Over the summer Marvel Comics got a big boost when the X-Men’s mutant speedster Northstar married his boyfriend, Kyle:The issue sold out, Marvel got a ton of mainstream press, and even complaints from the usual knuckleheads only helped make comics seem more relevant.
Don’t think the comic-book industry wasn’t paying attention.
As social mores about homosexuality has shifted, and issues like marriage equality have proliferated in the news, mainstream comics have introduced more and more LGBT characters—and increasingly ones with (gasp!) actual love lives.
This week comics from both Marvel and DC delivered some same-sex super-hero loving: Marvel’s X-Treme X-Men #10 depicted comics powerhouse Wolverine in a gay romance with the pansexual demi-god Hercules, while DC’s Batwoman #17 sees the cowled crusader proposing to her police-captain girlfriend.
Don’t expect to see Hugh Jackman indulging in any man-love in this summer’s sequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, though. This Wolverine (real name James Howlett) is from an alternate universe, part of a team of dimension-hopping mutants who bounce around Quantam Leap-style setting things right.
When the team picks up Hercules, it becomes clear he and his universe’s Wolverine shared an intimate relationship, but this week’s issue laid it all out in four-color fabulousness. While the it’s-a-gay-Wolverine-from-an-alternate-universe is a little silly, it does allow for more elbow room than a mainstream publisher would generally give—including jokes about leather.
It’s also worth noting that while Wolvie has never been portrayed as queer before, his son, Daken (a.k.a. Dark Wolverine) is bisexual, with the mutant power to seduce both men and women.
Unlike Wolverine, Batwoman has been openly gay since she was re-introduced into DC Comics in 2006. But she’s been so busy chasing villains and proving her mettle, she hasn’t had the best luck in the romance department.
That will (hopefully) be changing, now that the Dark Damsel—a.k.a. heiress Kate Kane—has asked girlfriend Maggie Sawyer to be her wife. Of course, there’s no guarantee Sawyer will say yes—or that, even if she does, they’ll make it to the altar. Or that they’ll last to the honeymoon.
Let’s just say comic books, like soap operas, don’t have the best track record when it comes to “Happily Ever After.”
But now that LGBT super-heroes are fairly common, we’re thrilled they’re being flushed out as more than just window-dressing. As Batwoman artist J. H. William posted on his website this week, “Batwoman is an important character, and a socially important one that has meaning that extends well beyond the printed pages of the world she lives in, reaching out into ours [and] possibly affecting those who encounter her story.”
Below, more panels from X-Treme X-Men #10
Images: DC Comics, Marvel Comics
Josh in OR
Wolvercules are awesome. I love the pairing of two hairy, muscle daddy types, in defiance of the stereotypes!
I wish I could get excited about Batwoman, but DC knowingly associating with OSC has soured me on anything from them.
@Josh in OR: You do realize that OSC has been writing for Marvel off and on since 2005 right?
Cop or no cop a real lesbian wouldn’t put up with all of that guano all over the floor!
Mr. Enemabag Jones
The only thing worse than getting eaten by Jaws, is getting fisted by Wolverine.
lol, is a cartoon ffs, do you really care about the lives of a fictional character whose claim to fame is a story in 40 drawings or less?
Josh in OR
@BChad: Yes, I was aware of his opinions, back when he wrote Ultimate Iron Man. I didn’t buy that title, I haven’t bought his Ender’s Game comics, and since he hasn’t had any new contracted work with Marvel since he became one of the Board of Directors for NOM,I don’t have an issue with Marvel. There are many comic writers and artists who hold opinions I disagree with. They aren’t serving on the board of directors of a group actively working to deny or remove rights from gay people.
DC chose to work with OSC after his commitment to helping NOM in their quest for oppression of a minority, thus, DC is the target of my ire. *Shrugs* Not hard to understand, really.
@tidalpool: And you wasted how much time coming on here to mock people who enjoy comics. Who’s the bigger loser?
@Josh in OR: Sorry to disappoint you but her joined NOM in April of ’09. Here is the announcement.
He has written 11 books published by Marvel since then, one as recently as June 2012. Here is a list of his Marvel works.
So, there you have it.
Josh in OR
@BChad: So, let me ask you something. Do you understand the difference between “honoring a contract” and “hiring to write new and original stories”? Let’s look at that list, why don’t we.
Original, new work…: Ultimate Iron Man. Which was so poorly recieved and has been so utterly retconned since the writing (in 2005) that it may as well not even exist.
Ender’s Game crap: The only thing Marvel has published since the controversial decision to join NOM by the writer, and clearly published as part of a contract with the writer. The title published in June 2012 that you use to try to call me a hypocrite? Part 5 of an Ender’s Game prequel.
