine as “a lipstick lesbian” as if to reassure the readership that Batwoman would be more Portia Di Rossi than Ellen Degeneres. Fanboys’ tolerance for lesbianism only applies to a certain type, it seems. Marvel isn’t too far behind DC in this matter, as they’ve recently lezzed out characters like Kharma from the X-Men and Moondragon from the Avengers.
So with all the rug muchers running around kicking bad guy ass these days, are there any still in the closet? There are indeed a few, although the hints towards their sexuality are FAR more blatant than those for their male counterparts in the closet, again probably due to the titillation factor. Some have even came out, only to be de-gayed later. It’s interesting to note that most lesbian or presumed lesbian characters have a significant romantic pairing, while their gay male counterparts are always shown as being more asexual. That’s why most entires here are going to be seen in pairs!
#1 Mystique and Destiny
Marvel’s mutant terrorists barely qualify as being in the closet, as former X-Men writer Chris Claremont has made it all but explicit that these two characters were more than “just good friends”. But until Mystique officially declares “Yup, I’m gay”, she qualifies to be here. After all, we live in a world where people like Ellen, Rosie and now Clay Aiken have to appear on the cover of magazines declaring for the world their sexuality to make it official, despite the fact that it was painfully obvious to anyone with sight and hearing ability, no superpowers needed.
Birds Suddenly Appear
Mystique, whose real name is Raven Darkholme, is of course is the famous blue shape shifting mutant and adversary to the X-Men. Destiny, who could see into the future, who was introduced around the same time as Mystique, was also a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants along with Mystique. It’s been revealed over the years that the pair met back in the 1930′s when Mystique was making a living as a male private detective named Mr. Raven. This leads to the question of whether or not Mystique was born a man or a woman, but simply prefers being a woman. Although she did give birth to Nightcrawler, so I suppose she really was a biological female, unless her shape shifitng powers includes growing a uterus as well. Stranger powers exist in comics, I suppose, so who knows.
- Mystique and Destiny raised runaway, and future X-Man, Rogue together – making them perhaps the first same sex parents in comics. They would have been the model gay parents, if it weren’t for the fact that they were, ya know, EVIL.
- While Mystique’s shape-shifting abilities allowed her to stay young, Destiny aged normally, and looked liked the little old lady she really was. Nevertheless, the couple stayed together. This alone should prove Mystique was really a woman, because if she were a man, she would have ditched Destiny as soon as the crow’s feet appeared for someone like a Black Cat.
Despite all the very obvious allusions, Marvel has always sidestepped around the issue of actually outing them as a romantic couple for some reason. I highly doubt in this day and age there would be much of a fan outcry. So just come clean Marvel, and make it official for Mystique. You did it with Kharma and Moon Dragon! The character spent three X-Men movies running around buck freakin’ naked, it’s not like she has some All-American wholesome image to tarnish!
#2 Black Cat
Felica Hardy has long been Marvel’s Catwoman knock off and frequent love interest for Peter Parker before his marriage to Mary Jane. She would at most be presented as being bisexual, as she obviously has an interest in men. Huge interest. So when did she buy some lifetime passes to Lillith Fair?
- In the pages of the Amazing Spider-Girl, which chronicles the alternate future of Peter Parker and MJ’s daughter May, Felica Hardy marries Flash Thompson and then later divorces him and ends up in a committed relationship with another woman.
- A line in an issue of the Spider-Man / Black Cat mini series where she states “it’s been so long since I’ve had a boyfriend….or a girlfriend”. Leave it to series writer Kevin Smith to go there.
#3 Harley and Ivy
Birds Suddenly Appear
Posion Ivy was introduced way back in the 60′s issues of Batman, and has long since become one of his main villains. She was anything BUT lesbionic in her first several decades. In fact she was shown as a dude-loving vixen who downright hated other women. It wasn’t until she showed up as a major part of the 90′s Batman animated series that her previously hidden lesbionic tendencies surfaced. The producers decided to pair her up with Harley Quinn, the Joker’s abused (and insane) girlfriend. At first, they were merely seen as friends, partners in crime and a pain in Batman’s ass. The more they paired up, though, the more innuendo was shown between them…or at least as much innuendo as weekday afternoon kid’s programming would allow. Which if you watch Tiny Toon Adventures again, is A LOT. Seriously. YouTube that show right now. Your mind will be blown.
- We had them shacking up together, running around the house wearing big t shirts and panties and being all domestic like. Of course, they were just a tad overly touchy feeley, even for supervillains.
- When the Joker would always came back for Harley, that would leave Ivy all jealous and pissed off. If I were Ivy I’d be pissed off too; Harley is totally that chick that goes all dykey whenever things aren’t working out with her boyfriend, only to go back to him at the first possible chance. Fuck that. I suggest the next time Harley pulls this shit, Ivy has one of her vagina-like giant venus flytrap plants eat her. It would be poetic justice.
