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.
Hercules is getting another shot at an ongoing solo title this winter, courtesy of the creative team of writer Dan Abnett and artist Luke Ross. Debuting in November, the new series positions the hairy-chested demigod as a hero trying to recapture the glories of his past as a celebrated champion (not the glories of his past as a celebrated Champion). The series also sees Herc with a militarized new look courtesy of Ross.
With Avengers: Age of Ultron just around the corner, interest in these heroes has never been greater, so we’ve decided to pit all the official comic book Avengers against each other in a battle for your affections. Who is the greatest, best, favorite Avenger of all time? Only you can decide.
We’ve created voting groups that mix up different eras of Avengers membership. Group K is the penultimate group, and by chance it pits two partners head to head; Luke Cage and Iron Fist. But Hercules, Tigra, and even the Forgotten One may hope to slip between them and steal a victory. (Probably not going to happen for ol' Gilgamesh.) The top two or three Avengers will go through to the next round, so vote tactically!
Each weekday, ComicsAlliance brings you a carefully selected variety of links from around the web about comics and comics-related media, including movies, video games, toys, and whatever else might be worth noting. Quite frankly, these are items you may just need to know about to have a productive day. Take a look at today's hand-picked links after the jump.
Although cosplay has been present for decades within the comics, anime, and sci-fi/fantasy fandoms, social media has played an integral role in the thriving communities of costuming that exist, such as Cosplay.com and the Superhero Costuming Forum. Over the years, the cosplay community has evolved into a creative outlet for many fans to establish and showcase some impressive feats of homemade disguise, craftsmanship, and sartorial superheroics at conventions. In honor of the caped crusaders of the convention scene, ComicsAlliance has created Best Cosplay Ever (This Week), an ongoing collection of some of the most impeccable, creative, and clever costumes that we've discovered and assembled into a super-showcase of pure fan-devoted talent.
Superhero comics have a diversity problem. The leading characters are largely male, mostly white, and overwhelmingly straight. By definition, well-established characters come from an era when the culture was even straighter, whiter and more male than it is today, and as a result the characters fail to represent the diversity of their audience.
Most heroes of the stories we tell each other are slowly forgotten over time, or if they're lucky, enter into myth, their details slowly blurred by decades. Every so often, though, this process goes in reverse, and legends are pulled forwards through time to inspire great new stories about old heroes...
A lot of people have Halloween traditions. Some carve pumpkins, some dress up, but me? I watch syndicated action shows from the '90s. Usually, I go with the spooky episode of Xena: Warrior Princess that features vampires, a severed head and a level of lesbian subtext that's pretty high even for that show, but this year I added something new to the tradition: The episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys where Hercules fights Dracula.
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