Remember how awed we were as children when Superman flew across the sky to stop a building from falling or Batman pinned up evil people with his batarangs?
We have definitely come a long way since then. We have entire universes based on comic books, spread over a number of years and movies, all intricately interconnected with minute references and in movie-language, easter-eggs. The superheroes on television as well as the silver screen have evolved along with their comic book counterparts; and so have the way their stories are told.
With the passing of years, we have seen more and more female superheroes with major characterisation sharing the screen with the male heroes, and sometimes carving a niche for themselves altogether. MCU’s Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, X-Men’s Mystique and of course, the current box-office favourite Wonder Woman of DC comics are few of the most popular faces with self-proclaimed fandom.
But what the big screen seriously lacks is a proper depiction of any of the LGBT superheroes that exist in the comic books. First of all, there isn’t many. And the few there are, they do not get chosen to be shown in the movies. Even if a particular character is portrayed, the homosexual quality of the superhero is not shown on screen.
This is a point of resentment among the community and its supporters, their point rightfully being that if a character is homosexual on paper, he or she should be the same on screen.
Here are 5 popular LGBT superheroes from the comic books.
Even though Northstar or Jean-Paul Beaubier debuted in 1979 – a time when Marvel refused to publicly declare a character homosexual, creator John Byrne has often mentioned that he was meant to be gay from the very beginning, even though he wasn’t allowed to say it out loud in many words. The character came out of the closet in 1992’s Alpha Flight #106; but his sexuality was already accepted by the fans as one of the first homosexual superheroes. Time changed and Marvel showed him marrying his boyfriend Kyle Jinadu in the first depiction of same-sex marriage in 2012’s Astonishing X-Men #51. Even though he is not so much in vogue right now, his impact of the non-normative sexuality of superheroes cannot be ignored.
- HARLEY QUINN
Harley Quinn, being one of DC’s most high profile characters, all thanks to her own psychotic self and her abusive storyline with Joker – her sexuality was always a matter of curiosity among the fans. There were fan theories and canons about her being a lesbian or a bi-sexual, and there were several hints of something more than a friendly relationship with fellow antagonist, Poison Ivy. But in 2005, writers Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti clarified that Harvey and Ivy are polygamous girlfriends, thus making here one of the most popular queer superhero characters around.
But in 2016’s Suicide Squad, this angle of Harley Quinn wasn’t explored, and she was shown to be entirely dedicated to Mr J.
Coagula was created by writer Rachel Pollack when she took over the responsibility of Doom Patrol series of DC from Grant Morrison. To create a positive and strong representation of a modern-day transgender woman, she created Kate Godwin a.k.a Coagula with abilities to coagulate liquids and dissolve solid matters. Initially turned down by the Justice League, Coagula was taken in the Doom Patrol. She continues to remain perhaps the only transgender superhero character in mainstream comic book.
Ice-Man was originally portrayed as straight, but in 2015’s All-New X-Men #40, where the X-Men are visited by their counterparts from an alternate reality, his psychic friends Jean Grey outs him to be gay. In all the X-Men movies, this was never acknowledged and he was shown as primarily to be a straight character. In the comics, when confronted by Jean Grey, he says that probably his other self found it too difficult to be a mutant as well as a gay in a society that has a problem with both.
Batwoman was first introduced as a love interest for Batman to make sure people have no suspicion about his sexuality and relationship with Robin after the controversial Seduction of the Innocent. But later she was brought back with a huge hiatus in 2006 as lesbian woman of Jewish decent, a caped crusader and a socialite to diversify the DC ensemble. She is possibly the most well-known LGBT character in superhero comics; her revelation of sexuality drew major media interest.
- SPECIAL MENTION – DEADPOOL
The quirky and sarcastic anti-hero of Marvel comics is a sensation throughout the comic book world, especially after the phenomenal Ryan Reynoldsstarrer hit the screens in 2016. He is described as the first pan-sexual superhero to exist. Co-creator Fabian Nicieza said in an interview:
“Deadpool is whatever sexual inclination his brain tells him he is in that moment. And then the moment passes. He is NO sex and ALL sexes. He is yours and everyone else’s, so not dismissive, but rather the epitome of inclusive.”