This week there’s been a lot of talk and controversy surrounding J. Scott Campbell’s Midtown Comics variant for Invincible Iron Man #1, featuring the 15-year-old Riri Williams, AKA Ironheart. Fan response to the cover pointed out the highly sexualized depiction of Riri and the inappropriate decision to assign the cover to an artist known for his pin-up work, but things got worse when Campbell and other creators responded to the controversy.
Campbell and his defenders’ rebuttals featured the typical lines about social justice warriors and censorship, and creators in this situation seem to always assume that they’re infallible when it comes to the art they create. Yet another week of controversy in comics has me asking; What’s so wrong about stopping to listen to what people have to say?
Today is Bisexual Awareness Day, the finale of Bisexual Awareness Week. As a bisexual comics fan, I'm always on the lookout for bi characters. It's exciting how many are official now, like Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and probably some characters who aren't female Bat-villains as well.
We could certainly use more, though, and there are a lot of established characters who have already been hinted to be bisexual, or who very plausibly could be. So here's a list of characters who would we'd like to see come out as bi, to their benefit, our benefit, and the benefit of the companies that publish them.
Comic books are always driving to be more inclusive and more representative of the real world. It might not always be obvious, and there might be roadblocks, but most of the time there are creators in and out of the mainstream working hard to push the entire industry uphill and make it more welcoming to people of all races, sexualities and gender identities.
The power of stories like these, whether it’s a deep and personal tale wrought with emotion, or some fun and flirty fanart, cannot be underestimated. It’s partly thanks to comics that I was able to come out as bisexual earlier this year.
Since the dawn of the Silver Age, legacy characters have been a staple of superhero fiction, and having a new character step into a well loved role can open up new opportunities for writers and artists to tell different kinds of stories. In The Replacements, we’ll look back at the notable and not-so-notable heroes and villains to assume some of the most iconic mantles in the superhero genre.
The Mighty Thor is a hero as old as time and a founding Avenger, but The Prince of Asgard is not the only person to bear that moniker. Over time there have been other heroes and villains who have attempted to claim the name of Thor, and not all of them were considered worthy.
There was a time not so long ago when one could count off all the LGBTQ superheroes at Marvel and DC on the fingers of one hand. We’ve seen an increasing number of queer heroes make their debuts in recent years, and a few established heroes have come out as LGBTQ, but the number of queer superheroes at the Big Two in any given month is still sometimes small enough to count on one hand.
To celebrate Pride, and the many LGBTQ heroes that have appeared at Marvel and DC over the years, we’ve assembled a panel of ComicsAlliance contributors to hold a fantasy draft. Our writers will take turns building up seven-member dream teams of LGBTQ superheroes from the ranks of both publishers.
Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed while scanning the Marvel solicitations for April, May and June that certain All-New, All-Different Marvel titles are missing without any word from Marvel about it. Well, it seems that Marvel’s new plan for cancelled comics is to end them without an announcement, or even a FINAL ISSUE tagged onto a solicit, as today there were two confirmations of cancellations within the comics themselves.
Bobby Drake, aka Iceman, became comics' biggest gay superhero last week — again, but also for the first time, because nothing is ever simple in superhero comics. In a scene by Brian Michael Bendis and Mahmud Asrar in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #600, the older of two Bobby Drakes (from two different points in time) acknowledged his gayness to the other, younger Bobby. The younger Bobby had previously come out in a very similar scene in All-New X-Men #40 back in April, also by Bendis and Asrar. (Both scenes involved an unsolicited confrontation, an intrusive Jean Grey, and an acknowledgement of teammate Angel's good looks.)
While I have a few problems with how all of this was executed, from Jean's willingness to violate people's privacy to Marvel's willingness to taunt readers with an inexplicable six month delay between the two coming out scenes, I think that how Bobby came out matters much less than the fact that he came out at all. It's an especially welcome step forward coming less than a week after Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso fumbled the coming out of another Marvel character.
There are many things you can point to in superhero comics as examples of sexism and gender essentialism. Today we will ignore those. Today, we come not to bury comics and their handling of gender issues, but to praise them. Today we salute those brave men who stare down a world of gender-coded clothing choices and say, "No. Not on my watch. Not around my waist."
It remains a bleak time for the female comic audience, and for other minority audiences. The recent debacle with Hercules is merely the latest of Marvel’s many ghastly faux pas; for every two steps forward, it seems to take two steps back: it publishes more female titles only to end the majority of them with Secret Wars, and it tantalizes us with Hercules only to promote the status quo inside of continuity.
It is easy to lose faith in the publisher’s ability to reform from within, but Marvel has had the key to equal, positive representation for over fifty years now.
The mythological demigod Hercules is bisexual. How you feel about that fact doesn't change the fact; the myths of antiquity have told us that Hercules loved women and men alike. Lustfulness is at the core of his character, and Hercules' appetites aren't limited by gender.
Like many ancient myths, and like much of history, Hercules' stories have been bowdlerized by those who think same-sex relationships are sinful. Audiences introduced to the character through the Disney cartoon, the Kevin Sorbo TV show, the Dwayne Johnson movie, or the Marvel comics have good reason to think the character is heterosexual, because that's all they've ever seen. But that doesn't make it true. Hercules is bisexual. To deny that fact is to participate in the erasure of same-sex relationships on the grounds of a narrow and prescriptive morality.
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