Triangles Suddenly Appear
Back in the late 80′s, DC’s Justice League series was less Super Hero All Star team and more comedic adventure book. The breakout stars were the D-List duo of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold. To give them female characters to play off of, they introduced a female pair of even lesser known heroes (originally from Super Friends of all things) named Green Flame and Icemaiden, later redubbed Fire and Ice. Eventually, the powers that be killed off Ice, leaving Fire mourning her best friend. At this point, she should have just gone back to the name Green Flame, ‘cuz how lame a name is Fire without an Ice?? I guess someone realized this, and eventually a new Ice was introduced to the JLA. Except this one went by the original name of Icemaiden, and her skin was blue. Oh, and she liked girls. At least that’s how it seemed.
- Once she joined the Justice League, Icemaiden grew very close to Fire, and there were heavy hints at the two of them getting it on. But, in one of the weirdest story-twists in comics, it was revealed that Icemaiden’s flirtations with Fire were meant to shock her into getting over the original Ice’s death. What does that even mean? “I’m going to hit on you so it snaps you out of your funk, even though I know you ain’t playin downtown tonsil hockey with me”. I mean, really? C’mon.
- As a consolation prize, DC seemingly had her hook up with one of Green Lantern Hal Jordan’s leftovers, a woman named Olivia Reynolds. The original Ice eventually returned from the dead, as one in comics is prone to do, and Icemaiden returned to obscurity. If she’s really a lesbian, though, she’s probably still with that Olivia chick, even though it’s been like 15 years. That’s just how my sisters roll
#5 Lightning Lass and Shrinking Violet
Birds Suddenly Appear
More gayness from the world of DC’s Legion of Super Heroes. Lightning Lass, also known as Ayla Ranzz, the twin sister of Legion founder Ligntning Lad (guess her power) She was for decades portrayed as exclusively straight, and in fact was seen as having a relationship with fellow Legion member Timber Wolf on and off for years. Salu Digby, also called Shrinking Violet, is another early Legion member who does exactly as her name suggests. Shrinking Violet, or Vi for short, was a little less obvious in her alleged straightness. She didn’t date any male Legion members seriously. Seems the men folk were not her thing. At some point during the early 90′s, the Legion books jumped forward 5 years in time, where it was revealed that Vi (now sporting a cropped dykey haircut and scar alongside her face) and Lightning Lass were now lovers and in a serious relationship. Lightning Lass was the more “lipstick” of these lesbians, but it was kind of refreshing to see a lesbian super hero who looked more like a real lesbian and not the typical straight boy porno fantasy of lesbians. Of course, both of these characters were de-gayed when the Legion titles were rebooted in the mid 90′s DC Crossover Zero Hour. However, last year the original versions of these characters returned in the pages of Action Comics. It remains to be seen if DC has plans to out them all over again.
- Both women lived together and were constantly telling each other how they were the most important people in each other’s lives.
- Shrinking Violet’s super butch ‘do.
Did You Miss Wonder Woman, Eric?! WTF?!
I don’t actually think Wonder Woman is a lesbian. But obviously, a lot of people do. She was more or less in love with the same man for the first 45 years of her comic book existence, and in the years since has only shown a romantic interest in men. And as DC’s icon of female strength, I have to admit I kind of don’t really want her to be a lesbian. I only feel this way because of Wonder Woman’s status in popular culture really; I’m not too keen on the notion that a strong, well built female with no immediate need for male companionship MUST be a lesbian – as our culture insists. Little straight girls need a role model that’s physically strong and doesn’t spend all their waking moments thinking and/or talking about a male love interest. Wanna lez out Power Girl? Go for it. But I really think Wondy has gotta stay straight.
But having said that, if Wonder Woman was in fact a real person, she’d be a total fucking lesbian. Period. I mean, she’d never even SEEN a man before one crashed on her island. What was she, 20 at the time? At least? If I grew up on an Island where there was nothing but women, even I’d be all about velvet curtains, simply because I wouldn’t know any better. And don’t start with me about sexual preference being all genetic. Fine, it might very well probably be, but even if you are genetically pre-disposed towards one thing or the other it still wouldn’t matter because your eyes have only ever beheld one gender and your brain would adjust at an early age regardless of any genetic pre-disposition. Watch Jurassic Park. DC has been good about being honest about the fact that most of the other Amazons are in fact lesbians, so that’s something I guess.
The original Wonder Woman comics of the 40′s were filled to the brim with weird sexual innuendo, many of them lesbian.
- More often than not it involved Wonder Woman tying up another girl with her magic lasso, or hell….with just about anything that resembled ropes or chains. Female on female discipline was a big theme in the old Wonder Woman comics, making the title not just a lesbian undertone free-for-all, but a serious bondage free-for-all as well. This whole bondage theme has more or less been dropped since the 40′s, but Wonder Woman has never sold as well as she did then either. Don’t tell me there ain’t a connection there.
- I repeat: Has never seen a man, much less a penis, before her 20′s. What more needs to be said?
In this instance though, i’m for throwing realism out the door and keeping her straight. Of course, this all might have something to do with the fact that I really want her to fuck Batman. Just ONCE. Is that too much to ask? *sigh*
Come back next week for another helping of Gayspace in which we switch gears to Cartoon Characters!
Have any suggestions? Comments? Want to out a few of your favorite fictional characters? Email me at:
See you next Tuesday!