Hero Worship: New LGBT Comic-Book Characters Are Here To Save The Day

Striker and Lightspeed (Avengers Academy)

While Lightspeed (real name: Julie Power) has been around since the 1980s as a pre-teen in the superhero squad Power Pack, she only came out as bisexual in recent issues of Avengers Academy, a series about angsty heroes-in-training. More surprising was the fact that Striker, a cocky teammate quick to hit on every girl in sight, came out to Julie as gay himself.

In a rare twist, Striker also revealed he had been molested as a child and was afraid people would think that’s what made him gay. Of course, always quick to turn things to his advantage, Striker held a press conference to publicly announce sexuality just four issues later—much to Lightspeed’s chagrin.

Current status: Marvel has announced it will be ending Avengers Academy in November with issue #39, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Lightspeed or Striker pops up again in a new series.



Wiccan and Hulkling (Young Avengers)

Wiccan (Billy Kaplan) and Hulkling (Teddy Altman) showed up in 2005’s Young Avengers, created by out writer/TV producer Allan Heinberg, and had a pretty heavy gay subtext from the start. (When Wiccan tries tell his parents he’s a superhero, the Kaplans assume he’s coming out as gay.)  Once out in the open, their relationship withstood several trials—alien abductions, a superhero civil war, and the absence of an on-panel kiss until seven years after they were introduced. At the time they were being attacked by alien invaders, the X-Men, secret government organizations and Dr. Doom. Talk about a big buildup!

Current status: Since Young Avengers was canceled in 2006, the dynamic duo has appeared in a miniseries, numerous issues of the Avengers, and the recent Avengers: Children’s Crusade. In the new Marvel NOW! campaign, Wiccan is being teased as part of a unnamed team comic. And with Billy and Teddy now engaged, we expect to get an invite to another same-sex superhero wedding any day now.


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  • Allen D.

    I read comics from my closeted days. Dropped out probably 15 years ago. Once Kevin Keller came around, I got back into the fold. DC’s “Earth 2”, Astonishing X-Men, X-Factor, etc are back in my life & I’m pretty happy about it.

    So, yay!

  • Allen D.

    I guess what my drunken ass forgot to say was –

    Some people will comment and say that the comic book companies are just pandering for sales. But, I really respect how the gay storylines & characters have been handled. I wish there had been ‘out’ characters in my closeted years.

  • jogproof

    there is some pandering for sales but top ones are just lgbt like people are not just for sales.

  • Superman

    [Page 2] That Wiccan’s ass is just as round and luscious as I remember it…

  • jogproof

    @Superman: hopefully we will get more of that in the new books

Comments are closed.