Comics News: Gay Heroes Swoop Into Teen Titans And Captain America Spin-Off Series

We’re still reeling from New York Comic Con, but we had some quick nuggets we wanted to share:

Bleeding Cool has posted that DC’s new version of Teen Titans includes Bunker, a new gay character. Teen Titans writer Scott Lobdell—who’s previous penned stories for Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Buffy and Iron Man— explains:

[Bunker’s] real name is Miguel Jose Barragan. He was raised in a very small Mexican village called El Chilar. He was very loved by his family and the village as well—and they were as accepting of his homosexuality as they were to his super powers when they first manifested.

To that end he grew up in an angst-free environment. He was born out of the closet and so he has a very refreshing outlook on life.

Titans illustrator Brett Booth explains that Bunker, though raised Catholic, is an unapologetic flamer:

We wanted to show an interesting character who’s homosexuality is part of him, not something that’s hidden. Sure they are gay people who you wouldn’t know are gay right off the bat, but there are others who are a more flamboyant, and we thought it would be nice to actually see them portrayed in comics.

Did we go over the top, I don’t think so. I wanted you to know he might be gay as soon as you see him. Our [Teen Titans] is partly about diversity of ANY kind, its about all kinds of teens getting together to help each other. It is a very difficult line to walk, will he be as I’ve read in some of the comments ‘fruity’? Not that I’m aware of. Will he be more effeminate than what we’ve seen before, the ‘typical’ gay male comic character, yes. Does it scare the shit out of me that I might inadvertently piss off the group I want to reflect in a positive way, you’re damn straight (pun intended!)

In other hands we might be nervous about such a broad depiction, but Lobdell previously outed the Marvel mutant Northstar in Alpha Flight #106, so we think he can handle the material well.

Speaking of Marvel Comics, the company is revisiting the issue of gays in the military in a really old-school way: One of the many Captain America miniseries tying into this summer’s blockbuster movie is All Winners Squad: Band of Heroes, a story set in WWII that sees Cap teaming up with young heroes in a secret super-powered platoon. And as readers recently learned, two of those heroes—Captain Flame and American Ace—appear to be gay and share a clandestine kiss.

It’s not the focus of the series, but it brings added depth to Marvel’s rich history of caped crusaders.



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  • DJ Veno

    Hmm he looks cool, might grab that. I love Northstar tho, glad they are adding more gay characters to comics to kill that say, “Gay people can’t be super heroes”.

  • Phil

    Kissing boys is gay. Being flamboyant is not, and, frankly, I am a little offended that “fabulousness” is being used as short-hand for “obviously gay”. It’s not one and the same. Men can wear feather boas and speak in lisps and be into all sorts of outrageous fashion without being gay, and men can drink and hunt and fart obnoxiously while and still be homosexual.

    I am similarly offended when we I encounter “informed homosexuality”. If you tell me a character is gay, that’s all well and good, but it’s a flat and empty portrayal if they don’t definitively act gay; that is to say, they think about and have relationships with people of the same gender. -That- is what a gay person is. The rest is just personality.

  • scott ny'er

    i actually approve of this. Homos come in all shapes and sizes. So, an effeminate ‘mo. You go girl.

  • sam


    Oh for the love of cripes calm down.

    The stereotype of gays (fabulously flamboyant) DOES exist, and unlike in other mediums, it has never been portrayed before in comic books.

    So quit your whining and deal with the fact that someone fabulous is finally not being treated like some dirty secret who’s shaming the rest of us.

  • M

    @sam: @sam:
    Umm…it has been portrayed before in comic books. Look up Extrano. It’s pretty bad.

  • soakman

    Phil… we all know that. Here’s the deal… who get’s bullied? Flamboyant boys. Not the gay athlete, or the gay prep kid, it’s the flamboyant nerds, the over-the-top artsy kids, and the boys who hang out with the girls.

    This is a comic series for teens. We, as adults, often struggle with misrepresentation but we are past the age where we are helplessly isolated in a single community of people who have our humiliation to thank for their reputation. We can choose to leave those communities behind.

    Teens cannot. This kind of superhero is perfect for all the kiddies out there who feel like the outcast and the underdog because they do not fit the status quo.

  • Phil

    I get that we have effeminate gays.

    What I’m offended by is the fact that he’s assuming that if you’re flamboyant, you’re gay, and that people will make that assumption regardless of whether or not you’re gay. It’s offensive to gay men and it’s offensive to effeminate straight men. It reduces us to a caricature of our sex and our sexual orientation. It plays into stupid hetero-normative assumptions about what people should act like because of how they were born.

    I’m offended this illustrator assumes that one can have a personality that announces to the world that that person in particular is gay. What this illustrator is asking us is to assume that because he’s flamboyant he’s also gay.

    “I wanted you to know he might be gay as soon as you see him.”

    You know what would cement a character as being gay? Showing him kissing a boy, maybe as part of his introduction or maybe in the background, as a part of his personal life. So what if his personality screams pink and show tunes? Straight people can be like that too. It’s insulting that we’re to assume he’s gay because he’s flaming. It’s insulting that we have to assume all the other characters are straight because they’re not.

    I don’t want another neutered gay character. I don’t want another neutered gay couple. I don’t want another character where we only know he or she’s gay because the author told us so. I want a gay character that has gay, romantic relationships. Because that’s what being gay is about, not pink shirts and tight pants and.

  • Little Kiwi

    can we remember that “flamboyant” does not mean gay nor femme?

