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Don’t Mask, Do Tell
Gadzooks! Comic heroes come flying out of the closet.
From The Advocate  November 8, 2008
Don’t Mask, Do Tell

While gay characters have been sprinkled sporadically through comic books for years, DC Comics signaled a sea change when it announced its upcoming Justice League series will feature not one, but two main characters who aren’t super-straight: a lesbian Batwoman and a bisexual alien named Starman.

The news is all the more remarkable considering that before 1989 the Comics Code Authority -- sort of the Motion Picture Association of America for comics -- banned all depictions of gay people. Since then, comic artists have made up for lost time; here are seven of the most memorable queer heroes:

Batwoman: Originally introduced as a love interest for Batman. She was killed off when Batgirl became more popular but resurrected in 2006 as a nice Jewish lesbian in DC’s weekly series 52.

Renee Montoya: Former Gotham City police detective and ex-girlfriend of Kate Kane, a.k.a. Batwoman. Outed in DC’s GLAAD Award–nominated Gotham Central series (in the “Half a Life” story arc) by arch-villain Two-Face in 2003.

Holly Robinson: Former prostitute and sapphic incarnation of her friend Selina Kyle, the original Catwoman.

Northstar: Lightning-fast mutant in Marvel’s Alpha Flight series. Rebuffed women for years on the grounds that he was too busy training as a competitive skier. Came out in 1992 after his adopted infant daughter died of AIDS complications.

The Rawhide Kid: The Kid first appeared in the ’50s, only to come back in 2003, drawn by the 86-year-old original artist, as a gay cowboy. Marvel branded the updated series with an “Adults Only” label.

Hulkling and Wiccan: The relationship between these two male youths helped their title, Marvel’s Young Avengers, win GLAAD’s Outstanding Comic Book Award in 2006.  

Reader Comments

These comments are reproduced as written by visitors to this Web site. They have not been edited for content, grammar, or spelling. The viewpoints appearing here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or views of, The Advocate, or its affiliates.

  • Name: KJ
    Date posted: 2008-10-23 9:38 PM
    Hometown: NYC


    What about The Authority? As far as I know Apollo and The Midnighter are the only gay family in the comic world AND their daughter is the spirit of the 21st century.

  • Name: Nick Marino
    Date posted: 2008-10-23 10:50 AM
    Hometown: Pittsburgh


    What??? No Mystique and Destiny? That has to be the most memorable unconfirmed-but-completely-obvious lesbian romance story ever in superhero comics!

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