There’s a little thing involved with the Ender’s Game stuff that you are clearly unaware of (or disingenuously avoiding) called contract law. Marvel had two options upon Card’s publically joining NOM: Fire him immediately and give him MORE money after he sues Marvel for Breach of Contract…or honor their contract and not hire him for any new work.
Marvel chose the latter option, clearly, and unless they, like DC, hire him for new or original work…your point falls apart.
@Josh in OR: You’re very defensive. I never once called you a hypocrite at all, or even implied it. At worst I may have implied an unawareness of his further works at Marvel.
I have no knowledge of any contract he may or may not have at Marvel, or what it may contain. Nor have I once claimed that I did. You speak as though you obviously do. I only pointed out that they continued publishing his works up until 2012.
I guess Marvel is in quite the contract pickle with OSC seeing as how his comic work, Formic Wars wasn’t actually based on an existing novel and in fact was published before the novel Earth Unaware, which is the novelization of the prequel. So it was, in essence, original comic book work that was simply based in the Ender’s universe.
I’m not a Marvel fan as about 90% of my pull list is DC. I haven’t decided yet if I am going to drop them for publishing one two-part OSC story in what is billed as a digital comic (though it is getting a print version as well) that is apparently taking place outside of continuity, or just not buy this particular book.
I do love how you tried to insult me with the whole “disingenuously avoiding” thing even though I was nothing but polite if not direct up to this point. Your defensiveness and rudeness, however, come off as someone trying to swallow their guilt at not wanting to give up something they are (most likely) passionate about. I understand this feeling.
At any rate it saddens me this discussion went the way it did. Gay comic nerds are bit of a rarity and I’m usually excited to find another.
Josh in OR
@BChad: Apologies for getting snarky, man. I’ve been involved in a discussion about the OSC issue over on Comicbookresources.com and have been called a fascist, a McCarthyite, a champion of censorship and an opponent of the 1st Amendment for daring to express my problem with DC hiring OSC and my decision to not purchase his work – or anything DC produces – because of it.
That tends to make one a bit touchy. Especially since the same people calling me those names have tried to use the “Well, Marvel worked with him too!” line of argument.
The simple facts are that Marvel began it’s relationship with OSC before he joined the board of NOM and entered into a contract with him to produce Ender’s Game material based on the popularity of that brand. Since his becoming a board member of a hate group that actively seeks to dehumanize fellow human beings over an immutable trait, they have not, to my knowledge, contracted any new work. It’s all Ender’s Game crap, and nothing but. At that time that Marvel entered it’s relationship with OSC, he was simply a writer with a repellant personal belief system, and I’m not going to punish a publisher simply because they hire someone with whom I disagree. I can just avoid that artist’s work, or even enjoy it for what it is without caring what the writer or artist may think about liberals/gays/women/whatever.
DC, meanwhile, HAS entered a new contractual relationship with Card, to produce a story about their flagship character, and has banked on the man’s controversial actions to fuel publicity, a cynical (or stupid) decision that runs counter to their claim of being pro-equality. My pull list, prior to this, included several DC titles (Aquaman, Justice League, Batman, Batman & Robin, Nightwing, Stormwatch, Earth 2, Teen Titans, Superboy, Action Comics and others), and I was looking forward to seeing Man of Steel on the big screen like most other comic nerds (the cast is fantastic and Henry Cavill in tights? Yes, please!). Now, though, I don’t feel comfortable giving DC my money, knowing that said money will help support NOM through OSC’s connection to that body.
The moment Marvel gets involved with OSC on a new project (or a flagship character), I will not be giving them a free pass, here. I’ll drop them as well, making my pull list VERY light – leaving Morning Glories, Locke & Key, and one offs or tie-ins to properties I dig – which will only save me money.
So, look. Olive branch extended, here, BChad. I’m sorry for defaulting to snippy and rude, and hope that I’ve explained my point well enough.
@Josh in OR: Hah, no worries. I can’t even read the comments sections on mainstream comics sites without getting upset, grumpy, and or horrified, much less participate. So I totally get being on edge. Water under the bridge.
I’m so conflicted on the whole thing right now it’s not even funny. I’m extremely bothered by the fact that DC hired him to do this story, which I know I won’t be buying, but at the same time they have always been pretty up there with gay visibility in comics, not to mention having some awesome gay artists and writers. Marc Andreyko did such awesome stuff in Manhunter with Obsidian and his boyfriend. Batwoman still excels at the awesome.
I might be naive, but I honestly don’t think DC hired him for publicity. More than likely they just weren’t paying attention. Sadly I have noticed it’s a rare day that people pay attention to gay issues (beyond the stuff they see in the news and what have you) unless they are gay themselves. Should they have done their research better? Yeah, totally. But hiring someone like him for publicity goes against everything they have done previously. At least in my opinion.
I think if I don’t end giving up on DC, then I’m going to at least donate some money to a gay youth charity.
Anyways chat with ya later, and don’t let others get to you.
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