    Flamboyant means loud and attention getting. Two examples of very prominent heterosexuals: bill o’reilly and glenn beck. for real. they define “flamboyant” – people need to stop thinking that it’s a word that means “gay”


    that said, i was indeed That Kid in school who was bullied, picked on, called a faggot/homo/girl every day of my life from age 7/8-14. then i transferred school districts and started Acting Straight -wherein i made myself as boring and dull as humanly possible and suddenly i wasn’t called a “fag” anymore.

    people need to remember a few things.
    1. not all stereotypes are inherently negative and should not be thought of as such.
    2. there are also ARCHEtypes – there are indicators of Gay Culture that are considedered “stereotypical” when in actual fact they’re more archetypical to certain types of gay men. nobody TOLD me to memorize all of West Side Story when i was 10. I did it anyway. because it’s fucking awesome.

  • Interesting

    @Phil: In comic books, there is an over representation of masculine gay characters. The writers point, which I take him at his word for it, is that he thinks is absurd to have only one type, the ultra masculine gay male, represent in comic books. Not sure why you would have a problem with one representation amongst many that happens to be effeminate. The truth is that as a comic book geek I am glad they are doing this. Its absurd to pretend that heroes come in just one form- ultra masculine.

  • Interesting

    @M: Extrano was a character that appeared during a series in the 1980s. It is really dishonest to pretend that represents the state of gay/bisexual characters in mainstream comic books today. Off top my head, as geek I can name the following characters: Rictor, Shatterstar, Wiccan, Hullking, Obisidian, Batwoman (who has her own very incredible book that I recommend whenever the topic of comic books comes up), Starman, The Question (not sure after the DC reboot), Apollo, Midnighter, possibly Catman (revamped as bi), Northstar (actually several x-men both in the main universe and in the Ultimate series with Colusus in the ultimate series), Rawhide Kid, and I am forgetting a lot of supporting cast including in Green Lantern and other books. Can the industry do better? Yes. They need more Batwoman type series where the main protagonist is gay, but its b.s. to pretend that Extrano fro the fucking 1980s represents the state of comic books.

  • Interesting

    by the way, if anyone wants to hear a great podcast on comic books from a queer perspective check out

    I found it the other day after I bough batwoman and wanted to see if the gay community was talking about it. I really can not overstate how great that comic book is.

  • Dan

    For GLBT comic fans, Geeks OUT (, who were at NY Comic Con this weekend, are great.

  • Jacob


    Being flamboyant is part of who many gay men are. It’s not an affectation as much as it’s just energy bursting free. The reality is that our culture has programmed us to HATE effeminate men. Why? Because our culture see women and their femininity as weak.

    Not all gay men are flamboyant or effeminate but those who are should not have to face scorn or ridicule for being different.

    How many of the gay boys who’ve committed suicide were persecuted for being effeminate? Their difference was targeted and persecuted. Right?

  • Phil

    Okay, to be perfectly clear here, I do not give a rat’s ass that the gay character is flamboyant. In fact, at this point, I’m more infuriated that you are defending this guy’s choice to use flamboyancy as short-hand for gay.

    Do you see how:

    “We wanted to show an interesting character who’s homosexuality is part of him, not something that’s hidden…

    Did we go over the top, I don’t think so. I wanted you to know he might be gay as soon as you see him.”

    translates to:

    “He’s flamboyant so obviously he’s gay. Because that’s that’s what gay people are like. You know, if they’re not trying to be sneaky about it.”

    and how that can be offensive to me, as an waifish gay man? It reduces anybody who’s gay and anybody who’s fabulous into a caricature of what people expect. And it’s offensive that he tries to distill a person’s personality into that. I can be flamboyant and still be straight. I can be gay and still be traditionally masculine. But because I’m both, and because so many others are both, I can’t take offense when he assumes that one is directly related to the other? It is offensive to me that this illustrator reflects the view that because someone is gay, they must obviously be the flamboyant as well, and that the ones who aren’t are the ones hiding something. (re: their homosexuality.)

    I would not give two shits if I didn’t know about the process behind the creation of this character. To be frank, we need more heroes that defy hetero-normative stereotypes if only to show that some people do act differently from the norm and that it’s perfectly fine to be such a person. But it galls me that they think this was the best way to show us this character is gay.

    Gay people like people of the same gender. There is no other universal trait we share, that others can point to and say “Oh, that guy. Yea, he ____ so obviously he’s gay.” Being romantically involved with another boy would have shown us that this Bunker guy is gay. Voicing his romantic affections for another boy would have shown us that this is gay. Feying it up? Maybe gay. Maybe not gay. Maybe alien zombie where earth’s atmosphere makes all of this alien species’ zombies act like Liberace. But maybe not gay.

  • Interesting

    @Phil: Part of the problem here , as is the case in general online, is that people like you stake out positions and refuse to listen to what people are actually saying (including the writer I might add who says the gay is flamboyant and gay because he feels there are too many attempts to make gays all super macho to make a political correct statement about being gay rather than showing that gays come in all types, including flamboyant).

    so, in short, write your dissertation about how all of us are wrong to note that you seem to have a problem not with a rainbow of gay characters, who are defined as gay by the writers (which likely means in comics they will have a relationship now a days), but don’t expect those of us with an actual knowledge of comic books to give a shit.

  • Jason A. Quest

    “In other hands we might be nervous about such a broad depiction, but Lobdell previously outed the Marvel mutant Northstar in Alpha Flight #106, so we think he can handle the material well.”

    You seem to mistaking “groundbreaking” for “good”. As a comic book, Alpha Flight #106 was a trainwreck from the badly drawn cover to hamfisted “I am gay!” while leaping panel, the badly written ending to the hysterical hype surrounding it. I’m not prejudging Lobdell’s handling of this new character, but AF#106 is a dreadful example to cite inspire confidence.

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